Has Covid-19 got you sitting in isolation dreaming of a holiday? Well, Nappy Leaks has got your back! Not only will Vashti and Vicki take you to the UK from the comfort of your home, but it’s a mini-break all about nappies! Chatting to Wendy Richards from The Nappy Lady UK your holiday will include how Wendy came to be ‘The Nappy Lady’ and how she helps match families with the perfect nappy for their baby; an insight into the busy working lives of retailers and wholesalers; and the impact of the Blue Planet Effect and Covid-19 on cloth nappy usage. And it wouldn’t be a holiday without a few quirky stopovers, such as the cultural differences experienced with describing sausages in bread! So join the ladies on a nappy themed holiday and get to know the UK’s very own Nappy Lady!
Transcript: Cloth Nappies in the UK
Andrew: Welcome to Nappy Leaks with Vicki Simpson and Vashti Wadwell. How are you doing, Vashti?
Vashti: Good thanks Andrew, how are you?
Andrew: Excellent. How are you doing, Vicki?
Vicki: I’m doing really well.
Andrew: Excellent. And today we’ve got a guest. We’ve got Wendy Richards, who is the Nappy Lady U.K. I know there’s a lot of nappy ladies that have started around the world, but Wendy was the first one. She started in 1999.
Vashti: The Grandma.
Andrew: That was the name of a T.V. show.
Andrew: Yeah, Space 1999. Have you guys watched that?
Vashti: You are such a Geek.
Andrew: That’s alright, I’ve got it on DVD at home. An old geek, yeah, I heard that. How are you Wendy?
Wendy: Yeah, I’m really good thank you.
Andrew: Thank you very much for being part of the podcast. So you’ve, I’m the only person on the podcast that hasn’t met you. Vicki and Vashti have both met you. How did you guys all meet?
Wendy: We met together at Cologne last Autumn. We were at a trade show together.
Andrew: So Wendy, what was your job before you got into cloth nappies?
Wendy: I used to work for, I think you’ve got them out there actually, W.H. Smith, the retail company that sell magazines and stationery. I did that for about 15 years. Before I started having children and kind of got into nappies then. So I’ve always worked in retail. Though they were very different.
Andrew: What was the name of the company, W.A. Smith?
Wendy: W.H. Smith.
Andrew: W.H. Smith, no, it’s not familiar to me. Do you girls know W.H. Smith?
Andrew: Maybe they’ve already gone broke in Australia.
Wendy: You have one, we came on our honeymoon to Australia and you have one at Sydney Airport.
Vashti: There you go. We’re Brisbane, we’re better.
Andrew: Well a lot of companies come to Australia thinking they’re going to make a lot of money and they just don’t realise how to make money over here, so they end up failing.
Wendy: Yes, sounds about right.
Andrew: So you worked for them for 15 years. So you got into cloth nappies because you had kids?
Wendy: Yeah, that’s it, and I kind of wanted to use cloth nappies for environmental reasons, but also financial reasons, and the company was started to help people, kind of guide them through the maze of nappies, to work out what’s the best one for you, because every nappy, it’s got a pro and a con. So what we do is we match up so every family finds the right one, because it can be really confusing otherwise.
Andrew: So you’ve been doing it for 21 years.
Wendy: Well the company started in 1999, but I actually joined the company myself as an advisor back in 2005. And I worked with them for about five years, just for an online advisor, doing demos, and then about ten years ago, three weeks before I had my third baby, I took over the company. So it’s a…
Vashti: Three weeks before you had your baby?
Wendy: Yeah, my third baby. Because that’s what a sensible person does.
Vashti: You’re nuts.
Wendy: I know.
Vicki: You have this bit of a, when the baby is under six weeks old, this is really weird. When baby is under six weeks, and you don’t kind of, they don’t do much.
Wendy: I’d be sitting there, just bought this company and I’d be sitting there breastfeeding with one hand, and with the other hand trying to answer emails, phone calls, it just didn’t stop. I like being busy, so just made myself even more busy.
Vicki: Yeah, it’s kind of like you can do everything.
Andrew: So how many kids did you have go through cloth nappies, Wendy?
Wendy: Three. Three in total.
Andrew: Three, so did you have…
Wendy: That’s about 17,000 nappy changes I’ve done.
Vashti: You’re a legend.
Andrew: Was that an accurate count? Did you count them or did you just estimate that?
Wendy: No, I didn’t, I lost track very early on, but yeah, on average that would be about 17,000. I didn’t do them all myself, my husband did his fair share.
Andrew: So he did 1,000?
Wendy: He did quite a few.
Vicki: Team bar(?) says Jenna’s going to count every single nappy change.
Andrew: She will now, after she sees this.
Vicki: I reckon she will.
Vashti: That wouldn’t surprise me actually.
Vicki: That is such a Jenna thing to do.
Vashti: She’ll keep a tally each day.
Andrew: So how many nappies did you have?
Wendy: Well, I started with about 18, and I started with some basic terry squares. And then I gradually moved up to some more modern shaped ones, and then I started adding some more in, and some more, and I probably ended up only about 40, which is quite conservative, considering these days. But I have a bit of everything.
Vashti: I bet you started with Tot Spots.
Wendy: Yeah [laughter]. I had terry squares first. Terry squares were honest, my first ones, just plain ones. But yeah, then I had my good old Cotton Tots, but my favourite was the Fluffal. I don’t know if you remember the Fluffal? It was just so quick drying, that was my favourite one. That’s in my keepsake box.
Vicki: Yeah, it’s funny, that’s how I started. I had a friend show me these modern cloth nappies, and there was nothing in Australia. And I was like, oh well, I can sew. So yeah, all there was, was Tot Spots, and that’s kind of where I started. You could only get nappies from the U.K. That’s the only place you could get them.
Wendy: Really? Wow.
Andrew: You couldn’t get them from America or anything?
Vicki: That’s like 16 years ago.
Andrew: Couldn’t get them from America?
Wendy: And now I’m buying them from you guys.
Vicki: Yeah, exactly.
Andrew: Not directly from us, because that would be a waste of petrol. We’re flying them directly from our manufacturer to you.
Vashti: Hey Wendy, did you use cloth from birth on all three of yours?
Wendy: With my first one, I did it from about ten days old, just part time, just when I was at home, just until I could kind of get my head around what all the parts were. And then I gradually started using it when I was going out, because I thought, this is silly. If I change my oldest when we were out and about, and then I’d put a disposable on. And I thought, there’s nothing wrong with my wrap, because I had two parts at that point. So I then changed to using cloth when I was out and about, and my first one, he just didn’t sleep. I mean, he seriously never slept, so I didn’t try night time nappies until he was about three months old. Then my second one came along, and I used those, he was about two days old. And then by my third one, I used them straight away from birth.
