The day a diaper got a new name…

I’ve barely slept the last three days as I’ve pondered writing this post and what to say and how to say it…

After all these years, I’ve come to really appreciate the people who try to understand the complexities involved in making all of the people happy all of the time while also trying to operate a business with a value system that works to include all the different kinds of moms out there. It’s complicated and we’ve faced significant challenges, not just how and when we do things, but also with production volume, production methodologies, and appropriately identifying what the future holds with ideas as they mature.

In spite of these challenges, we have continued to move Cotton Babies and the cloth diaper industry forward in a way that inspires growth, creativity, domestic jobs and fair labor practices. We hope the passion behind our fans never dies, as it is our most vibrant source of inspiration for future improvements. Have I ever told you about the (former) staff member who, on purpose, shipped people all the wrong color and wrong sized diapers?  Or the staff member who was selling product off the back dock?  You told us about both of these people. We have since learned not to trust everyone.  Security cameras have been installed now… and our fulfillment line is designed to not fail based on the actions of a single individual… the phone system helps us hold people accountable… we’ve doubled the size of our customer service team… and our social media team… and our marketing team…  but the learning process to get here has involved multiple and, at times, massive public failures.  Thank you, Facebook.  Oh, the stories I could tell….  our base has always been interconnected.  They talk to each other… and repeat legend… and I live with all of the things in my dreams.  Someday the whole story will be part of an epic book.

This year though, our focus has been on #everygoodmom and #youreonegoodmom.  We’ve worked to make our marketing racially and gender diverse while also inclusive of a variety of parenting approaches.  We’re the only corporation that was willing to stand behind the moms attending the Warrior Moms conference in Boston in a few weeks… a conference event designed for the one in seven women suffering from postpartum depression and other postpartum mood disorders.  We believe in EVERY mom.  We sell things that help the process of mothering, but we know that mothering doesn’t require “things” as much as it requires healthy, informed moms.  With this in mind, we’ve built a community of almost 20,000 parents on Facebook, primarily women, in hopes that they would be there to support each other through their parenting journies.  When every mom feels enabled and equipped to be a great mom, every child gets a chance to have a better childhood.  When every child gets a chance at a better childhood, our world wins.  Cotton Babies started out to feed my family thirteen years ago, but it’s never been just a business for me. It’s always been about the people.

So here we are.  You’re wondering why Kipling is now Chico.

Last summer, one of our artists presented us with two prints, prints that were at the time named Patch and Kipling.  Both prints were beautifully done.  The butterfly design and the story behind Patch was solid. The nod towards The Jungle Book with Kipling seemed safe and nostalgic.  Most of us have fond memories of watching the Disney movie as a child and singing along with Mowgli about the “simple, bare necessities of life”.  Some quick trademark research helped us identify the story as public domain. That was a simple yes from our legal team, and with that, we pushed both Patch and Kipling forward last fall, making them available to our retailers to order in absolutely any quantity desired.  At the time, the chief criticism of Cotton Babies was that we weren’t making enough diapers when we released a print.  We kept increasing production, but it was never enough.  So in an effort to define “enough”, we let the retailers tell us what they wanted to buy.  Surely that would be a better gauge of “enough”, right?  Retailer pre-order numbers came in at double our last production run.  Higher than we expected, but not stratospheric. The print designs were done, so we went to final screens last October with the fabric printer and ordered laminate.  The fabric got caught behind some other things that ended up being more urgent, then the laminator moved them behind someone else’s order and we ended up waiting six months for fabric to be delivered to our cut/sew facility in Colorado.  By the time we actually started making diapers early this year, everyone had been living with the designs and the ideas behind the designs for a year.  The designs were gorgeous and the geniuses who inspired them seemed so… safe.

