It was the savings that drew Yondette into the world of modern cloth nappies, but it was the environmental impact of a throw-away culture that led her to become an active part of the cloth community. For the past two-and-a-half years, Yondette has lived and breathed all things sustainable. Not only has she represented many nappy makers and managed an advocacy platform for supporting eco lifestyles, but she also co-founded a fabric business that supplies nappy making products to many WAHMs across Australia. And, through it all, Yondette says she will treasure forever the connection she has made with new and old friends.
Welcome, Yondette @flossyandme_
Can you tell us a little about yourself, your family, where you live and what you love about where you live?
I am a Kiwi-born ‘mumtrepreneur’ living in the outskirts of Melbourne. I have an amazing husband, a vivacious daughter (Flossy) and two staffies – Fixie and Daisy. We absolutely love living semi-rural, with the best of both country and city life at our fingertips.
Finish this sentence. Life is too short to …
You describe yourself as an eco advocate. What does the term mean to you?
When I became a mum, I became suddenly aware of how important it is to preserve our Earth for our kids, and their kids and so on. I’d been quite oblivious before that point. Now I advocate for the Earth. I have spent most of my ‘free’ time connecting with people online and in my local community about changes they can make in their life to better serve the sustainability of our planet.
What future do you imagine for your daughter?
Oh gosh, at the moment, it’s hard to picture what the future will look like if more change doesn’t happen. I hope she lives in a world where things are fixed instead of thrown away, reusable options are the preference and there is equality for all.
Until your recent decision to focus more on you and your family, you have been very involved in the modern cloth nappy world in Australia – as a brand enthusiast, a business owner and an advocate via the All Things Cloth Facebook group and page. Tell us, why the love for modern cloth nappies?
At first it was the savings. Knowing I’d spend at least 50% less if we used cloth nappies was a massive selling point. As I mentioned before, I was a bit oblivious at this time to the environmental impacts of our throw-away culture. But as I looked into it more, the statistics appalled me. I became an active part of the cloth community and spent a fair bit of time researching and buying nappies while I was pregnant. I then struggled a lot with leaks and wash routine and was determined to make it work. As I tried new brands and insert combinations, and found solutions, I shared them with others in the community and suddenly I was being messaged every day being asked for advice. I was approached by brands to test their nappies and become a brand rep/enthusiast for various brands. I love helping people, I love connecting with people, and I love helping small businesses grow. When I can do all of these about something I have become so passionate about – I think that’s pretty amazing!
For those unfamiliar with the term, can you describe what it is to be a brand enthusiast. What have you always loved most about being a brand enthusiast?
A brand enthusiast is someone who loves a particular brand and receives a free product or small discount when they purchase from that brand in return for photos and social media content.
I only work with brands I already love and purchase from, so any perks are just a bonus. I really love promoting small businesses and helping them grow.
Can you tell us more about Clover & Co Fabrics? How did you get started and what’s the best part about running your own business?
Clover & Co Fabrics is a business I started with one of my best friends to provide unique printed fabrics to small businesses and hobby sewers. It was born out of our inability to find prints we truly loved, and our first customers were all nappy maker friends! I absolutely love being about to bring my visions to life and not have my creativity squashed by the corporate world. I love the ability to have no commute and manage my own hours (though I work more hours now than I did when I worked for others, haha).
Can you tell us something about modern cloth nappy fabrics that most readers wouldn’t know?
PUL is only water resistant – not waterproof. It has tiny little holes in the laminate to allow it to retain water but also be breathable!
What was the impetus for starting and the ultimate goal for the community of All Things Cloth?
There are many nappy groups, a few cloth pad groups, but not that many general groups where people can discuss all things cloth, ‘eco’ and sustainability. We would post in groups and have things deleted because they weren’t nappy related, so we started All Things Cloth to provide a forum for people to ask open questions about anything cloth/sustainability related. The ultimate goal was to have a great interactive resource. We have done a couple of YouTube videos and we planned to expand on these; however, unfortunatley life has gotten in the way. It’s not about numbers for us, we didn’t get paid to run the pages, it was all about providing a safe space full of useful information.
What has been your favourite memory of being involved in the MCN world to date?
A specific memory would be when a nappy brand owner flew to Melbourne to meet with me. It was so amazing to connect with them, have a meal, chat about the brand and the future of the brand, have a wine or two and get to know them on another level. In general though, honestly I have made some amazing lifelong friends and connected with old friends through cloth nappies and this is something I will forever cherish.