Vicki: Yeah, that’s where I started too, disposables, because the hospital had them. And then you kept buying disposables.
Andrew: I bought one packet.
Vicki: Oh you did not. And they sold you infant, for a six day old baby. They sold you infant. Go the bigger size.
Andrew: You know I bought them from Coles? They don’t sell you anything.
Vicki: No, you went to a chemist.
Andrew: I went to a chemist?
Vicki: I remember you went to a chemist.
Andrew: Oh really? Wow. I got suckered in with that then.
Vicki: Yes, you did, because the nappies were leaky. Honestly, the nappies were made with a layer of flannelette, a patch of hemp, and fleece. No PUL, no nothing. So they leaked. I don’t know why.
Vashti: You’ve kind of learned how to make nappies that don’t leak now.
Vicki: Yes, very well.
Andrew: So you own the company, The Nappy Lady, which you started in 1999…
Vicki: No way.
Andrew: 1999, yeah, how much has it grown since 1999?
Wendy: It’s just completely different. I mean, going back even ten years ago, we would turn over about 150,000 pounds a year, that was the whole company. And now we’re kind of over 2,000,000. It’s just huge.
Andrew: For everybody at home, that’s 10,000,000 Australian dollars.
Vicki: So it feels like it at the moment.
Andrew: At the current exchange rate.
Vashti: The pound is not too bad.
Vicki: No, it is, it is.
Wendy: The pound is not too bad at the moment.
Andrew: No, the Australian dollar against the pound is crap, that’s the problem.
Vicki: Yes, the AUD to the Euro to the Pound, and the US dollar suck completely, trust me, trust me.
Vashti: I’ve been watching the US dollar but not anything else. Went up a whole cent, too.
Andrew: What’s the best improvement in a cloth nappy that you’ve seen in the last 20 years?
Wendy: Oh man. Things have really changed. I think the main thing is they’ve got slimmer, and they’re more attractive. Right back at the start, all we used to sell was white nappies. That was it, there was nothing else other than white nappies.
Vicki: And it was that cotton fluffy stuff, what’s it called? It’s a cotton terry.
Vashti: Most nappies were made from cotton terry.
Vicki: Yeah, before we came in. It was, I’ve got some downstairs. Some organic… I can’t think of what it was called. But anyway, they were all really thick and the Tot Spots were made from them too.
Wendy: Yeah, they were called Cotton Tots. They were just like bathroom towels, but obviously shaped into the shape of a nappy.
Vicki: Super thick.
Wendy: But now you’ve got really slim ones, there’s so many patterns. I mean, it’s ridiculous how many patterns. I love patterns, so if you bring out a new pattern, I just want it. They’re so much closer to disposables now. You haven’t kind of got the bulk of the nappy to put people off, you can match it to outfits.
Vicki: Ultimate lazy parenting.
Andrew: You can’t match disposables to outfits, can you?
Vashti: They tried.
Vicki: They tried.
Andrew: They tried?
Vashti: Huggies put out their Winnie the Pooh and their Disney designs and stuff like that.
Vicki: So how has the landscape changed with Covid? Has it changed there?
Wendy: Yeah, it’s been really hard. We’re all, the admin team are all working remotely and we’ve all kind of got different files, we’ve all divided the work up, so you try and deal with a problem or something and it takes about three of us because we’re all dealing with bits of it. In terms of our warehouse, we’ve only got one lady going in, so that there’s no cross contamination. So she’s single handedly packing all of the orders. And of course, we’re really busy because people are worrying about getting disposables, there was a big rush in the shop with the panic buying, that there weren’t any disposables for a while. So what we’re having to do is we’re only opening the website every night at 6:00 pm and then we take about 80 to 100 orders every night, because that’s all that the lady in our warehouse can pack. We don’t want to swamp her with orders. If she goes sick or has to isolate, there will be a lot more orders we need to cancel. So the website is only actually open between about 2 minutes and 30 minutes a night.
Vashti: Who do you host with?
Andrew: Hang on a second, your packing lady can pack 100 orders a day? Ours can’t.
Vicki: Yes, she can.
Andrew: Can she?
Vicki: Yeah, yeah, she’s doing 13 an hour at the moment. I do ten. No, I do 13, she does ten.
Andrew: Sorry, keep going.
Wendy: Yeah, so obviously we have to warn customers, we’ve kind of prepared them, particularly if we’ve got a big launch, and we’ve got another one due, probably today. You’ve got that many people trying to buy the product that our 80 to 100 slots is going to fill up really quickly. So we’ve warned everyone, you need to have your basket all filled with the items you want, so that when we turn the website on at six, all you have to do is check out. So at least that way, people who might not necessarily want to buy the latest print, might just want their liners or something, can actually get their orders through.
Vashti: How many retailers do you have in the U.K.?
Wendy: As in me? Or as in competition, competitors?
Vashti: As in competition.
Wendy: Yeah, there’s a lot, there is a lot. And it’s funny, everything goes in cycles, and when you’ve been around this long, you start seeing the cycle start again.
Vicki: Every two years.
Wendy: Yeah, the last five or six years it’s been on kind of a decline, a lot of the smaller ones have closed down. But now in the last year, where we’ve had this big Blue Planet effect in the U.K., there’s been loads and loads of small companies opening up. So there’s a fair amount of competition out there.
Vicki: What’s a Blue Planet effect?
Wendy: You’ve not heard about this?
Wendy: David Attenborough, he filmed for the BBC, a program called The Blue Planet. This was maybe 18 months ago, maybe two years ago, and it was on the T.V. over here, and it showed people the impact that plastics are having on the oceans. And it made people realise the damage that we’re doing to the planet. And overnight there was this big movement to move away from coffee cups, cotton buds, disposable wipes. And people kept moving on. You had disposable wipes, and people would move to reusable wipes, reusable nappies, and CSP. It’s actually referred to as the Blue Planet Effect over here.
Vicki: Wow, that’s pretty cool.
Vashti: For everyone here in Australia, CSP is cloth sanitary products.
Wendy: Yeah, that’s it.
Vashti: Because we don’t call them CSP here.
Wendy: What do you call it?
Vashti: Just cloth menstrual pads.
Wendy: Yeah, that’s a lot clearer.
Vicki: Or reusable feminine hygiene products.
Vashti: Cloth pads is normally what it is.
Andrew: So what about, there’s lots of online stores and it’s obviously very easy for somebody to start up an online story, how many actual shops do you have over there though? And have you thought about having your own shop?
Andrew: You’ve obviously met Vashti, so we know you’ve thought about it.
Wendy: There’s a couple of shops over here, but nothing major. They’re mainly quite small ones. You did have, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Mother Care, they were a big baby story, they’ve gone into administration now, but they did have a few cloth nappies in their shops, but not many. But in terms of have I thought about it? I have, but I don’t want customers. There you go, I said it.
