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Finding the right diaper is big business for area woman

Appleton woman guides at-home business to next level with 800% growth

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October 6, 2022

APPLETON – So often we hear about Fortune 500 or Fortune 100 companies in the news – their sheer size frequently commands a great deal of attention.

However, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, in December 2021, of the more than 32.5 million small businesses in the U.S., 81% of them are owner-operated and have no employees.

It could also be said that small businesses are what help keep the country’s economy moving.?

Such is the case with Diaper Dabbler, LLC – a niche business started by De Pere resident Beth Dolar in 2012 that gives parents an option of trying out a handful of different diaper brands through sampler packs.

A full-time speech and language pathologist, this mother of two young children at the time said she found herself trying all kinds of diapers.

However, when a brand or size didn’t work out, she found herself stuck with them, and in turn, ended up wasting money.

With no real plans to ever become a small business owner, Dolar said Diaper Dabbler was born out of frustration.
 
The beginning
Appleton resident Julie Siewert, Dolar’s cousin and now owner of Diaper Dabbler, said she helped her out with some of the social media and other promotional aspects of the business for the first few years.

However, in 2015 when Dolar said she was feeling a bit overwhelmed with her full-time job, home life and trying to run a business – Siewert bought the business from her.

Like her cousin, Siewert worked full-time, commuting to and from work and had young kids at home.

With a desire to be a stay-at-home, she described the situation as “all-encompassing.”

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Julie Siewert said much of what she knows about owning and operating a business was self-taught. Submitted Photo

?Siewert said she quit her full-time job and instead worked a couple of part-time jobs until about the time the COVID-19 pandemic hit.?

“I used the next couple of years, while everyone was quarantining, to build the business,” she said. “When people started returning to work, I was making enough from Diaper Dabbler that I didn’t need to go back to work, part- or full-time, outside of the home.”

With no real entrepreneurial background, Siewert said in the beginning she had a lot to learn.

“I’m pretty much self-taught,” she said. “During that first couple of years, it was a crash course in marketing, social media – which had evolved a great deal in eight years or so – and learning to do an entire website rebuild.”

Siewert said the website Dolar’s husband had built for the business was built using code.

“You have to keep up with the times, though,” she said. “I don’t come from a tech background or anything like that. I was accustomed to working with people. So, learning everything related to running a business was all new to me.”
 
What is Diaper Dabbler?
Siewert said as a parent herself, she knows how finding the right diaper can be a challenge, which can sometimes be frustrating.

She said no issue is the same either – one may not fit right; another either doesn’t absorb well enough or leaks; the next one might have a strong odor to it or cause a rash.

She said this trial-and-error process can lead to a waste of time and money.

As its name suggests, Siewert said Diaper Dabbler allows parents to try a variety of brand-name diapers within one sampler pack, or with a build-your-own pack, which she said is the most popular option among her customers.

“With Diaper Dabbler, the value of a sampler pack is that you get to try several different diaper brands and you’re only having to buy three of each kind of diaper,” she said.

Siewert said she does her best to buy diapers in bulk to leverage the best discounts or deals she can.

She then repackages them into sample packs.

Sievert said she carries the 20 most popular and most common brands.

“Package prices run from $18.99 to $89.99,” she said. “But for less than $20, you can try a variety of diapers.”

In all, Siewert estimates there are about 50 brands of diapers in the U.S., and they’re different in more ways than just their name.

She said they have different ingredients, feel different, smell different, fit differently – even if they’re the same size – and every diaper has its own unique thing.?

“I am amazed at how different they all are,” Siewert said. “I don’t think that’s something I knew before (getting into this business). I don’t think people are aware of how different they all are, because all they see are the diapers in boxes lining the shelves (of their local store). If you hold one size range next to another of the same size range, they don’t even look the same. There isn’t any kind of standard size.”

She said sizes are different, even within the same brand.

“I carry three different kinds of Pampers,” she said. “They have their premium line, their budget line and their pure line, which has fewer chemicals.”

Siewert said she does a lot of research on diapers and reviews them on her online blog.
She said she has also worked hard to find packaging that keeps her diapers protected, and is eco-friendly, something she’s passionate about.?

A self-proclaimed “frugal” person, Siewert said she does her best to put together the best deals for parents.
 
Significant growth
Siewert said the business has grown by 800% since she bought it from her cousin seven years ago.

She said the brand has changed a lot since then, too.?

“We’ve expanded quite a bit as far as the selection we carry,” she said. “We’ve changed a lot of things, and we’ve updated a lot of things over the years. I got to start with some bare bones, but it’s grown so much since then.”

Siewert said the company is like a third child to her.

“It’s been a joy to see (the company grow),” she said. “I have a great product that’s unique and niche.”

Siewert said it takes a lot of hard work and determination to run a business.

“But it’s something that can be done by anyone if they want it badly enough,” she said.

Siewert said it is also accompanied with challenges, which for her was the learning curve.

“You put one foot in front of the other and do one thing at a time,” she said. “That’s all you can do. I had a new baby and a 4-year-old (when I bought the business). But with the time I had, I used it as well as I could. You do a little bit at a time, and you learn as you go. You might do it wrong the first time, but you’ll get it right the next time. You have to make mistakes to learn.”
Siewert said she is creating a blueprint to help others leaping into entrepreneurship.

She said it was a challenge for her when she first got started not having any other business like hers to learn from.

“There have been a couple of sellers who’ve tried to do this but have folded almost as quickly as they started,” she said. “So, I’m blazing my own trail – one day and one diaper package, at a time.”

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