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  • Andrew Simpson

#048 Vicki and Vashti go to Germany

We’ve got something a bit special this week! It’s a little bit travel show and a little bit cloth nappy show. Vicki and Vashti are back from their trip to Germany! They went to Kind + Jugend, the biggest trade show for baby products in the world. Vicki went to find new retailers and Vashti went to find new products. They discuss innovative new products that are caring for our babies and the future of their planet as well as the culture and uptake of cloth nappies in Australia vs around the world.



Transcription: Vicki and Vashti go to Germany

Andrew: Welcome Vashti.

Vashti: Hi, Andrew. How are you?

Andrew: Good, how are you?

Vashti: Good thanks.

Andrew: Welcome Vicki.

Vicki: Hi, Andrew.

Andrew: [laughs] Vicki’s not feeling 100%, but we’ll see how we go.

Vashti: Didn’t bring chocolate this time.

Vicki: No, that’s going to make me feel worse.

Andrew: No, it’s not actually, it’s actually eating which has made her feel bad.

Vicki: I ate too much.

Andrew: Or was it what you ate.

Vicki: Yeah, McDonalds, I never, ever eat McDonalds, and now every time I eat McDonalds, this is why I don’t eat McDonalds.

Andrew: We’ll take that bit out so people don’t know you hate McDonalds.

Vicki: I hate McDonalds.

Vashti: And we’ll throw that in later on.

Vicki: Even a ham and cheese toastie, I thought oh no, this is safe. No.

Andrew: But it’s made in a different section.

Vicki: It’s still made with plastic cheese and plastic ham. The bread actually looks normal, but that’s about it.

Vashti: I don’t think it’s normal bread.

Andrew: It’s amazing how they can make bread look normal.

Vicki: I did not, the kids love McDonalds when I actually let them have it, but I just, just Joe eats McDonalds a lot.

Vashti: It turns my stomach.

Vicki: It’s just the smell when you walk into a McDonalds, the smell just really turns me off, yuck.

Vashti: Well you offered to me and I’m like, no thanks.

Andrew: So we have a sponsor.

Vashti: We do, today…

Andrew: Our sponsor is Seedling Baby.

Vashti: Seedling Baby. So Seedling Baby has donated one of their seven packs of their pocket nappies. The seven pack has their three gorgeous icon prints and four of their beautiful plains. They’re pocket nappies, one size fits most. And the idea behind the seven pack is that you try one nappy a day for a week and see how you like it. I always say to people, just start with that first nappy of the morning, and use the cloth nappy for that one. And if there’s a poo in it, get rid of the solids and wash the nappy, for wees, and once you’ve gotten the poo out, just wash the nappy with your normal clothes and see how you go. It’s a great way to start with cloth.

Andrew: Nice.

Vashti: I love my Seedling Baby pockets, they’re beautiful.

Andrew: You know probably a lot of our listeners are already cloth users.

Vashti: I know, but we do have a lot who are just starting out as well and learning all the basics.

Andrew: That’s true, that’s true.

Vashti: So this is a great one for all those beginners.

Andrew: Well the way our listeners are growing, we’re definitely picking that up. Thank you Seedling Baby. And just remember, the hosts don’t get any kick back from giving these prizes away, I’m the only one that benefits.

Vashti: Just with love.

Vicki: Eggplant taco, water emoji.

Andrew: I just don’t know what to do with all these nappies now that I don’t have any babies.

Vicki: Eggplant taco, water emoji.

Vashti: OK.

Andrew: And to enter and win, all you do is just go to the Apple Podcasts, because it’s not called Apple Podcasts anymore, it’s not called iTunes anymore.

Vashti: Oh, isn’t it?

Andrew: No, because they’re all separate apps now. But you’d know that if you updated your system, so you haven’t updated your system yet, have you?

Vashti: No, I haven’t. Brent was actually talking to me about the update last night and he was like, have you done it yet, because they’ve moved something, I need to find it. I’m like no, I haven’t done it yet.

Andrew: He was probably looking for podcasts. It’s a separate app now. So all you have to do is just give us a rating on Apple Podcasts or your podcaster of choice. Or like or poke or swipe right, on the Nappy Leaks Facebook page. Is that what you do, swipe right?

Vicki: Mm.

Vashti: Or leave us a review.

Andrew: Leave us a review.

Vicki: You’re acting like I know what is actually going on here.

Vashti: Jenna knows.

Andrew: Jenna knows, what’s going on, Jenna?

Jenna: Were you about to say the important next bit, which is screenshot that, and email it to

Andrew: See, it’s written down.

Jenna: I don’t trust you. I have no faith. Continue.

Vashti: We have faith in you though, Jenna.

Andrew: Thanks, Jenna. Yes, everybody get that email address? It’s not at the Nappy Leaks website. And sorry we can’t announce the winners on the show, because well we record them sporadically and we give the awards away on time, but we don’t record the episodes on time, so we can’t announce them on the show.

Vashti: That’s OK, if you like the Nappy Leaks Facebook page, you’ll find out who the winner is.

Andrew: Yes, I did not know that, excellent.

Vicki: I’m sure there was a recent winner because I’ve just sent something out.

Andrew: Yeah, you did, yeah.

Vashti: I think you’ll find it on the Nappy Leaks Facebook page. I don’t know. Maybe. We might do something like that.

Andrew: Do you want me to bring the mic over there Jenna, so you can just comment from your seat?

Vicki: No, she’ll just keep coughing into it.

Andrew: Thank you everybody who’s entered by the way, and wow, we get some fantastic reviews, and I’ve got a couple here that Vashti is going to read out.

Vashti: So Courts S said “So much great info. This podcast is a must for anyone looking to use cloth nappies, or for anyone who is already using them. Cloth nappies can be very daunting at the start, so having a podcast I could listen to, helped wrap my head around them was great. My baby’s needs, when it came to nappies, are always changing as well, so I never stop needing questions answered or advice. I find there are so many stages to cloth nappies. Newborns, sickness, starting solids, growing into one size fits most. When your toddler learns to take off the nappy themselves, storage, and this podcast helps me through all of them. Keep up the great work, team.” Thanks Court.

Vicki: Wow, that was actually really in depth. My reviews are like Yeah, mate, this is cool. Good fridge. Or yeah, nice quiet washing machine. So thank you.

