Cloth Diaper Podcast – Show 97
Meet the owner of Nicki’s Knickers and the E-Flat
Nicki shares the story of launching Nicki’s Knickers, a work at home mom cloth diaper business with big plans of growing. We chat about her new wool blend, the e-flat, and her family. This is a great show of inspiration and hope for the future as her business expands with new opportunities.
Bailey Bouwman 00:00
Welcome to show 97 of the cloth diaper Podcast. Today we are chatting with Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers.
Bailey Bouwman 00:13
Welcome back to your destination for cloth diaper podcasting. That’s right. I think I’m the only one maybe other podcasts talk about cloth diapers, but nobody does it for 97 shows over four years. That’s right. Welcome to show 97 of the cloth diaper podcast with your host Bailey. That’s me. I am a mom of two living in northern British Columbia. Technically, I am trained in public relations. I have a degree in environmental studies and I don’t know I am doing this cloth diaper advocacy work. We’re working on the Association. We’re working on social media management clients, what kind of just do whatever the wind flies our way and we’re okay with it. We are absolutely okay with it. I am really excited for today’s show.
Bailey Bouwman 01:00
I’m always excited for shows. But this is a recommendation from Katie Hair. So Katie from @fortheloveoffluff_, she is one of our listeners. And she always has the best recommendations for me of people I should reach out to and talk to.
Bailey Bouwman 01:15
One of the ways that I find guests is I wait for people to email me and then we chat all our people email me and tell me I should get in contact with someone this past year, I have had a ton of requests to be on the show, which is why we have been releasing shows weekly. And because of that I haven’t really been doing any outreach myself. So if you know of somebody who is probably too shy to reach out to me or connect with me, please, please do let them know please let me know. And I will try to make it a priority. I want to make sure we hear all these voices and I’m doing the best I can I really am.
Bailey Bouwman 01:53
Anyways, a cloth diaper podcast is brought to you by my book is the book, cloth diapers The Ultimate Guide to textiles, resources, and more. That’s not even the title of it is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble wherever you can find books, and it’s my primary revenue source that helps support this podcast and the work that I do. So if you are interested in about learning about cloth diapers, go check it out. It’s a simple read. It’s slowly becoming outdated, but follow me online and I will make sure that you get up to date. The only thing that’s like really outdated right now is my wash routine instructions are a little gentle for when it comes to wool, but you can also listen to bombI wool podcast to learn more about that. I stop rambling and we really should get into the meat of the matter which is the interview with Nicky’s knickers. That’s why you’re here.
Bailey Bouwman 02:40
What what is Nicki’s Knickers Where did your brand start? Where does your cloth diaper journey start?
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 02:45
Um, it starts about eight years ago, um, I, my husband and I decided we wanted to have another wild child together because we don’t have any children together. And so I went and got my tubes tied to try and have a baby. And I thought, Oh, we’re going to cloth diaper this one.
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 03:07
So I started pricing cloth diapers. And when I can make these, it’s gonna be so easy, I can just make them and then months went by and I didn’t conceive so I just kept making them and when I can start selling these, like, so easy, I’ll just start this business I’ll start selling cloth diapers, it’ll be so it’ll be just the easiest thing. Here I go headfirst into cloth diapers make making them buying all the materials researching all of this and got into cloth diaper groups and you know, I really thought that I was just gonna make these diapers put them for sale and people were gonna buy him just like candy. It didn’t quite work out that way.
Bailey Bouwman 03:54
Okay, but were eight years ago like why did you like how did you learn about cloth diapers?
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 04:00
on the internet was research them and then right about then is when of all things baby bill came out with their patterns that Joanne’s Fabrics and so they had a pattern book that had the patterns and you could cut them out and make them and then they had ideas for the absorbent material and you know they had like whole packages so you can buy the PUL was snaps and you know that so I was like, I’m this is what I’m gonna do you know? And I didn’t I had I had cost ciphered my oldest child. She’s 29 now so that tells you how long ago this was
Bailey Bouwman 04:43
31 So yeah,
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 04:46
it was the Gerber flats and prefolds with the rubber pants and the diaper fins in it didn’t last very long before I just wanted to suppose rolls because there was no the modern cloth diapers what they have nowadays? Those weren’t a thing, or at least I didn’t know about it because we didn’t have internet too much back then either.
