New RDIA Officers Elected

The Real Diaper Industry Association board held their annual board meeting Monday, October 14th and elected new officers to lead the association during this exciting time of growth for the cloth diaper industry.

Catherine Bolden Michelle Caparoula
Catherine Bolden, Chair Michelle Caparoula, Vice Chair
Dennis Frederick
Mia McDonald, Secretary Dennis Frederick, Treasurer

 

Earlier this year, we asked each of the RDIA board members about their cloth diaper use and their involvement in the industry.

Why do you participate in RDIA? 

Catherine Bolden: “I want to share benefits of reusable diapers to educate people to shift to a more reusable lifestyle.”

Michelle Caparoula: “In order to be an effective advocate for cloth diapers, you have to be a skilled mythbuster – and that requires knowledge of solid evidence-based in research. It’s a priority of mine to make sure that evidence gets disseminated to RDIA members and ultimately to current and potential cloth diaper users.” 

Mia McDonald: “I hope to help pool the resources and talents of other cloth diaper business owners while promoting cloth diapers back into the mainstream so as many families and communities can take advantage of all the benefits that come with their use.”

Dennis Frederick: “I am participating on the board because I very much want RDIA to succeed as a voice for a growing and dynamic industry.”

 

We would also like to thank the outgoing officers who will be continuing their service on the RDIA board of directors.

And outgoing board members whose terms ended this year:

These RDIA members have given so much of their personal and business time to lead both this organization and this industry to success.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to current or previous executive board members via our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (RealDiaperIndustry) accounts.

2012 Annual Meeting

The Real Diaper Industry Association is pleased to announce the 2012 Annual Meeting, which will be held on Monday, October 15th, 2012 at the ABC Kids Expo in Louisville, Kentucky.  While this event is not required of members, it is highly recommended because it gives each member a chance to network with other industry professionals.  If you have not yet registered for the annual meeting, you can register on the event website.

The meeting will be held in room C-108 of the Kentucky Expo Center, from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

 

All attendees are encouraged to get involved in social media.  Whether you communicate best through Facebook, Twitter (@RealDiaperIA) or Instagram (RDIA12) – get involved!!  Members will be using the hashtag #RDIA12 on Twitter and Instagram to create buzz about this fantastic event.  We will be retweeting, reposting, and streaming your contributions – what are you waiting for?!

 

Following the annual meeting, all members of the RDIA are cordially invited to attend a luncheon social, held in conjunction with the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA).  This hour-long social will also be held in room C-108.  Registration is $25, which covers the cost of lunch.  All additional donations benefit the Real Diaper Industry Association.

If you wish to register for the lunch/social, please do so by registering on the event page.  REGISTRATION ENDS AT 6PM ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9TH.

We look forward to seeing each of you at the meeting and wish you happy travels on your way to Louisville!

 

RDIA Diaper Service Members Receive Accreditation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Kim Meador, RDIA Board Member
DATE: July 24, 2012
PLACE: Sacramento, California
E-mail: Kim@ecobabyandhome.com

Accredited Diaper Service

RDIA DIAPER SERVICE MEMBERS RECEIVE ACCREDITATION

The following diaper services have received RDIA diaper service accreditation:

These Diaper Services have been awarded accreditation from the Real Diaper Industry Association, a California-based cloth diaper industry trade association that establishes quality standards for the cloth diaper service industry.

“By voluntarily applying for and receiving the RDIA Diaper Service Accreditation, these diaper services have demonstrated a commitment to safe laundering practices,” said RDIA Board Member, Kim Meador. “Safe and sanitary washing conditions are crucial to our industry, and it is important to have organizations that are willing to measure themselves against national standards.”

As an RDIA accredited Diaper Service, each of these businesses joins a select group of diaper services that meet rigorous standards for safety and accountability.

The Diaper Service Accreditation program was created for the safety of diaper service customers, to create industry standards, to provide marketing support, and for general business peace of mind that each service is providing a safe, sanitary and product for diaper service customers.

The Real Diaper Industry Association strives to make reusable cloth diapers the primary choice for babies’ parents and caregivers while emphasizing responsibility and sustainability through a focus on people, planet, and profit. RDIA works toward these goals by providing service and opportunities through business education, industry research, collaborative marketing, and group benefits.