Vashti: That was lovely. We’ve got another five star here from Fifi Tink, it’s titled “So much to learn. I was already using cloth, but started getting leaks and was considering other options, so needed to do some research. So very informative and entertaining. It feels like Vicki and Vashti are like my mums’ group and always encouraging me. Thank you ladies. I have already recommended it to a few mums that have been interested in cloth.” Aw, thanks Fifi.

Vicki: That’s nice.

Vashti: I like being part of a mums’ group.

Vicki: A nice mums’ group.

Vashti: And yes.

Vicki: I don’t know, I left my mums’ group pretty early on. But then way back then I was considered like a crunchy mum because the whole breastfeeding and cloth nappies and 15 years ago, was very much…

Vashti: I had a really great mums’ group with Braith. Mind you, we were living in a small country town. But the core group of us were just fantastic, and we’re still friends now. Like Braith is 14 tomorrow. Well, when this airs, it will be 14 a month ago. But you know, we’re still in contact, and I can say this on air because it will air after and there’s no chance of Braith hearing it, but he is actually getting tickets to The Cursed Child for his birthday. We’re taking down to Melbourne for the weekend, and hoping to catch up with two of the other kids from that mums’ group because they both live in Melbourne.

Andrew: What’s Cursed Child?

Vicki: Yeah, no, I don’t know either.

Vashti: It’s a Harry Potter stage show.

Andrew: Oh right, I thought it was a band. I was going to say band.

Vashti: No, it’s a stage production of, it’s a Harry Potter themed stage production.

Vicki: See this goes to show where I fail at parenting. My kids aren’t into Harry Potter and I think I’d rather stab myself in the eye than go and watch a play about Harry Otter. I remember…

Vashti: Harry Otter!

Vicki: Whatever, Harry Potter.

Andrew: Prime placement there, Honey.

Vicki: Do you remember when it as just as bad when I watched Lord of the Rings with you on a date. Do you remember what I said at the end of the movie?

Andrew: That wasn’t a date.

Vicki: It was, it was one…

Andrew: No, no.

Vicki: Yeah.

Andrew: We went with friends. I didn’t want to go.

Vicki: I didn’t want to go.

Andrew: I didn’t want to go.

Vicki: We got to the end of a three hour movie and I clearly remember saying, “Are you kidding me? After three hours it still hasn’t finished.”

Andrew: I slept for an hour during that movie. I actually slept. I went with John Cook. John Cook is the writer and director of the cartoon we did together. If you’re interested…

Vicki: No, don’t, don’t, don’t.

Andrew: It’s on YouTube.

Vicki: For the love of God, don’t.

Andrew: Go watch it, it’s called Sev Trek. S-E-V-T-R-E-K.

Vicki: Don’t, seriously, you will never get that time. You know, any time I wanted to, I couldn’t sleep, I would actually put that movie on, and I would go to sleep every single time.

Andrew: Actually I was at a barbecue the other week with my brother, and Sev Trek came up, and he said, I showed that to the kids the other day. They loved it. My brother’s kids love it. It’s still bringing joy to people.

Vicki: He had to say that.

Andrew: I had to say that. I did it 15 years ago now, quite a while ago.

Vicki: Sixteen. It was before we were married.

Andrew: Sixteen.

Vicki: It was almost a deal-breaker.

Vashti: Well if a three hour Lord of the Rings is going to put you to sleep, you’ll be pleased to know that Cursed Child is actually two productions. There’s two shows, and each of them are about two and a half hours.

Vicki: Yeah, nah, I don’t have that big an attention span.

Vashti: No.

Andrew: On the same day?

Vicki: I’m definitely the creative.

Vashti: So you can pick your days. So they generally have a matinee and an evening production on the weekends, or you can choose two evening productions that follow each other, or something like that. We have one last review to read, and it’s entitled, “Fun, informative and baby-brain friendly” and it’s five stars, from Chaotic Jingles. I love that name. Says, “What a fantastic podcast, answering common questions we all have about cloth nappies. Better yet, Vashti and Vicki are both mums as well, so they know first hand about all the fun that kids bring, including those lovely staining banana poops. I loved that it was short and sweet. Time-poor mum here with a short attention span”. Oh, she’s so us.

Vicki: She’s so on-trend for me.

Vashti: “Down to earth, informative and fun. I especially like the bloopers at the end. Now I’m going to…”

Vicki: The bloopers?

Vashti: Yeah, well that’s the first I’ve heard of that.

Andrew: [laughs]

Vashti: Oh, and here’s a little bit of product placement. Chaotic Jingles is now going to look up a Strucket as she feels like maybe she needs one of those in her life.

Vicki: They’re actually pretty cool.

Vashti: They are very awesome.

Vicki: I really need to actually, now my laundry is in…

Andrew: That’s that bucket thing you showed me, isn’t it?

Vashti: No.

Vicki: Strainer, meet bucket. It’s a strucket.

Andrew: Right, OK.

Vicki: How many times did we hear Kelly say that?

Vashti: Kelly has actually, she appeared on Innovation Australia, which is an ABC show over the weekend. Or a few weeks ago. She’s a finalist. The strucket has won so many awards. It is such an amazing product. We love it at Nest, absolutely love it. Actually, I’m nearly out of stock, I need to order some more, Kelly.

Vicki: I think the only disadvantage is I suppose with any kind of container-y sort of thing is shipping. That is the only disadvantage.

Andrew: It’s big.

Vicki: No, it’s not that it’s big, it’s, you know, it’s bulky.

Vashti: It’s a large size, it’s bulky. It’s very, very light though.

Vicki: But it’s like trying to, packing boxes fold down. A plastic bucket is not going to fold down.

Vashti: Or strucket.

Vicki: Strucket, yes, is not going to fold down.

Andrew: Maybe she’d like to sponsor the show one day, because we’ve given her enough plugs.

Vashti: I think we might have to talk to Kelly about that.

Andrew: The podcast is doing very well. We peaked at number 36 in kids and family. Which is pretty good. In New Zealand we peaked at 90. And two new countries. We’re now appearing in the top 100 in Singapore, we’re 90 in Singapore, and South Africa, we’re 60 in South Africa.

Vashti: Wow.

Vicki: Wow.

Andrew: So yeah, it’s slowly getting around the world, yes.

Vashti: It’s pretty awesome. Nice.

Andrew: So today’s episode. It’s kind of, Vicki and Vashti are just back from Germany, for real this time, not like last time when we pretended they were back. And as you can see, they’re still friends.

