In the summer of 2012, Michelle Pollock was expecting her 7th child when she and her husband found out he had stage 3 kidney cancer. Not knowing what the future would hold, and being a large family, Michelle began looking for ways to save money, and cloth diapers seemed like a good option. Since she was new to cloth diapering, she began researching affordable options online, but could not find a local retailer in Fort McMurray. So, she decided to order diapers – sight unseen – from an internet retailer. The diapers worked for a short period of time, but she soon became frustrated by severe leaking and, despite troubleshooting (with help from a seasoned cloth-diapering Mom), she couldn’t fix the problem. This set her on her journey to find cloth diapers that worked for her. And, it quickly became clear that there were lots of other parents looking for the same thing.
She began selling cloth diapers out of her home, allowing people to try them prior to purchasing so they were able to get the best diaper for their baby and budget. This turned into informal play dates for Moms to come and not only purchase product, but also build friendships and find support from other moms.
There was, clearly, a need for this kind of service, so Michelle investigated the possibility of opening a retail location. And, after lots of hard work, Blankies and Bums opened in December 2013.
In under two short years, the retail store has flourished with the help of family and her community of Moms. They now have seven staff, a total of 18 children (plus one on the way), and are proud to offer Doula support, three car seat technicians, seamstresses, six cloth diapers experts (soon to be seven, with the new baby!) and a unique atmosphere that is welcoming and supportive through every part of the parenting journey.
As a Mom who tried cloth diapering, I can tell you that it can be difficult finding the right fit (pun intended!), so I love that Blankies and Bums still offers the cloth diaper “try before you buy” option. Responding to the needs of their customers, they also offer a newborn rental program, cloth diapering classes and more!
Aside from all of their amazing services, the product selection is pretty awesome, too! Blankies and Bums carries a huge selection of my favourite shades for kids, Baby Banz, as well as awesome Goodbyn car seats from highly-rated brands Clek and Diono, natural skincare products by All Things Jill, and Tawna Hill Baby, Zoocchini bath towels, and, of course, their many brands of cloth diapers and accessories.
When I asked Michelle what her favourite cloth diaper brand is, this was her response, “Funky Fluff wins in pretty much every category for me. It is one of the few diapers that really will fit from 8 lbs up, it is affordable, easy to use, looks great and is trim. The bonus on the retailer end, of course, is that the girls are amazing to do business with.” (So, all you cloth diapering Mamas-to-be, I think you should check out Funky Fluff!)
Blankies and Bums is a labour of love for Michelle and her family, and it shows in the many positive comments on their Facebook page. The service and selection are amazing, and this is what clearly keeps folks coming back time and again.
If you’re wondering about Michelle’s husband, he has been cancer-free for almost three years. They are extremely grateful for all the support they’ve received from their community and look forward to many more years of helping parents.
If you live near Fort McMurray, you can visit the store in person; if not, their new webstore, is up and running, ready for your order!
Blankies and Bums
36 Riedel Street, Bay 8
Fort McMurray, Alberta