Bailey Bouwman 05:11
No, no. So eight years ago, you were making babyville modern cloth diapers them with…
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 05:19
Yeah. And like, the inserts were horrible. They weren’t absorbent because I didn’t know about all the other new fangled stuff. And then I started getting a cloth diaper grips and started learning. And then I really, like, just head over heels fell into cloth diapers and researched. And every time somebody like typed in a question about absorbency, or what they you know what to use for overnight, or whatever, I would read every comment there was and research as much as I could. And then the cloth diaper thing wasn’t going so well. So I started making kids clothing. And that did really well. And then I thought, Well, I’ll start getting back into cloth diapers. And that was about three little over three years ago, when flat started coming out.
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 06:16
And then the tie dyed flat started coming out. And that’s I started doing that. And a little bit of a roller coaster ride. It was what your business and well you come today. Yeah, yeah. And then I like I said, I researched every possible thing. I watched your videos when you did absorbency. Yes. And you talked about your hemp and bamboo. And I watched Jane and when I saw much more from that, yes.
Bailey Bouwman 06:49
Mm hmm. So what do you sell today?
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 06:51
I have kind of honed it down now. And I have a bamboo hemp blend that I have custom milled. Yeah, so I have it milled to 320 GSM. And I like did like I said I researched and just became a slept and breathed cloth diapers. That’s it. Every thought that we’re living and breathing textiles. Yes. And then I realized when and my company started kind of blowing up and people wanted to know about my absorbency and your fabrics and, and whatnot. And I realized there’s only a couple places in North America to buy the material wholesale to make claps Kindle and nature fabric are the two that are the main two. And I just like, Well, everybody’s all the lambs and the companies. They’re all buying the same textiles. So all of our fabrics are all the same absorbency the same quality, everything. And so I was able because I was growing so well I was able to do the research and find a mill in China, that’s a smaller company. And they do it in small batches and make it specifically for me that was gonna ask what your background is even have thought to custom mill your own fabric. When does research I really like I said, and I wanted high quality I wanted high absorbency I want it you know, and to have that little bit that may have sets me just a little bit further apart, you know?
Bailey Bouwman 08:44
Yeah. And then the quality textile. No wonder why no, I’m understanding why Katie sent me your way. Candy has a beautiful taste for textiles. She also sent life my way. So seeing these stories out of custom milling, a bamboo hemp land that was that a lot of trial and error. It was too bad.
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 09:09
My new wool blend that’s coming out. You’re probably by the time that by the time you have by the time this airs hopefully it will be in production by then. And this one has taken me over a year of development to get to this. It’s a 86 I gotta remember the numbers here 86 Bamboo 986 Bamboo, my percent Merino wool and then 5% spandex. And as a three a 340 GSM and it dies amazing HEre is Like,
Bailey Bouwman 10:01
it is beautiful is that one layer?
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 10:03
Bailey Bouwman 10:06
I know people that were listening to a podcast, but I’m like, always, um, I need to learn more about textiles, because I’m learning chatting with Stephanie inside of life and chatting with Dawn is there’s so much absorbency power in wool that we haven’t been using, or we haven’t been taking advantage of as an industry. So to see, I cannot wait, maybe. Yeah, this one was, like I said, it’s taken me almost a year of development, like finding a mill that even made wool.
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 10:41
And then writing them the communicating, telling them what I wanted sending them a sample of something close to it, but I don’t really, you know, like, this is the make that, so they deconstructed it, and then said, Yes, we can make it. They had to import the wool, and the bamboo to make the yarn specifically for me. I mean, it was a huge ordeal. And so they made the yarn specifically and then made me samples I got like, 20 meters sent to me that I could like, you know, test. And then I sent that out, Katie has a sample of it. And I’ve sent it out to some other testers. I’ve made some overnight fitteds with it, but has two layers of that wall with a 500 GSM bamboo hemp fleece in the middle, and then a pedal soakers that have those same layers with a little booster has now been and the testing so far has been phenomenal. I mean, like
Bailey Bouwman 11:55
what about like wash and dry?
