Cloth Diaper Podcast – Show 17
Les Confections Lili
Show 17 of the Cloth Diaper Podcast features Emilie from Les Confections Lili or Lili Diapers. This passionate mama, along with her friends and family sew up gorgeous high end cloth diapers in Drummondville, Quebec. Emilie chats about her struggles with her business, her dreams to expand, and why she uses the products she use. We also talk about why newborn diapering isnt’ our top recommendation for parents.
diapers, cloth diapers, quebec, hemp, market, find, year, lilly, Lili, cloth diapering, insert, french, daughter, english, big, easy, born, kids, garbage, spend
Emilie, Les Confections Lili, Bailey Bouwman
Bailey Bouwman 00:00
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 01:26
My English is a little rusty. So if I have trouble with some words, just bear with me. I’m Emilie, our company is Lili diapers. And we manufacture cloth diapers, we make them ourselves. So we are the manufacturer, the distributor and I have many many paths to it.
Bailey Bouwman 01:51
And I was reading on your site that it’s just your sister in laws that help you with the sewing. Yeah, well, yeah. My sister, my sister in law’s and one of our friends. And you guys just produce in your warehouse there in DrummondBille.
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 02:05
Yeah, exactly. It’s like an hour outside of Montreal,
Bailey Bouwman 02:09
quote, my sister lives in Granby, we’ve been to Drummondville to the pool a few times. Oh, you know, I know of the place I have spent. I’ve been out there every year. So how did you get started with cloth diapering? What made you even interested in the cloth diapering process,
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 02:24
I was pregnant with my first daughter. And I was looking at this statistics. And there were there was no way I was going. disposable diapers right after seeing everything that they implied to the environment. So it started out with that Bob cloth diapers, different brands. My daughter was born with these tiny little legs. So, the diapers did not fit until she was like three or four months old. I was like, there’s no way I can do this. Before she fits into them. So, I knew how to sell. And I started making my own was that tighter? tighter? elastics around the thighs. And that’s how it started. And I tried to make them cute. And then my friends wanted them. My friends, friends wanted them. And then you ask yourself a question. There must be some legal way for me to be doing this because I’m making diapers and I’m selling them right. So that’s how legally diaper was born. And Lili is actually my daughter and Elizabeth. Nickname,
Bailey Bouwman 03:33
And so, in English when I’m referring to your company, is it just Lilly
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 03:37
Lilly diapers is that’s what I use.
Bailey Bouwman 03:41
Awesome. And so, you make a one size pocket cloth diaper, correct? Just a one size pocket?
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 03:46
Yeah, that’s the only thing we make right now. We concentrate on making it perfect. And then we’ll maybe make something else. But for right now that’s
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 03:54
what it is. And tell me tell me about it. Like what I noticed that it has half male and half female snaps on the front. Why do you do it? And
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 04:03
we do it for a few reasons, mainly because when we close the diaper, when it’s full, we can close it and snap it close. Like you can snap the two wings together. Oh, like the, whatever needs to be kept in there in it. And you can start to close. So that’s one of the reasons. The other reason it makes it easier to find the center to say okay, well here’s the center, I know where it is where I need to snap to adjust it. And because I’m a new inventory basis here, it’s a lot easier for us.
Bailey Bouwman 04:40
Okay, that roll up trick. I’m going to have to try that as soon as I get off the phone with you. You roll it. You put the two wings together and the snap close. I never I never even thought about that. This is amazing. Amazing. I’m so excited.
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 04:55
I’m back from daycare and they’re all snap closed, and I don’t put my fingers anywhere. Don’t want to be putting my fingers up appreciate it a lot.
Bailey Bouwman 05:04
Oh man okay I for my listeners you guys I’m going to have a full review on simply mom Bailey calm about Emilie’s diapers and I’m going to have to go do some more photos and figure that out because I didn’t know that existed um and you come with to insert so you sent me a hemp insert which is 55% hemp 45% cotton and that’s your nighttime and then you also have a cotton insert correct?
