This week, DiaperPin.com celebrated 12 years of providing cloth diaper information, tips and product reviews to cloth diapering families. The Diaper Pin blog and “The Pin” forum accompany the product reviews and directory to form a 1-stop resource.
In honor of Diaper Pin’s 12th “Birthday,” I asked creator Jen to chat with me about the site and her cloth diaper experience.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your family?
I’ve been married to my college sweetheart, Mike for 20 years. As a family we play hard as well as work hard. Mike coaches our son’s soccer team. I’m training for my second triathlon in June. Our son, Bill splits his time wrestling and playing soccer. Our daughter, Reba competes in gymnastics and swim. Of course we love our down time too and enjoy family time with just the 4 of us and with extended family as much as we can.
How did Diaper Pin start? What inspired you to create it?
Shortly after my son was born I started cloth diapering and was overwhelmed with how scattered the information was. I was compiling information from various responses on parenting forums to where and what to buy, how to wash etc. At the same time I was working at as a full time computer developer and was itching to move on to web development. I decided to marry these to two passions and created Diaper Pin. I wanted to provide a single place to get all the information I needed when I started out.
I was able to automate the directory, product reviews and the diaper calculator. Amazon.com was my inspiration for a lot of the features I added to the site. I have enjoyed customizing the site to make it easier to provide the information to parents.
How many children have you cloth diapered? How did you decide to cloth diaper? What was your very first cloth diaper?
I decided to try cloth diapering after spending time at a parenting forum where other moms talked about it. What really made my decision was discovering fitted cloth diapers – velcro and no pins? Way better than pins and flats! — I admit I did end up embracing pre-folds and pins eventually.
Both of my children were cloth diapered (They are teenagers now – not sure when that happened!) I discovered cloth around the time my son turned one. Two years later when my daughter was born I had a whole cloth diaper stash ready for her.
My first diaper – wow – They were MotherEase Sandys. I also had a lot of Zippidys and mama made Sweet Peas but both are long gone now. My favorite diapers were Hemparoos made by BabyKicks founder, Krista Mikulksi.
Do you remember the first store or business to be listed in the directory or advertise on Diaper Pin?
The Baby Lane was the first business in the directory – It was also the first business I purchased from. Just in case you are interested Green Mountain Diapers is our oldest current directory member. They have been a member since December 2000.
What Diaper Pin accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’m proud of the site as a whole but I’m most proud of our forums… It is a terrific place where mamas can share their passion for cloth diapers, attachment parenting, home schooling, green living and so much more. Many members stay on long after the cloth diapering stage because of the friendships made there. I have learned so much at the forums and it’s helped shaped my parenting and living style.
I can’t take full credit for the forums – I have terrific moderators that help keep the forums a warm and supportive environment.
What is the best piece of cloth diaper advice you have heard or can offer?
My advice is just to start cloth diapering. Start small and find a system that works for you. AIOs, AI2s, pockets, pre-folds or flats…There are so many fun choices. If you’re afraid of dealing with the dirty diaper – get flushable liners. Keep disposables as a back up and don’t kick yourself for using them as an alternative. Just start – I’ll bet you get hooked.
Do you feel you’ve had to change to keep up with the industry?
Definitely! I have been fortunate to watch the cloth diaper business evolve and mature. I used to see businesses come and go in a matter of months but I’ve also witnessed many grow from home based businesses to large manufacturers with multiple locations. I’m proud to have been here to support them.
As for me – I’ve learned that the cloth diaper world, while large, is still an intimate community. I tend to be very formal and a bit aloof in my business dealings but am learning to be more personal in my communications. It’s been an adjustment but I have enjoyed getting to know the amazing businesswomen (and men) in this industry.
Maria- as you know, our business is about information, marketing and promotion. Social media and blogging has changed the business dramatically. Advertising is not what it used to be. You no longer just create a banner and put it up on a site and wait for your customers to come. You need to put yourself out there and let your customers and readers get to know you. Fortunately I love this aspect of the business. I enjoy understanding what promotions work and evolving as trends change.
Our influence as information resources and leveraging social media is a huge reason we have been able to see more maturity in the cloth diapering manufacturing world. It is amazing to be in this place right now.
Are you surprised by how much cloth diapers have changed over the past 12 years since you started Diaper Pin?
Oh yes – I’m a bit jealous too! Pocket diapers were just invented at the end of my cloth diapering years. AI2s did not exist yet. I never owned a diaper sprayer. I love the new natural fabrics that are used today! It is cool to see the features of new cloth diapers today.
What would you like to see happen in the industry in the next 5 years?
I want to see more cloth diapers on the shelves in major stores. I want parents to realize that cloth diapers should be first choice and sposies should be the rarely used alternative.
What are Diaper Pin’s Plans for the future?
Diaper Pin has exceeded my expectations. I never expected it to be around this long or to be as popular as it is. My more immediate plans are a site redesign, build up our new blog and host more giveaways.
For the long term I want to expand the business outside of cloth diapers but at the same time weave Diaper Pin into it – so we can continue to broaden the cloth diaper influence into the mainstream world.
Thanks to Jen for allowing me to “interview” her in honor of Diaper Pin’s 12th “Birthday!” Here’s to many more years of success for Diaper Pin!
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