Vashti: It’s a lot of work, I’ll admit it.
Wendy: Yeah, it’s all of those years, I’ve obviously worked in retail and now having a family of my own, I quite like the flexibility and I never started, I never took the company on to become as big as it has. I just wanted to work around my children so that I could take them to school, pick them up, and I could work in between. So I never wanted this big, fulltime job. And if had my own store, that would be needing to open six days a week, and my kids are still quite… well my youngest is nearly ten, but they still need Mum at home. So no, I’ve kept away from that. But we’re about to move to a new warehouse and we’re having a bigger demo room built. So even though we haven’t got sort of a retail shop, people can come and visit us for one to one demos and see everything.
Vashti: That’s awesome.
Andrew: That’s kind of what we’ve done here at Bubblebubs, but Vashti’s store is so close, no, go to Vashti, she’s so much better.
Vicki: We’ve outgrown this place in a year, so we’ve actually just got a warehouse in China now. Like our own warehouse. That is really, really cheap to rent, compared to here.
Andrew: The stuff that we send you pretty much comes out of our China warehouse, so you don’t have to wait for it to be made. We basically just ship it out.
Vicki: It’s starting to get stocked, it’s not fully stocked yet.
Wendy: But it’s getting there. No, we had our first warehouse, because up until three years ago, I actually ran the business from my home. So I had…
Andrew: Only three years ago?
Wendy: Yeah, three years ago. I don’t quite know now how I managed it. There was stuff everywhere.
Andrew: How big is your current warehouse?
Wendy: U.K. houses are not as big as Australian houses.
Vicki: No, they’re not.
Wendy: So we did have this really scenic wall in the living room, where it was just like all the boxes of nappies in different colours. Kind of like an art feature. But I had an office in one room, and then we had the shed in the garden. So it was only three years ago we moved out into our first warehouse, which is I think, I’m trying to remember the squares, it’s about 60 metres square was our first one.
Vashti: That’s smaller than my retail shop.
Wendy: Yeah, that was our first warehouse. We were there about a year and then we were struggling, so luckily the unit next to us came up available about 18 months ago. So we knocked through the wall, so we took on the one next to us. So that took us up to 120 square metres. But now, 18 months one, we can’t move. There absolutely is just nowhere for stock to go.
Vicki: That’s actually the side of, our old warehouse was 120, because this one is 280 I think. And we’ve outgrown this, so I completely know where you’re coming from.
Andrew: This is 280? What’s the one in China, how big is that one?
Vicki: It’s another 250.
Wendy: I keep buying stuff, that’s the problem. I found something new and it comes in 50 colours, I kind of need it.
Vashti: Is that a Bo Peep?
Wendy: We found another one.
Vashti: Don’t tell Zoe.
Wendy: We should have been moving in May, but of course Covid has completely kind of scuppered that, because social distancing, we can’t actually move. So we’re hoping now to still move in June, and that should be I think, just under 500 square metres.
Vicki: You won’t know yourself.
Wendy: So we’ve got a couple of offices, we’re going to have a full demo room, we’re going to have a mezzanine floor for our menstrual pads so we can extend that because that’s had a big growth. So we’re just looking forward to not falling over boxes.
Andrew: So you’re currently limiting orders to 100 a day. When you don’t have a limitation, how many orders do you ship a day?
Wendy: Normally it was 100 before Covid-19, 100 would kind of be normal. But it would take 24 hours for those to come in, on average. But not in two minutes.
Vicki: Do you have your site crash? I’m asking logistic issues that I really should be asking afterwards.
Wendy: Yeah, we did have a problem. Our host, our web host here in the U.K., we’ve used them for about ten years now, and we were fine for a long time. It’s a company is used by quite a lot of other cloth nappy companies over here, so it’s a popular site. But where we got so busy, it did struggle. So they tried all sorts of different things, but in the end they had to move us to the new server about six months ago and that’s really helped. I’m not very techie so I don’t actually know what that means, but it seems to have helped.
Vicki: It just means you’re not sharing it with other traffic.
Wendy: Yeah. It’s the peaks, because most of the time we’d just tick along, but it’s when you get a new product release. So last weekend, we had a huge one for Blueberry, do you know Blueberry Diapers?
Wendy: So it’s the Orion print that everyone’s been after for ages, and because we’re only able to get a small amount of stock because that was all that was available, and our problem really hits when you’ve got 300 people after 20 nappies. Yeah, we end up with over sells, which is really frustrating. But we keep working on it.
Vicki: And how are you dealing with that? Are you finding that lots of brands are out of stock?
Wendy: Yeah, it depends on the company. Obviously we’re made, but everyone is, their productions have slowed down because of social distancing, in the factory to work in between a third and about a half of capacity. So dependent on the company, some have been running on their reserves, and obviously now a couple of months in, their reserves are depleting. Some of our suppliers have completely turned off wholesale. They absolutely just can’t fulfil anything.
Vicki: That’s really sad though, isn’t it?
Wendy: Yeah, some of it’s production and some of it, it’s just the demand is just huge. It’s absolutely ginormous…
Vicki: It’s exciting.
Wendy: With Covid-19, so many people are moving to cloth, which is fantastic, but trying to get the stock at the same time.
Andrew: You don’t think you’ll lose any of your brands with the current problems?
Wendy: I hope not, I really hope not. Some of them are very small companies, but we’re doing everything we can to try and support them. Where they’ve got stock, we’ll happily buy it from them.
Andrew: Yeah, OK.
Vicki: See, aren’t you glad that I bought so much stock before Chinese New Year?
Wendy: I’m always getting told off by the ladies in the warehouse for ordering too much. Where the hell are we going to put it? I’m like, huh, see, I was preparing for a pandemic.
Vicki: Absolutely, I think I ordered 30,000…
Wendy: I was actually preparing because over here we’ve got Brexit as well, so what I was actually preparing for was Brexit, so I’d increased my stock in case we had problems with imports, because that’s a big unknown. So we were sitting on higher stock because of that. So it did kind of come in lucky, but it is running down a lot now.
Vicki: So where is Brexit up to?
Wendy: Yeah, I don’t know.
Vicki: You don’t know either?
Wendy: It’s kind of come off the agenda with everything. It’s still happening. I believe it’s still happening at the end of this year. What we’ve been told is yep, we’re still leaving, nothing’s changed. But in terms of deals and arrangements, I don’t know anything as a retailer.
Vicki: You don’t know anything.
Wendy: Not told.
Vicki: Because it was supposed to be November, isn’t it?
Wendy: It’s a worry.
Andrew: Pretty much the rest of the year at the moment…
Wendy: Towards the end of this year I’ll be stocking up again.
Andrew: We had a council election and I don’t think I still know who won our council election because you watch the news and you don’t see anything else except what’s going on, the Covid, just all over it.