Vashti: Just.

Andrew: Which is a good thing, after spending two weeks with each other.

Vicki: It wasn’t that, it’s the plane flights. Like, it’s a long way. You don’t realise how long, and you just literally, you just want to go home. Just get me off this plane.

Vashti: The way over was 28 hours door to door, but the way back we were travelling for three days, pretty much.

Vicki: Because we thought we’d split it up.

Vashti: So we did like Croatia to Germany on the Thursday. And then on the Friday we went…

Vicki: The Friday afternoon, so we had all of this time, oh my gosh, just wanted to go home. I was like so close to tears so many times. I just want to go home, I just want to go home.

Vashti: Even your phone, it had a little hissy fit, your phone, and it said that it was the power had gone, but then when you plugged it in, you had almost a full battery. And so I just remember looking at you going it’s OK, it’s OK, it will be OK.

Vicki: I just wanted to go home.

Vashti: Let’s get back to the hotel so you can plug it in.

Vicki: I think that’s just what happens the end of a holiday when you know that it’s coming, and then it was seven hours from Dusseldorf to Dubai, and like we stopped and had a shower and that sort of thing, but then that 14 hour trip home…

Andrew: The last leg.

Vicki: It’s awful. Even when you’re sleeping, you sleep for an hour and you wake up, are we not there yet? Are we not there yet? And then you arrive and it’s just awful.

Andrew: Next time I’m on a plane I’m going to push the little button to get the lady to come and I’m going to say, are we there yet?

Vicki: I actually just really felt like Marge, you know Marge Simpson on that plane, get me off, get me off, get me off. That’s what it honestly felt like. So yeah.

Vashti: Well you did have the blue hair.

Vicki: I did, I did have the blue hair.

Andrew: That’s right. Is that why you had the blue hair, because you’ve got the last name of Simpson now?

Vicki: Maybe. My hairdresser didn’t want to do it because it goes green, as we can see. We did pink, purple and blue, and I think the purple lasted like two days. The pink is still there, but the blue is just hanging around like a bad smell.

Vashti: Looks pretty cool though. She got some really good looks in Germany. Everyone told her that she’d fit in. My goodness, yeah, no. No.

Vicki: No, no, no.

Vashti: And I think anyone that we did see that had hair of a similar sort of colouring…

Vicki: Was pink.

Vashti: But I don’t think they were locals, I think they were tourists as well.

Vicki: Yeah, yeah. I don’t know what we were kind of expecting. You expect, not that German people are progressive or anything like that. But they were a lot more conservative than I expected, that’s for sure. So yeah, did I stick out like dogs’ balls, like I did in China? Yeah, yeah, pretty much.

Andrew: That’s what you were going for, wasn’t it?

Vashti: Sticking out like dogs’ balls?

Vicki: Well you know, my Mum saw my hair and she said, Honey, you don’t look like a C.E.O. You look like a teenager. Did you think before, and I didn’t, I just did it because it was Spring, and put some colour in my hair because you know, it’s Spring time.

Vashti: And it’s fun, it is.

Vicki: But of course we went over to Autumn, so here I am with all my Spring clothes and all of that, and it’s like oh. It’s been cold here.

Vashti: Mind you, we were walking around in skirts and sandals. Well, you wore sandals.

Vicki: I wore sandals, until they broke.

Vashti: But we were walking around in clothes that sort of…

Vicki: Weren’t appropriate for the weather.

Vashti: Well they kind of worked, not really. But when you were inside you didn’t notice because everywhere is heated over there.

Vicki: The whole layering, that’s what we don’t do, OK, I’m not going to talk for people in Melbourne. In Brisbane, you do not layer. You’re pretty much just hot or cold, one or the other, and that’s the one thing I noticed in Germany is nobody’s ever cold. So they’d be all rugged up, whereas I’d be wearing short sleeves in 16 degrees, knowing that I was going inside in a few minutes, so I’d be warm. Whereas they tend to be dressed for the 16 degrees, and then have a coat on, and then take the coat off, and yeah, it’s just living in a different climate. I think we just put up with the extremes of temperatures, whereas they don’t see to. That seemed to be something they didn’t do in Germany.

Vashti: And there was cloak rooms everywhere, because everyone wore jackets.

Vicki: Yeah, and everyone wore boots. I swear to God, on one day I was the only person in the whole of Germany wearing sandals. Because that was the day that I bought the hiking boots, I think.

Vashti: Yeah, that was our first day there.

Andrew: Because you wanted to fit in?

Vicki: No, because I was cold.

Vashti: But they were pink hiking boots that she’s been looking for.

Vicki: Do you remember how I went hunting for pink suede hiking boots, and I ended up with these retro blue kind of patchwork, really, really cool boots. I found my pink hiking boots while I was in Germany.

Andrew: Cool, OK well before we turn into a travel show. So you both had goals going over there. Vicki, you went over there to find new retailers, and Vashti, you went over there to find new gadgets to bring back to your brand new store.

Vashti: We did.

Andrew: Your brand new store is open. I forgot to mention, your brand new store is open.

Vashti: Yeah, my brand new store has been open for a while now.

Andrew: Yeah, it was open before you went. I haven’t been to it yet.

Vashti: Oh, you have to come. It’s gorgeous.

Andrew: Last time I saw it, it was a…

Vashti: Real estate.

Andrew: Real estate agent, yeah.

Vashti: Property management, property management.

Andrew: Did you get rid of them?

Vashti: I did, they’ve moved into our old store. We did a business swap.

Andrew: I can imagine. Honey, shall we buy this brand new house? I don’t know, Honey, we just came in here for nappies.

Vashti: [laughs] That’s such a Dad joke. I’m only laughing because it’s so bad.

Andrew: You’re not actually laughing, you’re just sitting there, I’m actually putting a laughing track in.

Vashti: There you go.

Vicki: Do you know who tells worse jokes than Andrew? Arabella.

Vashti: Really?

Vicki: She takes after her father. Gosh, the jokes she comes out with, I swear she looks for the worst jokes on the internet. I’m sure that’s her Google search.

Andrew: So what did you find?

Vashti: I found lots and lots of things.

Andrew: Anything you’re allowed to mention yet?

Vashti: We’ve got one that’s in, we’ve got a few things. We brought back a few little bits and bobs that have gone out for testers. There’s one product I would love to mention, and I saw this…

Vicki: Maybe you should find out when the podcast is going to be released.

