Geek Parenting: Meet the Deans! (Part 2: Interview with Founder of Seams Geeky, Elizabeth Dean)

Elizabeth, Harper, and Greg Dean

Elizabeth, Harper, and Greg Dean

As crazy as it may sound to some, my husband and I decided to cloth diaper when we had our baby girl in January. When I learned I was pregnant, I went a little research crazy on everything! It seemed like I was constantly consulting Google on every subject. One thing I remembered very well was how expensive diapers had been for us when I had my firstborn, and so I began to look into ways to save money. Cloth diapering seemed to pop up constantly, but I thought it was crazy. Horrible images and scenarios flooded my mind!

Well, right around this time I was reading Real Life Comics, and the characters were beginning their adventures in cloth diapering. I couldn’t help but think, “Oh great, not them too.” As the issues progressed, I saw an ad come out stating that Elizabeth Dean, who I really only knew as “Greg’s wife” at the time, was starting her own company called Seams Geeky. One click and I was in love! My web browser filled with images of the CUTEST geek themed diapers. I finally came to the decision that if my child’s butt could look that cute, I was in. I went to a few classes, got my facts straight, learned the ins and outs of cloth diapering, and we never looked back.

As you can imagine, her line of diapers was a success, and her Etsy shop has expanded to include towels and patches. She has had to stop taking orders for the diapers for a bit because there has been such a demand that it is impossible to keep up with alongside her full time job and family. I still don’t have one! I was able to contact Elizabeth and ask her about parenting and her business, Seams Geeky.

Seams Geeky is without a doubt my favorite line of diapers out there, and I haven’t even been able to grab one yet! What inspired you to start this company?

Man, that is a long story. You ready to settle into this?

First, thank you for the compliment! Greg and I really strive for perfection with all of our projects. 99% isn’t good enough for us… it has to be 110%. I think that is fairly apparent to the horde of diaper fans. 🙂

Before Greg and I ever decided to even TRY to have a baby, I saw someone link to an article online about how some babies were having severe (and I mean severe) reactions to disposable diapers. I had never thought about the contents of disposables before that, but then I was sort of disgusted by the fact. My friend who linked the article had said that they were doing cloth diapers for that very reason.

This stopped me in my tracks.

CLOTH diapers?! Who would want to pin a cloth rag to their baby? That sounds like crazy talk!

Well, curiosity got to me, and I googled. I was incredibly surprised by how cloth diapers had changed over the years. Not only were they better to use, but they were also just as easy to use as a disposable and look so adorable on a baby tushy! I must have spent the next 3 days just researching the types of diapers and quelling the fears of my husband, who looked at me like I had two heads when I told him I wanted to cloth diaper a baby that we may or may not have someday. (Remember how we hadn’t even discussed starting a family yet?)

Anyway, I spent the next several months doing more research and ultimately deciding to sew my own diapers. (I’ve sewn two cotton pieces together before… how hard could it be to make my own? Yeesh!) So I tried out several patterns, watched countless videos, and destroyed more yards of fabric than I care to admit. At some point down the line, I decided that I wasn’t happy with the diapers. Even the trimmest design I found, still came out bulky around the crotch. So I inevitably decided to design my own pattern. It is about this time that we decide to have a baby and get pregnant.

Over then next 10-12 months, I sewed, tweaked, refined, started from scratch, tried new techniques and eventually ended up with a pattern. Then Harper was born, and I pretty much trashed the entire stash I had made for her. I still didn’t like the material we were using, or how it fit around her legs, or the snap placement… etc. So I went back to the drawing board and then stumbled upon my final pattern, the Pocket Protector diaper!

I used my downtime to lovingly sew diapers for my gorgeous little tyrant, and that Christmas my family gave me a brand new sewing and embroidery combo machine. A whole new world opened in front of me. We spent the next few months figuring out how to use the machine, but more importantly, how to digitize designs. Greg, being a big ole nerd, knew that he wanted some Star Trek insignia diapers for Harper. Then we made it so!

When Harper was about 6 months old, I found a job and started working out of the house. That was the lousiest job of all lousy jobs that ever existed, and I found myself unemployed only 3 months later. Sadly, because of my enormous load of student loan debt, I need to work. So I began job hunting in the meantime. After 4 months, Harper had quite the stash of geeky fluff, and I was still not working. At this point, we decided it was a good idea to try and sell some diapers to help bring in some cash. On October 1st, 2012, Seams Geeky was born and she took off like a shot. Then, a mere week later, I get a phone call from KVIE (a local PBS station) for an interview and was hired a week after that. Which means that Seams Geeky was my full-time gig for approximately 2 weeks.

So… there ya go. Seams Geeky’s history in a nutshell. You probably wanted an answer like, “I uh, like diapers, and thought that I could make some money too”, right?

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Do you have a favorite Seams Geeky product?

Oh gosh. Each time I sew a diaper, I marvel over how cute it is. But if I had to choose, it’s probably the new Star Trek TNG diapers. They look sooooooo good! The suiting material and the colors of PUL that we sourced just make for a truly gorgeous diaper. My next favorite is either the Dalek or the R2Pee2 diapers. The Dalek really looks like a dalek when it’s laid flat, and who wouldn’t want an adorable R2 model!

Does Harper have a favorite diaper?

I think Harper is barely aware that she wears diapers. Although, she does look at the TARDIS diaper and she yells, “Doctor Who!” So maybe that’s her favorite?

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Parenting has played a big role in both of your endeavors. I love reading the comics with Harper in them, and diapers are something you started making for her before selling them. Would you say becoming parents has been a big source of inspiration?

