My daughter scooted on her bottom before she could crawl. The result was dirt on the bottoms and knees of her clothing. It’s a daily occurrence that is all too familiar for Emily Norling, a mother of two, who keeps her kids busy by playing outside all day, every day.
“With my daughter on the ground, her pants were always destroyed with dirt and mud by scooting around trying to keep up with her big brother,” says Norling, who grew up in Spring Park. “I was sitting on our patio one evening, looking at the pile of stained, wet, baby pants … and realized that this was a problem. I tried to look online for baby pants with panels that would [protect] her knees and bottom from dirt and ground moisture, but I didn’t find anything. I thought that if I could make pants that had a non-wicking nylon that wasn’t slippery but waterproof and wipeable, we would be set. So I did.”
RubyScootz launched in late 2019. Each pant has a signature design: a fully-lined waterproof panel on the trouser’s bottoms and knees. (There are also shorts for hot weather months.) The waterproof panel is designed to keep the diaper and baby dry. The materials are stretchy and breathable.
It wasn’t an easy journey. Norling took sewing lessons and deconstructed her children’s pants to put together an initial design. She scoured fabric stores and online shops for sustainable cotton and nylon. She then reached out to local moms on a Facebook group to ask for volunteers to test out the prototypes.
One of those moms was Julia Grannes, who tested them with her son. “Pants get ripped easily, or they get so dirty that they are ruined,” Grannes says. “With these, the quality is so great. The pair we got, he wore them all the time, and, if I had another baby, [the baby] could still use them.”
After testing the test runs, Norling went to A&A Sewing, a clothing manufacturer in northeast Minneapolis, which looked at her prototype and suggested she get a local professional pattern maker to make a final design, which could be used for mass production. The result is a Minnesota-designed and made product now available in six colors. “It’s wonderful to keep it local,” Norling says.