The accreditation program is only available to members of the Real Diaper industry Association as a benefit of membership. Membership in RDIA not only gives cloth diaper businesses access to the accreditation program but also gives them access to other members’ cumulative knowledge of hundreds of years of diaper service operations. Join RDIA now.

Please direct additional questions and inquiries to: accreditation@realdiaperindustry.org

By-Law Change Passes 49-3

Every few years, it is standard for associations to review the make-up of their members and modify board representation to accurately reflect their membership. For example, diaper service membership had grown considerably, but diaper services were still represented by only two board members. With this discrepancy and others in mind, the RDIA board proposed By-Law changes in September of 2011, and these By-Law changes were overwhelmingly passed by 49-3 on February 7, 2012.  These changes improve our association in many ways.

More Diaper Service Board Members, Fewer Manufacturer and Retailer Board Members

RDIA membership is currently comprised of 17 Manufacturers, 50 Retailers, 71 Diaper Services, 7 Artisan Manufacturers, and 21 Associate Members. Since the resurgence of diaper services has brought more diaper service members to RDIA, the board wanted these members to be properly represented. Under the new By-Laws, manufacturers, retailers, and diaper services each have three board members.

Category

Original Number of Board Members from this Category

New Number of Board Members from this Category

Manufacturer

4

3

Retailer

4

3

Diaper Service

2

3

Artisan Manufacturer

1

1

At-Large (New)

N/A

3

Diaper Service Information

1

N/A

TOTAL

12

13

 

New “At-large” Seats Provide Flexibility

Sometimes there are experienced and enthusiastic members that would like to join the board, but there are no vacancies on the board within their category. To encourage these interested members to join the board, we created three “at-large” board seats.

 

Small Manufacturers Become “Artisan Manufacturers”

The original intent of a “Small Manufacturer” category was to ensure all manufacturers were represented within the association, regardless of size. Since there have been, and always will be, professional makers sewing cloth diapers by hand and selling directly to end users, the original board wanted to ensure the voice of these cloth diaper makers, and their unique needs, were heard separate from those of larger manufacturers whose business is primarily wholesale.

Over time, however, the label “Small Manufacturer” brought confusion. Many manufacturers identified with the category name of “Small,” even though they weren’t sewing their diapers themselves by hand. So, the board decided to clarify this by adding “handmade” and renaming the category “Artisan Manufacturers.”

 

Manufacturer Member Requirement less Limited

Manufacturers used to be required to meet two of the following three criteria: 1. Gross sales over $100,000/year, 2. Has wholesale accounts (their product sold by resellers), and 3. Be in business for over 1 year. This excluded some smaller or start-up businesses manufacturing for wholesale, and was one of the reasons newer businesses often joined as “Small Manufacturer,” so this section was removed.

 

Cloth Diaper Information Services Category Eliminated

This was probably the only change that isn’t as intuitive as all the others. Historically, Cloth Diaper Information Services have not stepped up to serve on the board after Jennifer Liptrot (Diaper Pin) served. This board seat had been vacant since August 2009. For a full year, there was only one member in that category. With that in mind, the board reevaluated diaper service information services.

When the board was first created, the founding members sought a place on the board for businesses like Diaper Pin, where cloth diaper information was presented to consumers and businesses, who were then redirected to other cloth diaper businesses. Since that time, the era of blogging has taken over. In this new climate, cloth diapers are highlighted on hundreds of blogs. These blogs help spread the word of cloth diapers in our industry, and consumers as well as RDIA businesses are grateful for their contributions. Last year, a handful of bloggers joined RDIA in the diaper information service category.

Over time, blogs have become a form of publishing and public relations. Blogs are popular, social, informative, and can have political impact. The natural category for bloggers seems to lie within the Associate Membership category, along with all other businesses  and organizations that support the cause of RDIA, want to be an integral part of its future, interact with its members, and show that together our industry is stronger than as individuals. In my research on trade associations, this is where bloggers typically fall. The decision was further encouraged because no information service members showed interest in representing their category on the board in 2011 when there was an open seat.

