If you need a reason to register for the RDIA annual cloth diaper business conference in Louisville September 27-28, start here.
Steven Tinker is the President of the American Reusable Textile Association (ARTA), and he has been in the professional laundry industry for 35 years as a product development scientist and marketing professional. Steve Tinker knows laundry, and he knows it better than anyone else. He understands what it takes to get diapers clean, and he is going to tell you. Whether you run a diaper service or you are advising your customers on their home laundry, understanding the science will make a difference. So come to the conference, and stay to the end. Steven Tinker is our final speaker on Wednesday morning of the conference.
2. Change the world.
Our industry is often about change—changing consumer behavior, changing societal attitudes toward diapers, and changing those support systems that externalize the costs of throwaways. We have an inspiring example of change in our larger community with the Handmade Toy Alliance (HTA). Dan Marshall and Mary Newell of HTA are giving the keynote. If you come to their presentation, you will KNOW change is possible and YOU can (and must) make it happen yourself.
3. Vote on RDIA bylaw changes.
RDIA is a member organization. Board members and officers run the day-to-day operations and make sure goals and projects run, but underneath all of that we are governed by bylaws. Only members can change those rules of governance. If we have a quorum in Louisville, members will vote on bylaws in person. Your vote is crucial in shaping the direction of the association.
4. Get your motivational boost for the year.
We are all at different stages in our business growth and we need different catalysts to improvement. For some, new products bring exciting changes. Others are looking for new ways to reach out to potential customers. A lot of us are inspired by the cool things our colleagues are doing. Many are just looking for ways to work together toward our common goal of putting more babies in reusable cloth diapers. Whatever gets you through the year, two days together in Louisville gives you concentrated inspiration.
New this year is a product showcase including both manufacturers of cloth diapers and diapering products plus other baby products. Time is tight for a lot of our members. If you don’t have time to attend both the ABC Kids Expo and the RDIA conference, the product showcase at the RDIA conference will be like a diaper-concentrated ABC show for you to see and choose new products for your store or service.
6. Relax and hang out at the hospitality suite.
Relationships that we build face to face with other RDIA members can lead to friendly support through the year, working together on industry projects, and do business together. Passing by one another, saying hello at meeting, or sitting next to one another at sessions is a start, but it’s difficult to have a substantial conversation. Hang out in the Hospitality Suite for that prolonged contact that lets you really get to know others in the cloth diaper industry.
7. Belong to a welcoming community.
There is a real sense among attendees at any industry meeting of being the hardcore, of belonging to a community. Real Diaper Industry Association is an open community, and YOU can belong. Just show up, say hello, and you are in.
For diaper services, accreditation has been discussed and desired to set standards that will reassure parents that the diapers delivered to their door are clean and safe. The Diaper Service Accreditation program will be launched at the conference. Participating services share a group discount on lab testing, and they follow strict guidelines. This is a leap forward for the industry. Be there to understand the opportunity for diaper services to advance their own businesses.
Many, many RDIA members have put local incentives and subsidies high on their list of changes needed to increase cloth diaper use. We have heard of programs working elsewhere. The Real Diaper Association, the grassroots charity, has been encouraging local diaper aid programs and supporting the volunteers who make them happen. If you really want the scoop on cloth diaper incentives and subsidies as RDIA launches its own program, you need to hear what RDA is doing.
Considering our target demographic as an industry, since parents buying diapers generally stay young as we all grow old, you had better know how young parents buy diapers. They are social and mobile, and if you aren’t there with them on social media, they will buy from someone who is. Scared? You should be. Come to the presentation “Don’t DO Social, BE Social” to get ideas on the direction you need to go as your customers change.
Bonus. Take a break.
People in our industry work ridiculous hours. Getting away for two days to think about the big business questions is one thing, but we need some fun, too. Forty of your new best friends will be on the Belle of Louisville, a National Historic Landmark, for dinner and a cruise up the Ohio River. It’s just a three-hour tour, but you can call it a mini vacation. (Was that a “three-hour tour”? Hmm. Just in case, you had better get your house in order. We could be stranded together for the next three seasons with a hilarious cast of characters.)