Patch happened.  Now let’s fast forward to release day, Thursday, June 25th.  I woke up at 2am and got in the car to drive to Chicago to speak at an event that afternoon.  Wednesday, we’d filmed a quick “box opening video” as the warehouse was working to get all of the wholesale orders shipped.  In case you’re wondering, I opened the box of diapers going to Stephanie at Abby’s Lane.  That video was pushed out on Thursday afternoon.  My event was at 2pm.  As I was presenting cloth diaper market research to a small group of people in Chicago, nearly all of the “Kipling” diapers were sold through from Cotton Babies and we were beginning to hear rumors roll in of retailers beginning to sell through their inventory as well.  I started to drive back to St. Louis on Thursday around 4pm, when my car read me a text from Libby that just said “call me”.  We had received a Facebook message from one customer… an message that sent ice through my veins when Libby read it to me:


Libby read me the Wikipedia page that the customer linked us to… and then pulled up Rudyard Kipling’s bio… which is when we both realized that neither of us had done any digging on Kipling other than recognizing that the movie was a sweet memory from when we were kids.  A quick Google search schooled us on exactly how seriously we’d failed.  Kipling was, indeed, an internationally recognized literary genius with work that deserves applauding and study, but he’d used his platform to promote a form of racism.  While this might have been seen as acceptable when Kipling wrote his poem, Kipling’s views do nothing today but throw fire on a world that desperately needs peace…. This is not the time for Cotton Babies to be making a hero of a man who sowed some of the seeds that grew into the racial division our world is facing today.

Remember, our goal is to make sure that every mom is equipped and enabled to be an amazing mom. Never once did I a dream that a sweet diaper with characters on it from the jungle book could create a place for Cotton Babies to be accused of having racist values… and that, my friends, is exactly what was starting to happen.

Libby and I talked at length about what to do.  We could have acknowledged the issue, and just encouraged people to focus on the things he did well.  We could have done nothing.  There were a lot of various options, but there was no “best choice”. Given the current state of our country, we finally decided that the certainly not perfect, but the right thing to do was to rename the diaper.  Most companies would try to bury this.  It’s simpler than owning up to the issue and choosing to give the minority a voice. Certainly, the diapers were selling out.  Sales of product weren’t going to be a problem.  But we both knew the bigger issue was the one being raised privately by the kind mom who messaged us… and that was the issue that would linger forever… and that was the issue that we wanted to be clear on.  Cotton Babies cares about all of our moms.

Once the decision was made, I pulled off of the interstate at Bloomington, Illinois to write a post for the mob about why we made the change. We expected the mob to get it.  We thought that most of the moms would be unaware, as we were, but would understand and support the change.  Unfortunately, we were wrong. The conversation was dominated by people who didn’t understand and didn’t support the change.  The opinions and voices of the minorities in the group were mocked and belittled and unfortunately, we had to make the decision to moderate the mob as this post (and a number of others) devolved into ugliness.

This is the unedited version of my post to the mob on Thursday evening:

This afternoon, right after we released the new print, we learned some disturbing things about Rudyard Kipling.  Rudyard Kipling was a notable individual with many accomplishments, including “The Jungle Book,” a piece of literature that will forever have a place in popular culture. However, Kipling also wrote a very disturbing poem supporting a concept called colonialism.  He was demeaning and disrespectful to people of other cultures and promoted his opinion as fact.

As I’m sure you can imagine, this was an upsetting discovery.  Cotton Babies will not promote discrimination or racism. We value people.  All of them…. and Cotton Babies has decided that Rudyard Kipling does not belong in our Hall of Genius.

I am happy to say that we did find someone much more deserving of your awareness and attention, and effective immediately, the diaper that was released today will now be named “Chico” in honor of Chico Mendes. Mendes was a Brazilian conservationist who worked tirelessly to stop the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and to bring stabilization to families living in the jungle of the Amazon. Mendes was eventually assassinated because of his dedication to jungle preservation.

“At first I thought I was fighting to save rubber trees, then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rainforest. Now I realize I am fighting for humanity.” —Chico Mendes

All the images and references to this print on our website  have been updated to the new name.  We are asking our retailers to make the same changes.  We sincerely apologize for this oversight, and hope the cloth diaper community will help us memorialize this diaper as “Chico.” I owe a debt of gratitude to the kind person brought this to our attention today.

Thank you for your support as we work to bring attention to the things in our world that are truly important.  Love people. That is the beginning and the end of things here. We hope it’s that way for you too.

