I was born in New Zealand and moved to Canada when I was two years old. I am a Science and Math major which I studied at Vancouver University College before travel took me to Alberta where I met my husband. He is from Costa Rica, where we spent the first years of our marriage. I worked with General Electric in the Training and Human Resources department learning many of the things I use daily in Bumby. We then settled in Alberta in 2005 where our two boys were born. I wanted to cloth diaper our babies and struggled to find what I needed locally, so I made them for myself, when Bumby was also born.
The name comes from a shortened version of the original. Bumble Bees were all the rage back in 2007, so I called my cute little kitchen table business Bumble Bee Baby. I made pocket diapers lined with PUL, washcloths and bibs mostly. The name was way too long though. We took the first 3 and last 2 letters and made up a word, Bumby. The original logo has a cute elephant for the “y”.
In 2010, my family moved to Red Deer. I had dabbled in wool for a bit, but this was when I really dug in. I am so glad I did.
Bumby used to be a team of 3 moms working together. In fact, we just celebrated 9 years with our core group. 4 kids were raised in the workshop with the business in the basement. 2 were still in diapers and none were in school yet. They grew up around Bumby, playing and learning together. The oldest are learning to drive now and doing website development for Bumby. Time Flies.
We now have a team of 8, with professionally trained members in multiple areas of sewing and design as well as technical aspects of operations. The business is run from a commercial space dedicated to all things Bumby. We are serious about what we do and not only do it right, but do it with care and love. The team is run with a family first attitude; recitals, sick days and family happiness comes before work. Our team is dedicated to Bumby because Bumby is dedicated to them.
Bumby has grown a lot over the years and welcomed a lot of retailers to our network. They all share a common thread of integrity and customer service. They are all independent shops providing unique items and truly care about their customers. As we grow this business, I keep getting told to go after the big fish, to expand into large scale distribution. We will always honour the relationships built with these retailers and make sure that any growth plans are advantageous to them as well.
Our customers are not just customers. We call them our Flock. You are the basis for all we do. Customer service is of utmost concern; we have built this business on communication and friendship. It is a real relationship, not just about getting your money. The website is the go between that allows us to really dig in and make amazing custom garments for you and your family. Bumby was started with Small, Medium and Large in shorts, covers and pants. That is 9 products. We now have over 2000, with different styles, sizes, fits and products. Every single one of them was born through collaboration. We have zippers in sweaters and winter suits from customers asking. We have bloomers in 3 lengths, we have several different pocket options, and the list goes on. We listen, we talk, and deliver. Enthusiastic collaboration is built into the very fabric of Bumby. (Get it? I am pretty punny too!)
We care about what we make and who we make it with. We have partnered with Unicorn Clean Products out of the USA, to not only sell their fiber care line but also wash and soften all of our fabrics to prepare for dyeing as well as finish for the consumer. It is a clean and natural product that makes our product even better.
We also work with Cansew, a Canadian thread manufacturer, which makes a huge assortment of colours and is ISO and OEKO-TEX certified.
We have spoken at length with Dharma Trading Company about dyes, safety and environmental impact. They are an amazing resource and a valuable ally.
Our textile mills are in Canada and they’re our trade secret. We get asked every so often to share our supplier to compete with us. We don’t buy rolls of fabric, we commission a job to knit the fabric for us and take the entire batch.
The What of Bumby: What we make, what we do and what we stand for.
We handcraft wool garments from in-house designed patterns. We focus on natural and cloth diapering families, producing items that are unique and different from anything out there. You certainly won’t find Bumby in a big box store.
Our main product is Wool Cloth Diaper Covers, more explanation to come in our “WHY” section. We have expanded our products to include many different styles of not only traditional looking diaper covers, but also pants, shorts and capris which are all functional cloth diaper covers. But wait, there’s more! We also make bottoms that fit out-of-diaper people (we tend to age out in the early tweens), sweaters for all ages and most sizes (I am plus size so we are inclusive), Hats, Mitts and other Winter Gear. Our Breast Pads are amazing too.