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 05:29
I know I the one I sent you is the day and yeah it goes it’ll absorb about 12 ounces and the one with it has like two layers of hemp for the night is the same the same hemp the same blend of hemp and our organic cotton but it’s three layers so it’ll it will absorb 17 ounces instead of 12
Bailey Bouwman 05:54
okay then I see these are all these great questions that I had I been very confused about that, but it is super absorbent and my head and sir I did notice got a full 12 ounces, so I was loving that
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 06:09
because it when you wrote to me, I was like Oh yeah, I forgot to tell them they might plush a bit. Oh yeah, we still like them when once they got maybe six seven washes into them, they get thicker and that’s when they start to really work well.
Bailey Bouwman 06:25
Yeah, it works really well. It’s been a really great insert for my daughter. I love it I love and you’ve chosen to use an athletic wicking jersey material on top of your diapers which is another great feature in my opinion
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 06:39
stays dry and nothing sticks to it doesn’t really stain stays good for long so yeah that’s why we
Bailey Bouwman 06:48
Why do you think that there aren’t a lot of companies using athletic wicking jersey I think it’s the best material ever for an answer but there are very few people who do?
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 06:59
here in Quebec more and more small companies use the jersey because of suede cloth is hard to find around here it has been for a few years I think I don’t really know because I don’t use it. But I know it there were times where it was hard to come across so people changed and started using the jersey which I was already using and some use microfleece which I don’t really understand that doesn’t stay very nice it looks warm and water who’s had a hard time going through it so
Bailey Bouwman 07:33
so that athletic wicking jerseys just easily to source in Quebec Is that why we’re seeing mostly Quebec companies who use it very easy to find around here. So, what’s been your biggest challenge with entering the cloth diaper market and becoming this little work at home mama
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 07:49
you start selling a few diapers you do it from home then there’s I have a Facebook page is very strong. That’s one of the strengths we had was we know how to communicate with the mothers that are our clients and that always went well sales were never a problem they’ve been growing like crazy over the past three years we’re entering our fourth year right now the troubles we had with on the other end I have to make the diapers I have to make them like every single day diaper takes us 35 minutes to sew so we could not do that in my living room anymore so I had to get out of the house finding a another warehouse and then employees How do you have employees you can just hire someone and pay them you know Yeah, to have an accountant you have to pay like taught all these things the government wants you to pay and you start taking these on one at a time and it’s a huge challenge I never had any experience in administration and now I had I had to so that was one of the challenges we faced and then growing the production and then you have to you have to arrive at the end of the year and there’s something left for it you know, so you have to balance your costs and then you have to balance the time you spend making the diapers okay diapers cannot take more than 35 minutes to sell and then okay this the fabrics cannot be cost costing me more than such as such. All these challenges to try to get myself a salary that is convenient out of it at the end of the year is crazy, because you know that our supplies turn around and then oh well this is going to cut cost so much more this year and then I’m Like new, I cannot minimum wage keeps going up. So as the price of everything is going up, the market prices for diapers are not moving that much. So, I have to juggle, juggle a little with that. And in July, this year was like, end of the job July, we decided to no longer distribute our diapers in stores. Because we were just losing so much money trying to give them a part of the cause, you know, they keep a profit margin, which is normal, but we just were just not working for us at this time. So, we’ve reoriented ourselves only on the website and we’ve been doing much better since July. So
Bailey Bouwman 10:59
figuring out like the profit margins and the costs and all that is very overwhelming a
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 11:04
lot and you don’t think about that when you start making cloth diapers. All those little things that kind
Bailey Bouwman 11:11
of sneak up to you Hey, so your cloth diapers they are more expensive compared to other products on the market not compared to other work at home moms are about par there. So why should somebody spend the money on a Lili cloth diaper what value do you see is in that for your customers,
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 11:28
we sell the product as being a height like high end cloth diaper because it’s one of the pricier diapers on the market. thing is we use him which is the most eco-friendly fiber on the market right now because it grows so fast. Believe it takes 12 weeks to have a fully grown hemp plant anyways. Really? Yeah, yeah, bamboo is going to take about four to five years. hemp is only 12 weeks.