Vicki: The Libs got back in.
Andrew: OK, cool. There’s probably celebrities passing away all over the world, you’re just not hearing anything else at the moment.
Vashti: One of the Goodies died recently.
Andrew: I did hear that one, bit sad, Tim Brooke-Taylor.
Vashti: That’s it, I couldn’t remember who, just remember it was a Goodie.
Andrew: He won an OBE.
Vashti: There you go.
Vicki: I just have no idea what you’re talking about.
Andrew: During the T.V. show, his character always wanted to win an OBE during the T.V. show and so his character did eventually win one.
Vicki: What’s an OBE?
Andrew: What’s an OBE? Wendy?
Wendy: Order of the British Empire, it’s an award from the Queen.
Vashti: That’s it.
Vicki: Oh, OK.
Vashti: I did know that.
Andrew: I knew you’d know, Wendy.
Wendy: I think it stands for Order of the British Empire, but yeah, the Queen gives it to you, it’s an award.
Vicki: So Prince Charles didn’t die, did he?
Wendy: No, he didn’t.
Vicki: I just wanted to make sure I didn’t miss that.
Andrew: Is he better yet?
Wendy: Boris Johnson, our Prime Minister was really ill, he was intensive care, he came back yesterday.
Andrew: We did see that he’s back at work now.
Vicki: Yeah, but the stupid thing was, he was saying that he was shaking hands with people. Like actively shaking hands with people in hospital. And I’m just shaking my head.
Wendy: Yes, we didn’t lock down early. I mean, we would look at the news at lunch time, we were still in the warehouse and we could see everything that was going on in Europe and thinking wow, and there we were, all the same, just being told to wash our hands. So we didn’t lock down until later.
Vicki: Yeah, I think we locked down before you. We’ve only had 70 people die.
Andrew: We locked down, but we kept letting the ships off. We kept letting the ships come into the country, that was our biggest problem. We should have stopped all the ships.
Vicki: Cruise ships.
Andrew: The cruise ships full of sick people.
Vicki: But I’ve read somewhere, where we were tracking for 150,000 by Easter, and we’ve had 6,000. So we’ve done a really good job.
Wendy: Wow, we’re over 20,000 how, but that’s only…
Vicki: That’s deaths, or cases?
Wendy: Yeah, actual deaths.
Vicki: No, I’m talking cases. We’ve only had 70 people die. Which is awesome.
Andrew: I think 30 of them came off a ship.
Vicki: The Ruby Princess.
Andrew: Don’t need to say the name, everybody knows the name. So you’ve used a lot of nappies over the time, what’s your current favourite design.
Wendy: Now, see, I’ve got to say Bubblebubs [laughter]…
Vicki: No, you’ve got to say the Bigs.
Andrew: No, you don’t have to say Bubblebubs, this is a non-branded cloth nappy show.
Vicki: It’s unbranded, completely unbranded.
Andrew: So you can say whatever brand you like. You’ve been saying different brands all the time, you don’t have to say Bubblebubs, but now you’ve said it, we’ll just move on. [laughter]
Wendy: I have to say, Bam Bams are our favourite newborn nappy, they are just so cute. We haven’t even had them very long, I think it’s only about a year, is it 18 months?
Vicki: I don’t think it’s even that long.
Andrew: The Bam Bams?
Vicki: Yeah. They’re my favourite nappy because they’re so flexible.
Wendy: They’re cute.
Vicki: They just fit everybody, every baby.
Wendy: They’re so cute. And they’re so tight, even the really tiny babies, yeah, we love those. And the Bigs, when we discovered the Bigs, they’re just so versatile. So yeah, we need our delivery.
Vicki: It’s on its way, I promise.
Vashti: Don’t worry Wendy, I’ve got none.
Andrew: That’s right, we’re currently working on none in Australia the moment.
Wendy: I saw that, and I thought that’s probably because I bought them all.
Vicki: We’ve had some air freighted out, that were supposed to come today and they’re still not here. Our ship arrives two days, two or three days, so we’ll get them in about two weeks. But yeah, we’re out and we’ve sold all of our sea, sorry, all of our air.
Andrew: Air shipment is already pre-ordered, yeah.
Vicki: Yeah, and I’m halfway through the next order, it’s huge.
Andrew: I think the reason we ran out of Bam Bams is because Vashti didn’t order enough.
Vashti: I sold three weeks’ worth of Bam Bams in three hours. It was nuts.
Vicki: And we’ve sold a month’s worth of stock in a week.
Wendy: Because of Covid? Kind of worrying about…
Andrew: All the supermarkets ran out of cloth nappies and people panicked, and now supermarkets have got disposable nappies back in stock and they can’t sell them. [laughter]
Vicki: We had 105% sales gain last month, which is huge. We’ve been growing and growing and growing.
Andrew: Just to put that number in perspective, we had a similar growth the previous year, we did 50%, 60%…
Vicki: Yeah, we do that every month.
Andrew: We’ve almost been growing, we’ve almost been doubling every year for the last three years.
Vicki: Yeah, so if you go for the last four years, we’ve actually been growing between 20 to 50% a month, and we did 100% sales gain. And my bank doesn’t like me. They don’t like fast growing business. They just don’t like it.
Andrew: So how many people do you have working for you, Wendy now?
Wendy: There are 13 of us. We don’t all work together, some of them I’ve never even met. We’ve got the people in the warehouse, so we’re the guys dealing with the day to day of getting your orders out the door, getting the stock in, answering the phones. But we’ve also got a team of people who work online, and they can be anywhere, so they’re answering our advice questionnaires, where people want to know what’s the best nappy for them, just general queries. So some of the ladies I’ve never actually met, but they can do everything we need to, but from their home. I like to have jobs for mums that would struggle otherwise. So if you’ve got childcare, young children, it’s quite hard to find a job that offers you flexibility, whereas all my team, they work around the school hours. So in the day time they might work, and then they’re mum when they come home from school, and then they’re back working in the evening at 9, 10 o’clock at night.
Andrew: Actually we’re the same, I’m actually the only male in the company, and all of our staff have families.
Vicki: Well that’s how the whole business was kind of built, was I grew the business based on me being home with the kids, so I now offer that opportunity to other people. So we’re hugely flexible with hours.
Andrew: Because Keren actually had to move to Orange in New South Wales…
Vicki: Before the border shut.
Andrew: Before the border shut, because her husband works across the border, so the only way he was going to be able to get to work was to live in the same state, so they actually moved from Queensland down to New South Wales…
Vicki: In three days.
Andrew: In three days before the border got closed.