Was renaming the diaper the best choice?  No, the best choice would have been to figure this out earlier so we didn’t find ourselves having to walk this particular path.  But was it the right choice for this circumstance?  Yes.  Emphatically yes.  That said, when we went looking for a new namesake, we chose Chico Mendes because of the importance of his fight for rainforest preservation.  When you dive into the details of his life, you’ll find a story of a boy growing up in the jungle, learning how to read at 18, and as an adult, becoming an internationally renown influence around an important global issue. The Environmental Defense Fund writes, “Brazilian rubber tapper and land rights leader Chico Mendes pioneered the world’s first tropical forest conservation initiative advanced by forest peoples themselves. His work led to the establishment of Brazil’s extractive reserves protected forest areas that are inhabited and managed by local communities.” While he’s not a household name, he should be… and his story is worth learning more about. We’re aware that the theme isn’t a perfect match, but stay tuned…. you will see a Genius Series diaper from us that is more accurately focused on the Amazonian rainforest and the important battle to preserve our planet’s natural resources in South America.  Some of you will say that it’s just a diaper and question why it’s such a big deal.  Most of the time, I’d be standing shoulder to shoulder with you… yes, it’s just a diaper.  But this week, it wasn’t just a diaper. It was much, much more.

Our hope is to see the cloth diapers reach absolutely every single family in the United States.  Unfortunately, cloth diapers are NOT reaching every single family in the United States.  Remember that survey that we asked cloth diapering families to fill out?  The results taught us some valuable things, but one of the most shocking was the lack of diversity in the moms who are talking to us.  Over 90% of the 6000+ responses were from Caucasian families.  I’m sharing this piece of information with you because, while the mob was loud in their response the other night, the survey data tells us that the mob isn’t the whole story.  There are voices that we’re not hearing.

We are here for ALL of the moms.  And if it takes a change like this to help restore some confidence in the hearts of the minorities in the cloth diaper world, we are going to do it.  And while you’re free to have your own opinions about that decision and the dynamics behind the decision and how we could have prevented the need for that decision… we are going to stand here, behind all of the moms… and if we had to do it all over again… we would. Because it’s that important.

We asked a few people to share some thoughts with us about this whole situation.  Only one felt comfortable sharing her thoughts publicly.  Donna Smith, the founder of Black Women Do Cloth Diaper, wrote this:

I choose to believe that people are mostly good. I wish I could teach my children that. I don’t have that luxury.

“WE BELIEVE in building bridges, not walls. We believe that every family, every parent, every baby is different. We believe that you (and all your lovely differences) deserve to be treated with respect.”

Last night, I watched something in the mob that broke my heart. Those very basic things above were shattered by a few single line quips and comments. On a cloth diaper forum. However, I was not “surprised”. I don’t have the luxury of being suprised.

I am willing to believe that 96% of the members in this forum had no idea of who Rudyard Kipling was aside from “The Jungle Book”. See there are many sides of some people. Good, bad, and ugly. He was multifaceted. He was human. He was flawed. We all are. He wrote something called “The White Man’s Burden”. Its troubling. Take a stab at reading it without feeling sick to your stomach and possibly getting a little angry.

All people do not have the luxury of not being aware. Aware of the world as it was and as it is. Some people, make a conscious decision to be unaware, and that is dangerous. Jenn and her team choose to not only be aware but to be conscious. They made a decision to not shy away from an issue that is as prevalent now as it was then. And they choose to swiftly and immediately change. There are people in this world who hate people based solely on the amount of melatonin in their skin. That is it. I am not going to get uber deep. I just want you to digest that. No matter how YOU live, there are other people who don’t see things the way that YOU do. Why not BE aware? It is OK to SEE race. It is OK to acknowledge that each, every, and ALL forms of social injustice is WRONG. How can change occur if people don’t identify the need and address it?

Will racism go away if we just don’t talk about it? I see people say everything is not about race. That is true. On the other end of the spectrum, there ARE things that are about race.

It is a not about being “politically correct”. Stop with that. Cut it out. Its a slap in the face. It is simply about acknowledging that things in the past have to ability to still cause ill feelings in the present. If someone stabs you, you feel that pain for a period of time that is not to be determined but anyone but you. Eventually, you may no longer feel the pain, but you will have the scar as a constant reminder of that pain that lasted but for a period of time. Racism is the scar. Can you understand that?

