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Cotton Babies Spotlight: Baby Care Diaper Service, St. Louis
April 20, 2012 4:23 pm | by
As we celebrate Real Diaper Week and prepare for the Great Cloth Diaper Change, we would like to introduce you to our co-hosts for the St. Louis Great Cloth Diaper ChangeBaby Care Diaper Service.

Baby Care Diaper Service has been in business for over 20 years and is family owned and operated by Mark and Kathy Huntebrinker. We wanted to get to know a bit more about them, so we asked a few questions that Kathy was kind enough to answer.

CB: Tell us a bit about the family behind Baby Care Diaper Service, including that quintessential St. Louis question, where did you go to high school?

Mark and I (Kathy) both grew up in St. Louis. I grew up in Crestwood and Mark in St. Peters. We met through friends and were married in 2005. Our first child, Caitlyn was born in 2006. We now have two more children, Norah (born in 2008) and Ryan, who just turned 2 last Saturday. I went to Ursuline and Mark went to Francis Howell.

CB: Can you share with us the history of Baby Care Diaper Service in St. Louis?

Baby Care has been around for more than 20 years. It was started by a family who owned coin laundry and washed the diapers in the back. They eventually bought out other cloth diaper services in the area including General Diaper. It was sold to another couple in 2005. We started using the service shortly after Caitlyn was born in May 2006.
We were ready to venture into washing cloth diapers ourselves when we learned the current owners were selling the business. I was a teacher but had decided to stay home with Caitlyn. It was small at the time and we wanted St. Louis to continue having a cloth diaper service. We started by outsourcing our washing and packing on our dining room table. When we outgrew the dining room, we cleared out our living room and put a large table and shelves in there for diapers. Our kids referred to it as the “diaper room”. By the winter of 2010, we had outgrown the living room and wanted to wash the diapers ourselves.
We now have a facility in Maryland Heights where we wash about 6,000 prefolds a week. We do all the folding and packing there, and I got my living room back!

CB: What are the benefits of a using diaper service vs. washing your own?

Laundry, laundry, laundry. We remove that aspect. You do not have to worry about getting the diapers washed and dried, because once a week clean diapers just arrive on your porch and the dirty ones are taken away. We have asked and surveyed our customers and it always comes down to us doing the washing for them. We hear time and time again, that they simply wouldn’t cloth diaper if they had to wash their own.

CB: What types of customers do you serve?

We serve all sorts of people, from the stay-at-home moms to working parents. We deliver from the lofts on Washington Ave to customer’s workplaces, for those that live out of our service areas. We recently expanded into Illinois and have receive a great response from that move. We are so happy to help put more bottoms in cotton.

CB: Aside from traditional prefold diaper service, what other services do you offer?

We sell Bummis and Thirsties covers. We also rent seven diaper covers at a time to our customers. They use the covers and when they are ready for the next size, they let me know and I send them the next size cover. We call it “Wraps for Life” since customers will have wraps the entire diapering life of their child.
We also now have a deep cleaning service where we will do a one-time cleaning of people’s own diapers to strip them of any residues or get out any smells. We will pick up your own diapers from your porch and wash them in our commercial machines. We will take care of any residue buildup or stinky diapers. We will give you loaner prefolds and wraps for the 3-4 days we have your diapers. We will then deliver them back to you and pick up our diapers and wraps.
We also have a bumGenius package. If a customer chooses this package they will buy either 50 or 100 Elementals or Free Times through us. If they choose 50 we will wash them for 3 months for free. If they choose 100 we will wash them for 6 months for free. They can then wash them themselves or have us continue washing them at a discounted rate.

Finally, we just started washing customer owned diapers on a weekly basis. For a very nominal fee, we will stop and pick up your stash of diapers, give them a cleaning and return them to your front porch.

CB: What is the best thing that has happened in the time you’ve owned Baby Care Diaper Service?

Besides the birth of two more kids, I would say the impact we have had on the environment and St. Louis with washing over 1 million diapers. Setting up our washing facility has really given us the ability to grow and offer more services to St. Louis and we are excited that people are responding.

CB: What does a typical day at work look like for you?

I (Kathy) take care of the customer side of things mostly. I sign people up, make changes to their account, and I keep track of their weekly diaper usage. I do all the ordering of diapers, wraps, etc. and do a small route of deliveries. I am also a nightowl, so many times you will get e-mail from me when you wake up in the morning.
We have lots of help from our family. My father-in-law, Ken, is our driver. Meagan, our niece, washes all the diapers. We couldn’t do it without them.

Now that we are established, we are focusing more on educating others about cloth diapering. We offer various workshops, support small non-profits, and really work to get the word out on how easy cloth diapers can be.

CB: It’s 3 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon, what would we find your family doing?

Ryan would be napping. The girls would either be riding bikes with Mark, playing in our backyard or coloring. I would be doing the normal mom stuff: playing with the girls, reading with them, or dishes…

CB: At Cotton Babies, we love coffee, so we have to ask, what’s is your favorite drink?

We are more tea drinkers than coffee, but Mark enjoys both iced and hot tea. I’m a fan of ice tea from St. Louis Bread Company. Pair that with a chocolate chip cookie and I’m in heaven.

CB: Anything else we should know about Baby Care Diaper Service?

We really love what we do. I am so proud to be making a difference in St. Louis. I feel like Mark and I work great as a team. He is “big picture” and thinks of our next plans and programs. I am the day-to-day. E-mails, voicemails, working with parents to sign up for service and anything else they need. I do the routes and all last minute packing. My father-in-law does 2 of the delivery days and I do the third so we are very family oriented.
We are also proud of our recent accreditation through the Real Diaper Industry Association. This is a process based around the testing of our diapers on a monthly basis to ensure that customers always get a consistent and clean diaper.
If you live in St. Louis and are interested in learning more about Baby Care Diaper service, visit our West County store tomorrow to chat with Mark and Kathy, our Great Cloth Diaper Change co-hosts. If you can’t make it by the store, be sure to visit their website and Facebook page to learn more about this great St. Louis business.
If you do not live in St. Louis, but would like to learn more about diaper services, please visit the RDIA Diaper Service directory to locate a service near you.

About the Author

Heather is mom to four, born within 40 months (single, twins, single). She writes transparently about her chaotic household to encourage others through the twists and turns of parenting.


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