Having worked in Japan right out of University I am a fan of management by consensus for the most part. It takes more time to get buy-in but through the process the idea is shaped and improved and everyone has input. So if the idea succeeds, we all feel like we are part of the success. If it fails, we can collectively sit and think through where are thinking fell down.
Australian-born and the co-founder and CEO of gDiapers, Jason Graham-Nye has turned his commitment to making the planet greener and healthier into an environmentally friendly hybrid diaper company. One diaper, two options: reusable cloth and a biodegradable disposable. Graham-Nye launched gDiapers with his wife Kim in 2005 and has been nurturing the company into a growing success every year since.
Jason married his wife Kim in 1998. After the birth of their first son, the impact of diapers on the landfill astounded them. So after doing a lot of research, they moved from Australia to Portland, Oregon and launched gDiapers. Before long, American parents across the country were buying a biodegradable, compostable diaper and a revolution was born. Today, gDiapers offers a diverse line of baby products, incuding both biodegradable and cloth diaper options, colorful little gPants, baby wipes and a line of gEssentials.
At heart, gDiapers is about people and the planet, especially children. Grounded in the Australian expression, fair dinkum, meaning being genuine and real with everyone you encounter, gDiapers applies that philosophy towards business, people and the planet.
Being a parent as well as a business owner, Jason Graham-Nye believes a family-centered workplace is the key to getting the best from everyone. After all, sometimes parents need time off to care for the kids as well as being there for the important moments in their lives. So, employees enjoy generous paid time off, flexible work schedules, job-sharing and company subsidized onsite child care.
Offering onsite childcare was always part of the company vision and they were fortunate to partner with Growing Seeds, a leader in early childhood development. Growing Seeds share the same core values as gDiapers: to nurture a happy future by fostering respect for each other and the environment.
For Jason, the future is filled with opportunities to fuel his passion for babies and his commitment to the planet. He and his wife Kim continue to create new products for environmentally conscious parents and help to educate others about the importance of having a family-centered workplace.
What are you working on right now?
New UK distribution, gDiapers.com redesign and new product launch planning.
What does your typical day look like?
Kim & I head to the gym at 5am for a quick work out and then it is to the office from 6.00am – 3.00pm. That allows us to pick up our boys from school and really focus on them each afternoon. It means we are in bed by 8!
I focus on the Operations, Sales, Finance side with my COO. Kim is the keeper of the brand and works on new product ideation.
We both try as much as we can to get out in front of the brand and tell our story.
3 trends that excite you?
1) Connecting with customers via Social Media – it’s a richer conversation and one I really like.
2) Increasing amount of online sales in our category – Amazon.com is one of Pampers top 10 customers!
3) Retailers starting to really understand sustainable products and checking for themselves which brands are really green and which are greenwashing.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It is quite the process. Having worked in Japan right out of University I am a fan of management by consensus for the most part. It takes more time to get buy-in but through the process the idea is shaped and improved and everyone has input. So if the idea succeeds, we all feel like we are part of the success. If it fails, we can collectively sit and think through where are thinking fell down. It is the polar opposite of “command and control” approach of old.
What inspires you?
People who go out and do what they say they are going to do. And pretty much every TED video.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
We counted our chickens before they were hatched when we were raising our first round of funding. An investor had committed verbally and on that we went ahead and paid some bills, which drained our account. He tragically died the day before closing the round.
The lesson learned was until the money is in the bank, you don’t have the money!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Embrace social media. Look at Facebook for example as not just a community but a potential sales channel. It is so powerful.
What do you read every day, and why?
Mostly via Twitter:
Seth Godins blog (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/) The guy is ahead of the pack.
Morning News Beat (http://www.morningnewsbeat.com) Great daily news about retail and manufacturers
New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/)
Sydney Morning Herald (http://www.smh.com.au/) Because as an Aussie if I can’t keep up to date with cricket and rugby results, life gets grim!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
Peak by Chip Conley. I am intrigued by the people side of the business. Chip nails it in this book.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
As boring as it sounds, probably my iPhone. I can read gDiaper’s Facebook and Twitter pages and interact, check in with my team if I am traveling, read the news, and Face Time with my kids if I am out of town.
We bought an iPad mostly for the kids for the 15 hour flight back to Sydney that we do each Christmas. I had rarely used it but a friend just showed me Flipboard (http://flipboard.com/) and I think it mught be my new addiction!
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Laura Peterson of Hands to Hearts International. She is having a huge impact on orphanages and impoverished women globally.
How do you keep your wits about you running a small, high growth company?
Meditate. Daily. Mini meditate in between meetings. And come the weekend shut down all the devices.
In this super busy world of running a company with your wife, how do you make time for the kids?
Rather than setting aside 1 hour form 7pm to 8pm every day for “quality time” it seems to me that kids like attention, even snippets for a brief moment whenever you can squeeze them in. If it means running late for work, that might not be such a bad thing. It also seems to me that kids don’t require massive adventures to feel connected to their parents. Simple things – making breakfast together for example could be way more fun for them than you think.