When Angie Freeman Shephard and Theresa Perez were pregnant last year, they tried to find a cloth diaper pickup and delivery service in Anchorage, but they discovered they lived in a diaper delivery-less town. They could have gone disposable, but instead they went "mom-preneurial" and started Happy Bottoms Diaper Service in December.
Now they say they've tapped into a decent dirty-diaper market. They expanded in July to the Valley.
On Friday at the Happy Bottoms headquarters -- in Shephard's downtown garage -- the women packed diapers into bags for their 21 clients. Their own toddlers, Sam and Elizabeth, were strapped to their moms' backs.
Shephard and Perez don't wash the diapers -- they leave that to a commercial cleaner's high-powered machines. They are the go-between, providing the pickup and delivery on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Their system depends on a biodegradable plastic bag, which slips inside the laundry bag. The biodegrading bag disintegrates at 160 degrees -- the temperature of a hot commercial wash. After the parents fill the bag with diapers, Shephard and Perez take it to the cleaners, and no one has to touch the dirty diapers.
Like a lot of niche services, their business model is to take something people are doing anyway and make it easier.
"It's a little like recycling," Shephard said. "I'm probably going to recycle anyway, but curbside is easier (than taking it to the recycling center)."
Photo by terren in Virginia