Way back in 1987 my friend and I were sitting at the kitchen table nursing our babies, watching our kids, drinking tea... and hatching a business. That's how Bummis was born - in my kitchen. We sold our first 52 wraps in June 1988 and haven't looked back since.
Back in those days, I waited until my kids went to sleep and then I cut fabric for nappy wraps. I timed administrative tasks and phone calls to coincide with baby naps (had to be lucky) and welcomed people into my home to buy wraps. It was fun and busy and crazy and my kids somehow thrived in the middle of it and miraculously grew up - as did Bummis.
We are a lot bigger and more professional looking now, but our hearts are in the same place. And we have the same unwavering vision: to make high-quality, affordable and easy-to-use cloth nappies, and to educate and infuse parents with our passion for them.
We have a beautiful factory in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, an office and a store in Montreal, Quebec, and a warehouse in upstate New York. Bummis products are sold by several hundred retailers across North America and are exported all over the world. We are considered to be a leader in our industry and our products are staples in many a nappy stash.
The year 2013 marks our 25th anniversary and finds us in our most dynamic phase yet - developing new products and perfecting ourselves. We thrive on the social media platforms that allow for closer, more immediate and meaningful relationships with our customers. We find that today's consumer understands better and cares more about what we've been saying all along: that the way we do business matters.
Here at Bummis we believe that business is an important vehicle for social change. That's why it's so important that we do it right. Part of doing it right for us means doing it HERE.
- Betsy Thomas, President.
In the past 20 years, 1300 fabric manufacturers have closed in North America and hundreds of thousands of textile workers have lost their jobs. Offshore fabrics have been putting our mills out of business because even local manufacturers often use imported fabrics.
It has become harder and harder for us to find local suppliers but we do it anyway, buying the vast majority of our fabric from American and Canadian mills. At Bummis we only buy imported fabrics when we cannot find a domestic manufacturer of the fabric that we need. We strongly support the return of the textile industry in North America and the return of the prosperity that comes with it.
Why is it important to consider buying products that are MADE HERE?
MADE HERE means sourcing fabrics and components in the USA and Canada, and sewing them in our factory just outside of Montreal.
MADE HERE means employing folks HERE: in our factory, office, USA warehouse and in the domestic textile mills that knit our fabrics.
MADE HERE means that the people who make our products can actually afford to buy our products because they are paid a fair wage.
MADE HERE is our commitment to sustainability; a sustainable economy and a sustainable future - for your babies and ours.
The values and voices of many people have propelled our vision over the years and shaped what Bummis is today. Smart cookies have come and gone, usually staying longer than they thought they would... and giving more than we imagined they could.
Our team is so important to us - the integrity and intelligence of the people who work with us can be seen and heard in the voice of our customer service, in the intelligence of our products and in the passion behind our excellence.
I grew up in Connecticut, have lived in Montreal for many years and spend lots of time in upstate New York - I am truly a dual citizen of the USA and Canada! I studied art history and thus learned about business the hard way. I am married to a fabulous, although moody, guitar player and have three grown-up sons and two beautiful grandchildren, plus rescue pit bulls and cats galore.
I homeschooled, breastfed for an eternity, carried my babies and slept with them too. I swear by homeopathy and osteopathy, am a conscientious and mostly organic omnivore and a relentless composter. I love to kayak and travel, and I also love working with my partner Shirley...
Betsy is on the advisory board MySTORE, the independent retail division of the Retail Council of Canada. www.retailcouncil.org/mystore/
In May 2013 Betsy was featured as the Montrealer of the Week on CBC News. Watch the clip here.
I come from a large loving family and have always lived in Quebec. I am married to a hardworking, sports-loving man, and have two sons who are both in college in the USA. Because of them, New England has become my home away from home and I travel there often. Family is my greatest passion and I am definitely a home body! I am also a strong advocate for breastfeeding and acupuncture, and I believe in following your heart when it comes to your children.
I love great food and wine, hockey, and building business in an ethical and eco-friendly way. I am responsible for the production, advertising and research & development departments at Bummis. A scientist by nature, I studied biochemisty in university, and so I love cloth nappy laundry challenges! I am sometimes referred to as the Laundry Whisperer...
I am also a volunteer board member of the Real Diaper Industry Association, of which Bummis is a founding member.