We have never had a girl section or a boy section. No boy or girl colours. Just colours and pants. We offer all of our products by measurement, because weight, gender and age are challenging indicators for what size you need.
We also love pockets. Real, functional, deep, useful, practical pockets.
We haven’t done a big full on photoshoot, we have relied on our amazing flock to share their images. We have plans to hire a photographer, but I assure you, it will be inclusive or we won’t do it.
We love rainbows for all the reasons.
We are working on cleaning up the business to allow for more time to dive into the Neuro and Physically Diverse world and see what solutions we can collaborate with in this area.
Our logo, our branding, everything is about doing good and helping the world be a better place, However that looks to you. Bumby is a happy, safe and inclusive space. Our biggest rule has always been just don’t be a jerk.
Bumby Wool products are made with our own proprietary materials. The main fabric used for most of our garments is 95% merino wool blended with 5% lycra. The Yarn and ISO certified Canadain knitter are Standard 100 OEKO-TEX certified. They work alongside us to custom knit our interlock fabric exclusively for us. We have always been small in the textile world, but as we grow we are able to ask for more, ask for better. I have worked really hard to be seen and heard. I can not say how many times I have been called Mr Gross or “the crazy wool lady”. We are female-led and I am excited to be finally taken seriously by leaders in the industry that are excited to work with us.
Many wool providers don’t talk about microns, which is the gauge of the wool fiber. The finer the fiber, the lower the number. We use 18.5 microns which is some of the softest and finest quality on the planet. Usually this number isn’t listed when you purchase rolls or yardage, but because we get it made for us, we get the choice, and we choose the best. We are working with the mill to also get certification on the farms where the sheep were raised. It has been an uphill battle, but since we are buying more, they are listening. I have been assured over the years that the animals are well cared for. Hopefully I can visit the farms and see for myself when Covid clears.
We only work with the best supply chain we can find, creating a network of people that care about what we are doing. I have them excited to work with us, which is wonderful.
We are expanding our opportunities to have more and more OEKO-TEX mill dyed yarns used, which requires a large volume per colour. We mostly dye our fabrics in-house in small batches using no heavy metal dyes and no toxic mordants. We are unable to have these small batches tested, but if we did, they would pass.
We have 3 dedicated machines just used for dyeing and processing the wool plus a commercial hot water boiler to get the water to just the right temperature. Using the best quality dyes and food grade citric acid without the use of toxic mordants to set the dyes. We also have natural undyed wool available as well. We only use Low Impact dyes. This means that we don’t allow run-off dyes to enter our waterways. The water runs clear and always has.
We wash and soften the wool to prepare for your clothing with Unicorn Beyond Clean and Beyond Soft unscented cleansers for a natural clean that leaves our fabric clean, soft and healthy.
Bumby is Low Waste, as we hate wasting materials and creating needless garbage. We recycle and repurpose as much as possible. We are thoughtful and strategic in this approach. To reduce impact on our landfills, we:
Use every piece of wool we can
Make Bold multi-coloured unique garments with larger scraps
Sell our scraps by the pound
Use very little packaging
Reuse boxes whenever possible
Recycle as much as possible
Think about what we are doing and take an active strategic approach
Upgraded to a digital, paperless process for current and future patterns
Do repairs or help you do repairs to keep your wool out of the landfills and able to pass down or pass on
The Where of Bumby: Our location, where we ship (that is everywhere btw), where our items are made.
We custom make every order and rarely have ready-to-ship stock on hand. Our whole business is built around this concept, so we have streamlined the process. Since we are not a one-woman show, but a multi-person circus, we tend to have most orders completed within 2-3 weeks. With single items or less complex orders, many are completed in days.
We mostly use UPS for shipping, which means shipping time tends to be about a week to anywhere in the world. We use Canada Post for some remote locations, which can take longer (but you probably already know that if we are going to use them).
