Tag Archives: WAHM

customers? money? no. people, families. [there’s a lot of sex and violence in this whole article, so you should definitely read the whole thing.]

31 Oct

when people ask me about my customers, i can really only say one thing. “i love my customers.”

and this, coming from me, isn’t some kind of bullshit answer that everyone gives everyone. [trust me. ask my friends. i don’t hand out compliments.] i’ve love to take the opportunity to really introduce myself and for you to get to know me. in my own voice, in my own words; my relationships with my customers are why i’m still sticking around here after 8 years.

let me tell you this: you don’t understand. [my husband right now would be giving me so MUCH shit for saying this. because it’s what i ALWAYS say when i think that someone [or he] doesn’t really understand.]

but no. you don’t understand.

you don’t understand. 

when it comes to the cloth-diapering business, a lot of artisans: people who make cloth diapers with their own two hands [buy and cut the fabric, put snaps in, sew them, and sew them again, and put more snaps in, and print shipping labels] and ship them out directly to you: the customer, know their customers. how so? we are often met with these questions:

“can you add an inch or two to the rise?”
“can you add an inch or two to the waist?”
“if i send my own fabric in, can you make me some diapers from that fabric?”

and what is the answer from many of these artisans who work DIRECTLY with their customers? what is the TYPICAL answer that i give my OWN customers?

“YES.”

that is the resounding answer when it comes to essential saltes baby. why? it’s not for the money. it’s definitely not for the fame [as if there was such a thing in this business]. it’s because we know these people. we’ve worked with these mothers and these babies. we know what they like and don’t like. and to me, that’s what custom orders have always meant.

many years ago, when my son was still in cloth, i met a bunch of women who were also cloth-diapering their children. i met work-at-home-moms [WAHMS], i met stay-at-home-moms, i met fathers, mothers, people who worked outside of the home. i met all of these people who wanted to cloth-diaper their children.

in this time, i created bonds with these people.

since my son was in diapers, i traded with those who could knit or crochet wool for my son – meaning: soakers, longies, shorties, etc. i met people who would trade with me just to dye the wool. this was a wonderful new marketplace for someone like me, who could not afford the products otherwise – but to trade with them? it was perfect. i traded my own skill. sewing diapers, cloth diaper covers, wetbags, cloth-menstrual pads, diaper bags – for something i could use on my own child. my best diaper stash came from what i traded with other work-at-home-moms. and event though i could certainly sew my own diapers or cloth-menstural pads, i supported other WAHM businesses – because quite frankly, I WAS SICK OF SEWING FOR MYSELF.

[i got a lot of flak back in the day, if you can believe that, for buying someone else’s cloth pads. but that’s a whole entry altogether. let’s not BITCH about each other, LET’S SUPPORT EACH OTHER INSTEAD OF FLAMING EACH OTHER BECAUSE I’M SICK OF SEWING MY OWN FUCKING CLOTH PADS AND I’M SEWING 10000 CLOTH DIAPERS FOR OTHER PEOPLE, ETC.. – thats the title of the next blog. tell your friends. it’ll be good one. and it involves menses.]

sorry.

SOOO, then there were my customers.

oh, my customers. they would demand so much of me. sometimes i would be really pissed off, at times, depending on how many other orders i had, i may have even told them to go elsewhere. but really, my customers were my joy. and my pride. [the insistent few who pissed me off still had more than a chance of getting what they wanted if they really understood my product.  truly, 99% of those demanding customers still understood how much i was putting into their order.]

i have had customers who have diapered two or three of their babies in esbaby diapers. when these soon-to-be mothers were pregnant, they would email me asking me to make whatever they wanted.

“i want 36 basic diapers,” or “i want 40 all-in-ones,” because they wanted MY brand, MY sewing, and MY expertise. right then and there, i knew what i was doing was GOOD. i knew i was making diapers that worked. i knew that my work wasn’t in vain.

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how can one say “no” to a person who loves your diapers THAT much? and not only that, i recognized those names which would pop up in my email each day. i remembered them. i LOVED them. i remembered their birth stories. they would share something with me they would NEVER share with the outside world, or, so i thought,  with a simple cloth diaper artisan. but they did. the deepest and greatest of stories and secrets. i held them in my mind and in my heart as i made THEIR cloth diapers for THEIR newly-born child. [and sometimes i would be told their conception stories – far more interesting in many ways, but i love them equally – as any mother would. of course.]

regardless, i became their friend. i became their friend, who could sew cloth diapers that not only functioned well, but looked great! i became a person they could TALK to, without judgment.

i am still that person. i’ve taken much-needed time off from my business, but when i returned to it, i found many of my customers waiting for me, with open arms, asking me when i could make their babies’ next newborn stash.

for this i am forever grateful. i started my business in 2005 when my son was born. i did this only to stay home with him, nursing him, and being there for my daughter, who was just then starting kindergarten. i missed so many years with my daughter, while i was going through college and getting my bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations that i did not want to miss so many years with my second child . [and don’t worry. my daughter, Adeline [now 13], and i are very close. she knows how to sew AND has more knowledge about cloth diapers than most new mothers do, due to MY course of life and business i chose. thank you to all of the midwives, doulas and cloth-diapering ladies i have met!]

getting back to my customers:
i’ve had the same customers for years. they love me. they KNOW me. we talk. my email and phone-line is always open to them. ANY of my customers. i invited some of my oldest customers to my wedding! [and some of them actually came! not to mention – one of them even took photos as a GIFT to me!!] where does this happen in any other industry? where do you get to know and love your customers SO much, that you invite them to be a part of one of the most important days of your your life [especially when it doesn’t involve cloth diapers?]

i have NEW customers and NEW mothers that i speak to on a regular basis. they email me with questions. they email me asking if i can make a slight change to this or that regarding a waist or rise setting. they email me asking if i have certain print in stock, because they want to decorate their ENTIRE nursery with it.

i love my customers.

i love my customers because they were ME. they were ME before i really knew what cloth-diapering was. they were me, reaching for something they weren’t quite understanding at the time [and so i made this], and they were ME, because they were having a baby, or had a baby, that they wanted cloth-diapered, and they were ME because they wanted a real, live person to ask.

they had questions and i had answers. they wanted someone to talk to and i would talk to them. they wanted someone who had a heart and a soul they could connect with, and i was, sometimes, the ONLY person they had.

this is what being a artisan is. it’s not JUST about what you sell to your customers. it’s not just selling a cloth diaper.

it’s what you mean to FAMILIES. not only your own family, working as an artisan and earning money, but what you mean to the families you interact with on a daily, monthly, or even, yearly level. it’s love, compassion and caring. it’s listening and DOING. there’s no middle-man.

it’s just YOU and ME.

go ask my customers. i’m sure they would love to step out and say the same: when it comes to an artisan making your diapers, you are allowed questions, comments, clear answers and a quality product. and they would not only step-up for esbaby, but for the many, many other artisan brands they have purchased throughout the years.

i LOVE my customers.

at the very, very end of the day- i know i do and i know they love me.

buy handmade, buy loving and buy proud.

-christine munn
RDIA Artisan Board Representative
[and lucky to have you, my friends.]

p.s. this is something that may be seriously lacking in the cloth-diapering manufacturing industry, as there are many foreign competitors out there with lower prices, but do NOT be afraid to ask your favorite cloth-diaper artisan questions. everyone is different. mothers, fathers, families, artisans [meaning WAHMS, WAHP, etc]: we are all different. but remember that we are all human beings behind the cutting table and sewing machine. we love our customers.

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and yes, i have two children. here they are. i swear i didn’t steal them off the street.

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