A nappy to be proud of

Canadian born Kim Graham-Nye and her Australian husband, Jason Graham-Nye, launched gDiapers in America, Canada and Australia before bringing gNappies to the UK and Europe.

by Colleen Reid, Mindful Mum, 29th November 2011

Kim Graham-Nye, 40 and her husband Jason, 41, were expecting their first child when they first began to delve into the world of nappies. When enjoying breakfast one morning in Australia, which is considered home by Kim and Jason, they stumbled across the shocking statistics of nappy waste in a newspaper article.

They were shocked to learn that in the US alone, 50 million nappies were going into landfill every single day (in the UK, it’s 11.2 million daily!). With 500 years per nappy to biodegrade, they knew they had to find an alternative to the convenience of disposable nappies.

The couple knew they had to do something about this growing issue, especially since Kim was expecting. Kim says, “Suddenly the environmental issues became very personal. I realised I was going to be a grandparent one day and that the planet we were leaving to our kids is going to be a problem to my own family. It just hit me in a totally different way than it ever had before.”

The birth of gNappies

On researching the market, Jason and Kim couldn’t find anything that could satisfy their green ethics whilst maintaining a level of convenience. That was until they heard of an inventor and mother living in Tasmania, not too far from their home.

Kim explains, “The inventor was a bio-chemist and every time she would change a nappy, she’d soak the soiled cloth nappy in the toilet to rinse it out a little bit. She’d always think, ‘I wish I could just flush this.’ So she actually started tinkering in her lab to create a flushable, biodegradable, compostable material that was strong enough to hold on a baby and not fall apart when soiled but also able to be flushed and composted.”

Working closely with the inventor, Kim and Jason combined this advanced technology with their incredibly stylish designs to create gDiapers in Australia, Canada and America and sister brand, gNappies in the UK and Europe

GDiapers and gNappies combine the best of both worlds with a reusable, completely breathable cotton pant with Orange gNappiesdisposable, biodegradable inlays. The difference between gNappies disposables and regular mainstream disposables is their ability to break down  back into the planet. Usual disposables take 500 years whereas gNappies can take as little as 55 days (less than a banana skin) and can be composted in your own back garden.

Although only being flushable in the US, Australia and Canada, in the UK, wet gNappies can be home composted and the company is striving to have the dirty nappies commercially composted in local council refuse tips. The idea being that no gNappies or gDiapers will ever go into landfill.

In order to really grab the business opportunity, Kim and Jason left their home in Australia with their first son, Fynn and their seven month old baby bump and moved to Portland, Oregon to further develop gDiapers.

It’s the dirtiest job you’ll ever love

“We want to shift people’s attitudes, changing nappies can be fun! You can have all these bright colours, you can make it exciting and if you’re going to change 5,000 of them, try and enjoy it!” beams Kim.

GNappies aren’t only about saving the planet, they are good for your baby’s skin too. As they are breathable, nappy rash is reduced significantly and they are great for skin complaints such as eczema.

200 dates and a book later

Life hasn’t always been about babies for Kim and Jason. Before they met Jason was working as a stockbroker in Tokyo whilst Kim was trying to find a balance between meaningful, soul fulfilling work and financial reward. With a passion for volunteering, Kim spent a few years living and working for the UN in developing countries such as Africa to help those with HIV and Aids.

Kim moved back to Australia with dreams of starting a family and Jason moved back to start a career as a Japanese teacher in a school. It was here that they met.

As a new couple, they enjoyed dating and each week tried to out-do each other with their exciting and unusual dates. After 200 of them, they often found themselves being asked for dating advice from friends and even strangers. It had been suggested they write a book by their new fans…and that’s just what they did! The couple wrote “Great Dates – The romantic’s guide to Australia” in 2004. The book led to the launch of an events management business offering couples once in a lifetime dates – a far cry from the world of nappies!

A work/life balance

Since then, Kim and Jason have settled into a perfect balance of business and enjoying their children. With Fynn now nine and Harper almost seven, they’ve managed to grow the G brand thanks to the built-in childcare centre in the office.

With a growing team of employees, the childcare centre has been recently opened to the community and allows mums and dads to work knowing their children are being cared for by a full time teacher just under their feet – a concept we wouldn’t say no to!

Recently named as one of Fortune’s most powerful female entrepreneurs, Kim explains her greatest achievement as a business owner, “I think it’s just seeing how parents get really passionate about our brand and not just the product. I think it’s exciting to watch the product get used by more people but I think what’s probably more humbling to Jason and I and, actually the whole team, is seeing how there’s this community of people with a G mindset. I think our community of parents are people who are questioning the norm, or the mainstream. They may ultimately choose to do what everyone else is doing but they think about it and question if it’s right for them and I think that’s really exciting.”

For other mums or dads thinking of launching a business, Kim suggests you wait until your children are older – or at least sleeping through the night! She admits she would do that if she had her time over again and we don’t blame her.

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