If we can save you on shipping, we will. We are happy to hold your order to combine shipping. There is a combined shipping option at checkout, so as long as shipping has been paid once you don’t have to pay again on that shipment.
If you want us to hold as you know you want to add more, then just put the note.
If you haven’t received a shipping notice yet and want to add, just go ahead, we always check.
If you asked us to hold, but are done adding and ready to ship, just message us in whatever format you are accustomed.
Bolds are a super fun and super unique part of Bumby. Part of our Low Waste business model. We save every beautiful piece of wool. From time to time, usually every month or so, we collect all the saved pieces and carefully cut matching strips to put together artistically. We create one of a kind matching panels of fabric to make OOAK garments we call Bumby Bolds.
These Bold Bases are offered by random drawing for the right to purchase and then applied to create whatever pants you want made with them.
We are working towards getting larger volumes of mill dyed fabrics, but for the most part we are small batch dyeing in-house. This means we have loads of colours and they are all limited in quantity. Because we offer adult sweaters, which use up about 30% of a colour run, something can literally sell out in hours. We do our best to keep on top of how much is left to avoid overselling. It is all part of the fun. It also leads to highly prized colours, which preserves your resale value.
We usually give a heads up on our Facebook chat group that new colours are coming soon as well as when things run out or are low.
When new colours are made, we post them on chat and the main business page of Facebook. Then we also post onto the website. If you know a colour exists, it can be ordered even if it’s not on the site yet.
Bumby is a no discount brand. We offer consistent quality and consistent priced products. It doesn’t matter when or from whom you purchase, it will be the same price. So you don’t have to search for deals, wait for a sale, fear of over paying or struggle to price a used item for resale.
The How of Bumby: How to wash, measure, order, understand???
We recommend machine washing your wool in cool water with Unicorn Clean Detergent, and rinsing with Unicorn Soft. Lay flat to dry.
Excess soap and water can swell and damage wool fibers
The spin cycle helps remove both
Heavy cleansers can damage fibers
Handwashing is softer on the fibers but easily leaves grim, detergent and water behind which can be more damaging
We pre-wash all of our wool with Unicorn Beyond Clean unscented detergent, then rinse with Unicorn Beyond Soft unscented softener and conditioner. This prepares the fibers, keeping them clean, soft and healthy. Ready to go straight on the bum or lanolize as desired. We do sell Unicorn Beyond Clean, Wash and Soft products because we love the way it makes our product feel and function. There are many sellers around the world though, so we may or may not be the best supplier for you.
Lanolin mixes with soap in certain conditions to make a “Lanolin Emulsion”. This special solution then can be applied to your wool to make it antimicrobial and waterproof. See here for full instructions.
Lanolin will not emulsify in acidic water, so if you are struggling get distilled water
You are trying to get lanolin, not soap and water, into your fibers
There is no need for a big long soak, a quick dip is fine
Rise is the measurement through the crotch along the belly and bum. The rise tends to be the first thing to be outgrown, leading to “plumber butt” or diapers peeking out. We show 3 separate measurements on our charts.
Total measurement through the crotch from front waistband to back waistband
From the seam at the waistband to the crotch at the Front & also at the Back
Inseam is the measurement along the leg from crotch seam to hem. Our pants have a curve at the crotch to flow through the middle nicely with less stress on the seam. Measuring a pair of pants that fit well is also a very good idea.
Well you probably know what hips are, but let’s talk about it. Because the pants curve into the crotch, even though it is wider when laid out flat. The actual true hips sit about 2-3″ above the widest part of the pants. The space varies by size as the garments scale up. Which I know makes it a bit complicated and hard to measure.
Just measure about 2” above the crotch and double it. That is a good guess. Good thing the wool stretches, which makes it nice and forgiving.
Technically this a WHY not a HOW, but it goes better with the meausurements section and I am sure you were asking yourself this very question. We don’t put general ages for our sizes, because so often they are way off anyways. Most of our clients are using Cloth Diapers as well, which changes the bum sizes a lot between diapers, so it would just make it even more confusing.