What is your favourite cloth nappy accessory and why?
Wetbags! They’re SO versatile! They basically replace plastic bags for us. We don’t just use them for clean/dirty nappies. We use them to organise suitcases when travelling, store shoes, store wipes/bibs/smocks, hold toys, snacks, books. The options are endless!
If you could make one eco recommendation outside of MCNs, what would it be and why?
Cloth wipes! Disposable wipes have so many chemicals in them and the thought of that against our babies’ skin is no good. Cloth wipes are SO easy – you only need water. And then just throw in a hot wash. They can be used for anything – hands, faces, bums, even as hankies!
You are obviously a wealth of knowledge when it comes to using cloth nappies, so let’s delve into some of the common concerns that come with using them.
What’s your best advice with regards to washing? How can we fit cloth nappies into our life?
It is super easy once you find a routine that works for you. I have everything ready to go and in easy reach, and just make it part of my pre-existing routine (I put them on to wash while I’m making my morning coffee). Don’t wash too hot or cold and fill the machine appropriately. These are the two biggest mistakes people make. Then when you have a big load ready to fold, chuck your favourite show on TV or some upbeat music and you will have them folded in no time! I also think having a few extra helps here because there is less pressure to have them all ready to go as fast as possible.
Do you have to use cloth wipes too?
You certainly don’t have to, but I personally find it easier because I don’t need to find a bin for the disposable wipe, when I’m just rolling the cloth nappy into a wetbag or dropping it in the dry pail.
What can be done about the bulk of cloth nappies? How do you find clothes to fit?
We haven’t had too much trouble with this. Modern cloth nappies are pretty trim-fitting these days, and there are many options for harem-style pants as well – I prefer handmade, but Big W and Best & Less have lots of great options, too.
Many parents struggle to get the right fit when they begin using cloth nappies. What advice and resources can you share for learning how to get the right fit?
You can absolutely always ask in the VIP group for the nappy brand. If they don’t have one, flick them an email. Every baby has different proportions, and this can make it tricky if you are inexperienced, but once you nail it – you wonder why you ever found it hard. I shudder to look at my first nappy fits! There are a number of infographics around which are a great reference!
Cloth nappy forums are filled with stories of families who keep getting leaks with cloth nappies. How can parents avoid leaks?
Use inserts that are suitable for your baby, and seek fit help. Often leaks occur where there is insufficient absorption (microfibre by itself is a big contributor to this) or where the nappy isn’t quite fitted right. A big one is pushing any elastics into the crotch line like underwear. This will help make a nice seal to keep in any surprises.
There’s a large upfront cost to get started with cloth nappies. How can families minimise cost?
We started buying slowly when I was pregnant, there are also many brands who do bulk packs or trial packs with great discounts. There is an active secondhand market, and also cloth nappy libraries around where you can borrow brands until you find what you love the most.
How can you find a cloth nappy or brand that is going to be best for your needs?
Lots of people try to find the right brand when they’re pregnant but this is incredibly difficult because your baby isn’t here yet and you don’t have a baby to test them on. So it’s great to get a few trial packs for when bub arrives. Ultimately, most nappies available in the Australian market are great nappies – it comes down to personal preference!
How do you stop buying more nappies when you discover all the amazing prints on offer?
When you figure it out let me know! Haha! Now my daughter is almost 3, so I’ve started stocking up on cute kids underwear instead, haha!
To finish, give us your all-time best tip when it comes to using cloth nappies.
Ask for help! If it’s not working for you, ask for help rather than pulling your hair out! There are so many resources available and many people (like myself) who are always willing to help troubleshoot for you.
I’m also wondering, what do you love to do when you’re not living and breathing cloth nappies?
I run Clover & Co, I love to cook and have a few sips with my friends and mostly I absolutely love to travel (crying face).
Please also share any other final words of advice you feel would be of benefit to the readers of Make Laundry Not Landfill.
Even just starting with one or two nappies a day, or just at home, every little bit counts. It saves you money, saves your rubbish bin and works towards a more sustainable future for our kids.
Number of bums in cloth. One.
Time in cloth. Almost 3 years.
Number of nappies. Way too many. Probably around 80.
Full or part time. Full time.
Nappy style. AI2.
Stuff or snap. Snap at home, stuff for daycare.
Pre-stuff or lay as you go. Pre-stuff.
Line or tumble dry. Line dry.
Favourite cloth related product. Nappies & menstrual cloth.
Your cloth journey in one word. Life-changing.