Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011
The Road to Palm Springs
Jennifer L. Labit
Cotton Babies, Inc.
St. Louis, Missouri
From an initial investment of $100 to peddle baby slings, Jennifer L. Labit has led Cotton Babies, Inc. to become a globally integrated business in just eight years.
The seeds of the company were planted out of necessity. She formed the company to make a little extra money because she and her husband had both lost their jobs. Labit started designing and manufacturing cloth diapers because she was not able to find a suitable cloth diaper on the market. She created a product line that appeals to the environmentally conscious parent by offering quality natural-living products, as opposed to disposable diapers.
Labit, who had neither previous experience in designing, manufacturing, and selling baby products nor in running a business, attributes her success to her “roll up the sleeves and dive in” approach. She continues to use this approach to inspire her team to take ownership of the company and to keep pushing it — as well as the cloth diaper industry — forward.
Her leadership is illustrated through her founding of the Real Diaper Industry Association, a trade association whose purpose is to raise the standards of excellence in the baby product industry and to expand environmental awareness, while making cloth diapers accessible to all families.