Angela Wendling chose cloth diapers for her children to reduce waste — and the bonus of those adorable, colorful designs.
But the eco-friendly option presented a challenge: She had a tough time finding pants that would fit over the puffier posteriors cloth diapers produce. Finding few options available on the market, Wendling tapped into her entrepreneurial spirit and created her own line.
To begin, Wendling, who served in the National Guard and then earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, turned to Fox Valley Technical College’s Envoy program to help launch her business, ChunkaBuns. It offers entrepreneurship assistance to veterans in a 14-week course for those wanting to launch, grow or scale a business.
“I took a few of the classes there, which helped tremendously because I’d never run a business,” Wendling says.
She founded her Neenah-based company with a dedication to reducing fashion waste, ultimately helping people save money. Wendling identified a woman-owned manufacturing company in Minneapolis that offered design assistance and first offered pants that fit over cloth diapers.
Today, ChunkaBuns.com sells all kinds of apparel — from her brand and others — as well as maternity clothes, accessories such as baby slings, cloth diapers and baby oils and lotions. Sales grew by 2,000 percent in 2017 and have steadily increased by 300 to 400 percent each month. Wendling anticipates 4,000 to 5,000 percent growth this year.
She attends conferences and trade shows nationwide to promote the business, and a bustling online presence and word of mouth have helped propel the site.
Briana Boviall, a stay-at-home mom from Delavan, came across ChunkaBuns at MommyCon, a nationwide convention series dedicated to natural parenting. She picked up some shirts and plans to order more, praising the products’ durability, comfort and style.
“They’re stretchy, so I can nurse in them,” the expectant mother says. “They’re so cute. I can use them beyond nursing. I can wear them for a long time.”