My son will be a Black man in America. It terrifies me that he could do all of the right things and still get all of the wrong responses for being born Black. I am scared. Here is my vulnerability. I am not alone in this. My husband is a service member who has given almost half of his life to serving this country. I was not as scared of him deploying to war as I am when he leaves the house and he is not in his uniform. He is covered in tattoos. He looks “urban”. I am terrified. Can you understand living in that kind of fear? Some of you can, some of you can’t, and then some of you believe I am being unreasonable.

What is unreasonable is that in 2015 my fears are VALID. I seek out constant reminders that maybe my fears are invalid. The action Jenn and her team took last night was one of them.

We heard from some retailers.  Here’s an email from Bethany Hackworth, owner of The Little Sprout in Canada:

I just want to say that I fully support the name change and all of my
customers know it. I hope this firestorm of anger dies down quickly and
that the new mob comes back. When I say new mob I mean the changes that I
saw happening with regards to the attitude in there. I hope you are able
to pass this on to the social media team who took a beating last night,
but in the last couple of weeks I have noticed a change in how they do
things and I think others did too! Their presence within the mob was a
positive one, lots of “getting to know us” questions posed by the admin,
lots of involvement in conversation, the picture of the do not open box
was fantastic and the box opening video was a great move..  I loved that
they had all of the colour charts prepared and ready for everyone and just
their overall involvement over the last few weeks.
I hope that this is just a lesson learned and a bump in the road, but with
all of the negativity going on I felt that I needed to send this, and
hopefully they will get a little lift to know not everyone thinks they
made the wrong choice and that their improved social media presence
leading up to now has been noticed!

We also heard from some customers. Only one person called to cancel their order on Friday. We heard a lot of unawareness and surprise… and unfortunately, some hate-filled threats. There was also support and a lot of love.

And a quiet comment from another person was simply,

Jenn did the right thing.  I support the decision entirely, but I’m really glad that it wasn’t mine to make.

I’m a quiet introvert and, clearly, do life with a bit of a limp.  I actually have a bad hip and am having hip surgery soon… but in this case, the reference is more about wishing it was all perfect all the time and that people would just like each other, use kind words, and genuinely try to pull out the best in each other.  That’s my limp… because it’s not real life.  People don’t like each other. They don’t use kind words.  They don’t want the best for each other.  And, as we saw demonstrated in the mob the other night, they don’t always think to see someone else’s perspective before shouting their own.

Friends, I think about important things for weeks before I actually say them out loud. I stay out of crowds and loud things. I like entertaining, but I’m not usually the person who loves parties. It takes me a long time to be ready to say these things. But as the questions pile up and the presumptive comments loom, it’s time to get this post published.  I don’t have days to edit and rewrite, but it has to be said…. and this is what I want you to remember.

We genuinely love people at Cotton Babies. Why we’re here… is about you.  And all of your lovely diverse differences.  We like it that way.  This world is full of amazing people.  Who all deserve to be heard.  All of them. Especially those who are under-represented.  We hope that you’ll make room for more moms… those like you.. and welcome those who aren’t just like you.

Because together, we’re stronger.  Apart, we’re alone.
P.S. When we started the Genius Series four years ago, the plan was to keep it fun and light hearted.  When the themes were chosen, we were looking at elements of remarkable work from an individual that would help us draw attention to a particular occupation or cause.  Jules and Carroll were authors of memorable children’s stories.  Spence and Marie were people who have contributed to oceanographic research and cartography.  Albert and Lovelace were a nod to the math and programming worlds. Louis was a look at music history and the influences of jazz.  Harper called attention to another amazing work of literature.  As the idea developed and more diapers were released, the entire series became more influential than we’d ever imagined possible…  If we had it to do over again, the Genius Series would be just as fun, but we’d consistently focus our efforts at building awareness around ideas and people differently than the original Genius Series concept described… and, in some cases, we would have made different choices with the people we featured.  As the Genius Series continues to evolve, we’re looking forward to drawing attention to interesting ideas, occupations, and people.  There are some powerful things waiting to be released. Stay tuned.

Jenn is the Founder and CEO of Cotton Babies. She holds an Executive MBA from Washington University. She was awarded Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Emerging Category for the Central Midwest Region in 2011. Among many other awards, she recently received a 2017 YWCA Leader of Distinction Award for Entrepreneurship. Jenn holds many patents on various inventions in a number of different countries and is listed as one of 50 Missourians You Should Know. She is particularly fascinated by languages, chickens, and children (she has four) when she’s not reading economics journals. Jenn offers mentorship to product developers at any stage in the journey from idea to shelf.

