This week, we meet ANA member Tennille Graham, owner of Apikali.
Tell us about your background. What did you do in your past life, before children? Before cloth nappies!
The time before children and cloth nappies, go hand in hand. I was on a goal orientated path to work internationally assisting impoverished countries in their agricultural industries. I had started with Australia’s agricultural industry by completing my university degree and then proceeding onto a PhD. It was mind blowing, exciting and very challenging.
I loved all things eco and alternative. I loved trying to grow my own veges, which I’m still endeavouring to do. I loved making clothes, toys, and meals from scratch. Plus I loved re-purposing items that would have been thrown away.
Of course it all changed with the arrival of my children, who have led me onto this fabulous journey. It was the diagnosis of special needs for Abbey that halted my first dreams, and now Im living another dream.
Tell us about your journey into the cloth nappy industry.
It was with a stumble and trip into the cloth nappy industry. For 11 years I have been using cloth nappies, since Abbey was born. It was a natural choice for our family…money saving, less waste and gentle for Abbey.
When I had my second son, Nate, he outgrew his one size nappies as he was such a chubby and long baby. We popped back into the market to find a larger size cloth nappy for him. Instead of the five brands we
first encountered six years ago, it was now hundreds. We found a brand we loved for him.
But it was this journey that was confusing and at times just too complicated, that the idea sparked to start a cloth nappy library.
And as they say, the rest is history. Our cloth nappy library is still very popular and we have moved into the distribution of quality and long-lasting brands.
How has the cloth nappy industry changed since you started your business?
In the short time of owning Apikali, the industry continues to fluctuate with retailers and brands. The one continuing ebb is the passion that parents have for cloth nappies. The willingness to share and talk about their choice to use cloth nappies. It’s very inspiring.
What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
Its time and raising a young family. It’s challenging, but I definitely know I’m alive.
What’s one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your business?
Early mornings are my most productive time.
Who helps you run your business?
It’s a family effort at Apikali.
Abbey is the guiding light of the business.
Tennille is the dreamer and owner.
James is the warehouse manager
Daniel and Nate are in charge of inventory counting and order packing.
Ali is order picking assistant.
‘Aunty’ Trudy is our Customer Service Manager
Sally is our Social Media Manager.
What do you do to relax?
I like to do one of two things. Knit with a great TV series or read a book. Both of these activities I can do while watching the kids and I can stop them quickly if needed.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
To keep breathing. To focus on the breath.
No matter the circumstances, we have to keep breathing. And if we are breathing, we are ok.
What’s something you’d like your kids to remember about you?
That mum milked every moment from every minute.
Tell us your favourite quote or saying.
It’s actually a story about Travelling to Holland. It’s calming and inspirational. The link is below.
Is there anything else you think our readers would love to know about you or your business?
We love to help and we specialise in assisting parents of children with special needs. Its a pleasure to do so.