I heart my FuzziBunz®, and made sure to tell the world about my obsession with these berrie sweet pocket diapers here. Now, I get the pleasure of introducing you all to mom-pranuer extraordinaire, Tereson Dupuy, CEO of Mother of Eden and Inventor of FuzziBunz® in this week’s Tuesday Ten interview.
And before we get on with the interview, I just have to comment on what an awesome family photo this is of Tereson and her kids!
Now, on with the interview!
Q.: So tell me a little about your company or product and the inspiration behind it. A.: I invented FuzziBunz® diapers in an effort to help my newborn son, Eden, feel better. At the time, Eden had horrible diaper rash and disposable diapers were not an option because the chemicals irritated his bottom. And the cloth diapers on the market at the time were a major disappointment because they were wet and soggy against his skin (not to mention hard—and icky—to care for). I remember thinking that I could do better than this. And that is how FuzziBunz® diapers were born!
Q.: What’s your favorite part of owning your business? A.: I love the flexibility that my job affords me. I am free to work when I want (mostly), spend time with my children at my leisure, expose my kids to different experiences and I get great personal gratification with having done something that is loved by so many parents all over the world.
Q.: What’s the nitty-gritty on you!?? Come on! I want age, rank, and serial number! A.: I am 38 years young. I’m a single mom and have three kids. I love to travel, scuba dive, sail, hike and do anything outdoors. I love being able to have it all—great kids, great job, great life. I am truly blessed. My rank, well, maybe Super Woman— lol.
Q.: Glass half empty of half full? Or can you not tell because it already got spilled by one of the kids? A.: My glass is full to the top and ready to spill over. Every opportunity is an opportunity for growth. My outlook on life is that every opportunity is positive, even if it doesn’t feel that way at the time.
Q.: Secrets to success? Tips for making it through to tomorrow with our sanity intact? (read: how did you do it?) A.: My motto: Always be seen smiling. Smile often, laugh even more. Even when it is hard. Never ever quit.
Q.: Why do you think your products hit home with moms and families?? A.: FuzziBunz® diapers work hard and deliver on their promises—any mom can appreciate that. Also, FuzziBunz® are mom-invented—some of the best baby products have a mom behind it and FuzziBunz® is no different.
Q.: The best part of being a mom? And what’s the hardest? A.: The best part is being able to mold my children into responsible, fun, ambitious humans by leading by my example. The hardest is striking that balance between being a dedicated single mother, entrepreneur and self-fulfilled woman.
Q.: Sneaky chef or eat-those-veggies-now! What’s your parenting style? A.: Each of my children are unique and has different needs so catering to their own specific person is what is important. It’s a challenge at times but a challenge I feel well worth it in the long run.
Q.: What’s on the menu for dinner tonight? (and can I come over?) A.: Sauteed Rib eyes with brandy sauce. No kidding. When I cook I really cook. Otherwise I cook in bulk and we do once a month cooking, healthy meals. But the fresh stuff is outstanding.
Tereson Dupuy doesn’t look like a hippie chic. Signature red lipstick. House on the golf course. Founder of a multi-million dollar business. BMW. But she’s certainly doing more than most to make this earth greener.
Just a decade ago, the stay-at-home-mom was sewing together pieces of fleece to make a diaper that would alleviate her son’s incessant diaper rash. She knew then she was on to something huge. Something that would fulfill what she always believed would be her destiny of success — owning her own business — and something that would be environmentally friendly.
Necessity truly is the mother of invention.
* * *
At age 16, Tereson vividly remembers being convinced she possessed the next “big idea.”
“I would jump on the counter and say ‘I have the best idea,’” she says now from her kitchen table.
“I never saw myself working for someone,” she says. “I always knew I would invent something, offer a service. I was always looking.”
That something came along when her second of three children was three months old. Her son Eden had a diaper rash that couldn’t be calmed. Tereson switched to cloth diapers, which lack the chemicals often found in disposable diapers that were further irritating Eden’s rash.
