I would be sadly remiss (whatever that means) and missing an excellent marketing venue if I didn't take this opportunity to talk about AppleCheeks™ and the whole evolution. I have so much I want to do with this new concept and though all the marketing is super smooth and I'm very happy with the responses, there are some key messages I just don't know how to really get across.
Okay, so first off, what is AppleCheeks™? For those of you who don't already know, AppleCheeks‚ are Amy and my own line of reusable diapers. This is VERY exciting for us because we've been working towards this project for the last few years. We started selling reusable diapers out of my little home showroom almost three years ago, but there is SUCH a difference between selling someone else's product and selling your own. Not only does it make good business sense, but the fact that we can call the shots from start to finish and cultivate this totally unique image is huge for me. It means that the 3.5 years I spent doing my graphic design degree and the ten years I spent in dead end jobs trying to pick up some skills were not for naught!
This diapering system is really the accumulation of all our reusable diapering experience and knowledge. We've come up with one system that will satisfy the largest variety of consumers. It's chic, it's trendy, it's super effective, and most of all, it WORKS. Check out the <a href="http://www.applecheeks.ca/site/en/How_Tutorials.html">video tutorials</a> for more details. I don't really want to talk about the product line itself so much. I want to talk about the concept.
Okay, so despite the fact that green is all the rage these days and people feel they are really becoming more conscious of their consumer habits, somehow the diapering thing just doesn't seem serious enough to factor onto the radar. But to me it's just a hide-your-head-in-the-sand kind of attitude. Let it be someone else's problem, you know? But that's not good enough. I don't think most people actually understand the sheer volume of garbage generated by throwaway diapers.
Oh, let's go back to a key point. Amy likes to point out that nothing is actually disposable in this world. It all has to go somewhere. So we stopped called the diapers you throw out "disposable". They are throwaway diapers. And Amy really got validated on this point when David Suzuki, at his most recent lecture in Montreal, communicated to his audience that "disposable" should be a four letter word to our children.
So under ideal conditions, it should take 250 - 500 years for a throwaway diaper to decompose. That's with full on exposure to the elements. But do you know what happens in landfill conditions, right? Nothing breaks down. There is SO much garbage that it's all compacted under its own weight, and on top of that, no oxygen can circulate. So no exposure to wind, to sun, to rain, and these piles are getting bigger and bigger. Did you know that sociologists do studies of early 20th century society by taking core samples from the landfills? Newspapers from the 20s are still legible and hot dogs are just slightly wrinkly (though that shouldn't shock me because they ARE hot dogs...). How disturbing is that? So those poop-filled diapers you are throwing away and not giving another thought to are going to be around for millenia, corn bits, blueberry skins, intact raisins and all!
But why is it that so many people are so disdainful/fearful/intimidated/whatever by the reusable diapering concept, you ask? Preconceived notions and bad press. Reusable diapers are like computers - you get what you pay for. Get the cheapest generic PC you can find and you open yourself up to viruses, software bugs, whatever. Buy yourself a Mac and you get virus-free, hassle-free surfing in style! Okay, we know where my biases lie :) Bit of a lame comparison but I don't know that much about cars. I guess we'll just sum it up as you get what you pay for.
So enter AppleCheeks. Not only are our diapers super trendy and esthetically-pleasing, but they fit really well and they actually contain poop leaks better than throwaways. And when combined with our super-absorbent inserts, they hold their own on the pee front when compared to those iffy sodium polyacrylate gel beads, also known as Super Absorbent Polymers, or SAPs for short. It's true. And they won't blow your budget either. More on that below.
Reusable diapering is easy. Really, it is. There are no more pins and plastic pants. There is no more gross, poopy, smelly soak water. Our products store really nicely in our waterproof, odour-proof <a href="http://www.applecheeks.ca/site/en/What_Storage_Sacs.html">Storage Sacs</a>. On wash day, all you have to do is invert the Sac and dump your diapers in your washing machine. The whole bag goes in too. Then wash according to our instructions (cold pre-rinse, hot wash, another rinse, and dry) et voila! You're good to go again.
And you don't have to wash every day either. I have enough diapers to last me a full five days and I'm considering going even longer. I spend less time washing my diapers than I do washing our clothes. Not only does this mean that I'm saving myself some valuable time (which I can spend blogging), but it also means I'm consuming SIGNIFICANTLY less water and energy, and I'm doing my diapers a favour by not wearing them so hard. They will be in great shape for baby #3 (Fred, I know you're hyperventilating in the background)!
As for the water argument, that one gets my goat. Guess who funded that 1997 study condemning the excessive consumption of water for home washing? Proctor and Gamble, a pulp and paper company who establishes its factories on RIVERS so it can consume unregulated amounts of water. Yeah. Shut up, you hypocrites.
If you are squeamish about the poop factor, we've got you covered. Before a baby is on solid foods his poop is completely water-soluble, so the machine will wash it all away and there's nothing to deal with. Once he starts eating, you can pick up some flushable liners. Line your diaper with one of these babies and when baby poops, just dump it all in the toilet and flush. By the way, solid waste is meant to go in the municipal sewer system, NOT in the landfills, and this applies whether you use throwaways or reusables.
Okay, lastly - cost. I don't know why people are so shocked at the price of a reusable diapering package. Well, actually, I do know why. They've never actually sat down and calculated how much throwaways for 30 months plus will cost them. So when you've done that (the answer is $2K+) come back and see me. For $800 you can get a full-time, birth-to-training, reusable diapering kit. And not only are you saving over a grand for your first child, but treat them well and that's another $2K saved on the next child. Got your attention now?
A few more points for your consideration:
What would you do if someone told you to stop washing your dishes daily and just use throwaway plates? Look at them like they've grown another arm, most likely, right? So why is the idea of washing diapers rather than throwing them away such a stretch, especially when the machine does all the work? It's not like you actually have to immerse your hands in poopy water or anything...heaven forbid!
Have you considered what you are exposing your baby to when you choose throwaway diapers? Bleaches, and their bi-product, dioxins. Sodium polyacrylate. Plasticizers. That's just the tip of the iceberg thing.
So-called "biodegradable" diapers are the biggest deception of the year. Unless you are actually going to compost them (and it's generally not considered advisable to compost human waste in your home compost, and most municipalities still don't offer municipal composting at this point in time), then all you're doing is wrapping them in plastic bags and throwing them in the landfill, where they will suffer the fate of all the diapers that you would have paid a fraction of the price for. Sure, you feel relieved of a responsibility, but you're buying into the deception and contributing to the problem on the same level. Beware, beware, be a very wary bear.
I'm sure I'll be adding to this as I go, but in the meantime, feedback would be appreciated!