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Naslovnica arrow English arrow The RODA Association: Fly on the wings of cloth diapers
The RODA Association: Fly on the wings of cloth diapers
Author:Eleonora Dukovac Translated by: Mirna Herman Baletić   
Srijeda, 28 Prosinac 2011

The Roda Association has used the return of cloth diapers into the lives of the 21st century parents and babies as an excellent example of social entrepreneurship. The Association has included disabled persons into the production of their cloth diapers and other accompanying products, all profits go towards the functioning of the Association, the diapers promote a healthy life and environmental awareness, the project is socially responsible and it works to raise consumer awareness… The entire project enables many volunteers to offer their selfless support.

From marketing to production

“At first, we started promoting the advantages of using cloth diapers – they are simple, children feel safer and more comfortable in them, they are affordable and preserve the environment… However, it was not an easy task to acquire them, since there was only one small business that manufactured them and they had to be imported from abroad. In order to make them available to parents, we decided to go into our own production

We hired ten women who worked from home and paid them. Soon this showed unprofitable in terms of organization and finances so we reached an agreement with Zaštitna radionica from Varaždin, a workshop that employs disabled persons and is supported by the Varaždin County since 2006. Roda’s female volunteers design the diapers, while the women from the workshop apply the designs and produce them.

The production demands currently provide jobs for two women at the workshop,” explained Renata Jelušić, head of social entrepreneurship at Roda. The Association has also organized the production of “extra gear” that usually accompanies diapers, such as diaper covers, baby wipes, bags, pads, as well as adult and kids T-shirts with Roda’s traditional slogans. 

Made in Croatia from eco-materials

The Roda Association is proud to say that all their products are manufactured in Croatia and that they only cooperate with socially responsible companies and associations. Roda’s products have a wide audience even outside Croatia, and all profits made from sales are used for socially valuable projects and programs, which are free for those who partake. Renata Jelušić stressed that all materials are made in Croatia or surrounding countries whenever possible, so as to reduce pollution caused by transport to a minimum. The materials used are primarily eco-friendly (hemp, organic cotton and bamboo). All in all, Roda’s products are attractive, practical and modern.

A nest filled with diapers

Roda’s diapers and other related products can always be found in the Roda’s “nest” at Čanićeva Street 14, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 to 4 pm. There you can also take part in monthly workshops on cloth diapers, through which everyone can learn more about the advantages of cloth diapers, as well as find out some tips & tricks on how to use and preserve them, hear other people’s experiences and take a look and try out Rodina pusa (Roda’s kiss) cloth diapers.

“Unfortunately, associations are not allowed to sell their products on a larger scale so we are limited to selling them through our web shop, at various festival stands, fairs and events such as Breastfeed Week, Planet Earth Day, etc.”, stated Ivana Zanza, executive director of Roda, adding that customers can also purchase cloth diapers at Roda’s traditional used children’s clothes sales.

The increasing popularity of season sales

The Roda Association organizes 4 such season sales per year, and so far they have proved extremely popular in this time of crisis. The popularity of such events also speaks of the parents’ awareness that used clothes provide the same quality at even lower prices. Brands which some parents simply cannot afford thus become available to them. If the parents find themselves in the role of sellers, they can even improve their home budget and help the Roda Association finance their daily activities. 

Alongside a great number of shoppers, among which are often celebrities, these sales events include over 200 sellers and nearly 60 volunteers.

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