- Nov 18, 2013
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Recently, we had an opportunity to interview Betsy Thomas from Bummis in Montreal. Bummis has made cloth diapers for the past 25 years according to their unwavering vision: "to make high-quality, affordable and easy-to-use cloth diapers, and to educate and infuse parents with our passion for them." They also have a retail store serving their local Montreal community. Bummis donated $500 of cloth diaper products to the School of Cloth event, much of which will be donated to charities who distribute cloth diapers to low-income families.
RDA: How would you describe your business and its place in your community?
BT: Bummis was the first attachment parenting store in Montreal – before anyone really knew what an attachment parenting store was! We run it as if our clients are invited guests in our home. It’s a lovely, comfortable space where new and expectant parents come to learn in a completely non-pressured environment about our big 3; cloth diapers, babywearing and breastfeeding. We sell really fantastic products and the staff is extremely knowledgeable about them. We don’t practice hard selling – we just try to help people to make the best choice for them. We provide lots of information and resources in a very non-judgmental atmosphere, but we are passionate advocates of attachment parenting.
RDA: How important a task is cloth diaper education to your business?
BT: It is probably the MOST important thing we do in our business. We sell more cloth diapers than anything else in our store, and so we try to ensure that people are well prepared and will be successful at using and washing them.
RDA: Do you have a favorite memory about a class or family that you taught?
BT: I was hanging out in the store one day eavesdropping as one of my employees was teaching a lovely young couple (very pregnant) about cloth diapers. The dad was asking very precise and perceptive questions about storage and washing, and had some great and novel ideas about how to organize a cloth diaper changing station. I was pretty fascinated and finally jumped into the conversation. I said it sounded like an engineer approaching cloth diapering – and he laughed and said he was an engineer, but was currently playing music instead for a living. So I commiserated a bit with them both about combining a family with a career in music, as my husband is a musician and it wasn’t easy when my kids were growing up – late nights, travelling, the uncertainty, etc… We had a fun conversation and then I went upstairs to my office. After they left my staff called me and said they realized that I hadn’t known who I was talking to….and that it was actually 2 members of Arcade Fire (Montreal’s own, by the way!). I was SO embarrassed – haven’t gotten over it yet.
RDA: What's your favorite piece of advice to give NEW parents about cloth diapering?
BT: Take some time to get accustomed to your new diapering system, and don’t be afraid to play around with the folding and fastening, etc. If you are starting out with a newborn, put them into newborn sized cloth diapers right from the start, as you will find they fit well and are VERY easy to use. Also cloth diapers are healthy and comfortable for fragile newborn skin. If you are making the switch to cloth diapers from disposable diapers, you may experience a period of adjustment at first. Some families find that when making this switch, mixing your cloth diapering system with disposables in the beginning (for outings or overnight) can make this transition easier. Go ahead – don’t fret about it! Take the time you need to wrap your head around this change. Most parents find that using and washing cloth diapers is way easier than they thought it would be, and quickly become avid full time users.