Fuzbaby is about Smallering, and we want you to smaller, too. Fuzbaby is a family business. We are the diaper artist, Lori, and the diaper scientist, Marc. We have children. We wanted beautiful diapers for them that would make us smile. We wanted natural diapers and clothing that we did not find elsewhere.
We are focused on home and family like you are: home business, home birth, homeschool. DIY is keeping life sustainable, which is why we encourage others to Make Your Own Everything.
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Making the Mundane Astonishingly Beautiful
The Fuzbaby idea started when an artist’s academic burnout met a baby on the way and the whim to make something colorful and completely ridiculous. While finishing my Ph.D., I was very tired of think-work day after day. I had been in school so long that I missed working with my hands, and I missed color. I had made diapers for my first child, and in 1999 I was in the process of making diapers for my second child, soon to be born. The ideas came together, and I decided to make the most colorful diapers I could imagine. Still, this is how Fuzbaby makes the mundane astonishingly beautiful.
After extensive testing and planning and all of the other prep steps I love so much, Fuzbaby has been selling wool diaper covers and fitted cloth diapers locally since 2000, with the website following soon after. We offered tailored wool covers and our own fitted diaper, then developed a wool snap-in contour diaper set, the Almost-in-One. Later we added more theme diapers, like the Diaper Garden and Elemental Diapers, which echo the colors of our former favorites, the recycled Refuz. Color, color, color. Fuzbaby is color. Fuzbaby is one of the longest running diaper manufacturing businesses still owned and operated by the founder--with the invaluable help of husband Marc.
Fuzbaby is sister company to Firefly Diapers, where we make Quick Dry organic cloth diapers and Easy Wool diaper covers. Read our organic cloth diaper blog at Firefly Diapers for sustainability resources and organic substance.
The Diaper Underground
As the owner of Fuzbaby, I was involved extensively in the diapermaking class of 2000, always encouraging colleagues to value their time and expertise, to increase their business knowledge and professionalism, and to maintain communities of their peers. I coined "The Diaper Underground," a phrase now commonly used. In diaper years, my 13 years in the Underground come out to about six and a half diaper generations (two years and a child is out of diapers). Some of my answers for my colleagues became articles and frequently asked questions.
I encouraged diaper manufacturers and diapering parents to use the energy of the community to come together. After several years of planning, I joined with others to found the Real Diaper Association, organizing advocates and activists for cloth diapering. Fuzbaby continues to be a member of the community of natural family businesses, including the Handmade Toy Alliance and Real Diaper Industry Association.
Through the time that I have been involved with women starting and running their small businesses, I have occasionally been asked for help. When asked for guidance in writing a small business plan, I wrote "The Work-at-Home Parent's Business Plan 101." Over several years, people came to me to request help in planning and selling businesses, as well as writing for their web sites. In 2005 I formalized this as Very Write, in which I specialize in web content development. Very Write started out as part of Very Solutions, three work-at-home mothers who applied our web experience gained in the cloth diapering community to provide web design, web hosting, ecommerce, and search engine optimization. As I left the Verys behind me, my writing and business optimization moved to 3Stream. Now, in 2012, I am still very busy writing and helping other businesses, focusing especially on helping businesses in my own industry sell more natural baby products.
We Practice Smallering
Fuzbaby is a family-sustaining business. We have had many opportunities to grow into mass production and distribution. Though we have carefully considered these possibilities, we decided we like the sustainable level we have reached. We practice Smallering.
What is Smallering? Using sustainable materials, making shorter chains between producers of natural resources and end-users, paying fair wages, making local connections, advocating responsible consumption, including children in the process, and more. We encourage all of this in the context of natural living. In the midst of this attitude of sustainability, Smallering means growing a business only as much as you want to grow it. Very small, or a bit bigger—but only a size that suits you. Smallering is running your business rather than letting it run you.
We run our business because we like it. When we stop liking it, we will stop doing it.
I created the idea of Smallering after reading what has become our favorite business book: The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss. People like to say The Lorax is about pollution, but that is only the symptom. This book is about biggering, Biggering, BIGGERING. It's about Capitalism. Pollution, environmental degradation, and displacement of indigenous residents are only a few of the effects of biggering in this classic children's book.
Read the original 2000 article, "Smallering: A New Business Model."
You Can Smaller, Too
Go Deep and Wide to Seek Sustainability
For information on the structure of corporations and the blind irresponsibility of growth, see Jerry Mander, In Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations (Sierra Club Books, 1992) or The Case Against the Global Economy (Sierra Club Books, 1997). I am not going to send you to my bookstores for these. The man wrote his books on a manual typewriter. If you are intrigued enough to look up the book, you should do it face-to-face and locally at an independent bookstore.
If you are concerned about the environment, would you consider Deep Ecology? The Foundation for Deep Ecology supports the idea that, "The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in. These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes." Seuss translation: whether or not Truffula trees can be used to make Thneeds, Truffula trees have intrinsic value.
If you are interested in the inevitably deep connections between cultural and environmental diversity, you might find a home with Bioneers. They provide books, radio programming, and gatherings. Listen to them on their radio series Revolution from the Heart of Nature.
Other Things I Do