Andrew: November, this is November.

Vashti: Look, if this product goes ahead, it won’t be in store by the time this releases. This is probably, if it does come off, it won’t be until next year that we start stocking it.

Andrew: So watch the Nest Nappies Facebook page.

Vashti: Yeah, so this is…

Vicki: Is that the one, were they the guys that I dropped the C bomb to?

Vashti: Yeah.

Vicki: Honestly, I’ll tell you the story. I won’t swear, don’t panic, I won’t swear. Anyway this guy, he was telling a story and he kept censoring himself. Now just remember, I can’t remember who was in the group, but it was all Aussies and Kiwis in this group.

Vashti: A couple of Americans.

Vicki: A couple of Americans and so these two guys were the head of an American company, and he kept censoring himself, saying F-ing this and stuff like that. And I turned around and I said, “Mate, you do realise that you’re talking to Aussies and Kiwis here? You can say, and I dropped the C bomb, and we won’t even care”. And I’ve never seen grown men so embarrassed. I think I actually crossed a line. I definitely crossed a line.

Vashti: The looks. This guy…

Vicki: And we were all drunk, by the way, just for the record, we were drinking a lot.

Andrew: So this wasn’t during the show?

Vicki: No, no, no.

Vashti: No, this was an cocktail event. So an after event. But this guy, he went bright red. Bright red.

Vicki: It was hilarious.

Vashti: Then there was a woman there, who…

Vicki: I think she was a Kiwi though.

Vashti: But she was completely and utterly shocked. She’s like “Oh you can’t say that, oh my God, oh.”

Vicki: The looks on the faces, and then everybody else was just like laughing.

Vashti: Kelly, and Jon and Liz and me, we were all just cracking up. We thought it was hilarious, especially their reactions.

Vicki: And then this other guy and I ended up chatting for like two hours.

Vashti: Something like that.

Andrew: He probably felt comfortable with you.

Vicki: And he did not, he did not censor himself after that, funnily enough.

Vashti: But it was so funny, we rocked into that event, and we were with a couple of my suppliers that I knew. And I didn’t realise, you were a few people behind me, and you ended up on one edge of the group, and I was on the other. Then I suddenly turned around and realised that you were so far away and didn’t really know anyone. Oh crap, Vicki, I’ve left her with people she doesn’t know. But you were having a ball of a time.

Vicki: Yeah, I’ll talk to anyone. Especially with a few wines in me. Actually I think it was a few vodkas. There was an awful lot of vodka consumed in the trip.

Vashti: Mind you, it was an all inclusive party.

Vicki: They did some awesome food.

Vashti: Talk about the food later. But anyway the product, the product…

Andrew: You’re turning into a travel show. Stop turning this into a travel show.

Vashti: So the product that these guys stock is a nappy bag. The beautiful thing about this bag though, is it’s made from recycled ocean plastic. So all the material in it…

Vicki: That’s what I was talking about for two hours by the way, that really, really just hit my eco-heart.

Andrew: So what’s the situation, this is the plastic that comes up when they catch fish, is that what you’re saying?

Vicki: Pretty much, yeah.

Vashti: Pretty much, they scoop it out of the ocean and recycle it into a fabric.

Vicki: Into a fibre.

Vashti: So these bags are amazing. At the moment the hardware on the bag is brand new metals, but they’re working with their supplier to either use recycled metals or look at a way that they can recycle the ocean plastic into plastic hardware. So the idea is by, I think it’s 2021, that the bag will be from 100% recycled materials. The concept behind the business though started when Artie actually took his…

Vicki: You just gave out a name.

Vashti: I did, but that’s OK, the name doesn’t matter.

Andrew: I can beep it.

Vashti: No, it’s fine, but he took his daughter, they were out for dinner, and he took his daughter to change her nappy, and in America there’s no change tables in the men’s change rooms. In the men’s toilets. So he’s asked the restaurant manager, you know, where can I change my daughter? And the restaurant manager is just basically like, well there’s no change tables in there, the only change tables are in the women’s toilets and you can’t go there. So Artie ripped off his shirt, laid it down on the table in the restaurant and changed his daughter there, and then left the restaurant. But from that, it spawned this idea of this nappy bag with a built in change mat in it, and I am so impressed with the bag because the change mat can actually be removed, so that you can use the bag post baby.

Vicki: It’s actually not just like a pull out change mat that you get in just a random bag, which is just a flat kind of padded piece of thing. It is actually like…

Vashti: It’s attached to the…

Vicki: It’s almost like the table.

Vashti: And it folds out, and it’s got little flaps on the sides so your baby can’t roll over and everything…

Vicki: It’s really cool.

Vashti: …like that, and it opens up so that you can get to everything in the bag. I was really, really impressed.

Vicki: It’s well designed. It’s really, really well designed.

Andrew: So it’s not just made of recycled stuff, but you actually liked the functionality of the bag.

Vashti: The functionality is great, absolutely great.

Andrew: Because sometimes you get things that are recycled, and the actual product is just a piece of crap.

Vashti: No, no.

Vicki: This was really well designed.

Vashti: Yep, well thought out. And they’ve put a lot of effort into it. And they’re constantly working on improving on it. I had a couple of really good long chats with them about it. And in the end, they gave me a bag to test.

Andrew: Freebies.

Vashti: I did get a freebie, but it’s not for me. I will admit, I did use it as a cabin bag when we moved to Croatia, so I could test it out.

Vicki: That’s alright, I used Abbie’s bag that I bought her as a gift, as a cabin bag myself.

Andrew: Sh, don’t give that away. She might listen.

Vicki: I don’t listen, you think our 15 year old is going to be listening?

Vashti: So I did test it out myself and I was really quite impressed with the usability and the functionality of it. It’s going out, well it will have gone out to one of our customers, so that they can actually test it as a nappy bag. So that will give us some feedback and once I know that it’s got the ability to, longevity, I suppose you could say, and that it does work really well, we’re going to look at bringing it in.

Andrew: Nice.

Vashti: Yes, so really, really impressed with them. But in line with that, one of the other brands that I saw, and I saw this quite regularly through a lot of the brands that I was looking at, is that there is this whole push to use recycled plastics and recycled materials. There’s a gift line and feeding line that I was looking at, it’s by a Danish company, and they use a lot of recycled plastic bottles and stuff like that. And they reduce their packaging, there’s very little packaging on their products. And it actually does say on the small amount of packaging, it says how many bottles went into making that product. So for a teething toy, which I know it sounds really weird, using recycled plastics for a teething toy, but it’s all sanitised and cleaned and everything.

