Up Close & Personal with Founder of “Mama Cloth”: Meg Jeddore
Part 1 – How Meg found her inspiration & her business
Original Interview with DoTheGoodWork in February 2016
By: Jennifer Ma
Meg Wilson started a local business in Durham Region, Ontario selling eco-friendly cloth products. With her company “Mama Cloth”, she has built an online store and attracted many customers to a sustainable lifestyle, creating cloth pads, reusable hankies and cosmetic pads for everyday use. I was inspired two months ago by her company and made the switch from disposable to cloth pads. It was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself and the environment. With 1,800 followers on her facebook page, she continues to grow her business everyday.
You can check her website at: http://www.mamacloth.ca/
Drop by and like her facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/MamaCloth/
Here is her story:
1. Where are you from and what amazing things can you share about yourself today?
I’m originally from the Ajax/Pickering area. I went to school in London, Ontario for fashion design. Now I reside in Oshawa. I really love this community. Durham Region has been a great place to live and it’s full of small businesses that are very connected and fully supportive of each other.
I’m 31 years old and I’m a mother of a very busy of an almost 5-year-old child. I’ve been the business owner of Mama Cloth for 3 years while mostly being a full-time mother.
Working from home with a family is pretty amazing. I’m also the bookkeeper and office manager for my husband’s mobile welding business so I have 3 jobs: being a mother, bookkeeper and Mama Cloth owner. I feel like I’m the ultimate multi-tasker – it’s a superhero power that I have acquired!
2. When you hear “inner growth, outer good”, what imagery or person can you think of?
There are two things that come to mind:
The first is my grandmother, because she was an amazing person. She was a “do good” person and very kind. She got me interested in sewing and doing things that I was passionate about. She passed away from cancer the month after my daughter was born. That was when I really got my business going. She was a huge inspiration for my business because she was such a wonderful person.
Secondly, I think many people have become aware of our impact on this earth over the past few decades and are starting to make drastic changes. I really encourage others to take small steps to make a difference and make the planet a better place for our children. It’s so important to make environmentally conscious choices in life to protect us for generations to come, even something as simple as switching to reusable cosmetic pads instead of disposables, or washable cloths and napkins in your kitchen instead of paper towels. I realize not everyone wants to use cloth diapers or cloth pads, but there are other ways to make small changes and incorporate reusable products in our lives to make less of an impact on earth.
I think it’s important that we encourage and educate others to make environmentally conscious decisions with food and products we use in our lifestyle. I think the key is to use less and make more conscious choices, and to educate others. I really love the quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “be the change you want to see in the world.”
3. How did you come up with your business idea?
Protecting the environment has always been important thing to me, particularly waste reduction. In my 20s, I started investing some time in researching on natural living, alternative medicine and the importance of food and organic products after my mother-in-law became sick. When I became pregnant with my daughter, Hanya, I started using reusable products like cloth nursing pads, which I loved. When she was born, I got into cloth diapering. Once my cycle returned, I wanted to explore alternative methods to disposable pads, not only to save money, but for health and environmental reasons. I had read more and more about toxins in the disposable products and never liked the waste associated with disposable pads. I started sewing pads for myself and friends, and soon word got out and I got a few local orders. I then developed a facebook business page where I took most of my orders and shortly after that, I developed a webstore.
4. When did you decide that this could be a viable online business?
It was certain to me when I started using cloth pads and other reusable items, and the level of interest from my friends and family. I was starting to see the money saved from using reusable products and the waste reduction in our home, not to mention how gentle and comfortable these products were. With the increase in cloth diapering over the past few years, I knew it would be the next step for many families and many women. I wanted to create something that was functional, but I also wanted my products to be fun at the same time. I get many comments from my customers who say that they are oddly excited for Aunt Flo to return because they are so excited to try my products. It’s honestly the most common comment I get from my customers and it makes me giggle every time.
5. Tell us a bit about your main products and its benefits?
My main product is cloth pads. It’s the most popular line. They are much cheaper than disposables. Although there is a bit of upfront cost in starting a supply of mama cloth, the return is amazing. Not only in comfort and gynecological health, but in money saved. The average American woman spends about $150-$200 per year on disposable pads or tampons. That’s enough money to start a reasonable supply of cloth pads that can last 6 years or more. You never run out, so there is no mad dash to the drugstore when you are in need of pads.
Disposables can trap moisture and cause rashes. Cloth pads are soft, breathable and much more comfortable. They are eco-friendly and sustainable. Cloth pads come with minimal packaging. With an average of 20-25 pads per cycle, this saves about 8,000-10,000 disposable pads over 33 years, which is a woman’s typical life of the menstrual cycle. This equates to about 300 pounds of waste in the landfill for each woman alone. We can reduce 300 pounds of waste going into the landfill just by making the switch to cloth pads just for one single woman.
Cloth pads are very absorbent. Thanks to modern textiles, many fabrics have wonderful features like breathable waterproof PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) fabric, or organic hemp fabric that I use for my pad inserts. It is 3 to 4 times more absorbent than cotton and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
There are no skin sensitivity or rashes from using cloth pads, which can be caused by disposable pads, especially for those doing chemotherapy or with immune disorders. They contain no toxic chemicals that may cause harm to your body. Many women do not realize the amount of chemicals in their store-bought disposable pads or how they may be correlated with gynecological concerns. Disposable pads and tampon companies are not required by law to list the ingredients on their labels, which makes it very difficult for consumers to make an informed decision about the product they are buying.
Some irritating or toxic ingredients found in disposable products include aluminum, alcohol, fragrance additives, hydrocarbons and dioxins. Tampon bleaching processes leave behind dioxins. Dioxins is a highly toxic compound, produced as a by-product in some manufacturing processes. It’s a serious and persistent environmental pollutant linked to cancer, immune suppression or alteration, pelvic inflammation disease, reduced fertility, changes in hormone levels and endometriosis.
Cloth pads are easy to care for. My website is packed with information about caring for your cloth products and the process becomes simple and mindless after only a few cycles. If you are already cloth diapering, the process is even easier, because you can wash your cloth pads with your diapers.
6. Can you share why your products are a good alternative for people recovering from cancer?
There are no harmful chemicals that may cause skin irritation. Cloth pads are soft and breathable. I’ve had many women going through chemotherapy treatments who have been using disposable pads and going through serious skin irritation. For these women, I recommend my organic pads, which are dyed with eco-friendly dyes and are very soft on the skin. They are the highest quality cloth pads that I sell.
Aside from reducing exposure to more chemicals, many cancer treatments can make the entire body sensitive. They can have extreme reaction to rough textures. Natural and breathable alternatives are an excellent option for women, who due to decrease in immune strength, would be more susceptible to yeast infections.
To view Part 2 of the interview: Click Here.