A few months ago I was approached by a new cloth diapering company, Charlie Banana, about trying out their product line. After a few emails I was put in touch with the owner Gaëlle and was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet the owner Gaëlle over a phone call. This week I will be sharing with you the interview (today) with Gaëlle, several product reviews, and at the end of the week there will be a giveaway.
The Eco Chic: Gaelle, when did you first start cloth diapering and what inspired you to create the Charlie Banana line?
Gaëlle: I was lucky to start cloth diapering when my first baby was born in 2006. Charlie Banana® was born from my love for my children, passion about living in a more sustainable world, and the excitement of designing for today’s parents. I believe we all want to make a difference and leave some positive marks; I want parents to remember using Charlie Banana products and buy them for their grandchildren in the future.
Ecology, food and things that are healthy for you is fascinating. I studied Interior design for many years and am passionate about it. My daughter “Charlie Banana” was born in 2008 and many of my customers were constantly asking me for new products I liked or would make for them to sell. I have constant inspiration and ideas by the hours especially as my kids are growing. If I cannot find something I want or need, I make it. If my kids love it, it’s eco-friendly and multi-functional, I consider adding it to the Charlie Banana line.
A great example of quality is the handkerchief, which used to be the norm made with beautiful linen, cotton and embroideries. You would never get a dry/irritated nose after a cold. Now most use disposable tissues – and nothing compares to the comfort of a soft, reusable handkerchief. Try to use one of our Organic Cotton Single Layer Wipes as a reusable handkerchief …you will want to use these to wipe your babies delicate noses as well. And they won’t run from you the way they will from a disposable tissue!
My main goal with Charlie Banana® is to truly motivate everyone – moms and dads across the world – to switch to reusable products in a stylish, modern and comfortable way.
The Eco Chic: I see that you have both a one-sized and a fitted cloth diaper in your line. Which do you prefer and why?
Gaëlle: I must say that I am a size person – I love the Xsmall when you just come out of the hospital … nothing cuter than a perfectly fitting flush diaper, especially for those first months when you take so many pictures. When both my kids shared the diaper stash it was nice to not have to adjust anything and know right away, which one went on which bum. Medium is almost a OS in its own as it fit a 5 months old up to a 28 months baby! Every baby is different and grows at varying rates, every ethnicity has their own type of body weight and shape.
We asked many retailers and parents and they prefer to use the Size Diaper best but for economical reason the OS sells better. I believe a combination of both is an ideal choice to start with and parents can decide which size to purchase as the baby grows.
Charlie Banana® packs of 6 Size diapers with 12 inserts retail at $99.99 and Charlie Banana® OS pack of 6 with 12 inserts retails at $109.99
Pros of our Size Diaper: A better fit always and ideal if you have more than one baby in diapers as there are no adjustments needed.
Pros of our One Size Diapers: Fits a newborn to a toddler and a little less expensive as an investment
The Eco Chic: What do you think makes your diaper a better choice in cloth diapers compared to the other top brands that are available? Do you have a favorite feature?
Gaelle:We design a luxury 2-in-1 Eco hybrid Diapering system for today’s modern parents. We are a generation that loves style, comfort, quality, great price, eco-friendly and ease. We cover all those areas with our 2-1 Diapering System. Charlie Banana® has all the advantages of a complete cloth diaper, with the extra functionality and convenience of a disposable when needed.
I love our Wide Back Elastic… it is so much more comfortable on baby’s back and it gives such a nice tucked diaper. Only soft fleece touches the babie’s skin.
I love our Smart Cross Over Snap as it reduces the waist size for smaller babies making Charlie Banana® one of the smallest One Size on the market (so we’re told). When you have a dirty diaper and you are out and about, I wrap it up like a disposable and secure it with the cross over snap…nothing can escape!
The Front Flap with a disposable insert makes traveling or any special occasion so much easier! I believe and hope it will encourage many new parents to try cloth diapering. It is also a perfect cover for the One Size elastic system – nothing touches the baby.
The Eco Chic: Your product line is quite extensive; cloth diapers, cloth wipes, training pants, swim diapers, feminine pads, leg warmers; what’s next in the line? Is there any other products you would like to market?
Gaëlle: We have so many amazing products! We also have also organic cotton underwear and organic cotton boxer shorts. Many parents practicing EC and using cloth diapers have a hard time finding smaller type underwear. It is almost impossible to find organic cotton underwear or anything without a crazy cartoon on it. Our organic cotton line is so soft and our underwear are so cute on any child.
The new Bio Liner is fabulous and makes cleaning diapers A LOT easier. No matter where you are you just lift the liner, flush the whole thing and Voila…a clean diaper to wash! It really reduces the Scary Poo factor that turns many parents away from cloth diapering. Changing a cloth diaper that has a liner on it in a public change table – makes you look like a champion!
Boxer shorts are supposed to be better for boys so starting them early is the best.
We have many new exciting things in the works for 2011, but it is a little too early to reveal anything. We will give you the scoop as we are ready to launch. So stay tuned!
The Eco Chic: Of the products you already have developed which one is your favorite and why?
Gaëlle: It is hard to have a favorite … the 2 -1 Eco Diapering System is really cool and is perfect for cloth diapering pros or a novice – no other brand has all our features. Our organic training pants are pretty amazing too. So soft and look so much like an underwear but the baby can still feel the comforting padding, which is a gradual change from diaper to underwear. It is a best seller!
The Eco Chic: Since most of my readers are in America can you tell us how the cloth diapering industry is doing in other parts of the world? What part of the world is using cloth diapers the most at this time?
Gaëlle:We have amazing international customers and fans as we have been established longer in other parts of the world. We absolutely see educated parents all across the board making the switch to cloth diapers for their eco friendly lifestyle and healthier living. At this point I do not believe that there is one country bigger than the other if you compare sales by population size. The trend is strong on every continent.
UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, continue to be strong markets and Asia is rapidly catching up with the rest of the world. It is really nice to see this industry blossoming.
The Eco Chic: What are your predictions for the future of cloth diapers? Do you think they will ever be as mainstream as disposable diapers are today?
Gaëlle:Cloth used to be mainstream until Disposable came along we just tend to forget :). In America, nearly 10% of parents use cloth diapers. In The UK I believe it is closer to 35%. The trend is growing everywhere and it is becoming more common. Just last week, I saw a mom at the supermarket in Hong Kong pushing her stroller with a cloth diaper in her stroller basket – 4 years ago you would have not seen this. It makes me smile:)
I look at it as smoking – so many people used to smoke and it was normal and accepted…you can even see old commercials with Doctors sponsored by the Tobacco Industries telling you that smoking is good for you!
Now you can barely see a smoker at the entrance of a restaurant. People know it is bad for you and they are getting smarter. I believe we can all make a difference on an individual basis. When you go to a store and buy cloth diapers, your voice is heard every time. The numbers for our retailers speaks for themselves and the sales are continuing to be strong and going up. Most major retailers have a cloth section online and this is a big step from 3 years ago.
The Eco Chic: Thank you Gaëlle for your time today. Readers – stay tuned later this week for some exciting product reviews of the Charlie Banana line of products along with a wonderful giveaway at the end of the week.
“I firmly believe cloth is here to stay and parents will continue to make the switch. The industry definitely has a fair shot of taking a big chunk of the disposable market shares. Which is a wonderful thing for babies, parents and the entire cloth diaper industry!” – Gaëlle Wizenberg, Charlie Banana
ABOUT CHARLIE BANANA:
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