Bailey Bouwman 11:58
Oh, I mean, I know that’s a tangent but hemp, the conversations around hemp are definitely beginning to pop up in the
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 12:05
eye. I think I’m interested to see where it’s going to go in the next few years since now it’s kind of legal, not kind of its legal around here. So, they’re going to be looking for something to do with the fibers. Yeah, that’ll be interesting. And other thing about the Lili diapers is they’re the fabrics we use are the best we can find. And we do recommend you put your Lili diapers in the dryer. Okay, yeah, most of the brands are going to say you have to hang them and I work 60 hours a week. I am not going to take the time to hang cloth diapers twice a week in the diapers I was making they have to be resistant enough and high quality enough to be able to withstand like five six years of dryer abuse
Bailey Bouwman 12:57
so that’s good though that yours are high enough quality that you feel that they’re going to stand up to that abuse
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 13:04
Yeah, and I had China diapers in the past and they’re no good anymore they’ve all done it gone in the dryer the same way and they’re no good they elastics are broken on and I had a few wet bags that zippers are broken on them and you have to buy other inserts anyway to put in them cut they never absorbent up so I think our value is all there is on the quality of the dye brand the it will absorb enough for your child until he’s cleaning potty training
Bailey Bouwman 13:38
is probably a lot of the cost for your diapers is that hemp insert isn’t it because hemp is and more expensive material is that correct?
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 13:45
Yes, then hemp insert is very expensive to make and also the designs we’d like to put on it’s very aesthetic but the designs we like to put on the on the diapers are very expensive as well.
Bailey Bouwman 14:02
Yeah, you’ve done I you sent me the dyno and the ballerina those my husband loves them and loves the dyno. She’s all about dinos right now for 18 month old girl. Every time she puts it on sheet, she walks around and goes rah right? Cuz you’re the cutest things. So why do you continue running Lilly cloth diapers? What makes you get up every morning for this business?
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 14:25
I think is just part of who I am. I cannot sit at home and be on a maternity leave maternity leave. I tried that word for three months. wasn’t very long at all. Yeah, my second up when my second daughter was born. I got out of the hospital after two days and I came straight to work. A little bit of a workaholic going on there but I just got the I got the ball rolling and I just want to see how far can I go?
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 14:53
Yeah. So, what is your five-year plan? Do you have a five-year plan? Yeah, we do as well. This year was just making sure our basis solid before our Quebec market is strong production is going well. We’ve got our costs under control. So next year, we’ll be looking at other markets right now. It’s Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick. So, in 2019, we’ll be looking to go outside of that. There’s a few we’re looking at markets right now and a few places in Europe where cloth is strong, and some places in the states also. So, we’re trying to be trying to evaluate those markets and which ones we’re going to try to get into first. So, exporting will be the big, the big, the big plan for I think, the next two, three years, and then then we’ll see things change all the time. So, can you currently ship diapers to the United States right now? Right now? Yeah, I do sometimes. But it’s not our biggest, because most of my listeners here on the podcast are from America or from United States. So, if they were interested, they can go to Lili’s website and include the link in the show notes. And they can order a diaper.
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 16:10
Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Bailey Bouwman 16:11
Okay. Are you finding that to be a big challenge? And the clutter market is trying to get that visibility out there?
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 16:19
I don’t know. No, no, the, I think the bigger challenge is going to be keeping up with production because we don’t make it through. So, I have to balance everything. And I only have 24 hours a day. So yeah. Once I do decide to which markets, we’re going to explore, I have a very good team with me that works with me here in Drummondville. To know how to get that visibility, which shows to me visit is what is the potential market there and how to approach it.
Bailey Bouwman 16:55
Okay, so you’ve got it’s just going to be matter of meeting demand because there’s just what the four of you so in diapers? Yeah.