But cloth diapers weren’t cutting it, and Tereson knew there had to be something better. Within six months of trying different fabrics and testing her theories, Tereson found what would be the perfect medium — fleece.
“It was $5 for my first piece of fleece,” she recalls.
She found the piece of lime green fleece she picked up at Wal-Mart absorbent, and it actually left Eden dry. She hit an Internet swap board for cloth diaper users and never looked back.
She named her new diapers FuzziBunz® and named the company Mother of Eden. She made her own logo and Web site at home.
Within two months, unable to keep up with demand, she delegated sewing duties. Admitting quickly she’s not much of a seamstress, Tereson only could complete about 20 FuzziBunz® a week.
As the money came in, Tereson would buy more materials. To this day, she has remained self-funded. And like those first days when she couldn’t keep up with demand, she still can’t keep up, despite manufacturers producing 10,000 a week.
“My major obstacle is that I can never produce to demand,” Tereson says.
She says new partnerships are opening up larger avenues that soon will boost production and put her in stores like Target and Babies R Us.
* * *
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about this success story is where it has landed Tereson — squarely in the natural product industry. Not in baby world. And she likes it there.
“Before green was popular, I knew it was an environmentally-friendly product. It took the world a while to catch up,” she says.
According to the National Association of Diaper Services, which promotes cloth diapers, there are 18 billion single-use diapers thrown into landfills each year. Disposable diapers make up the third-largest source of solid waste in landfills, after newspapers and food and beverage containers. It takes upward of 82,000 tons of plastic and 1.3 million tons of wood pulp, or a quarter-million trees, to manufacture the disposable diapers that cover the bottoms of 90 percent of the babies born in this country.
And while FuzziBunz® are environmentally friendly now, Tereson said they are on the brink of doing more. Within the year, she plans to have all aspects of the biodegradable portion of the diapers perfected so that when babies are potty-trained the FuzziBunz® are completely biodegradable.
“We’re getting the right materials, and we’ll be the first reusable diaper to do this,” she says of the total biodegradable venture. “We’re committed to being as green as we can be.”
Whether it’s saving on fuel for shipping, recycling in the office or the type of fabric they use, Tereson says everything they do is through a green lens.
“It extends to every facet,” she says. “How we manufacture, the dyes we use, we recycle at work. We seek
companies that are green. Our business cards are green. Everything we do has that focus. It’s our priority, and it is in my personal life.”
Only weeks ago Tereson told her kids no more Vitamin Water and other bottled drinks until they could get recycling in her neighborhood. Recycling soon arrived.
“Eighty-five percent of water bottles are not recycled,” she tells me with conviction over a cup of coffee.
Wearing a T-shirt made from bamboo that reads “Living the Green Life,” Tereson explains anyone can be green — even the fashion conscious.
“You don’t have to be a hippie to be green. You can be very hip and fashionable and still green,” she says. “It’s a common misperception. People think you have to be in Birkenstocks and hippie clothes. You don’t.”
And while Tereson isn’t a hippie chic, she has in the last few years discovered a love of the outdoors.
She’s discovered a lot in a few years following a rough divorce and life as a single mother of three children.
Like her seemingly contrasting interests in beauty and the environment, which pair perfectly, her entrenchment in business and love of mothering also work beautifully together.
So, how does this mother of three who sits at the helm of a multi-million dollar business do it all? It starts with the basics, she explains.
“Exercise, keeping a healthy lifestyle, eating well. It keeps you young and fit. If I don’t do it I’m miserable,” she says. “And I find joy. Find things in life you enjoy and make it a priority. Not getting bogged down and staying young and happy. Make joy a priority.”
Easier said than done at times, especially for a woman who literally sleeps with her Blackberry. But Tereson has learned to delegate, and she finds comfort in her new love of the outdoors. Could it be because there’s not a lot of reception when hiking a mountain or scuba diving the deep sea?
