Leamington mum celebrates five years of happy nappy trading

Having four young children and a demanding job as a hospital midwife would be challenging enough for most women - but not for Anna Leeksma.

This Leamington mum, after having her second daughter nine years ago, took on the task, at the age of 26, of setting up her own online reusable nappy company.

Cotton Nappy Company owner Anna Leeksma (far right) with her daughter Harriet and customers Sarah and Rob Geraghty and their son Freddy at the shop in Leamington.

Cotton Nappy Company owner Anna Leeksma (far right) with her daughter Harriet and customers Sarah and Rob Geraghty and their son Freddy at the shop in Leamington.

Then after a few years of resounding success, she opened the first reusable nappy shop in the UK.

Now the Cotton Nappy Company in Russell Street is celebrating its fifth anniversary - and although Anna continues to work part-time as a midwife in Banbury, juggled with looking after her daughters Ella, 11, Amy, nine, Martha, two and Harriet, one, she has only just taken on two extra members of staff, besides her mum Jane.

Anna said: “I used cloth nappies for my first child and found it was really difficult to obtain any information about reusable nappies.

“I went to a ‘nappucino’ - a cloth nappy demonstration coffee morning - and then tried out lots of different types, then contacted the suppliers of the best ones and started my business.”

Anna said: “Having a shop to go to makes a big difference to customers, as when you’re choosing a product for your baby’s skin, you want to be able to see if for yourself and speak to someone who has used it.

“We have had a high conversion rate - the image of reusable nappies that most people have in their mind is of terry-towelling. But you put them on in the same way as disposal nappies and you flush the soiled liner down the toilet. The nappy goes in a mesh bag in a bucket, then you put the bag in the washing machine.

“They actually smell less than disposal nappies because you flush away the dirty part.”

Anna is keen to point out that the average baby will require around £1,500 worth of disposable nappies from birth to potty training - whereas people who buy cloth nappies generally spend between £200 and £300, as adjustable poppers mean that one baby will only need between 15 and 20 nappies for the whole period.

Anna said: “This doesn’t feel like a job to me - it’s like a hobby. People come in for a coffee and chat - it’s a community.”

So what’s the verdict of a first-time user? Sarah and Rob Geraghty from Warwick bought microfibre and bamboo nappies for their first baby Freddy, who is now 12 weeks old.

Sarah said: “I came into the shop and had a chat with Jane and the thing that convinced me was when she said, ‘What would you rather wear, a disposable thing or something handmade that feels nice on your skin?’

“We love using them and feel really proud to be doing something good. It has been a really positive experience.”

The Cotton Nappy Company has teamed up with Warwickshire County Council to give anyone the chance to borrow a free bucket containing a variety of different sorts of nappies to try out for two weeks (£50 deposit required).

There are many other baby-related products in store, including baby carriers, clothes, swimwear, toys and nursing aids, while there is also a feeding and changing room. Also running from the shop are hypnobirthing, craniosacral therapy, pregnancy and postnatal massage and baby massage sessions.

Nappucino sessions take place every Wednesday at 10.30am and include a free demonstration and coffee.

To celebrate its fifth anniverary, the shop has been running a 15 per cent off offer, which lasts until Saturday (July 5).