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 17:04
I think the bigger challenge is going to be that because they’re empty employees right now in Quebec. I don’t know, the rest of Canada what it looks like. But right now, here, we cannot find employees. The unemployment rate is so low. Everybody’s working, so I can’t hear it’s under 3% right now. Wow. Crazy. Yeah. So, I can’t just hire someone, there’s no one to hire.
Bailey Bouwman 17:30
And no, you need a pretty skilled person, right? Like cut you’re not you’re going to can’t just hire anybody. You need somebody who can rent.
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 17:38
I need a seamstress. I don’t think I’m going to find that the people I have sewing right now are girls that I taught how to sew, it took like a year, two years. This facility diaper at a good pace. So, I know that if I want to hire somebody for us, I have to find someone who has the skills, certain skills, and then I had to teach them how to So
Bailey Bouwman 18:05
yeah, that’s crazy. I didn’t realize that the Quebec market was like that with the unemployment rate and trying to find skilled people. And people Quebec is very big and manufacturing in general. So, people who are skilled seamstresses can probably find jobs fairly easily.
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 18:22
Yeah, they are often they’ll work for themselves because they get to do the hours they want, they choose the jobs they want, and they get paid the wage that they want. So
Bailey Bouwman 18:34
is that why we don’t get a lot of Quebec based cloth diaper companies
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 18:37
probably have something to do with it. Right now. If we want to produce more diapers, I’m thinking we’re maybe going to have to find like some someone to help us with it. That won’t be an employee, there will be some outer help.
Bailey Bouwman 18:54
Like a contractor. Let’s see.
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 18:59
If we get over if we get over 250 diapers a week, bro, we’re going to have to have some help with that. Yeah, it’s
Bailey Bouwman 19:05
a good and a bad thing. Right? This is also in Quebec have a lot of the cities have subsidies right for cloth diapers.
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 19:14
- Yeah. German Ville is not one of them. No, no, I think that the mayor won’t have much of a choice to come around. Sometime because it’s coming everywhere. Quebec, Quebec government is putting pressure on the cities to reduce the quantity of garbage that is being sent. So, the sense they have to do something about it and diapers are the third I think the third thing home subject that is thrown in the garbage the most I don’t know how to explain that. But yeah,
Bailey Bouwman 19:53
I like it’s the most it’s the third most popular garbage item. It’s the third the garbage or something? It’s, it’s a major contributor to garbage landfills. What you’re saying, really? It’s really cooled to watch that unfolding in Quebec. And it, there’s only hope that we can continue to see that in other provinces and jurisdictions, right, like,
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 20:15
yeah, I think the, the environment cars and everything that’s eco-friendly and zero waste is. We’re going towards that. Everybody is going towards that. We’re hearing it all over the news. They did not speak about zero waste, tracks and lifestyles. like three years ago, they didn’t talk about that. Now they do. So
Bailey Bouwman 20:44
yeah, I was there in June, when could Montreal ditch the bag, the plastic bag, that was the only thing that the radio ever talked about was zero waste and reducing waste. And
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 20:55
they should have gone a little further than that. Because now, when you go to the grocery store, they give you a plastic bag, that’s 10 times thicker.
Bailey Bouwman 21:04
Oh, yeah. It has to be had to be a certain thickness if they were going to sell it at all.
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 21:09
Exactly. So, they have to, I think it’s a good start. But I think there’s a lot of work to do.
Bailey Bouwman 21:15
Yeah. Oh, hey, you’re making it right. So, you just mentioned earlier that you’re working 60 hours a week. So how do you find time to be a mom, a business owner, a maker, what do you do for self-care?
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 21:27
I don’t sleep a lot. That’s a terrible answer. I sleep I sleep; I’ve been sleeping a little better. And like in the past month, because I’ve I just couldn’t continue. I was way too tight. I was forgetting everything. And it just wasn’t working anymore. Because between January and September, I was sleeping about five hours a night. The rest of the time I was taking care of the kids, I was taking care of the house. And then I was working all the time, I would work from five in the morning till 6 30 I would answer emails, the kids got up, go bring the kids to daycare work from eight to four and a half, go get the kids supper back bedtime. Get back on the computer and work till midnight. That would be typical days. So, the advantage I do have is my boyfriend is also an intrapreneur. So, at eight o’clock at night, when we do put the kids to bed, he sits in front of me and he’s doing work awesome. That’s our quality, time,
Bailey Bouwman 22:33
quality time together is running your business. At least you’re passionate about what you’re doing, right. Like there is self-care and being passionate about what you’re working on.