Andrew: Does it taste like coke?

Vashti: No. But for a teething toy they would use 15, 600 ml water bottles or something like that, so it gives you an idea. But they make fabrics, and hard plastic and soft plastic feeding ware, and toys and stuff like that. And yeah, I’m looking into those as well, and we’ll give them a shot. And I just think, it’s just amazing that as a society we are looking at ways that we can reduce our impact on the environment, or utilise the things that are already being produced, rather than constantly producing new materials.

Vicki: Well plastic can only be recycled, it never, ever breaks down. And I was actually, I caught up with a manufacturer while I was there to discuss specifically recycled polyesters. And you know, the feasibility of actually doing that. I can’t give much away with that at all, because it may not come to fruition, because I know Top Spots do it.

Vashti: They do.

Vicki: It’s nowhere near as easy as it sounds. Actually making recycled fabrics and the products that Artie is making, it sounds so much easier than it really is.

Vashti: It’s a very difficult process.

Vicki: And that’s why it’s expensive. It’s why it’s incredibly expensive. It’s so much easier to create something from new. But certainly…

Vashti: But it’s exciting that there are companies out there that are spending the time on the research and the development and putting in that extra money to be able to produce a recycled product, rather than brand new materials.

Vicki: Fixing a problem that is, and ocean waste is horrendous. Ocean plastic is horrendous, it’s a massive issue.

Vashti: And I think that’s what I loved about this bag, was that it was from recycled ocean plastic, not just plastic. Recycled ocean plastic. So they’re deliberately taking that waste out of the oceans.

Vicki: And they’re making it in an area that is notorious for it too. So it’s actually cleaning up an environment that has a massive problem there. And they’re taking basically rubbish and fixing it. Which is exciting.

Vashti: And the fact that the bag, it can be used from birth all the way through.

Vicki: Well you used it as a cabin bag. You don’t have kids. Didn’t you just take the change mat out?

Vashti: I left the change mat in, but the change mat can be removed, I just left it in.

Vicki: And still be a perfectly functional bag. I didn’t get one. If you’re listening to this, Artie, I didn’t get one.

Vashti: I’m going to send this to Artie and Luke.

Andrew: Yeah, that just might be the bloopers at the back though.

Vashti: But yeah, no, really, really impressed and really excited. Apparently there is…

Vicki: And the exciting part is actually talking to these people who are actually on the same page, that have the same ethics, that are not just in business to make money. Because certainly I find a lot of people that I talk to, it’s all about the money. Especially some of the contacts that I had. It was just all about the bottom line and the money but yeah, there’s so much more to the world and to life. You can run a business, you can make a profit, you can earn an income and still…

Vashti: Not compromise your ethics.

Vicki: Absolutely. You don’t have to be making millions of dollars. I think you can be happy. You know.

Vashti: That’s one of the things I liked about this company as well, is that Artie’s job prior to doing this was actually quite a high profile position, and he was earning some really, really good money.

Vicki: Good bucks.

Andrew: Was he a lawyer, was he?

Vashti: No, no.

Vicki: You can’t give away too much.

Vashti: I can’t tell too much. I’m being very careful about what I say. I’m sure people will start Googling and work it out, but…

Vicki: That’s why I didn’t mention a country, where they’re making it.

Vashti: But no, Artie had a very well paying job that he’s stepped back from to run this business.

Vicki: Because there’s more to life than money. There really is.

Vashti: I’m pretty sure he’s taken a pay cut to do this, because this is something he’s passionate about.

Vicki: As a business owner, I can tell you know, he has absolutely taken a pay cut to follow a dream.

Vashti: His dream. And it’s a family business too, it’s him and one of his buddies, and their entire families are involved in it. And they’ve been really, really particular about the factories they’ve chosen, so it’s really ethically produced as well.

Vicki: Family run, smaller factories. And I think that’s why I really resonated so much with them, is because as I said, they’re on the same page. It’s actually about supporting the people that are making your products and actually caring about the production chain and stuff like that. But I still didn’t get a free bag. I would have given them a free nappy, if they have asked.

Vashti: We did have a play with the bag.

Vicki: We did.

Vashti: We got 14 candies in it. Was it 14?

Vicki: I don’t remember. I didn’t bring that many back, that’s for sure.

Vashti: No, well we decimated the rainbow plane with it, and then fixed the rainbow up again. But yeah…

Vicki: We got a fair whack in it.

Vashti: We got a huge amount of candies in there, and there was still room for bits and pieces in the side, and stuff like that. It’s pretty impressive.

Vicki: Which is unusual for nappy bags, they’re usually made for specifically disposable nappies. Because obviously cloth nappies take up a lot more room.

Vashti: And cloth nappies weren’t something that these guys thought about when they were making the bag. So it wasn’t even on their agenda.

Andrew: That’s disappointing, they were making recycled bag to carry plastic.

Vicki: Yeah, but you don’t know what you don’t know. You’ve got to remember that. Cloth is really only just started to explode now.

Vashti: And this is one of the other things, I was talking to one of my American suppliers over there, and he was saying how impressed he is with the percentage of people in Australia who use cloth nappies. And I’m like, what do you mean? And he said, well their per capita for cloth nappy use is only about 5% in America. Whereas here in Australia, what the latest survey had, up to 60% using them…

Vicki: Tried, tried.

Vashti: …tried them. Yeah. But on average, we had about 15 to 20% using them on a regular basis.

Andrew: But 5% of Americans is more than there are Australians.

Vashti: Most definitely, yes.

Vicki: But they’ve still got the same amount of babies.

Vashti: When you work it out on a percentage base…

Vicki: Five percent of babies are wearing cloth.

Andrew: OK, cool.

Vashti: So it’s not like…

Vicki: Australia is a piss in the ocean. We’re a tiny, tiny country. We’ve got 23 million people.

Vashti: I think we’re 26, aren’t we?

Vicki: No.

Andrew: No, I think we’re up to 24 actually.

Vashti: Twenty four. See, I need to go back to school.

Vicki: No, it keeps growing. Because everybody is still having one for the country. Which of course no international listener will understand that. We had a Prime Minister, was it John Howard?

