CULTURED DIAPERS FOUNDER DESTINEY MOHAMMED AIMS TO MAKE CLOTH DIAPERS THE GO TO FOR PARENTS INTERNATIONALLY
DESTINEY MOHAMMED, FOUNDER AND CEO OF CULTURED DIAPERS DISCUSSES BUSINESS STRUGGLES DUE TO COVID-19 AND OVERCOMING THEM WITH HER VISION OF TAKING THE CULTURED DIAPER INTERNATIONAL.
Credit: Destiney Mohammed | IG: @cultureddiapers | Destiney Mohammed, Founder and CEO of Cultured Diapers
Affirm Noire| August 13, 2021
Before Destiney Mohammed (she/her), founder and CEO of Cultured Diapers and Cultured Babes, launched the company she was a college student who was struggling financially. As a volunteer birth doula for a Detroit-based maternal infant health program, she got the idea of Cultured Diapers when she decided to make handmade diapers for underserved moms who were inviting her to their baby showers.
I want Cultured Diapers to be the brand that's next to Pampers, Luvs, and Huggies, not just at big name stores, but at the corner store of every neighborhood in underserved communities as a call to action for normalizing cloth diapering.
-Destiney Mohammed, Founder + CEO of Cultured Diapers
"One mom in particular, Cortisha, was the initial spark to this journey," Destiney recalled. "We met a few weeks before she was due. I had already started giving my diapers out to other moms before I met her. We connected in a different way. She was also a seamstress...When she brought out her quilt to show me, at that moment, she encouraged me to start a business by saying, “I sell my quilts. I think you should sell your diapers."
These diapers were cost-effective, unique, cute, and of use to the moms she was gifting. Cultured Diapers eventually emerged as a retro-themed cloth diaper brand inspired by 90s Black nostalgia. However, happily ever after endings are rare in business. Throw in a pandemic and the possibility of making sales gets slimmer.
"Over the last few years, things have gotten in the way that have left us at a standstill. The pandemic had changed my business entirely. I used to be able to go vend at different events and sell-out all of my cloth diapers. Because of the restrictions, I had no choice but to be online only which was a huge shift for me. What has always ‘kept us’ was our families and those who truly believe in the possibilities of what Cultured Diapers can and will be. For that we are infinitely and forever grateful," Destiney shared.
In 2020 during the unfolding of the pandemic, 380 out of every 100,000 Black adults became new entrepreneurs. At first glance, this can seem great and even admirable. However, being a Black person, yet alone being a Black business owner comes with layers of uncertainty. That uncertainty increases with natural disasters and crises like the pandemic. According to the Kauffman Foundation’s annual study, deaths and financial displacement due to COVID-19 caused the surge in Blacks launching new businesses. And even before COVID came along, Blacks were up against economic obstacles.
"Some of the things I struggled with are business resources and training," Destiney admitted. "I had no business background and no idea where to start. I've gotten into programming. And still couldn't understand what running a business really looked like until I won a free subscription to a virtual brainstorming platform for small business owners, freelancers, and solopreneurs called Raddle...It was four weeks of extensive coaching and raddles- 20- minute brainstorm sessions- with Proxie founder, Autumn Kyles, and other entrepreneurs that lead me to get in action."
The lack of resources is just one issue Black entrepreneurs often face.
However, Cultured Diapers story is not all about struggle. It has found multiple successes. It was featured in the MochaBox Momma, a subscription box created to support black pregnant and breastfeeding families. The Detroit Free Press featured the company in April.
"We’ve been in existence since 2014 and consider ourselves the pioneers of the cultured diaper. The ‘cultured diaper’ is where cultural and textile prints meet the modern day cloth diaper," Destiney said of her brand.
Destiney's goal with Cultured Diapers is to sell items for moms and babies. During its launch of Cultured Babes, the company received the Spirit of Detroit Award for its outstanding leadership and efforts for improving the quality of life for Detroit families. Cultured Babes is the company's brand dedicated to babies.
Destiney is determined to realize her vision of the company by overcoming its current challenges.
"I also have the vision of Cultured Diapers adopting a “made to matter” concept. So that from creator to consumer there is a purpose. I want Cultured Diapers to be the brand that's next to Pampers, Luvs, and Huggies not just at big name stores but at the corner store of every neighborhood in underserved communities as a call to action for normalizing cloth diapering. To also be direct access to be a healthier and cost effective alternative disposable diapers," she said.
Furthermore, she wantsCultured Diapers to become an internationally recognized brand that sets the standard for cloth diapering as an alternative to diapering as we know it today.
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