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 11:57
And like heavy products sounds like Right, like it’s just we’ve Yeah, nobody seems to be saying it takes massive amount to dry. It is easy care. It’s washing hot dry on hot, you don’t have to baby it like you do normally, you know, with a wool product. I am absolutely over the moon with how well they did with making less for me.
Bailey Bouwman 12:25
I guess it’s like, it speaks to another level of this industry that we a lot as a gamer don’t even aren’t even aware of is the amount of work that goes into sourcing of a very raw materials or, and a lot of times you guys were custom making it. I’m gonna hear you work at homeMom making it is that is a huge project. Wow. I know, bigger brands that custom make their own textiles to the brand to their insert. Wow. So it’s beautiful. I cannot wait. I will have to watch the stock or you’re talking I was
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 13:02
I’ve been waiting and waiting with the all the supply chain issues right now. It’s stuck. So it finally left China. It’s been in Seattle because I live in Oregon on the coast. So it’s been in Seattle and Portland area for like a couple of weeks now. It’s off the boat finally. Oh, like I’m still waiting from the call from the trucking to say, hey, it’s on its way. So I think I’m probably gonna cry happy shares when actually shows up? Because like I said, it’s been a year of, you know, development, you know?
Bailey Bouwman 13:43
Yeah, supply chain right now is huge. All of those everywhere
Bailey Bouwman 13:48
do we’re talking about overnight fitteddiaper. But what I saw on your website is that you, you make an E, you got an E flat? What is an E flat? Why is why is that part of what you do? It looks the E flat to me looks like you’ve taken you’ve modified a juicebox to be better.
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 14:06
Um, I had a juicebox I used to carry the disc box, and it just wasn’t absorbed and people were like, No, I was, I was just like, this isn’t gonna work. And so I had some friends, you know, little cloth diapering and I kind of bounce some ideas off of them. And I also then again, because I’m one of those researcher type people. So I just started looking at you know, all the different preflat ideasand looked at different patterns and read what other people in comments would say and all the cloth diaper groups. I had some moms that I talked to.
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 14:49
The main thing was they wanted to absorb it but they also wanted it to dry quickly because once you start adding layers and layers and layers, they don’t like to Dry, no. And so, the E flat I sat one afternoon and just started drying. And I kind of like extended a pre flat or it’s wider. So then as you fold it in, you’ll get those layers but it’ll dry easy because it’s only two layers of fabric, but you can fold it in to customize it. And you’ve got a little bit of a longer waist tab as well like yeah, you can think J Jacqueline from Jays nest for that one because she was one of the people that helped me design it when she likes to tuck her wings. And so she wanted those wing tabs to be a little bit longer so she could tuck them and satin and so I don’t have to rely on a snappy or pins or that she was a she liked the Tucker’s so
Bailey Bouwman 15:58
I don’t like having to I don’t like having to find a snappy and i i find that anything with prongues even though brands will say they’re gentle I find they’re not.
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 16:07
Bailey Bouwman 16:08
but eventually you still get a hole and
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 16:10
yeah, yeah so um so that’s where the E flat came from was I extended the weight you know the the waist swings and then extended the middle part. And then my testers started playing with it there are amazingly so many different polls on that E flat like they found folds, I didn’t even think to try because I use flats every day. So they were used to do and all these different polls. And in my chat group, there’s you know, some of my girls have helped like make videos and showing how you can customize it to put it in the you know, absorbency in the front for front letters in the middle for middle letters and and everything in between. I was absolutely amazed when they started showing me videos of what they’re doing. I’m like oh, I didn’t even know get all that
Bailey Bouwman 17:05
I collect a lot of really great products but I don’t have babies and diapers either. And so I I mean I use it I think I need to but but if I was using it every day you definitely would get really savvy you
Bailey Bouwman 17:16
before we started you mentioned that you had foster to adopt some new babies in your life but did you get to cloth diaper them to get to use your products with them?