Vashti: Yes.

Vicki: Yes, it was John Howard. Because the birth rate had dropped. So it was have one for mum, have one for dad, and have one for the country. So we have a lot of three child families now. Do you remember when it used to be literally two child families, and now three child families are more common?

Vashti: It’s the norm.

Vicki: Which I don’t know why, you’ve only got two hands, and two parents.

Vashti: Two parents.

Vicki: Don’t do it.

Vashti: No, don’t do it. Number three tips you over the edge.

Andrew: Don’t let the children outnumber the parents.

Vicki: I don’t think our kids have actually realised that they do literally outnumber us and they could, what do they call it? The prisoners overtaking the prison or something. Mutiny, mutiny. It kind of feels like that some days.

Andrew: So I didn’t actually ask, what was the name of the show you went to again?

Vicki: Kind + Jurgen.

Andrew: Excellent, I’m sure that will be excellent for the transcriber.

Vashti: It means child and baby or, it is the biggest baby show in the world.

Andrew: Are you going back?

Vicki: Uh huh, yep.

Vashti: I want to go back.

Andrew: Excellent, OK, so we’ll get some more gadgets. Any more gadgets you want to talk about? Or that you’re allowed to talk about?

Vashti: A few that I saw. Lots of nappy brands from overseas that we don’t see here in Australia, and I brought a few of them back to send out with testers. We’ve got a couple out already with testers.

Vicki: And I’m kind of kicking myself that I didn’t go and visit the other stands. I was really hesitant from the fact that I’m, I didn’t want people to think that I was spying on what they were doing. And this is where we found a lot of cultural differences. You know, it’s a typical Aussie thing to kind of just be friendly and kind of say hi because somebody is in the same industry, but I was really, really concerned with that being essentially a competitor.

Andrew: Well here in Australia, all you guys know each other.

Vashti: Most of us, yeah.

Vicki: We work together. But I just, I hadn’t done the ground work to make sure that they knew that that is why I would be coming up to say hi.

Andrew: Well you did also have some people who, like we’ve got the A.N.A. in Australia, some people say they want to start that in their country as well.

Vicki: In Germany, yeah. In Germany there’s a couple of consultants/advocates over there that are looking to create a similar sort of…

Vashti: Association.

Vicki: …association, and we kind of gave them a lot of pointers on how to start. I mean, it took forever to get the A.N.A.

Vashti: It took about three years.

Vicki: And it’s still hard now. Actually the A.G.M. would have been and gone by the time this has come up. But actually even getting people on board to do stuff. It’s like any volunteer organisation. Everyone has all the idea and want to do, we could do this, we could do that. But when it comes down to physically doing it, it’s really hard to find the people that are prepared to do the grunt work, because it is volunteer. I’ve been the president for three years, and I’m, hate to say it, but I’m hoping that someone will take it over because I’m so busy. And unfortunately that’s what everybody says. I’m so busy, I’m so busy. It’s like well I’m busy too, but it’s important that we do continue to advocate and educate the community, because that’s the only way that cloth nappy growth will continue to grow.

Andrew: And you get people asking you all the time, emailing you saying, how come this hasn’t been done? How come that hasn’t been done?

Vicki: Yeah, exactly.

Andrew: Basically we haven’t got a volunteer yet, do you want to help here?

Vicki: That is always my comeback. We don’t have anybody that has put their hand up, would you like to do it? Crickets. Every single time it’s crickets. But I’m one person, Vashti is one person. Within any volunteer organisation, once your kids get to school, the P&C is exactly the same. It is a core group of people that put their hand up to do the same things over and over. I remember running the jam stall at our fete three years in a row, making 700 odd jars of jam. And then having to say no. And I felt so bad that I said no, because nobody ended up doing it that year at all. But there comes a point where it’s like you know what? I have actually done my time. I’ve given everything that I can, and it’s somebody else’s turn.

Andrew: I’ve done my sentence. It’s time to get somebody else.

Vicki: That’s exactly right, so I’m hoping someone will take over the president’s role. It’s actually not a difficult role. It’s a lot of delegating, but a lot of follow up, and a lot of, you know…

Andrew: Work.

Vicki: Yeah, it is. It’s not a lot of physical work, it’s a lot of follow up and a lot of constantly being on the ball.

Vashti: Contactable.

Vicki: And being the one that cops, you literally have to put your hand up and say yeah, no, that was my decision. I had the final say on that. Good and bad things.

Vashti: The buck stops with the president.

Vicki: Absolutely. Always the bad things, so you have to be prepared to put your hand up and say well, you know what? I know this is an unpopular choice that I’ve made, but it had to be made for these reasons, and I’ll put my hand up and say yeah, I made that choice.

Vashti: But you don’t make those choices on your own, you make them with the support and guidance of the people who’ve been working on that project and the rest of the board members. And you take, under advisement, everything that those people have said, and then you make the final decision.

Vicki: Like cancelling the cloth nappy award. That was a classic example of it wasn’t my decision. It was…

Vashti: It was pretty much unanimous.

Vicki: …I was pushing not to make this decision. Please don’t do this, please don’t. But with all of the information that was gathered, we had no choice.

Vashti: But that was a pretty unanimous decision amongst the board members…

Vicki: It was.

Vashti: …that there wasn’t another way that we could have gone forward with that.

Vicki: And also when we put the information to the members as well. You know what? At the end of the day, it was pretty much, it was obvious what the decision had to be, but I was the one that had to say uh huh, I’ve put my hand up for this. And it’s hard.

Andrew: Can I ask why the cloth nappy awards were cancelled this year?

Vicki: There was just data integrity issues. More than anything, we could not, we put it out to multiple third party I.T. people…

Vashti: Organisations.

Vicki: …yeah, organisations, to actually try and verify the data. We tried to recoup what we could, and there was just no way that, because at the end of the day, I had to put my, well the board had to put their stamp of approval and go yep, these are the results, this is what the public has voted. And at the end of the day, we couldn’t. Not one person that we outsourced that to was prepared to say yeah, that’s legit. So we just had some integrity issues. But what we’ve done is we’ve learned from that. We’ve learned that we’ll use a different format, rather than just…

Vashti: On our website.

Vicki: Yeah, yeah we’ll actually host it like on Google forms or something similar to that.

Vashti: That will give us a lot more…

Vicki: See everything has to be, because it’s a volunteer organisation, each and every one of us…

Vashti: Has a vested interest.