29 thoughts on “The day a diaper got a new name…

  1. I’ve been wondering how I will be able to support and utilize Cotton Babies as my kids grow older and out of diapers (thankfully I’m not there yet). This is how:

    “They talk to each other… and repeat legend… and I live with all of the things in my dreams. Someday the whole story will be part of an epic book.”

    That is a book I will buy!

    Also, thank you for your words, your support of moms, and just being you. You are an inspiration.

  2. Thank you for respecting all moms. Thank you for setting a good example, for being a role model working mother and for being a role model female business leader. I truly appreciate your open communication and your thoughtfulness. Cotton Babies is a company where I would be proud to work.

  3. I will openly admit, I am not happy about the name change. I think that he was known for and still is known for The Jungle Book.. That being said.. I understand where you are coming from. Race is so big right now, people are dying daily because of the issues with race. So yes, he wrote a raciest poem so long ago that it shouldn’t matter. But it does. Because racism is still a big deal. Racism still matters. Should it? No. But it does. And right now, in this day, race issues are so big and so in your face, you cant even turn on the news without hearing it, that releasing something, anything, to do with racism, could be damaging, if not life threatening. I bawled my eyes reading Donnas words, because as a white women, I had no idea the actual reality of what it is like. I fear for my son, but no where near as much as she does. My son isn’t going to grow up to be a man in a world where he is hated just based on the color he was born. I could never imagine. This being said, my son, 17 months old, doesn’t see race yet, he doesn’t know what it is, he doens’t see black and white. When we go to the store, he says ‘hi’ and waves at everyone. He doesn’t care, as long as they smile and say hi back. I wish I could keep this young innocents in him forever. I wish in a few years, he still didn’t see the difference or at least didn’t care.. but as a white child, I know one day he will come home to me and not understand… I plan to raise him as well as I can. I hope to raise him to not see it, but I can’t shelter him from the pain and from the news and from the shootings and the hurt out there.. He will see it. and I feel the need to say sorry, sorry the world is such a hard place, sorry that in a country and time where gays can now marry, there is still so much race issues. I love my diaper, and will still consider it a jungle book diaper, but every time I look at it, I will remember to pray, pray for this world, and pray for mamas like Donna Smith who have to worry so much every day in such a hard, hate filled world.. No one should have to be scared to walk out of their house…

  4. You guys are really a class act! I have such admiration for your values and your work you do to raise people up. I STILL have “you are one good mom/dad” cards all over my house.

    I noticed that the diaper’s name had changed, but didn’t really look in to it. I have really scaled back on my cd obsession and mostly use flips and flats so I’m kind of out of the loop. I figured that if cotton babies deemed it necessary, it was. I love your transparency in posting this and I also love that you didn’t take the easy way out. Even though it was messy and inconvenient, you guys took a stand for humanity. Even in the face of a literal mob.

    Yay for cotton babies!

  5. You and your team do amazing work and I do not envy the choices you have to make. Thanks for being aware to take this responsibility and make a chance. It’s not hard to admit a mistake, much less an obvious oversight. ?

  6. Thank you for your explanation. You’re one amazing mom and I hope you get some much needed rest. I can’t wait til I can make it up to my local cottonbabies to pick up chico and like Amber I’d love to read your book one day
    With love Nicole

  7. I am beyond honored to have a working relationship with you and to call you a friend. This is love, kindness, and a spectacular way to run a business.

  8. When I began my cloth diaper journey, I read reviews about how great Bumgenius was so I bought some. Then I read your story of actually struggling with the cost of diapers and that was what gave me the push to purchase 100’s (literally). Besides how much I really do love BG, I love how inspiring you are as a person. I was one of those who knew nothing about Kipling and purchased it because it is cute. It’s only a bonus that it has been renamed to our dogs name (Chico). One day I wish I could actually shake your hand and maybe smile for a pic, to know I have gotten to meet another amazing woman in life. Keep up the amazing work you do and I won’t be mad if the genius prints all came back so I could buy them at retail. ?

  9. Jenn, you brought me to tears. Thank you for being such a great example of doing business right. I’ve been a retailer of your products for years but the more I know about you the more impressed I am with how you acknowledge that what you are doing matters.