Vashti: Well we’re the same at Nest, we keep, we’ve only just in February, increased our hours to 4 o’clock, six days a week. We were only open until 3:00, so we were working school hours, and we’re very, very flexible around our staff because we’re all mums. We want mums who have used cloth to work for Nest. I just brought on a social media manager this year, and Hayley works around her kids. So when she’s got time, she jumps on and does all her stuff, and if she’s busy with her three boys, then she doesn’t do stuff. I make sure that her family always comes first. All the girls that work for me, their family comes first.
Wendy: Absolutely, everyone that works with me, they never miss their child’s assembly or sports day. It’s too important, you only get one chance at those.
Vicki: Exactly, I did miss my middle child’s Mothers Day thing, do you remember that? She doesn’t remember that, I remember missing that one time when, yeah.
Andrew: So Wendy, what’s your favourite type of nappy?
Wendy: Type of nappy. So when I had little ones and I made up my change bag for going out and about, I’ve always put in all in ones. And at the time that I had her, the big all in one brand was Bum Genius, so I had a lot of Free Times and a lot of Elementals, because I just like the speed of change. So if I was at playgroup I could just take them off, change them really quickly on the way. But my husband on the weekend, he would always change the bag over and he would take out the all in ones, and he’s always put the two parts in. It was always constantly being changed. He preferred the two parts because he knew that they were more absorbent and they leak less, so he was probably the more sensible one.
Vicki: And do you find the same sort of thing here is it takes an all in one to get someone over the line, but then as soon as you introduce them to a two part system, you win them. You kind of get them forever. You know.
Wendy: People always are attracted to the all in ones, because they’re just so similar to disposables, so it’s a nice way to ease someone in, particularly if they’re sitting on the fence, they’re really not sure, then you can’t go wrong with that, and you can gradually kind of introduce the other ones and the benefits that they might have of the different ones. But once people are into it, they don’t seem to stop. They often then want to try everything.
Vicki: Yeah, we certainly find that too. At trade shows obviously I don’t do face to face, because I don’t like people.
Vashti: We have people come in thinking that they want an all in one, but they generally end up walking out with prefolds and fitteds.
Vicki: They’re just so reliable. Any two part system is so much more reliable, but trying to get people over the line to try them is often the hardest thing, which is why I have a love hate relationship with the Pebbles, being an all in one.
Wendy: They’re so cute.
Vicki: They are, but they’re so expensive. They’re a hugely expensive nappy.
Wendy: They are so cute.
Vicki: Whereas I think a Bam Bam is a better nappy.
Wendy: Oh yeah, definitely. I would say the Candies for us are quite new, so obviously we started with the Bam Bams, then we added the Bigs in. I think you sent me a sample of the Bigs, and I saw it, I want that. So then, sneaky samples. And then we started bringing in the Candies, and that’s been a slow one because some people already knew about them and they were kind of like the hardcore fans, and they were like oh great, I can buy them from the Nappy Lady, but now we’re seeing more and more people use them, we did a bit push on social media showing people, because they’re so different…
Vicki: Yeah, they are.
Wendy: There isn’t really any other nappy over here like it, because generally they all alter with poppers, adjust the length, and there isn’t anything. And I had a lady the other day, she emailed me and she said you’ve sent me the wrong thing, you’ve sent me a newborn Candy. That doesn’t exist.
Vashti: It does…
Wendy: Yeah, I was like, it doesn’t exist, send me a picture. What on earth have we sent this lady? Just like yeah, that’s it you’ve got it. It was so small, she couldn’t believe that it was going to fit, so we had to send her pictures of the children from the team wearing it, and go like it really is stretchy. So that’s a nappy that is steadily growing over here.
Vicki: So do you find, because side snaps, they’re not uncommon here, they’re not hugely common, but a lot of work at homes tend to make a side snap, and I can’t think of the name of the pattern that they use, but they all tend to use a similar sort of pattern. Do you find that over there, that it’s the work at home mums that are making side snapping nappies?
Wendy: Well there used to be a huge, absolutely huge work at home mum market over here, they made some really gorgeous things, but this is again going back five or six years. It really declined. And they’ve not been a lot of work at home mums here. There’ve been some smaller companies, but they’re being made in factories abroad rather than actually, what I count as work at home mum is you’re sewing…
Vashti: You’re making it yourself.
Wendy: There really aren’t that many over here at the moment.
Vicki: Oh wow.
Vashti: That’s interesting, in the last 12 months, we’ve got, I was talking to one of our work at home mums on Friday night, and Melissa says there is something like over 90 new work at home mums so far this year.
Vicki: Not forgetting our population is 24.5 million here, we’re a tiny country. Well, a big country, but a tiny population.
Vashti: That’s 90 brand new work at home mums in the last four months, which is just absolutely insane.
Wendy: That’s crazy, I can only think of two brands, and one of them’s a new one, but otherwise I can’t really think of any off the top of my head that are genuine work at home mums. Some of their products, when they used to, were beautiful, they used to do really custom wraps, you can have your child’s name put on them, really beautiful. But yeah, that really declined.
Vicki: That’s a shame, that’s where a work at home mum kind of…
Vashti: Stands out.
Vicki: Yeah, because they can do that whole personalised stuff.
Vashti: That point of difference.
Vicki: That really intricate embroidery, that’s what we see here, a lot of intricate embroidery.
Andrew: All the one-off nappies.
Vashti: And we do find a lot of the work at home mums here in Australia, those that are established and have been around for a while have got their name from the fact that they do do those really customised nappies, whereas we’ve finding a lot of the newer work at home mums that are coming through, they’re not doing as many customised nappies, they’re doing more small runs of fabric, and they’re getting their fabric specifically printed for them, so that they’re designing the print that’s on it, but there’s not the detail and the artwork, I suppose you could say, that goes into it.
Vicki: You’re right, there’s not that artwork that there used to be.
Andrew: That sounds like us. Except we just do more at a time.
Vashti: But they’re selling them themselves. So they’re selling them on their kitchen table still, like taking an hour, like Vicki was doing 15 years ago.
Andrew: What was your record for how quick you could make a Bam Bam?
Vashti: Six minutes?
Vicki: No, I could make our all in one in six minutes, as long as it was cut out. No, a Bam Bam I could make in three minutes. As long as it was cut out, I could make a Bam Bam in three minutes, on the industrial machines, not domestic machines. I’ve been making nappies for 16 years, I’m not a newbie at this. You’d think I’d have hemmed curtains, wouldn’t you, but you know…
Andrew: No, the curtains still drag on the tiles.
Wendy: I can’t sew at all. I seriously can’t sew. I can’t even sew a button on. My children, they’re part of scouting. I don’t sew their badges on, I’ve got badge glue. [laughter]
Vicki: I didn’t even know there was a thing. Badge glue.
Wendy: Oh yeah, it’s for people like me who can’t sew.
Vashti: I love it, I love it.
Andrew: I’m going to go down to Bunnings and say can I have some badge glue.