I personally remember doing the parent clothing the baby math. “My child is 8oth percentile, age 8 months, so that means 12 to 18 months should fit, but because I am using cloth diapers I will get 24 months and make sure it has button elastic at the waistband.”
We have a lot of choices. We post every completed item on our Facebook page to inspire you. We also have a chat group to talk it out with real life people. Once you figure out your fit, pick some colours and have fun. Because we have so many colours, you just write in the colour you want on the item otherwise the drop down menu would be super long.
Once your order has been printed, we place it on hold to signify we have received it. We cut and sew your garment to order, take pictures and post them, then pack and ship. It’s that easy.
The Why of Bumby: The best part! Why wool is great, why Bumby is amazing, why you will fall in love!
Lanolin is a naturally occurring wax sheep use to keep their wool waterproof and antimicrobial. We use Lanolin for the same reasons. It makes your cover repel urine back to the diaper. When the environment becomes too saturated, the wool does absorb, but the Lanolin neutralizes the urine and “self-cleans” the wool, meaning you can air dry your Bumby Wool between uses. Solid debris does need to be cleaned though. Good thing Bumby is also machine washable.
Challenges: Some of the main reasons people experience rashes are due to heat, moisture and/or contact agitation of skin. Some diaper covers do a great job of keeping bedding dry but trap urine, increasing these 3 problems. Sometimes soap residue on the diapers can mix with urine creating high ammonia levels. Sometimes food allergies, diet changes and teething can cause rashes as well.
Solutions: Wool is breathable and temperature regulating. Wool repels liquids first, then slowly absorbs. Which means that the urine is pushed back to the diaper, then as it sits in the humid environment it starts to absorb. Wool can hold 30% its weight in moisture before feeling damp. It reduces heat and increases airflow while absorbing, thus reducing humidity.
The rash is better, but now I have leaks when I wasn’t with PUL covers.
Challenges: Wool holds only so much fluid before it starts to feel damp. Once that happens, moisture can transfer to absorbent fabrics around it, such as bedding. Wool also uses lanolin to neutralize urine and repel fluid. PUL can be really good for holding in fluid, but can leak around the leg and waist holes, or through cracks in the surface.
Solutions: Adding a bit more absorbency to your diapering routine can boost the performance of your wool. Also adding more lanolin to the wool can also help increase the waterproof nature of the fibers. Wool is natural, biodegradable, breathable and temperature regulating. Plus you don’t have to wash it between uses. That is why people love it, but it isn’t a plastic bag that traps liquid and heat, so it only works as well as the diaper it’s paired with.
What absorbency diaper is being used? The wool repels back to the diaper first. If there is too much liquid too fast, and the diaper can’t hold it all, the wool can repel and allow for leaks to happen.
Solution – Increase the layers or absorbency; most kids have different day time and night time needs
Baby fluid intake. Sometimes babies go on a feeding frenzy or drink more. Maybe there is just too much to handle.
Solution – Have some patience, see if this was a one time occurrence or you need to modify your system
How much lanolin is in the wool? Some kids are light pee’rs. They don’t need much protection and light lanolin treatments are just fine. Some need some heavy duty protection.
Solution – Our emulsified blend works well for many diapering systems and babies, but some just need a bit more. Doing a second dip might work really well, or getting some of our solid lanolin to dry rub into the wetzone may be needed. Some like to make their own lanolin emulsion and get their wool nice and sticky and waterproof.
The PUL cover wasn’t leaking much but the wool cover was.
Solution – Keep trying the wool and find a solution, or ask for advice on our chat group. We are here to support your journey. PUL is like a plastic bag, it can capture it all. But it isn’t nearly as breathable and comfortable as wool, it doesn’t break down in the landfills, and needs to be washed with every use. Many start using wool to reduce rashes caused by synthetic, heat and moisture trapping materials.a