    Donna, you always amaze me with how calmly you help others to see. I’m still praying for a day when pigment variations are no longer relevant to anyone’s safety, for the black men and women we care about, as well as for all of us. Because hatred impoverishes us all.

  10. Jenn-
    A few months back on the mob you posed the question about what Feminism is to us. I had the good fortune to join that conversation and was amazed at how well it was moderated and directed to remain on topic and respectful. There are hundreds of posts on the mob every day and you yourself took time to read each post, absorb the content, and to comment periodically.

    I think you and the way you direct your company are great personification of what Feminism means to me. Equal rights for all. Recognition of past atrocities, with an eagerness to prevent history from repeating itself, education about people who have done things for our world and for humanity.

    You have steadily increased production of your limited edition items to ease the price gouging of second hand items, you have staff working in cloth diaper scam groups to protect yourselves and other mamas, you’ve owned (collectively as a company, as well as you personally) every error no matter it’s size that Cottonbabies has made.

    I do not envy your occupation. It is tough to keep everyone happy, and it is tough to own mistakes and fix them. However, I have seen you and your staff handle mistakes with grace and kindness. You meet every complaint no matter how big or small with compassion and understanding. You raise awareness of some pretty critical issues that our world needs to address by the people who are made into the Genius Hall of Fame. You get people thinking. Whether what they think is good, bad, or indifferent, they are thinking. They are learning. They are becoming aware.

    That is awesome and that is Feminism in action. You Jenn Labit are doing what you can as best you can. There is always room for improvement as a business and as a person but out of this error in judgement you and your team got to reach out and educate the world about another environmentalist they may not have known about otherwise.

    Once the firestorm burns out and the ashes are no longer smoldering there is only one thing that can be done. Look to the Phoenix as an inspiration. You will rise and carry on changed, educated, and more dutiful in selection of who gets your attention. Let people be upset if they must. We cannot change the world while making people comfortable at all times.

  11. Totally agree with the decision. You and your team did their best to right a mistake. Some people couldn’t fathom why and well, it showed their lack of understanding of how our world is operating right now. Hope your business can spread family values, kindness, heart, and awareness with your future plans. Every choice made (mistake or not) is a stepping stone, and your team seems to see it as that. Chico is a great print and a rainforest diaper will continue to greatly honor his name.

  12. When I first started cloth diapering, your cloth diaper bank Share the Love is where I turned to. Because of that diaper loan, I was able to build my beautiful stash, and help my money save a lot of money, and not worry about finances. When I read your story, it brought me to tears, because I’ve been down that road, and I don’t want to be there again.
    When I read your post about Chico, and I was completely fine with your decision. When I later found out that the mob had reacted hatefully, I was appalled. I couldn’t believe the attacks that people were making.
    You have me as a customer from now on, I will stand behind you 110%!

  13. Last week my family had something unspeakable happen to them. The diaper came out right before we left town to drive 4 hours each way for two 5 minute visits with my husband’s grandparents. I did see the name change, I did not know anything about Kipling. When I saw your original post, I understood. Someone dropped the ball and just didn’t research as much as they could have or should have. It happens. I moved on. I saw all the drama, but I just didn’t really care enough to get involved in it. I have a feeling many of the people who understood what you did just didn’t get involved in the drama. Honestly, I didn’t think it was anything to be upset about. Like you said, the diapers were going to be sold either way, so what does it matter what name it has? I respect that you did face it head on and change the name. I’m glad that you chose to be sensitive to the race issues in today’s society. And I think you chose a wonderful person to honor instead. Rest easy tonight Jenn, not everyone is against you 🙂

  14. You’ve got a stage, and you took a stand on a huge issue. I applaud you. I remember the first time I read a statement about how every dollar you spend is a vote for what kind of world you want to leave behind for your kids…it’s something that has always followed me. I’m glad to know I can continue to give my “vote” in confidence that people are being heard. You are so right-at the end of the day.. it is only people who matter.
    That being said, mobsters or not.. As fellow mamas, can we not all agree that sometimes stuff gets out of hand? Sometimes, we don’t think something all the way through? And lastly, that every single day is a learning experience. Know better, do better.

    Glad to work for a company that retails your products, and glad to have them in my own home! Thanks for all you do.

