Thursday, August 16, 2012
Kosher diapers a hit with Orthodox Brooklyn moms
It’s a kosher diaper invented by a Williamsburg entrepreneur — the antidote to wet tushies on the Sabbath.
After just four months on the market, it’s a hit with 2,500 moms in Brooklyn and other Orthodox communities.
“I want to be a household name,” said Barry Moskowitz, 55, who deploys Velcro fasteners in his diaper design that four rabbis have endorsed. “I want to be the kosher diaper king.”
Observant Jews aren’t supposed to open regular disposable diapers with adhesive glue-laden fasteners during the Sabbath because the ripping motion is considered “work,” which is forbidden.
They must open up a stack of them beforehand — enough to make it through sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
Exposing the glue to the air weakens it enough to eliminate the ripping motion — but fasteners don’t hold so well.
The diaper dilemma was a problem Moskowitz didn’t given much thought to — his own kids are 8 and 33 and he didn’t change diapers — until moms who patronize an Orthodox-friendly retail site he owns kvetched about it to him.
“Nobody was thinking about Orthodox moms,” said Moskowitz, whose Velcro diaper fasteners come apart with a “hooking” motion that’s not considered work.
“I solved their problem for them.”
Most of the customers on his new nappy-selling site, Kosherdiapers.com, live in Flatbush, Williamsburg and Borough Park, with a sprinkling in Lakewood, N.J., and upstate Monsey, N.Y.
Many order big — about 2,000 have three kids apiece who wear his wares — buying at least two cases of 180 diapers every three weeks.
Williamsburg mom Shindy Mertz orders even bigger. She’s the proud — but sleep-deprived — mother of 1-year-old quadruplets.
“It’s amazing — and it’s a lot of diapers,” said Mertz, who estimated she goes through a case of kosher nappies every week. “I probably use the most in the community.”
Moskowitz — whose other biz ventures over the past 35 years include a restaurant, a gas station and a supermarket — tells every mom who will listen about how his kosher diaper works.
He’s got 10,000 customers on his other retail site, onlineshoppinga2z.com, and many of them phone to chat.
“If I don’t talk to people and explain what it is, it’s just another Pamper,” he said. “The reason it's going so well is because I can talk to the customers.”
Also, he charges less for his diapers than the big players — $39.89 for 180 of his size 5/6 diapers versus $47.19 for 140 similarly-sized Pampers Cruisers on Amazon.com.
An ad campaign in local Jewish newspapers has also helped him market.
The ads got Moses Moskowitz’s attention. He buys a case of diapers every three or four weeks for his 3-year-old daughter.
“It made big noise in the town,” said the father of two, who’s no relation to the entrepreneur. “People were talking about it.”
By Elena Milin And Lore Croghan / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS