gDiapers

News from Kim & Jason @ gHQ

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To the gFamily.

Kim & I wanted to reach out and give you an update on the latest news from gHQ.

gDiapers is coming up to its 10 year anniversary.

In that time we have evolved from a small start up in a garden shed in Sydney, Australia with just Kim & I and an idea to a company with teams in the US and UK, championing the ideals of Cradle to Cradle product design and the values of being a B Corporation selling via major retailers, boutiques and online retailers.

More recently however, we have been dealing with headwinds on multiple fronts. While we have done our best to keep things going and live up to all that we believe g can be, the last year in particular has been really hard as we tried to secure our future. This included creating a way for some of our existing investors to exit the company.

That journey wasn’t a straight or easy one. We were determined to find non-traditional sources of capital; we got distracted going down rabbit holes; and our refusal to ‘go mainstream’ almost took us down completely on more than one occasion.  At the same time, all of this meant we were not focusing on the business we loved, so our troubles were compounding.

In this process, we also came to the realisation that to fulfil the promise of the company, we had to do things very differently. We had lost money for several years and we were spreading ourselves too thin. These things had to end.

But the light at the end of the tunnel is upon us.  At the 11th hour, we have closed a round of funding that will allow some of our investors to exit and increase the commitment from two of our earliest investors and strongest supporters. They aren’t traditional investors and collectively have mortgaged or sold everything but their first-borns to make this happen.  What this means is that our foundation is solid.  But it in no way guarantees our future… that part is up to us.  It is up to us to let parents know that alternatives to disposable diapers exist; that they don’t have to encase their babies in plastic 24/7; that they can buy products that can be home composted rather than sit in landfill; and that they can demand companies be held to high ethical and environmental standards.  

After a great deal of work, we now have a plan that will set us up for success. But in developing the plan, some very difficult decisions were made. In plain terms we needed to make choices about our team, our products and our partners. Like many things in life, what appears one way is in fact the opposite of that. From the outside, it may look like the company is sliding into a stage of instability but the reality is that we are now getting to a stable place where we can succeed as we once did and get back to providing what our customers expect.

Over the next 6 months you will see more developments from gDiapers all contributing to an evolution that will deliver the promise of the product and the company to you.

One last thing on a personal note.  After ten years in Portland, Kim and I will be returning home to Sydney at the end of the year.  We remain as committed as ever to g and are excited to be expanding the brand into Asia, but it is time to go home and be closer to family.  g has always been a family friendly company and now we are taking that to the next level – globally. 

We have always been transparent and will always be that way. If you have questions or comments, we welcome them. Please email Kim (Kim@gDiapers.com) or myself (Jason@gDiapers.com).

In closing, thank you for all your support over the years.

Cheers,

Jason & Kim 

gDiapers

Spring Break 2014: An “adventure” shall we say?

Spring Break this year has shaped up to be one of the most complicated travel experiences yet in 9 years of living in the US.

Here’s how it is unfolding. As always, we sort of totally forgot it was coming. The kids mentioned they were off school for a week and that's when the penny dropped. We also saw we had a really important meeting with a big customer in NYC right in the middle of it. Who sets up meetings in the middle of a holiday we always forget?

And then just last week, we realised that if we could pull it off, we wanted to catch up with some other work-related folks in Ventura, CA on the Sunday (today) before Spring Break. So we thought we could engineer a Spring Break around two work things and bring the kids.  

This is what the last 48 hours looked like.

Friday  – Fynn gets a bait to going skiing for three days so he is gone baby, gone.

Saturday – I coach rugby, Harper plays rugby. Kim drops the dog off at a last minute doggy day care solution  (phew) and picks us up from rugby and we head right to the airport. Change out of rugby gear in the car park. Kim and Harper check in and jump on Jet Blue Portland – Long Beach. There, they meet up with Sydney friends, hit the aquarium and check out some Parkour.

Due to a whole bunch of reasons, I can’t get on the same flight. My route is via Seattle. Yes – fly north to go south. So I head 2 hours in the opposite direction. In Seattle airport, I bumped into our old CFO – Hi Sam! And my flight to Long Beach is delayed an hour. Neighbours mention on Facebook that they too are in Seattle and will be flying back to Portland the following day. I leave them a secret note under the seat I am in in the terminal and leave them clues to find it on Facebook. Blow me down if this morning they send a picture of them with the note – see below!).

