Meet the Mum behind the Brand
You can read all about me on our home page. I wanted to use this space to answer some infrequently asked questions about me and my brand. You can find our frequently asked questions here. There is no question I won't happily answer so if you can't find what you're looking for please feel to contact me.
INFREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who is behind Bells Bumz?
My name is Chloe Bell and I am a single mum to my little boy Zachary. I work full time whilst also working on building Bells Bumz. I have no employees and I am a one woman band. I have some amazing supporters and friends who help admin the Bells Bumz Nappy Chat group on facebook or are Bells Bumz Ambassadors.
Why did you choose to start a Cloth Nappy Business?
First of all I have been in a position as a single mum unable to afford to cloth my son. I wanted to develop a range of cloth nappies that were affordable yet high quality. It was very important I used cloth as he has lots of medical conditions and I was worried about the chemicals in disposables. The news you can't afford to do something for your own child is absolutely devastating. I went through so many emotions and how I was letting him down that I wouldn't want to wish those feelings on anyone. I am a great believer that everyone should be able to afford to cloth and this does not mean lowering the quality or working conditions. Why shouldn't you be able to provide the best without paying through the roof?
Finally, I want to try and retain this beautiful world for my son now and in the future for his very own family some day. Every single disposable nappy, wipe, whatever, that the reusable Bells Bumz products replace and therefore prevent from going to landfill is a step closer to making environmental change now and in the future. We often talk about how using reusable products saves waste (including human waste) from going to landfill, landfill sites are often located near our most vulnerable communities and disproportionately effect people of colour and from backgrounds which place them in a minority in the UK. Did you know.. the UK is the worlds second largest exporter of plastic waste? this means that "landfill" and even "recycling" is not necessarily even in the UK. The UK sends over two thirds of its waste to developing countries, for example in September 2020 the UK exported 6,896 metric tonnes of waste to countries such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Vietnam and Indonesia. These countries don't have capacity or facilities to properly manage the waste, which means most of it is burned or buried. This has adverse impacts on the local communities. It is important that we make changes now to protect the planet and its people now and for the future.
What is your number one consideration when designing your nappies?
My number one thought is about comfort! I wanted to make nappies that were comfortable for babies, that I knew Zachary would be comfortable in.
I wanted to make sure that I made nappies that would be comfortable for all babies regardless of their size and shape so my nappies are larger fitting than most.
I like to ensure there is a stay dry option for all my nappy products whether this be suede, microfleece, coffee fibre microfleece or athletic wicking jersey as I know that Zachary is most comfortable when he is dry. For those babies who are potty training and benefit from feeling wet or who prefer natural fibres against babies skin my bamboo wipes have been designed to be used as a slim booster and a liner for the nappies. I advise people to place the bamboo velour side against baby as it has some natural stay dry properties.
I like to make sure that babies are comfortable when they move so I have no hip poppers on any of my nappies or wraps, I considered a female hip popper but I found these still mark, rub and are uncomfortable for Zachary if they are exposed as you move to the larger settings. There are some hip poppers on the Reusabelles range that were designed by Amy. However, these are on the top row to allow increased movement and the waist has been designed so that the hip popper will not be exposed as children hit the upper weight range.
I have made sure the elastics in my nappies, whether this be leg, back or tummy elastic are nice and soft so they will not leave any more than faint sock marks when fitted correctly for your babies size.
I have tested all my nappies on Zachary to make sure they are comfortable and that I am satisfied they are as comfortable as I can make them.
How do you make such high quality products yet keep prices so affordable?
In order to make a high quality product that is affordable yet made from the best materials, with good quality workmanship and safe and fair working conditions, I do need to accept lower profit margins.
My pricing means I retain high quality products and I do make a small profit, with all the hard work I do want to be able to earn a living eventually as well as being able to spend more time with Zachary which is my ultimate goal. However, it was important to me that I did not compromise my personal values and ethics or sacrifice my belief in making cloth affordable by over charging for products that should be more financially accessible for everyone who wishes to use them. I feel strongly that I want everyone to us cloth should they wish. I am so confident in the quality of my nappies that I offer a comprehensive 12 month warranty.
How did you choose your materials?