Well, certainly in my case. I’m not sure if I would have ever continued with my pattern making if I wasn’t pregnant and needing diapers for my kid. However, even though she’s getting older, I’m fairly certain that I will continue to love making diapers. The medium is so unusual, and it’s interesting to translate a concept into a poop catcher. There is a sort of humor about the entire thing that really gives us most of our ideas. I’m sure that by being parents, we’re more open to talking about poop too. After your first big blow-out, you get awfully comfortable about interjecting feces comments into normal conversations, right?

Currently Seams Geeky is offering diapers, patches, and towels. Are there any other products you hope to maybe introduce in the future?

Oh gosh, we’re always thinking of new product ideas. Implementation is the real difficulty. We don’t rush into anything. (If you couldn’t tell by the Seams Geeky origin story.) We worked on perfecting our patch making method for 11 months before we released our first patch a few weeks ago. So when we decide to make a new product, we take our time to make sure that it’s the highest quality. We are working on a pillow case design that looks like a certain blue box. We also have thought about bibs and aprons. We always welcome suggestions too.

Seams Geeky products

Seams Geeky products

When she is old enough, what are some shows and/or games you are both looking forward to introducing to Harper? Or are there any you have already started with?

Greg has already introduced her to some Star Trek and Doctor Who. She was watching My Little Pony before she was even holding her head up. We recently watched all of Phineas and Ferb with her as well.
She’s definitely interested in playing Mario when daddy has busted out the Wii too. We were just joking the other evening about how much fun it’ll be when she’s old enough to play a MMORPG with us and how we’ll force her to be our healer!
Mostly, our tastes aren’t much different than hers. So if we enjoy doing something, she’ll get introduced to it.

Is there a particular fandom you are hoping she leans toward as her favorite?

I bet Greg said Star Trek. Did he say Star Trek?

I don’t want to push her toward anything. She’s her own person. I’d like to flood her with experiences and then let her decide which things she likes or doesn’t like. That’s a lot of what my parenting philosophy is. Let her be her own human and bombard her with new experiences. I can suggest a path, but she has to be the one to walk down it herself.

Do you have a favorite Real Life moment?

Yes. Partially because I helped write it and partially because I still think it’s hilarious. There is a Lord of the Rings parody comic where Frodo is challenged to take the ring to Mordor to destroy it. However, Frodo figures out a better way to get the ring there, or at least destroyed along the way… send it USPS! It would make for a boring movie, but would be a MUCH better way of ensuring the ring gets destroyed, don’t you think?

August 30, 2006

August 30, 2006

Not related to parenting but I am always curious to see what everyone is following! What are some shows, movies, and/or games you are looking forward to this year?

Wait, parents are allowed to leave the house from time to time? I had no idea!
There isn’t a lot of time in the day after work, sewing, playing with Harper, and managing a household for extra activities, but I’m really jonesing for the 50th anniversary Doctor Who episode. And we’re currently playing Final Fantasy 14 here and there. I’m sure there will be several comics and Seams Geeky merchandise that involve that in the future.

How would you define a “geek”?

I feel like geek is something that everyone is. If you are a geek, then it simply means that you are really into something specific. You can geek out about games, computers, or even make-up or cloth diapers! It means that you have found something that you love and you are proud of it!

And finally, I know its been difficult juggling your full time work while still operating Seams Geeky, but plans are in the works for a new website that will help with that. Would you like to tell our readers a little bit about it and what they can look forward to?

Yes! We’ve been struggling with Etsy. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Etsy and we’ll continue to use them, but when we pull diaper sales, there isn’t any place for people to just browse the products. It’s important for parents to be able to look back and check the washing instructions or the material content. We hope that the website will fix that issue.

When we had our last round of diaper orders, I had intended to only take 25 diaper sales. (I work full-time, so I figured that 25 was my max per month.) Well, we opened orders and closed them 2.5 minutes later and sold 68 diapers. Yep, you read that right… 68. We knew that this wasn’t going to work for us long-term. After much deliberation, we decided that we needed to move to a waiting list business model for the diapers. So our website will help facilitate that. You’ll be able to put yourself on to the waiting list and check your status on the list as well. We hope to incorporate weekly reporting that will tell you how many places you moved in the list and what the expected wait time will be. You’ll also be able to remove yourself if your little one potty trains before I get to your order.

There will be some restrictions. For example, you’ll only be able to order 5 diapers at a time per week. That way, someone doesn’t try to get a spot and then try to sell it to others. Also, it helps the list move more quickly. Another thing we’re going to do to help those newbies who just discovered Seams Geeky’s Pocket Protectors, we’ll have a monthly drawing of those people on the list. 5 people from the list will get the opportunity to have 1 diaper from their stash made. So people toward the end will have the same opportunity to get some SG fluff right away.

Seams Geeky

Currently Seams Geeky is on Etsy, but in October Elizabeth hopes to launch a new website to sell her products. Make sure you stop by her business page or Facebook and check out some of the amazing products they have.

So there you have it. Whether it’s constant new material for your writing endeavors or the idea behind your new business, our kids are an inspiration to us all. So tell me, Nerdy Minds, how have your kids inspired you lately?

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To read Part 1 of Geek Parenting: Meet the Deans, an interview with Real Life Comics creator Greg Dean, click here!

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One thought on “Geek Parenting: Meet the Deans! (Part 2: Interview with Founder of Seams Geeky, Elizabeth Dean)

  1. This design is spectacular! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job.
    I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

    Like

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