Entrepreneur Deanna Slamans made over $10 million last year selling on Amazon

Deanna Slamans has always had a love for the environment. Realizing how many harmful plastics were in her children’s diapers and the amount of waste they generated, she set out on a mission to create a more natural and sustainable option.

Naturally Nature, founded by Deanna Slamans and her husband, sells eco-friendly diaper liners and booster pads. They started selling on Amazon in 2012 and became full-time sellers in 2015. It took them two years to earn a profit but the duo quickly got hooked and by 2022 they were grossing more than $10 million in Amazon sales.

Your story is so inspiring! We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.

My husband and I started Naturally Nature in 2014 as a cloth diaper company. We wanted to run a business that would not only succeed financially but also offer something positive, especially for kids and families. The market for eco-friendly diapers showed huge growth potential, so jumping in made sense from a business standpoint. And of course, cloth diapers reduce waste, help the environment, and minimize babies’ exposure to harmful chemicals and plastics often found in disposable diapers.

Since launching the company, we’ve expanded our product line to include earth-friendly diaper booster pads and liners, and our business has grown so much that we now employ ten people. I’m proud to run a business that positively impacts children, parents, and our planet, and I’m excited about our future. How did you market your business when it was brand new? We had to establish ourselves as something totally distinct from the big disposable diaper brands like Pampers and Huggies. Digital advertising played a huge role because it helped us find and get noticed by the right customers. We pitched ourselves to environmentally conscious parents as a sustainable diaper company that makes moms and babies happy. We emphasized that our products make “tiny footprints tinier” and are more absorbent and comfortable for babies. With so many competitors in the marketplace, we had to keep our messaging clear, consistent, and positive.

How do you leverage technology (like digital tools, AI, social media, etc.) to stay ahead in the rapidly evolving business landscape?

Technology is how small businesses like mine get ahead. When we first started Naturally Nature, we created a web store and listed our products on Amazon, which exposed us to millions of interested customers and helped kickstart our sales. I also use Amazon’s logistics service, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), to handle all my inventory, packing, and shipping. Using FBA makes qualifying as a Prime seller easier, which our customers love because of the Prime fast-shipping guarantee. That guarantee is critical because parents need to know that their diapers will arrive on time!

Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok give shoppers an inside look at happy parents and children
who use my diaper products. Leveraging technology ensures I’m running my business in the
most effective way possible.

How do you prioritize self-care and life outside of work while managing the demands of your business?

I am incredibly grateful for my family, so I try hard to find a work-life balance that allows me to spend time with them and grow my business at the same time. We all have busy schedules; my husband runs an additional business, and my now adult children help with the company, which means we are all busier. Obviously, the more time-saving tools I can use, the better. The fact that FBA fulfills all our orders gives me extra time to focus on my home life. It’s also important to give yourself a break once in a while. Balancing work and family isn’t easy, and as moms, we’re expected to solve every problem. In those moments, you have to remember how lucky you are. I never imagined my business would get this big, so whenever I get overwhelmed, I remember how far I’ve come and how grateful I am to be here.

What advice would you give to a new business owner? Or to your younger self?

I believe anyone can make it as a small business owner, and the earlier you embrace technology, the quicker you’ll succeed. Digital technologies and platforms give even the smallest businesses immediate exposure to millions of consumers and amazing marketing and advertising capabilities. Small business owners now have a suite of world-class business technologies at their fingertips, and it’s important to take advantage of them.

What would you consider your biggest accomplishment and why?

Raising my children to have strong work ethics makes me proud of who I am and what I have accomplished. I grew up in a broken home and have very few memories of my parents together as a child. Early on, I discovered that it was up to me to turn my hardships into a success story. I’ve shared stories of my upbringing with my children, and I believe it inspires them to want to do their best no matter what they face in life. I am so proud of how hardworking, determined, and grateful they have grown up to be.

We all face challenges, but looking back, what have been some of the biggest challenges and pitfalls you’ve had to navigate?

Self-doubt is certainly something I faced when we first started our company. I had so many questions and very little answers. Uncertainty consumed my mind: Is this the right product line to invest in? How do we scale this? Will we be able to sustain this long-term? Of course, no one could answer those questions for us in the beginning, but we pushed on into what felt like the unknown and discovered that we could do this and do it well.

Can you share any specific examples of how you have successfully built and maintained strategic partnerships or collaborations?

I collaborate regularly with Amazon. Their huge platform and cost-effective tools kickstarted my sales, and they didn’t stop there. They give recommendations on how to sell even more products, like updating my photos or product listings, and they help me keep track of my sales and marketing success in real time. I recently joined the Black Business Accelerator initiative, and it means a lot to have someone to bounce strategies off of within Amazon. It’s like our company gained a strategic partner and business development coordinator at the same time.

What inspires you? Do you have a favorite quote or motto that inspires you?

The Bible inspires me. I read it daily to gain wisdom and understanding of how to work with people. I value The Bible’s advice about relationships because our company wouldn’t work without a strong team supporting us. I want to continue treating my coworkers and assistants with respect, which begins with me. I apply the principles of the Golden Rule, which in essence can be found in Matthew 7:12, which says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Want more inspiring interviews?

Discover how Storytelling is Singer-Songwriter Savanna Leigh’s Superpower. Read a Q&A with Entrepreneur Melissa Horvath of Sweet Water Decor. Get inspired by Maryam Ehsan’s Inspiring Journey of Founding Market Pro. All of these and more are part of our interview series spotlighting successful women in business.

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