“I have to physically remove myself from an Internet connection,” she says. “I have to force myself to do those things, though. It’s part of my plan of self care.”
Learning to take care of herself is a fairly recent revelation. After her divorce less than five years ago, Tereson realized a lot about doing things by herself.
“I can do anything I want on my own,” she says. “I can be a successful woman by myself and be independent and reach my goals. I can hook up a generator. Not that I don’t need other people. But I can do anything.”
It’s that unstoppable attitude, which probably led to her success.
“I speak in when’s, not ifs. Can’ts and ifs are not in the vocabulary,” she says. “When and can are in the vocabulary.”
It’s an attitude she hopes to impart on Sarah, 13, Eden, 10 and Bennett, 6.
* * *
At the age of 38, Tereson has learned many lessons: Never mix business and personal life. Know whatever you’re going through will eventually be over. Nothing can be perfect. Let it go.
They all are lessons that are hard for a woman to learn while we often intertwine our professional lives and personal ones.
“Keep business business and personal personal,” she says. “To quote Donald Trump, ‘It’s nothing personal, just business.’ As women, we are emotional. To run a business keep things separate.”
Keeping that emotional life separate can be a challenge when you’re struggling through a difficult time, and Tereson knows this. She’s been there.
“Know it will eventually be over, and you can get through it,” she says of challenging times, like divorce. “It’s not the end of the world. It gets better. It’s not the end; sometimes it’s the beginning.”
Learning to let go is perhaps one of Tereson’s greatest lessons learned. It translates to everything. As a woman, you’re wearing enough hats to make your head spin. If you’re going to do it all, accept it can’t all be flawless.
“Some things have to wait,” she says. “To balance, you have to let things go and accept they won’t be perfect.”
Levi Alves McConaughey may be the next Hollywood baby in cloth diapers
LAFAYETTE, La. – When baby Levi was born to proud parents, Matthew McConaughey and Camilla Alves, Mother of Eden, the makers of the patented FuzziBunz® pocket-style cloth diapers, in collaboration with BopStarBaby, a celebrity gifting company, sent the McConaughey family a starter set of FuzziBunz® cloth diapers.
Fast forward several weeks: the McConaughey clan sent a personal thank you note to Mother of Eden founder and FuzziBunz® inventor, Tereson Dupuy. The note acknowledged the great history behind FuzziBunz® diapers and thanked Dupuy for the blue, turquoise and green diapers she sent.
“We feel it’s important to encourage all families – celebrities or not – to make eco-friendly choices when raising their new baby,” says Dupuy. “We are honored that Levi Alves McConaughey may just be the next celebrity baby to make the important fashion statement that green is good!”
Cloth diapers. It’s a term that makes many new mothers cringe. The idea of dealing with washing and folding dozens of diapers and the risk of stabbing their own fingers while protecting their child’s mid-section from the business end of a safety pin doesn’t appeal to most.
Even those who look for environmentally-friendly ways of doing things hesitate to venture into the routine of their grandmother’s day.
But, a Tereson Dupuy, Broussard woman has brought cloth diapers into the 21st century with the addition of a polar fleece dryness liner, a built-in waterproof exterior and adjustable snaps to make diapering quick, easy and pain-free.
Her FuzziBunz® diapers appeal to many parents, including high-profile moms and dads in Hollywood and Nashville.
And her budding international business came about because of personal necessity.
When Dupuy’s son was a baby, disposable diapers weren’t an option.
“He has a skin condition – atopic dermatitis and eczema,” she said. “Putting disposable diapers on him caused so many problems – rashes and bleeding.”
She was obligated to use cloth diapers, but she didn’t like the hassle of safety pins and separate vinyl pants.
So, she invented something that combines the baby-friendly and environmentally-friendly characteristics of cloth diapers with the convenience of disposables.
Her invention, now about 10 years old, is known worldwide as FuzziBunz®.
“It’s a three-stage system,” Dupuy said.
