After the birth of her first child, Kelly-Jo Sweeney struggled to find a range of affordable and reliable cloth nappies in New Zealand. So, in 2010 she began designing and sewing her own cloth nappies for her growing family, and from there, Nappyneedz was born.
Being a very environmentally conscious person, Kelly was determined to minimize the waste her baby would be sending to landfills. After researching and talking to friends, she set out on using cloth nappies on her first child.
“Having used reusable menstrual products for over fifteen years, choosing cloth nappies for my children was the obvious choice”
After using cloth nappies on her first child in 2006, Kelly was inspired to help other Kiwi families make the switch to the environmentally friendly alternative. She began working as a cloth nappy advisor, and later began manufacturing the cloth nappies she was creating for her own children.
Kelly works full-time from home now that her four kids are at school, and runs Nappyneedz almost entirely solo. She now sells a whole range of cloth nappies, reusable menstrual products, breast pads, bibs, and nappy accessories. And she’s currently developing a number of new products – particularly her range of NZ made items.
Kelly still advises parents about cloth nappies, and does in-home consultations for families in the Dunedin area. She also has online advice forms that families living further away can fill out and she responds to. On top of that, she runs a blog with tonnes of info about cloth nappies, menstrual products, parenting, and environmentalism.
Cloth nappies and reusable menstrual products are great choices for anyone who wants to cut down on waste, save money, and lessen their environmental impact. Using just one cloth nappy a day on one baby can divert 912 disposable nappies from landfills in a year, that’s over 136 kgs of waste! And using them full-time can divert 6,000!
As Kate says, “one small thing will make a difference”, and ever-striving to be more environmentally friendly, Kelly has now started walking instead of driving short trips.
She says, “cutting down on those little journeys soon adds up, saving petrol and making me more healthy”
Making little changes like this can make a huge difference in our environmental impact – if everyone walked or cycled more, the reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere could have a huge positive effect on climate change.
Bigger changes like using cloth nappies can seem daunting at first, but with the right products and advice, it’s not that scary. The simple act of using cloth nappies on your babies will likely have the single greatest effect on your environmental impact out of anything you’ll do as a parent. And with great New Zealand owned and operated companies like Nappyneedz, it’s all there for the taking.
You can buy Nappyneedz products and find out more about them on her website: https://www.nappyneedz.co.nz/