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 17:24
I did actually when my youngest was a baby we got him when he was five months old about he was probably about a year old probably when I started actually working on the E flat pattern and stuff so he didn’t get to work very long. But I did get to try it on him and then my daughter was two so she was almost potty trained so I didn’t get to use them on her but he did he got to use the he probably got to use probably the first D flat before sir going out the the testers and whatnot. So he didn’t get to use it. Um
Bailey Bouwman 18:07
Have you had any big challenges during this career that you like feel like you really want and overcome and make you feel excited.
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 18:15
Um, I think mine was I think my biggest one was being able to finally be able to get my own fabrics milled to set myself apart. Like that’s my biggest thing I’m the most proud of is that I was able to do that because the the minimum orders for those is is huge. Like you can just order 20 yards of something or even 50 yards of something you’re in. So do you have a separate building for that that you’re going to um yeah, we have a big shop and we saw it in there but it’s it’s been amazing to go from barely being able to afford to buy a 10 yard piece of fabric to then when I got the 50 yard it was like oh wow look at this huge roll of fabric to having to buy a trailer driving for hours to go to the port to pick it up to bring it home.
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 19:16
Like I think that’s my biggest thing is I’m most proud of is the fact that I’ve been able to grow to that level and be able to offer another offer them at a at a reasonable price. You know because I’m buying it in bulk I’m able to get it at a good price to be able to keep my prices down. So then more people can afford it.
Bailey Bouwman 19:40
And yeah, I had the pleasure of visiting Heather at Lilly & Frank little workshop in her house. And are you guys listening you the size of a bolt that work at home moms are bringing in when you’re producing at a scale is massive. I I was blown away by how large or wide they were just filled up for her garage back with someone her order comes in. But these mill fleeces, his milled cottons, they just there’s a lot of fabric. I never I’ve never seen a bolt that big. It’s nothing like you see it fabric land, their math. Just like yeah, you talked about purchasing a trailer to bring them in. Yeah, they’re the kind of fabric that the UPS man is not a huge fan of.
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 20:29
Yeah, I’m sure when they show up with cuz I had this one just shipped to my house, the wolves just coming straight to my house. And I’m sure the delivery guy is not going to be very happy on a pallet, right like this. I’m hoping but we’ll have to see. But I mean, I do all of mine. I took over our dining room and our house and that is my that’s where I work, you know, and then the fabrics are out. Yeah, I mean, I have this tiny little area that I work in. And yeah, I’m the only one I do all of it myself. I do all the sewing. I do all the diet. Well. My husband helps me with the dyeing. And so we’re we’ve got a system down there. And and then I’m the one that does all the cutting all the sewing all the they’re all one man operation here.
Bailey Bouwman 21:26
You are just been bringing in this beautiful new blend. Do you milling your own bamboo as well? What is like where do you want Nicki’s Knickers to go in the next five years? What’s your dream? Do you have one?
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 21:37
Yes, we have a plan. We might be moving 3000 miles across the country to a town come on. Don’t leave me on the way to a little town in Kentucky. And I am hoping to build this into my dream is to hire people who are kinda in the same situation. I’ve been in my life where you’re a single stay at home mom, you’ve got kids, you’re trying to find a job. Nobody wants to hire you because you have kids and they know that you’re gonna miss work. And that also not being able to find daycare for your children. My daughter been home from school for eight days now. Yes. Yeah, that was a bit hard. Yeah. So my dream is to have Nicki’s Knickers open up and have its own daycare facility attached to the job that is part of your word,
Bailey Bouwman 22:40
Look at youdream big. I do.
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 22:42
I think I can
Bailey Bouwman 22:43
I love this big dream.
