My name is Dawn Bucholtz and I am the owner of Sahara Fabrics, Diaper Sewing Supplies, and Diaper Fabric Direct. These are all just different aspects of the same small business.
I have three kids and am married to a great guy. He is a chemistry teacher and a wonderful partner in raising our kiddos.
How did all this start? I started sewing when I was 7 years old, and have always loved fabric. I got into sewing cloth diapers in 1999 with my firstborn. After the birth of my third child in 2006, I opened a Hyena Cart store called Painted Patootie. At the time, there was no print PUL fabric available. Solid color PUL pocket diapers were relatively new and the big innovation was - a contrast color microfleece lining! I really wanted to have designs on my diapers to bring something fresh and new to the market. I sketched my own designs, cut stencils, and screenprinted them on to PUL - and printed matching baby shirts too. There was just one drawback (besides being super time consuming): because the ink was applied to the PUL surface it would gradually wear off in the wash.
There had to be better way to get designs on to PUL. I started working with several US based printers on screenprinting my original designs on the the right type of base fabric, and then worked with US laminators to find the best diaper-worthy waterproofing. This founded the basis of my PUL fabric lines.
My first custom print was called Turtle Friends, based on childhood memories of fishing and playing at the lake. Then I manufactured the Baby Pirate design I had been hand screenprinting, which turned out to be crazy popular, and many more. I ran my designs on cotton knit too, for matching baby clothes. All of my custom fabrics were sold through Yahoo Groups, cut and packed in my basement. I had a toddler underfoot, two school-age kids, and yes, I was still sewing diapers every day too.
During this time, I renamed my diaper business Fishnoodles (a family joke, don't ask!), then changed it to the more official-sounding Bright Star Baby (which brought legal action from a large baby products manufacturer), and finally Peachy Green. I went from home sewing diapers every day (for 3 years!) and getting totally burnt out, to finding a great local woman-run company to sew my diaper line. Peachy Green eventually had 11 retailers in 3 countries. Running two businesses, selling both diapers and diaper fabric, while being a mom to three kids was getting to be too much! I realized that what I loved most was helping my fabric customers make new things. So I bid the diaper line farewell and started focusing on fabric.
In 2010 I set up the Diaper Sewing Supplies online store to manage the fabric orders. My business location was my finished basement, sometimes with a preschool playdate underfoot. My brother-in-law, who is a stay at home dad, started coming over to help cut fabric. The cousins could play together, our dogs could hang out - it was a nice way to work. Diaper Sewing Supplies gradually needed more help, and I recruited a couple great moms to cut fabric too.
By 2014 fabric had taken over my whole basement, my garage, storage lockers - and my bathroom and kitchen was the "break room." My growing family was squeezed for space. So Diaper Sewing Supplies moved to a light industrial park in early 2015.
Now I have a commute, but I don't leave until my youngest is on the school bus. I have a great group of 5 women working with me to run the business and help fill orders. Between us there are 11 kids and 9 fur babies. This means that family always comes first. We work during school hours only, and evenings and weekends are family time.
At the same time, I think we have a really great team that is dedicated to getting orders out fast and serving our customers. We have an amazing group of customers. They write us comments in the order notes and inspire us with what they sew up. It's like Christmas every time someone posts a picture of what they made to our Facebook pages. I hope you will join us
, and share what you are sewing too!