What does it mean to be a successful woman in my community? What does she look like? What does she do? My whole life I have been looking up to women in my community because of their dedication, resilience and strength. I’ve decided to highlight some of these amazing entrepreneurial women in my Feature Friday Segment on my blog.
I recently had the lovely pleasure of chatting with Christine, the owner and creator behind Wishy-Washy Cloth Pads. Christine is an absolute delight! She is caring and so friendly and I’m so excited to share with you a little more about her amazing business.
Christine is a homeschooling mama of 9 children and married for nearly three decades! Her oldest child is 26 and the youngest, a bonus baby, is three. She considers herself a blend of somewhat conservative Christian with a serious crunchy-granola, social-justice side. A homebirth/cloth-diapering/breastfeed forever type, but also G-rated! What an awesome lady, am I right?
I asked Christine about her style and she gave me an incredible answer. She said, “I value integrity, grace, humour and quality and these values directly cross over from personal to business. Because I am a somewhat recovering perfectionist, one thing I have had to learn in business is to offer grace to myself as much as I do to others. Mistakes are inevitable in any endeavour and I have learned that when I make a mistake, I need to be kind to myself.” I truly believe this is one of the best ways in reflecting on herself and her business, with integrity and grace at the forefront. You can truly see Christine loves what she does and her spirit is so lovely. Kindness is the very forefront of our community and I’m so glad Christine noted that. What do we have if we are not kind to others or even ourselves?
In case you didn’t know Wishy-Washy Cloth is a company dedicated providing Canadian women with exceptional quality, beautiful reusable pads. Christine started this company around two years ago. She has a long history with cloths pads and has been using them since her oldest daughter was born! She tells me the first set she bought in the mid-90s lasted over 20 years. How amazing is that! So after some time she decided to put her sewing skills to work and was thrilled to find cloth pads had become almost little works of art with fun shapes and gorgeous prints. Quickly she made a new set for herself, then new sets for her sisters and was still having a blast making them, so Wishy-Washy Cloth was born. What an inspiring start! Christine still does about 50% of the sewing, but also employs a local seamstress who makes pads too.
Since this blog values sustainability in high regard I asked Christine about how it fits into her business. She noted that selling reusable pads means sustainability is the very heart of the company. An important goal of Wishy-Washy Cloth’s vision is to change the default way of managing feminine hygiene from disposable to reusable. Christine desires to see a shift in society’s attitude as a whole to one that no longer so flippantly accepts single-use products. I love this idea. We cannot continue to accept single-use products anymore. It’s just not feasible. Christine also notes that the whole of her business is sustainable as well. She is conscious on sourcing fabrics from Canada as much as she can and uses compostable packaging to send orders out. I wish more companies embraced these practises too.
I was curious about how social media works for Christine because this is how I found her business! She told me she loves being able to highlight the fun and pretty side to her products and social media is the perfect tool to grab your scrolling eyes. She did note it seems like the sustainable nature of reusable pads would be the most important part of making the switch and she finds that it is the prints that usually really win someone over. Uh yes, you won me over!! One of my favourite patterns is the Marble Galaxy! Christine told me if having pretty pads is what it takes to attract women to making planet-friendly choices, she’s here to help! She also noted she loves to actually interact with my customers on social media, who she says are really terrific humans. She loves being able to see their cute babies and the meals they make and read about their struggles. She finds it much more rewarding than just tossing ads up on the internet. I love this side to small businesses. I love learning about you too Christine and enjoy the community you’ve created online!
So I wondered if Christine had any advice for young girls looking to try out reusable pads? She told me more often than not it’s the young girl’s mom (and sometimes an amazing older sister!) who comes to her on their behalf. She suggests allowing her to choose a few pads she loves so that she can create her own set of reusable pads, ready to go for when she gets her first period. This sounds like an amazing little care package for when these girls are ready for pads. I think Christine has a great idea here. You can find her coordinated kits on her site. She noted reusable pads help to open up conversations better than disposables, normalizing menstruation as opposed to hiding it away. She told me reusable pads really give girls a gift of empowerment in addition to the great benefit to the planet.
I spoke with Christine about what she believes it means to be a local female business owner in the community. She responded by noting the plentiful resources and support. She’s been able to access three excellent business programs and is so thankful for the fantastic training in addition to networking with other women. She told me it has been an honour to connect with these women. She commented on the camaraderie and kinship with other business women and told me about their spirit of cooperation and a true desire to see each other succeed. Christine enjoys having a group of like-minded women who are always around for support. She also mentioned her role in being that person for them, when they too need support. She mentioned that being a solo-preneur, as she called it, business can feel a bit isolating, but these women always leave her feeling connected and in awe of some pretty incredible role-models. Christine hopes that as Wishy-Washy Cloth grows that she can be a role-model to young women seeking to start their own businesses. I love this aspiration for you Christine and you’ve inspired me already!
I asked Christine to comment on how Covid19 has impacted her business and she gave me a great response. She noted how she’s been incredibly blessed, business-wise. Like we all know big box stores were struggling with the lockdown and online retailers just couldn’t keep up with the demands. However, so many amazing individuals turned to support our local business. Christine already had a great online store and in April, began making cloth masks to help fill the gap before the bigger businesses could. She continues to have these available, even though they are much easier to get now. I love her masks, they are such fun designs and very comfortable to wear.
When asked about the future of Wishy-Washy Cloth, Christine mentioned she is currently rebranding! She noted her business was originally inspired to be light and fun but finds some new customers might not actually know what she is all about. She’s hoping to find a new name which aligns with her values and can celebrate the product. I love this idea and I can’t wait to see what the rebrand looks like! Additionally, Christine is hoping to continue to grow her business and help more women switch to reusable pads. She currently has one contract seamstress and hopes to hire more in the future. Her dream? That Wishy-Washy Cloth pads are carried at Goodness Me! her favourite local health food store.
Most importantly, I asked Christine what her favourite part of this business is. She gave me the best response. “It seems cliche, but it is truly the customers. I just love my customers! I think because this business grew out of something that I love and that is important to me (taking care of our planet, in a fun way), I have ended up with customers who are really my kind of people. I love serving others and so when a woman tells me that our pads make her actually look forward to her period, I feel like a million dollars!”
All photos are owned by Wishy-Washy Cloth.