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I finally land in Long Beach, meet Kim and Harper and a rental car. We drive an hour north to Ventura. The daughter of the family we are meeting is taking Harper to Santa Barbara zoo while we meet. Tonight we drive back to Long Beach where I drop off the wife and Harper who will spend tomorrow with aforementioned Sydney friends.

I fly back to Portland tonight  for a day of meetings tomorrow, rugby practice and to track down Fynn. Tuesday morning it is back to the Airport with Fynn to fly back to Long Beach (I just love the place) where Kim and Harper join us and we fly to NYC.

Wednesday we see some of NYC, have lunch with other Sydney friends and squeeze in a meeting with Every Mother Counts, a non-profit we support. Thursday we meet with our customer then drive to the depths of Vermont to catch up with another set of Sydney friends (we really have to stick together, especially when we are all 10,000 miles from home!) to get 4 days of skiing done (this is the "break" in Spring Break kids – enjoy it!).

Fly home Sunday night. Back at work bright-eyed and bushy tailed on Monday.

And that’s what happens when a married couple run a company together with two kids in the US of A. And I wouldn't change a thing except maybe the one hour delay in Seattle. That was kind of sucky . 

gDiapers

Kim’s thing at g!

From the get-go, Kim has been more than just the President / Co-founder of g. She is also the "keeper of the brand". That might sound amorphous but the below from Seth Godin nails it. We missed that last year when she was on sabbatical but it's 2014 and she's back! Let the delighting return. 

Who has a seat at the table?

When designing a new product or program, it's pretty clear that a successful organization will invite:

The lawyer, so you don't break any laws.

The CFO, so that you'll understand how much this thing will cost and how well it will pay off.

The CTO/Tech folks, so you'll spec something that can actually be built and will work.

And probably designers, marketers and lobbyists–all the people you need to bring the thing into the world.

But where's the person in charge of magic?

In our quest to get it done, to survive the project, to avoid blame, to figure out a solution, it's magic that gets thrown under the bus every time.

Who is obsessed with creating delight, with building in remarkability, with pushing the envelope (every envelope–money, tech, policy) to get to the point where you've created something that people will be proud of, that will change things for the better, that will make a dent in the universe?

It won't happen on its own. It never does.

gDiapers

2014 kick off

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After a break back in Sydney to get our US work visas renewed over the Christmas / New Year period, Kim and I and the boys are back State side and ready for a big year. 

We kicked off yesterday with the team and a reminder of the importance of the Tim Tam slam involving the dipping of the greatest biscuit (cookie) of all time into any hot drink.

A company's culture is made of not just the people but the stories of that culture. Kim reminded the crew of some of the lore here at g as we head out into the new year. 

We are a week or so away from a wrapping up a long awaited brand refresh and we are super excited about that. Like our 8 year old son, g is also 8 and like (not-so -little) Harper, we have matured somewhat and we want to show that.  It will allow us to connect  in new and different ways to our current and new Mums while maintaining what has made  g special since we launched in 2005. 

Like our little fella growing up, the growing up of a company & brand is not a simple or straight forward task. There are peaks and troughs. Last year we felt both in many, varied ways. How one deals with the troughs determines how high the next peak is and my sense is we are heading onwards and upward in good shape.

At the end of the day, g is still Kim, me, and 20 great people in the US and UK. 2014 will see the passion, drive and energy that has made g the great company it is. 

More to come! 

 

 

 

 

gDiapers

A new day and a new office…

We spent Friday afternoon, reworking the office. I am looking forward to getting in there tomorrow and seeing how the space works. I am very excited. Here are some pics of some of the crew at work. Note Kate blowdrying  Dodge's hair with a drill.

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Today's New York Times had a great piece about how we can rearrange the way we work each day to maximise our effectiveness. Check it out here. If a click away is a bridge too far, here are some excerpts:

Employees generally need to detach from their work and their work space to recharge their internal resources, he says. Options include walking, reading a book in another room or taking the all-important lunch break, which provides both nutritional and cognitive recharging.

It’s shortsighted not to take this time, or for managers to discourage employees from taking it, he says.

Try to take a break before reaching the absolute bottom of your mental barrel, Professor Trougakos says. Symptoms of needing time to recharge include drifting and daydreaming.

There is no need to take a break if you’re on a roll, Professor Trougakos advises. Working over an extended period can be invigorating — if it’s your choice. What drains your energy reserves most is forcing yourself to go on, he says.
So tomorrow we enjoy the new space and test drive this theory.