Vicki: …have a vested interest. So underlying it all, it was making me feel sick, because I was even talking to our solicitor about it. I had a conflict. And I kept putting it back to her. I can’t answer this because I have a conflict. I have a vested interest in this, so I can’t answer these questions. I can’t be the one to make this decision, because it doesn’t just affect me, it affects everybody. So we have definitely learned from this process, and we’ll probably bring the awards closer to the beginning of the year rather than the middle of the year. But I feel sorry for the likes of Leanne from Baby Beehinds, who puts hour and hours and hours into the running of the award. Like for months, this goes on for months.

Vashti: The organisation, the planning, the sponsorship. All the graphics and all the designs and the emails that go out. There’s so much work.

Vicki: The awards…

Vashti: Leanne normally starts on the awards, which are run in July, around about…

Vicki: About March or April.

Vashti: Yeah, March, she first started putting stuff together.

Vicki: So it’s a hugely disappointing outcome for everybody. Especially Leanne, I really felt really bad for her. But you know, it is what it is, and you learn from your mistakes, I guess.

Andrew: So before the podcast started, we were talking about advocates over there. You came across a lot of advocates for cloth nappies.

Vicki: That was a German, it was very much a German kind of, that was the way they did it in Germany.

Vashti: And Netherlands.

Vicki: Oh, was it?

Vashti: Yeah, there was quite a few Netherland advocates as well. So Holland. Because that’s reasonably close there as well. So quite a few of them that we spoke to were from there. But very German based.

Andrew: And what do they do?

Vicki: They pretty much, it’s like one on one consults. Usually in somebody’s home.

Andrew: So they come around, show you cloth nappies.

Vicki: The one thing I didn’t get to really ask, I suppose I didn’t think to ask, is how they get those contacts. Where the start is. I actually don’t know how they get to being in the house. I didn’t ask that. I was just fascinated with the process. Because different countries do things differently, obviously. It was just oh wow, oh wow, they just do like a lot of one on one consults. They just bring all of the nappies over and discuss different options. But I never, ever asked that question. So I’ll have to ask Sarah. I can’t actually fill the whole story in, and I’ve only just thought about it then. I don’t know that happens, whether it’s a Google ad, or how they get to there. But there’s generally consultants in different towns.

Andrew: They probably just something like they’re in their version of the Yellow Pages or something.

Vicki: Maybe, yeah.

Vashti: Or the internet.

Vicki: Or Facebook groups.

Andrew: They have the internet too?

Vashti: Yeah.

Vicki: Remember what I said about Australia being a piss in the ocean?

Vashti: Remember what you said about bad jokes?

Vicki: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: I’m curious, because it actually came up in, when I read the reviews, because I read them all. Somebody actually said in a review, that she’s so glad for the podcast because her mother was absolutely no help, because modern cloth nappies didn’t exist when her mother was doing cloth nappies. She was just doing, she can help obviously with the flats and everything like that, but couldn’t help with modern cloth nappies.

Vashti: We get that a lot at Nest, where new parents come in, and they’ve got their parents with them, or their mum with them, so the grandma’s sitting there going well no, I used flats, so I can teach you how to fold a flat. And they’ll actually pull a flat out and fold it there on the counter and they haven’t folded one for 30 years.

Andrew: That’s because they’ve done 10,000.

Vashti: But…

Vicki: It’s actually six, but anyway.

Vashti: I had a grandma in yesterday. Mum’s on the Sunshine Coast and grandma was in Brisbane for something else, and actually dropped in, walked out with half a dozen brand new nappies for her daughter and grandchild, and she’s just like, I’m just so overwhelmed because I’m used to flats. And I don’t understand this. So quite a few times she rang her daughter and passed the phone over to me, and we were chatting on the phone. But we came up with a good little stash for her to try. A few different things. But yeah, it is very overwhelming for grandparents, because it’s not something they’re used to. It’s slowly changing, I’m slowly starting to get a couple of younger grandparents through that are aware of what’s going on, because modern cloth was starting to emerge, just as they were nearing the end of their cloth nappy journey. But yeah, it’s definitely not something that…

Vicki: It’s like anything. My Dad died 25, 26 years ago, something like that, and sometimes I often think, what has actually changed in the last 25, 26 years? And when you think about it, I remember we had a microwave, so I think microwave technology was fairly new about 25 odd years ago. But you look at just, we had an old Commodore computer. You look at the technology that’s come through, like iPads and iPhones, all of that sort of stuff. And older generations do struggle with that as well, because it’s not, it’s all new.

Vashti: You think, when we were at high school there was no, I know when I went to high school we actually had a typing class, where we used old school typewriters that you had to actually sit there and press the keys really hard and back space…

Vicki: Gosh no, we had electronic ones.

Vashti: We had the old one.

Vicki: How old are you?

Andrew: I didn’t do that course because I thought that I’ll never need to use a keyboard.

Vicki: We had a computer lab in our school.

Vashti: We had a computer lab, but you had to be doing specific classes to be able to get into that computer lab, and it wasn’t just for anyone to go. Now I look at my kids going through and they’ve all got their own devices for each class, and there’s also computers in the library, and they have their computer labs as well. And if they’ve got a free period, then they can go down to the computer lab and type up their assignments. Or if they’re working in the library after school, they can just go in and use the computers. My five year old can use an iPad better than me, some days. So the kids have grown up with this technology. My kids would have no idea what a cassette is.

Vicki: That’s right yeah.

Andrew: Yes, they would. They’re coming back. I read an article the other day, just like records, cassette tapes are coming back too.

Vashti: Really? Do you remember when you actually had to break the little tab off, because you didn’t want anyone to record over your cassette, or you’d be sitting there listening to the radio and waiting to press record, and you’d always miss the first two seconds of the song that you wanted. Or you’d get the disc jockey talking over the beginning of the song. And it’s like dammit, now I need to go back and find the song again.

Andrew: You know that’s illegal, don’t you?

Vashti: Whoops. Don’t tell anyone. I’m sure the Statute of Limitations has expired.

Andrew: That’s right, mine’s definitely expired on cassette tapes.

Vicki: I’m pretty sure that’s an American thing.

Andrew: That’s right, Copyright Law I Australia is forever.

Vicki: OK, even as far as pausing live T.V. that is something that, we used to have to run to the T.V. Everything is on demand. I think of all the little things that we really take for granted, power steering in cars, air conditioning, standard in cars and stuff like that.