Vicki: You have Bunnings there, don’t you? Do you have Bunnings in the U.K.? I’m pretty sure that I’ve read somewhere that they tried to bring in the sausage in the bread in the U.K. and you guys just didn’t get it.
Wendy: A bunny?
Vicki: Bunnings. It’s a hardware store.
Wendy: No, I’ve not heard of it.
Vicki: Maybe it’s because they were putting the onions on top. That is such an inside joke.
Andrew: But you can’t get a sausage on a bread roll at Bunnings at the moment.
Wendy: That’s a hot dog.
Andrew: Hot dog, yeah.
Vashti: Sausage as in you put a sausage on the grill, so your beef sausages that you’d have at dinner, bangers.
Andrew: That’s a hot dog.
Vicki: Bangers. Yes, it’s so a banger on a slice of buttered bread. With sauce.
Andrew: Instead of a proper bun, you just put it on a piece of bread. Because bread’s cheaper than buns.
Wendy: Oh, no. That would be a sausage sandwich.
Vashti: Pretty much…
Vicki: Kind of, yeah.
Vashti: But you only use one piece of bread, so you lay the sausage diagonally on the bread and fold the bread over the top and you put some fried onions on it. So here in Australia, Bunnings Warehouse is a huge hardware warehouse, it’s massive, and that is where everyone goes on the weekend. My local Facebook group posts, someone in my local Facebook group posted a photo the other day saying don’t go to Bunnings at the moment. There was literally a line up, I reckon it was worse than trying to get on…
Vicki: Yeah, but it was Easter. It was Easter weekend.
Vashti: Yeah it was.
Vicki: Or ANZAC Day weekend.
Vashti: ANZAC Day weekend, but there was a line up I’d say probably three or four hundred metres long and they were all 1.5 metres away from each other.
Vicki: One sausage. We actually call them democracy sausages as well, because they’re always at elections. And you can’t not have a sausage. They use them as a sausage sizzle. Do you have sausage sizzles? Or is that still an Australian thing?
Vashti: That’s an Australian thing.
Wendy: It’s an Australian thing.
Vashti: Yeah, so when you go and vote in your local council or federal elections or whatever…
Vicki: The rule is, you have to have a democracy sausage.
Vashti: …there’s always, because most of the voting booths or the polling boots are at schools, and so the school P&C actually gets in and does a barbecue and fries up the sausages and you have a sausage sizzle.
Vicki: And raise money.
Andrew: That’s democracy. People have to come to our school, let’s sell them a sausage.
Vicki: Absolutely. And actually there are websites that actually list who has the…
Vashti: The best sausage sizzle. Your sausage sizzle gets rated here in Australia.
Andrew: So there’s a website, rank my sausage.
Vashti: My gosh, Andrew.
Andrew: I’m going to get that. I’m going to get that website, rank my sausage.
Vashti: That one is going to stay in.
Vicki: So do we talk about, do you have, what do they call them? I know in America they call them black market nappies, we call them China cheapies here. Do you have a fair whack of them there…
Vicki: …and how does that affect the U.K. market?
Wendy: It’s a growing kind of market, growing market. We call them Chinese cheapies is the unofficial term for them here. Some of them are worrying. My own business insurance won’t cover me to stock anything like that, so often when people ask, that’s my reason I don’t stock them, I’m not allowed to.
Vicki: I love it.
Wendy: It obviously makes people stop and think, actually, why? If insurance won’t trust her with that product, why should I buy that? But we spend a lot of time when people have bought them, and then are struggling because they are not absorbent enough…
Vicki: They don’t work.
Wendy: …or the PUL has gone. They’re worried that what can they do? They’ve spent all this money, but you’re talking this one pound 50 a nappy. There’s no way your main brands can compete, because the main brands have got the safety testing, they’re reliable products, etcetera, etcetera, you can’t compete against that. But with these cheap ones, the quality is just not there. And the concern with us is that people then buy them and it puts them off from cloth entirely.
Vicki: And that’s actually, I must admit, that’s something that we have discussed so many times on the podcast.
Andrew: The quality control on our nappies almost takes as long as making the nappy.
Vicki: Yeah, it does. Oh yeah, you should see actually, I’ve got pictures on Wee Chat tonight of my, he’s not my manufacturer, he’s actually my contact, and he is actually sitting there putting Bo Peeps together showing me pictures of them tonight. He he’s literally pulling out the trifolds and he’s showing me pictures of them. He is so picky. And I just said, just cut a label and send them to us, we’ll sell them off as seconds. Don’t throw this stuff in the bin. But you know, he’ll be there most of the night doing, and probably all day tomorrow, putting together nappies and pulling them apart, you know, just doing that quality control. As you said, you can’t do for a nappy that’s a couple of dollars or a couple of pounds.
Vashti: So when you say one pound 50 for what you call a Chinese cheapy, what’s the average price of a quality nappy in the U.K. at the moment?
Wendy: On average, if it was an all in one…
Vashti: Just say a Gro Via.
Vicki: Say a Gro Via, is a Gro Via pocket?
Andrew: No, how much do you sell a Bam Bam for?
Vicki: No, that’s a completely different nappy, so a China cheapy is generally…
Andrew: OK, how much do you sell a…
Vicki: …a pocket…
Wendy: A China cheapy again, so to compared it, some of the brands have brought out their cheapest equivalent to try and take them head on. So that for us would be a Little Lamb one size, and they are about eight pounds, but that nappy was designed particularly to take on the Chinese cheapies. It’s been around for quite a few years now, but that was when Chinese cheapies used to be about four pounds each. But now kind of like an average, your general average is going to be your Top Spots, is about 17, 18 pounds.
Vicki: So it’s a huge difference.
Wendy: Our imported ones, yeah, they’re imported ones obviously but the exchange rate is really hit, we’re kind of getting up to 27 pounds now for something like an American all in one.
Andrew: How much do you sell a Candy for? A complete Candy?
Wendy: So we sell it, let’s have a look, I don’t know.
Vicki: I don’t either. Because as an example, we’d be talking $36.95 as an RRP on a Candy here, versus what you’d get a China cheapy for $10. Eight to ten dollars, and you know what, I don’t necessarily have an issue with China cheapies personally.
Vashti: Like your Alvas and your Happy Floats.
Vicki: Yeah, I think they have their place in the market. What I cannot stand are rebranded China cheapies that then sell for 20 bucks. So you’ve got somebody who is spending more on basically a crappy nappy. They’re spending more an expecting a better quality nappy than the $10 one. Or the one pound 50, it’s like spending five pounds on that same nappy. That’s actually, that’s where I really struggle ethically. Lots of ethical issues.
Wendy: OK, so with the Candies, we don’t sell them as a bundle, we sell them each component separately, so the shell is about nine pounds at the moment.
