February 16, 2017
In the fall of 2015, I began a search on VolunteerMatch for a non-profit in my city of Springfield, Missouri, that I could volunteer with. When I came across Diaper Bank of the Ozarks, I immediately connected with their mission of providing both disposable diapers and cloth diaper resources to babies in need. Having a son, Eliot, who was just a year and a half old, I was all too familiar with the expense of diapers and the number of diapers needed everyday. But I had never heard of diaper need - the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep an infant or toddler clean, dry and healthy.
I didn’t know that 1 in 3 American moms suffer from diaper need, and have to make the choice between things like food or clean diapers. I had no idea that there is no direct government assistance for diapers, including programs such as WIC and food stamps. And I was unfamiliar with diaper banks, the store houses that supply diapers to partner agencies who then distribute the diapers to families in need (Diaper Bank of the Ozarks distributed over 700,000 diapers in 2016 alone, keeping 14,000 babies clean and dry).
So I began volunteering, helping with special events and social media and soon becoming a member of the board. It’s incredibly fulfilling to be a part of an organization that so closely touches families in our community and helps provide a basic need for their babies.
Yet as 2016 began, I wanted to do more. I wanted to start a business that would give a percentage of every sale back to helping end diaper need. I was already working full-time, volunteering with other organizations and focused on life with my husband, Sean, and Eliot. But the idea of starting a business of my own that would give back just wouldn’t go away. I had a background in operations and HR, and Sean’s technical and marketing expertise made him the perfect partner to help me get things off the ground.
We decided to zero in on basic, socially responsible baby apparel, and found two awesome companies, Colored Organics and AXL Brand, that became our first product lines for Necessitees.co. We launched in June 2016, and since then have added several of our own designs for toddler tees, prints, cards and gift sets.
Our blog highlights other great companies with things we love, including companies like Princess Awesome, who challenges gender stereotypes in children’s clothing. We support companies with a deeper mission of empowering our children and who are truly helping to make the world a better place. Besides giving back to Diaper Bank of the Ozarks, we have also partnered with Clear Charity’s Diaper Gap program, a non-profit located in Anaheim, California.
In 2016 we donated enough funds to provide 450 diapers to babies in need. As we begin 2017, we look forward to expanding Necessitees.co, continuing to spread the word about diaper need to giving back even more to these organizations who are making such a difference in their communities.
Karina Dixon is the CEO and Co-Founder of Necessitees.co.