A photo history of GB

2004 seems like just yesterday, when I was wanting to make nappies and found there was not one single bit of Nappy Specific fabric available from NZ. I posted on our nappy forum, wondering if anyone would buy it if I brought it in myself.

When my business graduated from stock leaning on the dining room walls and processing on the dinner table, to having an office in the spare room, the stock in the wardrobe and packing orders on the ironing board – that was pretty exciting!
tadaaaa 25 march 05 SMALL

And then when business took over the whole of the spare bedroom, I’d made it!

As amazing and such a gift as it has been, it’s also been hard, hard work. I’ve spent many days bawling my eyes out, wanting to quit, while packing orders with a baby on my back – and most people who know me have at some stage or other been forced to listen to me tell how I was having contractions all day while packing orders, would pack the order, crouch and rock through contraction, attach address label, crouch and rock through contraction, stick on post ticket, crouch and rock through contraction, move to next order…

My sister Michelle & I finally finished packing orders in the spare room at 1.20pm and we were holding the baby in my bedroom at 3.45pm. That’s one way to take your mind off labour! πŸ˜† And bright and early next morning I was back on the computer printing off orders when the midwife popped round to see how our first night had been. Yep, he was a GreenBeans baby from the word go.

Moving from the spare room to taking over our garage with the business was mindblowing. Who would have thought that my little idea would have gone so far!? Not me.

We used to have trucks backing down our tiny wee cul-de-sac and dropping stock all over the driveway for us to lug into the house late into the night… oh how our neighbours must have loved us.

Then came the day that we packed the garage into a couple of trailer loads and took it all to a warehouse. My baby left home… a milestone in any mother’s book!

And so I started working out of our Tauranga warehouse. Until we packed up and moved to a teeny tiny little town in the middle of nowhere that I HATED. But where we could afford to build a big enough garage to house the business while having the kids back home with me again. Working fulltime, with no childcare, in a teeny town you hate, living in a garage, in the middle of nowhere? Hard. But, still awesomely lucky. Our kids have grown up surrounded by talk of fabric and snaps.

Then when my sister was dying in 2008, everything shipped back over to the Tauranga warehouse and we got a staffmember who took over all the dispatching from me & freed me up to spend time with my sister. Wow!

And Mr Bean was by then doing all the sourcing. And I was home, with my wee boys, and only doing computer work, no dispatching, and after two years of grudgingly enduring it, the tiny town had totally grown on me! Bliss!!

But, who stays with bliss for long? Nope, we jumped back off the deep end, and started all over again. In Australia!

The volume and percentage of our sales that we were posting over to Australian customers, made the idea of starting up a warehouse in Brisbane, just common sense.

Our staffmember carried on dispatching from Tauranga, and for the first year Mr Bean stayed in NZ to make sure things carry on running smoothly in NZ while I moved with our five and three year olds to live in Brisbane. Eventually he was able to move to Australia too, and we were able to reunite to run our Brisbane warehouse together.

It was a family affair πŸ˜‰

These days Hamish runs the show – he’s based in Brisbane but spends his time between here, NZ, and abroad overseeing production.

20 Responses to A photo history of GB

  1. Miss Cinders says:

    S do you know how many times I have read this post [here and on the other blog] and used it to get my focus back? πŸ™‚ You are an inspiration lovely lady! I can’t believe you’ve been here in OZ for nearly 12 months though! Man that’s gone fast!!!

  2. cassie says:

    what a wonderful storey! gives inspiration to all of us.

  3. Mel Smith says:

    I love that you were packing orders in labour!

  4. Lily Chong says:

    You are an amazing lady who persevered and succeeded even in tough times. I am very touched and inspired by your story. Thank you for sharing your heart-felt story with the world. I heard Jesse Duplantis once said: “Tough times don’t last but tough people do”. That’s who you are!!!
    I wish you all the very best in the new year and the years to come.

    Lily Chong

  5. Andrea says:

    Great story….I remember those early days…what a relief to finally get supplies locally! Andrea joeleze naps (formerly)

  6. Rachel says:

    Finding your site has made me one happy Mummy, was having a terrible time finding fabrics. Love your success, well done!

  7. Kate B says:

    Hi Sarah, what a wonderful inspiration you are! I am just getting into cloth nappies, and I was wondering if you stock products to make it possible to make a 100% organic nappy (fabric at least, not snaps, elastic)? I was looking at hemp for its absorbency and environmental rating πŸ™‚

    • sb says:

      Hi Kate, thanks πŸ™‚ We have stocked some organic fabrics in the past but they never sold well so unfortunately it wasn’t viable to restock. You could go with woollen covers if you wanted your outer layer organic also. All the best with your cloth journey!

  8. lucky kiwi says:

    Go girl… Love your story.

  9. Anna says:

    Hi Sarah, thank you for your quick postage! Would you please advise me, I would like to make a mattress protector for the bed and would like to know what absorbent fabric (and how many layers??) would be best for the inner bit? I have bought suedecloth for the top and PUL for the bottom from you. I would like it to be able to absorb a whole wee that sometimes seems to escape and wet the bed. If possible I would prefer if I didn’t have to change it at night when it’s wet, but obviously I would if it still felt wet for my boy to lie on. My boy is 14 months. Thanks a lot! πŸ™‚

    • sb says:

      Hi Anna πŸ™‚ I have a couple that I made six years ago now – still going strong! – that had microfibre in the middle. I used microfibre as, like you, I wanted it to absorb a whole wee, so I made it fairly thick, and the microfibre meant that it would still dry in a reasonable timeframe when I washed it. I *think* it has three layers inside. That sounds rather a lot so you could try with two layers, and see how you went, if you didn’t want it quite as thick. Hope this helps πŸ™‚

      • Anna says:

        Thanks Sarah, it does help πŸ™‚
        Q: Did the microfibre smell? (retain the smell of pee?) The reason I ask is we inherited some microfibre nappy inserts and even tho we washed them, they would still smell like pee, plus I read on a forum to use bamboo or cotton cos microfibre smells. Can I ask, what was your experience?
        Did you just layer PUL, microfibre, then suedecloth? Is there a better, more ‘grippy’ bottom layer to use rather than PUL? (so it doesn’t slip on the bed, as I want to use it on top of the top bedsheet). Thanks so very much!
        PS did working through your labour shorten it? Our antenatal teachers told us that exercise in labour speeds it all up! πŸ™‚
        Thanks again for your superquick reply πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      • sb says:

        No, it doesn’t smell, none of my microfibre inserts do. I bought some second hand nappies for my latest babe (they are bamboo not microfibre) and they really smelled bad, I washed and washed them, hot water, disinfectant in the rinse etc etc, then I tried soaking them overnight in hot water with tea tree oil in it, and then putting them through a wash with tea tree oil in that too. It fixed them 100% ! So relieved πŸ™‚ Maybe you could try that?

        I would use PUL as the base layer, I put the shiny side facing up into the internal layers, and the “fabric” side facing out onto the bed. It doesn’t slip too much, but mine is big enough to go over the sides which holds it down…

        Working through labour definitely made it seem to go faster! Great distraction πŸ™‚

  10. Pam Wooller-Dazeley says:

    Hi Sarah – I found a card of yours and looked up the web-site. What a wonderful story. And how old are the ‘little boys” now. Would love to hear from you. We are now living in the lifestyle village in Matamata.

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