The polar fleece, which is next to the baby’s skin, draws moisture away from the baby and into an absorbent cloth pad, which is inserted into a pocket inside the diaper. The stay-dry feature is accomplished without using chemicals or gels, Dupuy said.
The inner fleece lining and pad are contained within a waterproof outer lining.
“Everything separates to be washed,” Dupuy said, “so it gets really clean.”
Tanya Domingue, a pediatric nurse and Scott resident, began using FuzziBunz® four months ago, when her son, Jack, was born.
She had previously used disposable diapers on her two older children.
Domingue said there is no comparison between the two.
“These FuzziBunz® win hands down,” she said. “It has a soft feel.”
Domingue said the reusable diapers are actually easier to deal with once they’re soiled than disposables.
“And, I like the idea we’re not putting more into the landfills with these diapers.”
At first, Dupuy made the diapers herself, just for personal use, but word soon got around in some of the parenting forums and chat rooms she belonged to.
A cottage industry developed, and in 2000, Dupuy’s business, which operates under the name, Mother of Eden, took off.
“I got out of the house; I stopped sewing, myself, rented a building, got employees and have been increasing ever since,” she said.
Now, her product is being sold nationwide on the Internet.
“I also have a large distributor in the UK, Finland, Australia – places where they’re a little more green than the United States.”
Celebrity parents have been heard to say they use FuzziBunz® on their babies, including 90210 star Tori Spelling and country music star Brad Paisley and his wife, actress and model Kimberly Williams Paisley.
Although FuzziBunz® are available on the Internet, Dupuy would like local parents to know that they can be purchased directly from her.
For those who don’t have a celebrity income, the cost of each diaper is a bit of a stumbling block. They sell for about $20 each.
But, they’re much cheaper in the long run, Dupuy said.
Domingue estimates that at seven diapers a day, she had already spent about $240 on disposables for her older children by the time they were 4 months old – Jack’s age.
Dupuy said most people get enough FuzziBunz® to last about a day and a half, so they don’t have to wash every day. The snaps allow for an adjustable fit, so the diapers grow with the baby.
“A full (set) of FuzziBunz® is $200- to $300, compared to $2,500 for disposables,” she said, assuming that disposable diapers are used for about three years.
To cloth diaper or not to cloth? Deciding if cloth diapers are for you By: Sarah W. Caron, SheKnows
How are you going to diaper your baby? For most of us, it’s more a question of which disposable diaper brand we’ll use. After all, disposables are SO common and convenient. And cloth diapers… not so much. Right? But there are actually more options than Pampers, Luvs, Huggies or Seventh Generation. There are a diverse selection of cloth diapers to consider, too — and, folks, these aren’t your grandma’s cloth diapers.
Several years ago, after a bad diaper rash, my son’s pediatrician suggested that I try cloth diapering and using reusable wipes or wash clothes. I bucked at the suggestion and railed on its craziness. Mere months ago, a mom friend and I were talking about ways to go green. I openly denounced any possibility of ever cloth diapering my daughter. Crazy! Ludicrous! Just. Not. Happening.
So why am I changing my mind now? Cloth diapers aren’t all diaper pins, waterproof covers and stinky messes after all… In fact, there are many choices that can be almost as easy as disposables.
Fitting cloth into life
Even with the many of options available, experts say that cloth diapering still isn’t for everyone, due to life constraints. “Cloth diapers can definitely be for everyone, but not everyone has the right situation to cloth diaper. Sometimes family circumstances are such that won’t allow for cloth diapering. For example, daycare settings that prohibit cloth diapers or caregivers who are uncomfortable using cloth. However, families could still use cloth at home, and many daycare providers are now willing to give it a try once they see how simple it can be. It really does amount to a particular mindset that the family and others who might be caring for the baby have. If the motivation and desire is there, then it’s a good fit,” says Stephanie White of Z Bear Diapers.
Solving diapering issues
But for others, cloth diapering makes sense. Children with rashes like my son can benefit greatly from the more natural fibers in cloth diapering (for the record, the rash did go away with the right cream and a change in diet).