Vicki: OK, we sell them for 20.
Wendy: You put your inserts in separately.
Vashti: There you go.
Vicki: That’s really interesting.
Andrew: From a marketing point of view…
Vicki: That’s actually about the same as what it is here.
Andrew: …do you do that to make the nappy look cheaper at the start? Or you do it because people sometimes don’t like to buy the booster?
Wendy: Yeah, for that reason, because I like to have on the Nappy Lady so that you can buy everything kind of how you want, rather than forcing someone to buy something that they don’t need, because obviously that can end up being wasteful, so we do it the same on all our all in twos, you can buy the wrap separate, then how many boosters you want. So if someone wants to start out, they often buy the Candy cover and then they buy two of the boosters and then one trifold, so they can switch them out.
Vicki: We do the same, we sell them all separately for that same reason, and it’s really funny that someone will buy one shell and two inserts and then come back and buy another shell. It’s like you know, it’s not quite as easy to do the whole all in two thing, I can’t be bothered. Is that a cultural thing here, or is that something that happens?
Wendy: No, we have the same here. It really depends on budget, so obviously the customers that are on the budget, they’re buying the one shell and the two inserts, and the ones that just kind of want the easy use, they kind of treat it as an all in one. We’ve got a few brands like that as well, like the all in twos, so you’ve kind of got the close pop in, in theory you can take the insert out, but nobody ever does. And the Bambootie Basic, again that’s a really popular one over here, it’s really quite, it’s one of the cheaper nappies, and the same thing again. You either use it as an all in one, or if you’re on a budget, you make it an all in two. It just kind of means that the nappy can cover a bigger market.
Vicki: Well I did see a post that you said that, and this is why I was asking how you were going with your site, that you were counselling people through how to make nappies out of t-shirts and stuff like that, when there was no disposables. And I must admit, when I saw that post, yeah, I’m so aligned, our business ethics and just businesses are so aligned right down the line, it’s exactly what I do. I don’t like waste. I don’t like selling, the example that I made about the Pebbles, it’s such an expensive nappy. It’s cute, but if someone comes to me and asks for a whole stash of them, I actually talk them out of it. And I’ve done it many times, many, many times. They’re too expensive, I think they’re just not, but then on the flip side, it’s not my money so I can’t really tell someone what to do.
Andrew: But they’re designed to be the sort of nappy that you go out with.
Vicki: They are, they are, but when someone wants to buy a stash…
Vashti: When someone wants to buy 24 of them and wholly and solely use Pebbles…
Andrew: We do have some famous customers who do that.
Vicki: I do have a football star’s wife who did that. And I saw her order come through and I’m like oh, I don’t know…
Andrew: Except you frown a little bit when they order all white ones.
Vicki: Do you have that when people order all white nappies? And you’re like, can you not see the prints?
Wendy: Yeah. People like white.
Vicki: They do, they do, for newborns in particular, we find that we sell an awful lot of white nappies. You do too in store, you sell a lot more instore than you do online, I think.
Vashti: I think I find we tend to actually sell more prints, although every once in a while we’ll have somebody come through that only wants white. Or had a customer through a couple of months ago that was after very neutral tones, whites and creams and greys and stuff like that. So having to hunt out and find the nappies that were 100% white or 100% cream. Thirstees does a beautiful grey cover, it’s called Fin, but it’s got white trim, and so she didn’t want that because it was two tone, she wanted the whole nappy to be great.
Vashti: It is what it is.
Vicki: Different strokes for different folks.
Vashti: It’s sleek, it’s somebody wanting a cartoon print or a super hero print from an Alva, or somebody wanting a piece of designer artwork from a work at home mum.
Vicki: Or someone having to have all of the Pokemon, as we call them. You’ve got Pokemon, you don’t have to collect them all.
Vashti: So no, it is interesting to see the difference in how some customers shop, because no two customers are ever the same. And no two customers ever want the same either, they always, they have different needs in their families and different requirements, and their babies are different shapes and sizes. Every single day is just a new adventure with a new baby to play with. I love it.
Vicki: And I think we need to talk about your quiz. Your quiz is amazing, and I think, well I assume that this will get shared in the U.K. People need to do your quiz. Can you explain, because that just blew me away when you told us about that in Germany.
Wendy: Oh yeah, yeah, so we’ve got an online questionnaire. And that’s been a foundation for the Nappy Lady right from the start, so you fill it in, it’s quite in depth, and we kind of get some people going, why do you want to know all these things? But all of the questions are really important, because it kind of, we ask really bizarre questions like how tall are you? What on earth do you need to know that for. But it kind of gives us a guide, because if we’ve got a dad who’s 6 foot 4 and a mum who’s 5 foot 10, we don’t want to recommend really short nappies, because more than likely their children are going to be tall. So we use all of the information they give us. Things about child care, their washing preferences, what type of fabrics they want, what’s important to them. But go through the questionnaire, it makes them think of these things they’ve never even thought of before, and that’s where my remote team come in, and they help me go through the questionnaires, and we assess what people want and what their preferences are, and then we send them a recommendation of their, the systems which we think are best for them, and we usually give them two options. There’s usually an all in one option, and a two part, so they can compare the price and the pros and cons. But it kind of makes it bespoke, because we say the worst thing you can do is buy the nappies based on what your friends used. Because your friend has got a completely different criteria, different family, different preferences. And the questionnaire, it’s always been there and it’s always been busy, but in the last few years, it’s just gone crazy. So three years ago we were doing about 5,000 questionnaires a year. Then the year before, then it went to 10,000, then last year we hit 20,000, and this year alone we’re already over 10,000 questionnaires and we’re not even in May yet. We’re on target to do over 30,000 this year.
Vicki: Is it anything that, this is the I.T. girl coming out in me, is there any way that you can somehow automate that? or have… you know, it’s like adding a robot to something, but is there any way to automate that? That’s a lot of work.
Wendy: It is a lot of work, but that’s keeping some ladies in a job who wouldn’t be able to work if they didn’t have a flexible job. But also there used to be, I’m going back 15 years ago, there used to be another website who did an automated thing, but I used to fill it in, this is before I was working, had the company, and I was like, why on earth has it recommended that? And I just think you need a human eye, that needs to read that. We get some really specific, we had some really unusual situations like I live in a yurt, I live on a boat, I’m going around the world. I’m crossing Europe in a campervan for a year. No computer or robot is ever going to be able to pick that up. Whereas we can go into that and we can make it exactly what person needs. We come across blind parents, parents with arthritis, all of these unusual things as well as the usual everyday scenarios, but every recommendation is different. And it works out on average over 100 a day that we work through, on top of emails and things. But I’ve got a team, obviously I can’t do those. Before, I used to do every single one myself but I just physically can’t do that anymore. So I’ve got a team of really expensive… [laughter] experienced mums…
Vashti: Yeah, yeah, come on.
