20 Nov 2018
Tel Aviv, Israel
Sustainable Textiles & Clothing

Don’t let the name “Baby Koala” fool you — Dganit Maka, founder of the eco-friendly diaper business, plans to revolutionize infant underwear from Tel Aviv rather than the Australian gum trees called home by the cuddly marsupial. Maka has designed a line of reusable cloth diapers that reduce waste created by disposable plastic versions, while also preventing common skin rashes. Baby Koala already has a strong market presence in stores and online, but Maka aims to spread her green diaper range as far abroad as possible. The Switchers interviewed Maka about how she is going with making her sustainable business dream come true.

Q. When did you start Baby Koala and what does your business do?

A. Baby Koala was conceived when our eldest daughter, Avigale, started kindergarten four years ago. My husband and I looked for a cloth diaper that would be reliable and capable of “doing the work,” but also beautifully designed. We came across many options, but none of them suited our high standards — so we decided to sew our first cloth diaper.

We received great feedback and compliments about our test diapers, which added to the rewarding sensation of creating our own product. These positive experiences encouraged us to take the next step and create our own brand of cloth diapers, Baby Koala.

The diapers are handmade in Israel and make a fashion statement with cool and colorful patterns. They are comfortable, being made from breathable fibers, Velcro closures and waterproof banding around the waist and legs. Most importantly, Baby Koala diapers are easy to use, clean and re-use — making them a healthy, affordable and environmental way to raise babies.

 

Q. How does Baby Koala help the environment?

A. Disposable diapers account for about 6 percent of total waste in Israel, with that figure rising to 10 percent of Jerusalem’s municipal rubbish. On average, each baby goes through more than a ton of disposable diapers during his or her lifetime — leaving behind a mountain of junk! Disposable products also contain substances that cause skin rashes, leading parents to protect the baby’s skin from the diaper with fattening cream.

Baby Koala diapers are made from cloth rather than harmful plastic, eliminating the need to use anti-rash cream. Our diapers slash the environmental footprint of babies; we generally recommend that each infant needs only 24 of our reusable cloth diapers. (Although, of course, you are welcome to buy more!) Moreover, you can keep Baby Koala diapers for many years, handing them down from child to child.

 

Q. How did the SwitchMed training program help Baby Koala’s business plans?

A. The SwitchMed training program was very helpful to Baby Koala in assigning us a mentor, who helped us and guided the business. SwitchMed also assisted in building strong business and financial plans. This support has helped us reach the goals that we set for ourselves, which makes us very grateful.

 

Learn more about Baby Koala through Etsy, Instagram and YouTube.

Photos courtesy of Baby Koala (above) and Markus Spiske on Unsplash (below)

Baby Koala Sustainable Textiles & Clothing
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