Green Diaper Babies — Helping Babies and the Environment One Diaper at a Time

At Ground Floor Partners, we have a passion for helping small businesses that benefit their local communities and the planet. We interviewed local business owner Shannon Griffith, owner of Green Diaper Babies about the growth of her businesses and how sustainability not only helps the earth but also the neighborhoods it serves.

 Hi Shannon, tell us about Green Diaper Babies and the benefits it provides your clients?

Green Diaper Babies is Chicago’s premier cloth diaper delivery service. We bring clean cloth diapers to the doors of families in Chicagoland weekly in a professional, personal, and reliable manner.  Our services allow families the option to have an eco-friendly alternative to disposable diapers without the dirty work!  We take care of all the inventory, sizing, supply, laundry, folding and delivery.  Families can have the safest and softest diaper for their child’s skin without the time, stress, and challenge of washing diapers at home.

What motivated you to start your business? What was that moment you decided to pull the trigger?

Green Diaper Babies started as an idea in 2012 between the founding partners and was motivated out of a desire to bring the service into the niche market of Chicago where we saw a high need.  In the summer of 2013, we pulled the trigger to start the adventure when I was able to take on the business full time starting from the ground. We found that immediately there was traction and interest and haven’t looked back since day one!

Sustainability seems to big the big buzzword now for marketing but can you tell us about how it benefits your business and not just the environment?

Sustainability is more than environmental awareness and good choices, though those do matter!  At Green Diaper Babies, we see sustainable efforts from employment, to shopping and supporting local, to diaper diversion. Reusing cotton diapers is just the beginning; multiple families utilize a cloth diaper, that diaper then is resold as a rag to a maid service or body shop (to polish cars and equipment), and then finally shredded or repurposed into biodegradable cotton waste.  Through all of the paths of this diaper, jobs are created, families have limited their waste, and Chicago businesses have thrived.  This is something we love to be a part of!

What were some of your biggest challenges starting your business?

Starting anything from scratch is hard, so from day one we were figuring everything out on our own. We had some costly diaper mistakes early on as we were finding our best washing routine and diaper supply.  Some of the best help was working with, visiting, and calling colleagues across the country to talk diaper service, management, operation, flow and more.  The diaper service owner community is strong in America! 🙂

What are some of your biggest challenges now?

Now, years later as our foundation has been built, our hardest challenge is the growth of new customers. We have a great referral and return rate as well as a very high customer retention rate but potty training outpaces the new client retention rate.

What advice would you give yourself if you were just starting out again?

It’s worth it and the effort is valuable. Lean into the finances early on and allow more choices to be made in light of the bottom line.  Spend more money and time on marketing and spreading the word everywhere!  Temporary solutions are okay, but fighting for the long term, though hard, is more valuable.  You’ll do a great job, even when you don’t know what you are doing, or don’t think you are.

What’s your vision for Green Diaper Babies?

I want Green Diaper Babies to continue to supply diapers to families all across Chicagoland making cloth diapering mainstream, easy, and a reliable way to make a better more sustainable choice for the environment.  I hope to save a million diapers or more from landfills in the next two years through Green Diaper Babies!  We hope to provide consistent and friendly service for all families in Chicagoland.   We’re doing our part to build a community and benefit the environment, one cloth diaper at a time.

Green Diaper Babies is located in Chicago. The business website is www.greendiaperbabies.com  Their phone number is: 773-DIAPERS

About Andrew Clarke

Andrew Clarke is President of Ground Floor Partners. Over the past twenty years he has advised hundreds of small businesses on strategy, marketing, real estate and finance. He is passionate about small business, social and environmental justice, and is a proud member of the American Sustainable Business Council, Food and Water Watch, Green America, Food Consultants Group, and the American Planning Association.

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