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“Having my daughters see the benefits of working hard for something and making a living off of it is important.”

Smart Bottoms

2010

Filed as an S-corporation

27

Number of countries products are sold in

500%

Growth from 2014-2015

64

Employees

Initial Situation

Concerned with the ingredients of disposable diapers, Christy Malone decided to start her own organic cloth diaper company in 2010. Growing quickly, Smart Bottoms partnered with the SBDC in a big way, garnering advice for going forward with the company.

How the SBDC helped

Smart Bottoms knew their products were solid, but they needed credit to expand. Malone turned to the SBDC to help prepare financials for loan meetings with creditors. Since then, the SBDC has connected Smart Bottoms with other organizations like the MEDC.

Success

Smart Bottoms received a STEP grant that helped with international growth. In 2012, Smart Bottoms sold products to its first international retailers, and by 2016, they have sold to 27 countries across the world. Between 2014-2015, they saw nearly 500% growth.

6320 E Fulton St
Ada, MI 49301
616-723-0093 

 
 

After Christy Malone’s second daughter was born, she became concerned with ingredients used in disposable diapers. Searching for an organic cloth diaper alternative, she came up empty and decided to start Smart Bottoms.

My husband and I are both from small business families, so it was in our blood to start a business,” said Malone. “We are able to provide local families with jobs and help the local economy. That is why we are very committed to making sure that all of our products are made here in the U.S. too.”

Cloth diaper customers are eco-conscious and like local and made-in-the-USA products. “When we first started the company, we were the only U.S. cloth diaper manufacturer that was making an organic diaper,” says Malone. “Since then, we have stood apart from our competitors in our customer service. We stand behind our products. People very rarely have any type of quality issues with our products, and when they do, they know that we will replace or fix them.”

Christy knew about the SBDC from previous startups she’d founded. “Once we had grown to the point where we needed a line of credit for faster, bigger growth, the SBDC came in in a big way for us in terms of advice for going forward with the company.”

Partnering with SBDC consultants helped Kristy get her financials in order for loan application meetings. Since then, the SBDC helped put Smart Bottoms in touch with other organizations such as the MEDC, and it facilitated receiving a STEP grant that helped with international growth.

After growing steadily for the first few years, in 2012, Smart Bottoms had its first international retailers, and by 2016 it was selling to 27 countries across the world. Between 2014 and 2015, the company saw nearly 500% growth.

“One of the good things about living in Michigan is that the opportunities are endless as long as we put our mind to it. Being able to have our kids see that firsthand is really important.”

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