Tereson Dupuy, creator of cloth diapers, was also advised by a pediatrician to start cloth diapering her son. She decided to take the plunge. “I researched my options and tried a few of the ‘best’ brands on the market at the time. Overall, I found these diapers to be wet, soggy, cold – they did not keep my son dry or solve his rash problem. I researched other materials besides cotton that might work and invented a diaper that solved all my issues,” says Dupuy.
It’s all about support
For best results when cloth diapering, talk to your spouse, family, daycare and other people in your child’s life about your intentions. Explain why you want to cloth diaper and its benefits. As White says, you can just do it at home if others aren’t willing to use the cloth diapers.
But, others point out that it can be an everyday, everywhere thing.
“Modern covers and/or pocket diapers make it easy to keep your baby’s clothes dry (often better than disposables). Just put a wet-bag (or an extra plastic bag… from the grocery store, or a zip-lock) in your diaper bag to hold any dirty diapers. A weekend trip is even possible, but a washing machine is recommended for more than an overnight stay. I even got my daycare to use cloth… and they loved it!,” says Marni Matyus, the Natural Parenting expert at peppermint.com.
White says to look carefully for the right diapering system for you to help with 24/7 cloth diapering. “Once you have that in place, you won’t worry about what to do if baby poos in public or that your diaper might leak. When you’re out, you use your favorite brand, so you’re confident, and then have
a good time,” White says. “If baby needs a change, you change the diaper and put the soiled one in a wetbag, take it home, and take care of it
LAFAYETTE, La. – Just in time to honor dads this Father’s Day, FuzziBunz® diapers today announces that it has received the Mr. Dad Seal of Approval. The Mr. Dad Seal of Approval recognizes products and services that aid in getting fathers involved with their children and that improve the quality of father-child relationships.
Armin Brott, a best-selling author of seven books on fatherhood, including The Expectant Father, said of FuzziBunz®, “This reusable diapering system is nothing like the cloth diapers of yesteryear. No pins, plastic pants, or Velcro closures!”
Brott adds, “They’re easy to use – which encourages dads to get more involved in diaper changing – wonderfully colorful, and may even save you a few bucks over time.”
Tereson Dupuy, the CEO of Mother of Eden and inventor of FuzziBunz® pocket diapers, says that receiving the Mr. Dad Seal of Approval will hopefully mean that more dads will be willing to try out cloth diapers.
“Dads can really bond with their babies during diaper changing time and FuzziBunz® is proud to be a part of those special bonding moments between a baby and his daddy,” says Dupuy. “Plus dads can feel good that their not only creating less waste, but also that their saving hundreds of dollars each year.”
To see the full listing of Mr. Dad Seal of Approval winners, please visit the Mr. Dad website.
Reusable diapers are big business for this Lafayette-based company By: Eve Kidd Crawford
Ben Franklin famously said that the only things certain in life are death and taxes. He’s mostly right, but he forgot one other thing—dirty diapers. But just because they’re a necessary evil doesn’t mean that they can’t also be fun, cute and even trendy.
Tereson Dupuy, founder and chief executive officer of Lafayette-based Mother of Eden and the inventor of FuzziBunz® reusable pocket diapers, has based an empire around this concept.
“I knew they’d be big,” she says of her diapers. “I knew that eventually the green boom would hit, and it’s only just starting. It’s going up from here.”
Dupuy invented the diapers in January 1999 when her then-4-month-old son, Eden, for whom the company is named, developed a chronic diaper rash. The chemicals in disposable diapers worsened the rash, as did traditional cotton cloth diapers, which got soggy and held wetness next to his skin. After playing around with fabrics and styles, Dupuy came up with the now-popular pocket-style diaper that kept her son dry and comfortable, didn’t leak and was easy to launder at home. She began sewing diapers at home and selling them on the Internet.
