From diapers to dollars: Mom finds niche in cloth diapers

Abbie Beall, seen here with her daughter Delanie, 2, is the owner of Cloth Bottom Baby (Photo by Jason Plotkin)

for Smart

It started as a labor of love.

Now it’s a mom-owned business.

When Abbie Beall of West Manheim Township was pregnant with her daughter Delanie, now 2, she knew she wanted to use cloth diapers.

“My mom cloth diapered me and my sister using a diaper service,” said Beall.

But when she and her husband began searching for an area service, they came up empty.

The couple decided to use cloth diapers anyway, but Beall saw an opportunity.

She launched her diaper service, Cloth Bottom Baby, in 2012.

How did you get the idea for Cloth Bottom Baby?

Home laundering cloth diapers is no easy feat. It’s time consuming and getting the diapers clean enough can be tricky. Even with these obstacles, we stuck with cloth because the benefits are so enormous, but we watched several of our friends who were trying to cloth diaper give up because of the challenges. I found myself frequently advocating for cloth and encouraging people to try it despite the difficulties with home laundering. It gave me an idea: Maybe if I could make the process easier, more people would do it.

How do prices compare to disposable diapers?

Dollar for dollar, week to week, cloth diaper service can be a little higher than disposables (depending upon which brand is being compared). The real savings come in at the end. Cloth diapered babies typically potty train up to a year earlier than babies in disposable diapers. Disposables are designed (with nasty chemicals!) to absorb and wick away moisture so the baby doesn’t feel wet and won’t mind sitting in a saturated diaper. Cloth diapers allow the baby to feel when they are wet and frequently these babies will not enjoy this sensation … and often request a diaper change.

What is your advice to parents who feel cost might be an issue?

I totally get that adding a new member to the family means budget adjustments and penny-pinching. We made a decision to cut costs in other areas to afford the upfront cost of cloth because the benefits to our baby and our planet are so great. And we knew that we would be saving money in the long run, which was a great motivator for us to move forward with this decision.

What has been the most fun part about owning your own business? The most challenging aspect?

There are so many fun things! I have met a ton of new wonderful people. I have had several opportunities to educate and enlighten people to the benefits of cloth and I have helped people make the switch from disposables to cloth -— even for older kids further along in the diapering process. And I’m constantly learning new things each day. The most challenging part has been just getting my name out there and letting the community know that I’m here.

How has the community responded?

Everyone has been so welcoming and receptive. I’m getting nothing but positive feedback, and people are very excited that I’m bringing back the old fashioned service of yesteryear!

Cloth Bottom Baby

Cloth Bottom Baby serves York County, Carroll County, Md., and surrounding areas.

There is a one-time start-up fee of $70 and the service costs $23 per week, which is billed monthly.

There are several add-on options available, including cloth wipe service, for a fee.

For information, call 443-340-4457 or visit

How does the service work?

Cloth Bottom Baby provides you with a clean batch of diapers each week, directly to your door for a flat weekly price.

The diapers are delivered in a water-resistant hamper bag that doubles as your diaper pail liner.

Once the diaper is dirty, just shake any solids into the toilet and toss it into the hamper bag.

At the end of the week, cinch the hamper bag closed and put it out for pick up.

A driver replaces the bag of dirty diapers with a a fresh batch of diapers.

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