Vashti: There’s no winding windows down. Press a button now.

Vicki: No, press a button. All of these things over the last 25 years, I wonder what my Dad would think if he was still around today.

Vashti: I think he’d be pretty impressed with what you’ve done with cloth nappies.

Vicki: Probably. Probably. My brother, here’s a story…

Andrew: No, run out of time.

Vicki: No, no. I’ve worked through this, I’m not angry at him any more. I bought a new Mac, and I’d spent, how much was it? two and a half grand.

Andrew: It was four grand.

Vicki: It was not, I do not spend that much on a computer, it was two grand.

Andrew: Sorry, that was mine.

Vicki: Whatever. And my brother, it was a MacBook, which I still have, and I’m still using a couple of years later, thank you very much. And my brother actually replied to my post on Facebook and said, why would you need a computer like that? All you do is a bit of bookkeeping. And I was horrified. I was absolutely horrified that he thought my business was a little bit of bookkeeping, and it took my quite some time to work out what, underlying issues and all of that, because I didn’t have my Dad to say I’m proud of what you’ve built. But trust me, every time he comes anywhere near the place, I rub his face in it. Oh, can you see my little bit of bookkeeping down here, Steve? Can you see these staff that are doing a little bit of bookkeeping, Steve?

Andrew: I bring him to the warehouse. This is where we keep all our paperwork. How big is this warehouse?

Vicki: I don’t know.

Andrew: We need a 500 square foot warehouse now to store all the bookkeeping you do.

Vicki: That’s right, all the bookkeeping.

Andrew: And you see these people down here in the warehouse? They’re just running around putting…

Vicki: Paperwork away.

Andrew: Bookkeeping in a bag for people. So we’ve called you out, Steven.

Vicki: Siblings, siblings, don’t you just love it?

Andrew: So any other things you’d like to say? Because we’ve almost been going an hour now.

Vicki: Probably.

Vashti: I will say…

Vicki: German food.

Vashti: Oh yeah.

Vicki: But can I tell you, I have to say…

Andrew: Stop turning it into a travel show.

Vicki: No, no, I’m going to put it out there. The food in Germany was amazing. Croatia. Not going to lie, I was a little disappointed. I was a lot disappointed.

Vashti: Actually, yes.

Vicki: In particular the wine.

Vashti: Except for the truffle fries.

Vicki: No, the truffle fries were awesome. Can I tell you, the truffle mayo that I brought back is not as good as I remembered there?

Andrew: I almost threw up when I tasted it.

Vashti: Oh really?

Andrew: It’s disgusting.

Vicki: No, it’s not as nice as what we had.

Vashti: I put it through my potato salad the other night. It’s actually really nice through a potato salad.

Vicki: Oh nice. But the wine, I was really surprised. Croatia known for grapes, figs and olives. I did try an olive and I hate olives…

Vashti: And lavender.

Vicki: …and I spat it out, I could not eat it, I tried it. But the wine, I was really disappointed in the wine that I tasted.

Andrew: Is it made out of olives?

Vicki: Maybe.

Vashti: See, I didn’t mind it, there was a couple that I wasn’t overly impressed with, but we drank more cocktails in Croatia than wine.

Vicki: I think we spend the whole entire three days…

Vashti: There was actually little stalls on the promenade where you could get cocktails to go. Cocktails to go.

Vicki: You know, the most…

Andrew: You’re allowed to walk around with alcohol?

Vicki: Yes.

Vashti: Yes, there was people walking around. In Germany there was people, you walk to the 4 Square, like the convenience store across the road, just a tiny little convenience store, hole in the wall, and we bought…

Vicki: They had half the shop was alcohol.

Vashti: Yeah, we bought wine, and what did you buy? You bought a vodka or something, didn’t you?

Vicki: No, I think it was cider.

Vashti: Cider, I don’t know. And then we went and sat up on the terrace and had a couple of drinks and watched the stars.

Vicki: No, no, I think it was vodka and…

Vashti: A vodka tinny.

Andrew: Watched the stars…

Vicki: So then I went back down and got another one.

Andrew: Watched the stars, what’s that metaphor for, watching stars? The real stars, or the stars you get from the alcohol?

Vashti: No. But what I will say is going to that trade show did put in perspective just how small we are here in Australia.

Vicki: We’re tiny.

Vashti: Like our baby expos that we do here, our consumer expos, I’m not even talking about, this was purely a business to business expo, it was not a retail expo. Our retail expos here in Australia would be about a quarter of the size of one of those floors. The hall we were in had three floors, and there were three separate halls, with two or three floors each. It was just…

Andrew: Just business to business.

Vashti: It is just business to business. It is worldwide, it was absolutely incredible. And the other thing that really threw us was the OH&S. Or lack thereof.

Vicki: We walked in there, I kid you not, to set up, and no safety jackets, OK I understand…

Vashti: Open toe shoes.

Vicki: …Australia is very much kind of like a nanny country. There were babies and kids running around, and the forklift drivers [quack quack] they barely even beeped.

Vashti: They were flying down the aisles and squealing to a stop and racing around the corner, almost skidding around the corner.

Vicki: With no safety jackets, and kids on the floor.

Vashti: And cigarettes hanging out of their mouth as well.

Vicki: Do you know what, the one thing I really struggled with the smoking.

Vashti: We went to a pub one night, and you’re like let’s sit outside. No, no, they’re smoking out there.

Vicki: But everyone, it’s just, you don’t realise how much it’s just stopped in Australia, the external smoking.

Vashti: But we sat inside and there was a window right above, a window open right above where they were smoking, so smoke was coming inside the restaurant area anyway.

Vicki: It’s like you couldn’t escape it. Like just walking down the street, literally. And as a reformed smoker, I noticed it way more than a non-smoker would. I just felt like I couldn’t escape it. It was really, yeah. Really hard to…

Andrew: OK, I think we’ll end it on a…

Vicki: On a smoking note.

Vashti: Pretty amazing.

Vicki: Just don’t smoke, isn’t that you, or Brenno? Just don’t smoke.

Vashti: Pretty awesome. Definitely looking forward to going back.

Vicki: And both beautiful countries.

Andrew: Thank you Vicki.

Vicki: Thanks Andrew.

Andrew: Thank you Vashti.

Vashti: Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew: Bye everybody.


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