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 22:46
it’s accomplishable especially where we’re going. And one of my reps has become a really good friend of mine. She lives there. She’s connected with some of the community members there. So we’re gonna make this go. And we also want to have a diaper bank available, but then take it one step further. Because a lot of people who get caught diapers from the banks or a lot, here you go, here’s this big box of diapers. And some don’t have access to laundry facilities. Or even if they do, they’re going to make a choice between whether or not they can buy that milk or that bread, or go to the laundry mat and pay to wash their diapers. So we want to take it one step further and actually have a diaper service attached to that. So here’s your diapers and then
Bailey Bouwman 23:38
oh, you know, I got people to connect with I don’t know if you know people but I have a few people who have these dreams do
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 23:46
so but yeah, so we’re gonna make a route and make it available like once a week pick up your diapers, you get enough you get more diapers and that’s it kind of thing.
Bailey Bouwman 23:58
That is a beautiful dream. It was a huge on such an important one. Do you have do family if you think about moving up as your kids although base Morgan, would you do it?
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 24:08
Yeah. So my older kids are all very much grown and out of the house. I have one in Alaska. I have one that lives in Portland, Oregon. But she travels all over. She just got back from Belize. All their baby my son he has two children of his own. He has he’s doing amazing. So they’re grown they’re on their own. You know, there’s plane tickets I can send them to come visit you know?
Bailey Bouwman 24:37
Yeah, I mean, yeah. Know where people are at with their relationships with their family. It sounds like it would be so incredible. And I put you in this beginning and I was with all my might, but we can get you there and I cannot wait to follow up with you in five years.
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 24:55
I think we can do it. I really do. I have some other people they’re willing to help me so we can get all all our, you know, T’s crossed and I’s dotted and, you know, it might start in a little town in Kentucky, but I think it’ll go a little further than that. Y
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 25:13
- Um, what I love most about these dreams is that I hope that somebody else listening feels inspired and replicated wherever they are, because we can never have too many daycare based businesses or too many sewers and I know that you are getting to run out to go to the playground with your children who think oh goodness, mom is doing something that I cannot possibly wait any longer work or we find you Nikki or we learn about you. We’re going to buy your products to support your vision and
Nicki from Nicki’s Knickers 25:43
you can find me at www.nickisknickers.com, which is my website. We also have Instagram, which is @Nikki’sknickers1222 We also have Nikki’s knickers chat in on Facebook,
Bailey Bouwman 26:02
we will have to circle back and chat with Nikki in a couple of years about where she’s gone. What has happened and this adventure that she is planning. I can’t wait to try out her wool blends and I look forward to being able to or actually by the time the show has come out. I should have ordered it already. That was Nicki’s knickers. She’s a cottage industry. I work at home mom maker for the E flat cloth diaper. Next week we are going to be talking to Tamika at potty Smadi so if you are curious about that potty learning process, that is going to be the episode for you. Until next time, I’ll see you online Be sure to find the cloth diaper podcast wherever you want. Where on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
Professional Cloth Diaper Educator
Bailey brings 5+ years of cloth diapering experience and conversation to the cloth diaper space. She's not just your every day mom blogger sharing her experience - Bailey is immersed in the cloth diaper community learning from other parents and growing as an individual. She wants to find the cloth diaper solution that truly works for you.
Bailey believes we need to stop and listen to cloth diapering parents. We need to recognize our own bias and preferences and focus on solutions that work for you, not us. The Cloth Diaper community needs to recognize the privilege of being able to cloth diaper, and provide spaces for more conversations and stories.
Cloth diapering is not about rules but about our own strength as parents to do the best we can for our children with the resources available.
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About the Cloth Diaper Podcast
The Cloth Diaper Podcast is a regular podcast sharing stories from cloth diaper parents, brands and retailers from around the world.
The Cloth Diaper Podcast is not affiliated with any school of thought of diaper laundry but instead focus on the power of peer-to-peer story telling to empower you to make your own cloth diaper journey.
Cloth Diapering is not this or that, but rather many different experiences.
Cloth Diaper Podcast is located in Northern BC, Canada on the traditional territories of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nations. Black Lives Matter. Every Child Matters. & We are strong advocates for radical change as requested by those who experience social injustice. Listen first.
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