I don't know if Sharks diaper their babies or not, but there are parents on the Shark Tank panel and they must have changed a diaper or two in their time. This week, FuzziBunz, a world-wide cloth diapers business jumps into the Shark Tank. Entrepreneur Tereson Dupuy, a former victims advocate for the Rape Crisis Center in Lafayette, Louisiana, hopes the Shark Tank sharks will see the benefit of her “modern cloth diapers” and fund her established business.
FuzziBunz got started a little over 12 years ago when Tereson was seeking a solution to her son's chronic diaper rash. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention and Dupuy, after trying just about every cloth and disposable diaper on the market, invented what is known as FuzziBunz today. The FuzziBunz website claims millions of babies all over the world have used the product. Dupuy has also received her share of accolades from a variety of media like the New York Times, CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, and The Sundance Channel’s Big Ideas for a Small Planet. She was even named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Stevie Awards for Women in Business back in 2006. FuzziBunz are sold online and in stores world-wide. Tereson Dupuy has the distinction of being the “Mother of the Modern Cloth Diaper.”
FuzziBunz Cloth Diapers Solid Biz
Shark Tank sees its fair share of established businesses, and FuzziBunz is very well established. I can never understand why someone with a seemingly solid business would subject themselves to the rigors of the Shark Tank, unless it was a blatant PR play. The producers of Shark Tank do have a history of recruiting compelling entrepreneurs for the show, as they did with OneSole Shoes; maybe this is one of them. From everything I have seen about Tereson Dupuy, she seems to “have it going on.”
As for the product itself, cloth diapers are nothing new. My mom used to like to remind me (when I was kvetching about changing diapers) that I was raised in them. In fact, up until the mid-twentieth century, they were the only option. Disposable diapers were patented in 1948, but didn't see wide-spread use until years later. My five kids were raised wearing disposable diapers. Disposables are a multi-billion dollar, global business. At a dinner in the 1990's with Jack Pepper, then President of Proctor and Gamble, he remarked that diapers were a good business because “every baby in the world (insert verb here).” He went on to say that potty training ages vary by culture, with American children being potty trained around ages 2 and a half to three years of age. Chinese babies, by comparison, are usually potty trained by age one- a cultural phenomena he wished would change (so he could sell more diapers).
Cloth diapers have been coming back into vogue due to the environmental nightmare disposable diapers present. They use up a @#$%load of space in landfills, prompting Proctor and Gamble to start making “compostable” diapers in the 1990's; they didn't work out. Enter businesses like FuzziBunz. The environmentally friendly component of cloth diapers' message is not lost on green mothers. The cost savings of re-using cloth diapers can be staggering too. Disposables are very expensive- with five kids, I could have bought a second home with the money I have spent on diapers in my life time!
Will the Shark Tank sharks see the benefit? I am not sure. Working with cloth diapers is a messy, smelly business. Many American consumers are not prone to change due to that fact alone, regardless of cost. What FuzziBunz has going for it is the diapers are adjustable and will grow with your child, so they truly are re-usable, right up to that glorious day when they are no longer needed. They are the only fleece pocket cloth diaper, so they are very easy on baby's bottom. All that is fine, but if the numbers are good, they'll do a deal; if the numbers stink like baby poo, they won't. I'll be listening closely for the “off-color comments” either way.
Whether the sharks are impressed with FuzziBunz or not, Tereson Dupuy will come out smelling like a rose!
FuzziBunz on Facebook
What Happened in The Shark Tank:
Entrepreneur: Tereson Dupuy
Seeking: $500,000 for 15% stake
Result: No Deal