  15. Good for you and your team for not turning a blind eye. Racism is alive and sadly well in our society and too many people ignore it. I am Lakota, my relatives live in South Dakota on a reservation and oppression is something that they experience first hand still. Ya know, in 2015. It is meaningful to me that you guys opted to get rid of Kipling, so thank you. More people need to follow suit! I will eventually buy Chico when I have the money 🙂

    • I have a friend who is a mid wife on the pine ridge reservation! Is that where your Lakota relatives live? Tell any son to be moms that they’re in good hands with Grace! Small world!

  16. Wow. Well said. I cannot imagine having to make the decisions that you make! I believe you made the right decision in this case.
    Fairly recently, Beco baby carriers renamed a couple of their carriers after they had been released, due to being made aware that their names could be offensive to some people. So, you are not alone. I don’t say that to suggest that the mistake was ok, but that mistakes happen and sometimes details are overlooked. I wish people would understand that these companies are run by humans and we all make mistakes!
    I love BumGenius diapers, even though I only have three of them. Keep up the good work running your company!

  17. I understand and respect your reasoning for changing the name. However what confuses me is why so many other Genius diapers were therefore not change? Einstein with his sexism, the paedophile concerns around Carroll, Chaplin getting a 15 year old pregnant and then marrying her when he was 35… even Audrey and her promotion of eating disorders perhaps?

    • When we started the Genius Series four years ago, the plan was to keep it fun and light hearted. When the themes were chosen, we were looking at elements of remarkable work from an individual that would help us draw attention to a particular occupation or cause. Jules and Carroll were authors of memorable children’s stories. Spence and Marie were people who have contributed to oceanographic research and cartography. Albert and Lovelace were a nod to the math and programming worlds. Louis was a look at music history and the influences of jazz. Harper called attention to another amazing work of literature. As the idea developed and more diapers were released, the entire series became more influential than we’d ever imagined possible… If we had it to do over again, the Genius Series would be just as fun, but we’d consistently focus our efforts at building awareness around ideas and people differently than the original Genius Series concept described… and, in some cases, we would have made different choices with the people we featured. As the Genius Series continues to evolve, we’re looking forward to drawing attention to interesting ideas, occupations, and people. There are some powerful things waiting to be released. Stay tuned.

    • I think largely because Kipling was being recognised for his writing, on the jungles and it’s people in particular, and some if his writing is the problem. Three others are far less connected to the recognition they were receiving.

  18. I really respect you taking a stand and I think the people who are being so rude about this should be ashamed of themselves.

  19. You and your team are doing a fantastic job Jenn . We love you guys beyond the diapers ! I adore this Chico guy . Keep doing your thing , I feel like these hiccups come when you’re doing something so right . Hang in there , praying for a much better week , great things are around the corner ! 🙂

  20. I do appreciate you and your company changing the name of the beautiful green, jungle diaper now known as Chico. As a Black woman who has just fallen in love with cloth with our 2nd child I am soo happy you addressed the issues that the Mob had. When the name change took place and you announced why I felt like I couldn’t express my appreciation of someone understanding how this person (who I had no clue until after purchasing and hearing from the Mob) wrote a book or poem about race. So many moms seemed as if the name should have remained- no matter how it made the “very few of us” feel. Thank you for doing what was right. I can’t wait for my 3 week old to sport your beautifully designed diaper.

  21. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I stopped buying from Cottonbabies half a year ago. I went from having a double rainbow to having two. Two single diapers. Both Louis. I was extremely frustrated half a year ago. I felt like multiple times I brought up lack of diversity in your genius series to your admins and multiple times I was ignored. Multiple times I brought up the racist and ignorant comments in the mob and multiple times I was ignored. I lost close friends in the mob for standing up for my beliefs in the need to diversify the line. I was done. I went from purchasing every bumgenius I could get my hands on to not even knowing when a new print was released.

    And then a fellow woman of color told me about Kipling. I shook my head. I was saddened. I was saddened because the women of color in that group had been trying to be heard and their voices silenced and their ideas lost. But then….your beautiful and humble blog post. I have never seen someone take responsibility so beautifully. I am deeply touched by your empathy and willingness to admit wrong. You Jenn have brought me back around to your company. I am very excited to see you move forward as an ally. Thank you.

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