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 22:44
Yeah, I take time to eat. And now I take time to sleep a little better. So, I’m finding that kind of a balance that I did not have at the beginning of the year.
Bailey Bouwman 22:53
It just takes a little bit of time, sometimes
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 22:55
one thing at a time and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Yeah, you know, you want to do everything that’s best for your kid. But you want to do it all at the same time. And then you forget yourself throughout that process. So, I’d say yes, cloth diapers. But start by being a mother start by learning to live with your new your new child, pick, spend some time with them. I do not I do not make newborn diapers and because of that, and I will probably never be making newborn diapers because of that. And also, because I don’t think the investment is worth it. But because start by spending time with your child born to be a mom, and then you can integrate cloth diapers to your routine.
Bailey Bouwman 23:40
Yeah. And I on my cloth diaper podcast Instagram. while back I that’s I kind of said the same thing as I have one. A lot of people talk to me about newborn cloth diapering, I usually try to discourage them. Because I don’t think it’s a great first jump, I think that the task of learning to become a mom is so big that really just yak know your plate. Yeah, just take it one at a time. And I caught diapered both of my kids from the hospital, but I have a crazy passionate about it. And I think that I had the support system for it. But not everybody does. And then really just take it one thing at a time and just jump into cloth diapering or jump into anything when you’re ready for it right. Like you don’t have to do it all at once. And nobody’s going to judge you for doing it.Not doing it all at once.
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 24:25
I didn’t use newborns on my first daughter cuz I didn’t even know that existed. I got my second daughter, but by then I already had experience and already had the baggage and knew what to do. Yeah. If I was, if I would have used cloth diapers from the hospital on my first daughter, I probably would have been discouraged. Yeah, because you’re trying to learn how to breastfeed how to breastfeed, how to care for a child how to respond to its needs when they’re crying. You have to learn all those things. So, you don’t have to be Adding cloth diapers onto that. Right? There’s
Bailey Bouwman 25:03
a lot of things we have to learn that first week, it’s overwhelming. It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay not to do at all. So where can people purchase your cloth diapers? If they want to find out more about them? And where can we find you on the web?
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 25:15
Right now? It’s our website. Only. So, our website is liliconfections.ca I’m sure you’ll put the link somewhere cut, yeah, I
Bailey Bouwman 25:25
will add every time that I, I’ve been working on putting together a YouTube video about your diapers, too. And I just like, oh, what is the name? I don’t know how to pronounce it. My English. My French fails. So yeah, I will include links to lesconfectionslili in the show notes and on my Facebook and everywhere,
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 25:48
just getting me to think I might have to buy an English domain name for that, like Lilly diapers.ca would be much easier to
Bailey Bouwman 25:56
liliconfections.ca. Yeah. So, I’ll put those links and you can find all of your products. It is a French brand. But don’t worry, her website is in English, she has translated most of it for you. Except for the shop, which does have some French if
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 26:15
I wanted to translate the shop, I had to duplicate it. And that meant I think I had to anyways, didn’t work
Bailey Bouwman 26:24
did not know for all my English listeners out there. The shop is not that hard to manage. If you’re Canadian like me, and you know, cereal box French, you can manage this friendship. It’s good. It’s pretty easy, because all you got to do is you got to scroll, I’m currently scrolling. You got to find the print that you like. Then you just like buy. It’s easy.
Emilie, Les Confections Lili 26:43
Or you can choose if you want it without inserts with the data. The night inserts too, but
Bailey Bouwman 26:52
yeah, easy peas. It’s really easy. You guys got this. If you took French until grade nine like me, you can do this. Thank you so much for joining me today Emilie, I loved hearing your story about cloth diapering.