I could have gone down the route of microfiber mix and made lower cost nappies. However, I chose to offer products I believe to be decent quality, using natural fibres without the risk of compression leaks and ensuring that the products I make work. I wouldn't want to put people who are just starting out and do not know the levels of absorbency in materials. As such you will find no microfiber in any of my products. Instead you will find bamboo, bamboo cotton and hemp cotton. I am also looking to include cotton products to compensate for flooders.
I also believe strongly in coffee fibre microfleece. I paid for an independent study to consider the benefits, I know not everyone prefers coffee fibre microfleece as the coffee fibre mixed into the polyester can make the fleece more likely to pill and it can feel slightly less soft than the white microfleece. However, I think the benefits of the coffee fibre outweigh these slight variations, despite this I have included a white microfleece option for most of my products. You can read more about my materials, including the benefits of coffee fibre fleece here.
My PUL is high quality and is manufactured using heat and pressure (also known as TPU PUL). Some PUL is made using chemical bonding and I wanted to avoid this for my nappies.
How did you choose your factory?
When I was looking for a factory to produce Bells Bumz, I initially looked in the UK. However, the cost of manufacturing in the UK is high and the environmental impact is similar to manufacturing abroad as most, if not all, materials would be imported from abroad. I did explore other factories in Turkey and elsewhere. However, again I found that most of the materials were imported from China to then be imported to the UK from where ever they were made. Therefore, I decided to find a high quality, ethical factory in China for my nappies and accessories.
To limit the environmental impact of manufacturing in China, wherever possible I transport Bells Bumz products by road and rail. You will also find zero packaging for my nappies and I ensure they are transported to me in the same way. This is to reduce any unnecessary waste. I have chosen to include a care card as these can be so helpful for people who are new to cloth nappies. However, I have made sure that they are made from bio-top paper which is EU Ecolabel certified, biodegradable and completely chlorine free.
I have friends who live in China and I asked them to look into my shortlist of factories. I then had virtual tours and photos of the lovely staff who work so hard. I completed my due diligence and have read the third party inspection report on the factory which was a lovely read. I do know that all workers have time off for their festivities and all production lines are halted during these times. I wouldn't have it any other way as all people should have fair working conditions.
The nappies are all hand made and the factory is small with a lovely personal feel to it. I speak with David weekly and we have laughs and jokes about my own stress levels wanting everything to be perfect. With the help of my friends who live in China, I recently sent a gift to David as he and his wife were celebrating the birth of their baby boy and he was taking some paternity leave.
How do you make sure your products are safe?
With regards to safety I am very particular about what I use on Zachary and as such would not put anything on my own lovely boy without knowing that they are not only comfortable but also safe. I have had numerous testers and samples to ensure consistency, quality control and for independent UK standard safety tests to be completed by SGS laboratories. This isn't a legal obligation and the factory provides certificates to US/ EU standards. However, I know UK standards are higher and so to keep true to my own values and ethics and to know that I can sleep soundly with the knowledge that there are no nasties in my nappies.
In addition to my comprehensive safety checks I also hold full product and public liability insurance as a manufacturer. A lot of lower cost insurance companies will cover you with "rights to recourse" or not cover you as if you were the manufacturer. This means that you have to claim direct from the factory, and as a Chinese factory has no legal obligations this would, in my opinion, lead to a gap in cover. Therefore, with the level of insurance I have I am confident that the consumer, my Bells Bumz Family Stockists and Bells Bumz are all fully protected.
Why do you choose to not sell direct?
Bells Bumz is a family business for me and for Zachary. I want to help families everywhere by making cloth nappies and accessories accessible that are high quality and affordable.
Through choosing my factory carefully I have made sure that Bells Bumz if also supporting the families of the people who work there and who make the products.
Continuing the family theme, I have grown the "Bells Bumz Family". I made the decision after my first range to only use hand drawn or hand painted artwork purchased exclusively from the artist, designer or illustrator so that I was supporting more families. I also decided to partner with other work at home mums who make home made clothes in fabric to match the nappies, again supporting more family businesses here in the UK. Therefore, the decision to not sell direct (with the exception of our bundles and kits) and instead showcase my amazing Bells Bumz Family Stockists ensures that their businesses are fully supported as I do not divert sales away from them. The Bells Bumz Family Stockists include a range of lovely eco / cloth nappy shops in the UK and internationally, such as Portugal. They are mostly run by work at home mums, therefore, by not selling direct I am supporting more small family businesses to grow, together.