As word of mouth grew, Dupuy decided to patent her invention in 2003. Five years later, Dupuy and her invention have won numerous awards –– including a 2007 Outstanding Product award from iParenting Media and the prestigious 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year award given by the Stevie Awards for Women in Business –– and annual sales in 2007 exceeded $3 million. FuzziBunz® has received media attention from Parents, American Baby and Time magazines, among others, and amassed a celebrity following that includes Tori Spelling and Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams.
Even as her business took off, Dupuy never considered moving headquarters out of Louisiana. “I live here,” she says simply. “I grew up in New Orleans, came to school in southwest Louisiana, fell in love with the area and stayed. We have the best people in the world, best food in the world, best culture in the world. It’s a culture-rich area. I don’t plan on moving.”
Keeping her business in Louisiana has had some challenges, however. “It’s not the greenest place in the world,” she acknowledges. “When I was starting out, I went into an ad agency, and they said, ‘You mean you have to wash it at home? We can’t market this!’ So I just moved on. It can be a struggle to find people who understand a green industry, who understand a reusable product.”
But Sydney French of Opelousas, mother of 19-month-old Carson, fully understands the benefits of cloth diapering. “When my baby was 10 months old, I decided to switch from disposables to cloth,” she says. “I felt horrible every time I threw a sack full of disposables away. All I could think of was the chemicals that would be sitting in a landfill for 500 years. I am thrilled with cloth. I really wish I would have started from the beginning.”
Some have argued that cloth diapers aren’t any better for the environment because of the water needed to wash them. Dupuy scoffs at that idea, at least where her diapers are concerned: “These aren’t traditional cloth diapers. They’re pocket diapers and made of materials that wash quickly and dry quickly. You only need to use one-fourth on the normal amount of detergent, and because they wash and dry so quickly, you save water and energy. We didn’t really make them that way on purpose; it was lagniappe.”
And Dupuy is constantly striving to make the diapers themselves greener. “We’re using companies that are more environmentally sound,” she says. “We’re looking into using recycled eco-fleece, and we’re now manufacturing some of our diapers in Boston, Arkansas and Los Angeles because that way it requires less fuel to get to the end user. We’re making a green product in that you reuse it, but on a grander scale, we are a green company, too.”
Dupuy says a large part of her customer base is on the West Coast, but she would love to see more Louisianians using her product and thinks that might happen soon. “It’s all changing,” she says. “We’re realizing that we have to be more responsible.”
She urges anyone curious to give FuzziBunz® a chance. “Just buy one or two,” she says. “Try them out. See how your baby feels. See how they wash. See the rash reduction –– because you’ll see a reduction even with just two. And of the people I know who’ve opened their mind and given them a chance, no one has said, ‘Oh, this just isn’t for me.’ They all say, ‘I was skeptical, but I fell in love. There’s no reason to go back to disposables.’”
French certainly counts herself as a convert. “I encourage everyone to try it out,” she says. “I like it because it’s not wasteful. And I feel it’s healthier for my child to put cloth next to his skin instead of chemicals. We’re bombarded enough with chemicals. This is one thing I can do to protect him a little more.”
LAFAYETTE, La. – FuzziBunz® reusable pocket diapers were today featured on NBC’s The Today Show as Style Contributor and In Touch Magazine Buzz Editor, Bobbie Thomas, talked about the most stylish must-haves for new parents.
In the segment featuring the very best products for baby, Thomas told Today Show host Natalie Morales that, “Tori Spelling raved about these [FuzziBunz® diapers] on Donny Deutsch’s The Big Idea [on CNBC].”
Tereson Dupuy, inventor of FuzziBunz® and CEO of Mother of Eden, is thrilled that FuzziBunz® is in the national spotlight. “Hundreds of thousands of moms around the world already know that FuzziBunz® diapers are the best thing for their babies and the best thing for Mother Earth. We are ecstatic that Bobbie Thomas selected FuzziBunz® diapers as one of her must-have baby picks. After all, Bobbie knows best!”