Vicki: I’ve got a wages bill too, I know.
Wendy: But they are really experienced, and they can answer all the questionnaires.
Vicki: And how hard did you find it, so you know, very similar to me where you whilst I was making the difference, but how hard was it for you to actually start to outsource stuff and let go?
Wendy: It was hard, but you got to the point you had to because there’s only so many hours in the day, and I’m still working stupid hours now, but there’s just no way you could do everything. And it’s kind of just finding the right people, the people that you trust, make sure they’ve got the training and now I’m quite, I’m often like, no, you do it. You’ve got an idea, you just tell me.
Vicki: That’s so me now. It’s like I just throw it, can somebody else catch this? Because I actually don’t want to do it now. I actually found I really struggled…
Wendy: Next week it’s meant to be nappy week now, and one of them said to me, how about we do a competition? Great, what do you want. Do what you want, door prize.
Vicki: That’s like doing a live seven minutes before a podcast. Will somebody just organise it please.
Wendy: We’ve starting doing, during lockdown, we’ve been doing regular Facebook lives trying to cover all sorts of things. I’ve done the long ones, I did a 90 minute demo one Saturday, but the minutes before it was like, I’m not very techy, what am I doing? I’ve got this, if I’d have moved the camera you’d have seen the carnage everywhere else.
Vashti: I actually tuned in to a couple of your lives when I had a little bit of time just after your lockdown started, and I’ve got to say…
Wendy: I saw you on one, I nearly said hi. No, no…
Vicki: They’re a very effective way of actually connecting when you can’t really connect. We actually did similar, we had a couple of expos cancelled, and so we just ran an expo weekend, and that was…
Andrew: A couple of expos?
Vashti: There were two expos cancelled on the same weekend.
Andrew: Yeah, but every single expo since then has been cancelled too.
Vicki: Yeah, we’re doing lives every week. Were you not in the meeting yesterday with Ivy? I sorted it with her. But it was such, did you cry? Because I cried in mine, it was such a stressful time when we first started doing them.
Vashti: That expo live weekend that we did was pretty much…
Vicki: That’s right, you did them.
Vashti: …the first weekend of the lockdown here in Australia.
Vicki: No, we were about to go into lockdown, that’s when they were locking down the borders and everything.
Vashti: It was very much an uncertain time. Nobody knew what was happening, and anxiety levels were through the roof, just with everybody.
Vicki: Is it getting better there? You know like anxiety wise? Or are people still like terrified? Because it’s really calmed down here.
Wendy: I think it’s really split, and you’ve kind of got the same where you’ve got the hardware store opening, so all our hardware stores closed, but last weekend they opened for the first time, and the queue was again for hours. You kind of got the people that were in the queue wanting their paint, and you got the other half of the people going what are you doing? You’re going to have another peak. So it’s really divided here between the people who are happy to go out and kind of pushing for lockdown to be opened up again, and those of us who are quite happy at home going, yeah, but I’m safe and I’m well. I don’t want to go out.
Vicki: See, you’re a Gen Xer like me. I’m more than happy to be at home.
Wendy: Our middle child, he’s got asthma, so we’re particularly worried about him, so it’s going up towards seven weeks now since we’ve been out.
Vicki: Seven weeks.
Wendy: Food delivered…
Vicki: How long has it been here? Literally I go home to…
Vashti: March 11th.
Vicki: Really, has it been that long?
Vicki: See my lifestyle, I’m not going to lie, my lifestyle hasn’t really changed because I’m such a homebody, I’ve built a home that I enjoy being in.
Vashti: I know that because it was my birthday on March 9th…
Vicki: And I forgot it.
Vashti: …and I got a voucher for my hairdresser and a voucher to go and get my eyes done. So it was an eye trio thing, and two days later the beauty salons were all shut down. So that was March 11th that they were all shut down.
Vicki: So that’s about six, seven weeks? Wow, so when did you go into lockdown, what a week before that? Early March?
Wendy: I actually pulled my kids out of school a week early…
Vicki: So did we.
Wendy: …I was following the news, watching everything that was going on in Europe, and they were shutting their borders, the trucks weren’t going anywhere. It’s like Europe was just going to pot, and we were all like off you go, go and wash your hands. And I thought, I’ve got an at risk child, I don’t actually want him in school. It’s the last week anyway, what’s he learning? So I bought them out, I bought them home a week early, and by that point we were working in the warehouse. We were doing shifts, so I was going in stupidly early to do two or three hours, then coming home. The next person would go in, so that we only had one person at a time in the office, and one in the warehouse. So that was like our first week, and then we went full lockdown. But when I say full lockdown, it’s not like it was in Europe, we can still go out for an hour’s exercise every day, you can go shopping if you want, you can work, if you can’t work from home you can still officially go to work. So we’ve never had such a strict lockdown as other countries.
Andrew: That sounds pretty similar to what we’ve got here.
Vicki: That sounds like what we’ve got here.
Andrew: Same as us.
Vicki: You can exercise, you can go shopping. So what’s the lockdown like in say Italy and Spain?
Vashti: Well that’s full lockdown, isn’t it, so they can’t move. They’re literally not allowed out of their houses, is that how it works?
Wendy: It was on the news this weekend that children were allowed out of their homes for the first time in like six weeks or something this weekend. They literally could not leave their home, the children were not allowed out. So that was, Italy was locked down far more, I think they had road blocks and things like that. That’s never happened over here.
Wendy: It’s felt quite relaxed here, which kind of makes me nervous. That’s why I’m quite happy being at home. I can’t get ill.
Andrew: OK, Wendy I think we might finish up there. Thank you very much for appearing on Nappy Leaks.
Wendy: You’re welcome, it’s been fun.
Andrew: Thank you. Thanks Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks, Andrew. So nice to talk to you again Wendy.
Wendy: We were just talking about Cologne, it’s not going to happen this year, is it.
Vicki: I don’t think so.
Vashti: No, maybe next year.
Andrew: Guys, you can talk to her after we finish the podcast. Thanks Vicki.
Vicki: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Bye everybody.
Andrew: Vicki Simpson is wife and mother to three children, and owner and founder of Bubblebubs. Vicki has been making and selling cloth nappies through her website for 16 years. Bubblebubs is now one of the most recognised and awarded cloth nappy brands in Australia, and is currently expanding to other countries. You can find out more and contact her through her website, bubblebubs.com.au. Vashti Wadwell is mother to three children and has been using cloth nappies for 14 years. She is the owner of Australia’s first cloth nappy store, Nest Nappies, located in Brisbane, Australia. Vashti can be contacted through her website, nestnappies.com. If are finding the podcast helpful, and would like to make it easier for other parents to find, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. I am your host, Andrew Simpson.