An association is a living, breathing entity that constantly changes to best serve its industry.  We can only assume that we will revisit this decision and reevaluate cloth diaper bloggers and other cloth diaper information services in the future. In the meantime, we will work with bloggers as associate members, offering an open dialog to better our industry, as well as opportunities for interacting with all RDIA members. We have offered all previous cloth diaper information service members a full one-year extension to their now associate memberships. We look forward to a continued relationship between cloth diaper bloggers and other cloth diaper businesses.

 

How Will These Changes Be Phased In?

The board analyzed several scenarios for phasing in the new board member distribution. The goals were to ensure all current board members would serve out their terms, minimize short terms (less than three years), and keep the board as balanced as possible. Ideally, we wanted to see new board members elected each year for each of the large categories: manufacturers, retailers, diaper services, and at-large.

The graph below shows our idea for implementing the new board seats. Please click on it to see a larger view.

Become a Board Member

There will be a total of six vacancies on the RDIA board this year (2 Diaper Service, 1 Manufacturer, 1 Retailer, and 2 At-Large). The second diaper service seat and the second at-large seat will be short terms as we work toward the ideal of each category having one seat up for election each year.

Cloth diaper business owners

RDIA Board Members Matt Guckin, Mandi Meidlinger, and Catherine Bolden.

As elections approach, be sure to ask board members questions about what it takes to serve on the board, why board members devote so much time to our industry, and how you could contribute. Reach out to fellow members and encourage them to run for a board seat. Then, be sure to attend the “State of the RDIA” webinar that we’ll be holding for members in a couple of weeks.

The four major roles of RDIA and associations in general are:

  1. member education and benefits,
  2. research and statistics,
  3. standardization, and
  4. lobbying.

On a more basic, or perhaps human, level, an association is a group of people who find strength in numbers while sharing a common interest. According to ASAE (the American Society of Association Executives), associations are founded on democracy, volunteerism, and common interest that are the heart of the American experience.

When we work together, big and small, we strengthen our own industry while advancing society. Our industry needs leaders, and this year is a great time to lead the future of the association.

Mandi Meidlinger
Jillian’s Drawers
Chair, Real Diaper Industry Association

Farewell from Leah Carter

Leah Carter ran for a Manufacturer seat on the RDIA board of directors during the first election in 2009. CPSIA had dawned on all of us in the cloth diaper industry during that year, and Leah did great work as the Chair of the Legal Committee to help members understand what the new law meant for them. Once she was elected to the board of directors, the directors elected her Chair of the association for the 2009-2010 year. In the two and a half years since her election, Leah has continued to serve on the board of directors until January. After 10 years making little beetle organic cloth diapers and wool diaper covers, Leah has closed Better for Babies. She has left the board of directors but has agreed to continue to help, particularly with the Legal Committee, as long as the board continues to ask for her help. 

Leah Carter portrait

The closing of Better for Babies may mark the end of my time as a business owner, for now at least; but it is not the end of my entrepreneurial spirit. Likewise, the end of my term as board member is in no way an end to my interest or investment in the cloth diaper industry.

Saying farewell is a process, and not an easy one. However, the confidence I have in my decisions and the bright collection of memories serve to ease the way forward.

I ran for board right after joining RDIA. I’ve never been one to ‘sort of’ commit. I jump in and pour in all my passion, as well. I wanted to contribute to, and take from, RDIA. I wanted to get to know these remarkable businesses who paved the way for the industry, and I wanted to know the businesses that were just getting started – plus all those in between. I didn’t just want to know them, I wanted to learn from them.

So began my 3 years with RDIA. And, I can say that I walk away having made some of the best relationships imaginable. I have voices to call on when I need inspiration, when I need wisdom, when I need a new and fresh perspective, or just someone to listen. I know people who will be brutally honest, correct my grammar with a ruthless sense of precision, and voices who will remind me of the calmer side to every story.

RDIA is nothing if not filled with passion, and each member directs that passion in a slightly different way. That’s the beauty of it. Where will it go? Forward – navigating with the balance that comes from a framework of shared values. The association is a living, breathing body – being shaped and molded within those values by members, both large and small, who give, inspire, lead, and support.

I’m no longer part of that body, but I hope I’m a part of the spirit!

Leah Carter meets new people at the ABC Expo in Louisville

Leah Carter meets new people at the ABC Expo in Louisville, 2011.

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