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Designer Kristen Noel Crawley And Huggies Are Fighting Diaper Need

Courtesy of Huggies

“I had my baby 18 days ago,” says Kristen Noel Crawley, beauty mogul behind KNC Beauty, designer and mother of, now, three children, over Zoom. She shares them with husband Don Crawley, also known as charismatic streetwear and shoe designer Don C. And while she’s someone knee-deep in diapers and feedings right now, she’s taking a break from all of that for a great cause — to help other parents .

Kristen has teamed up with the Huggies brand for National Diaper Need Awareness Week (September 24-October 2). Together, they’ve launched the “Taking Back the T-shirt” campaign, selling a limited edition line of bold T-shirts to help fight diaper need for families across the country. Each T-shirt purchased equals to a donation of a box of diapers.

“For me it was important to raise awareness to the situation that many families in America face,” she tells ESSENCE. “When you think about it, it’s such a luxury to have clean diapers and proper supplies for your baby. A lot of us, me included, take that for granted.”

“A T-shirt should never be a diaper for your baby, yet the tragic reality is so many families in our country must turn to this household item as a last resort,” says Robert Raines, Vice President of Marketing for Huggies® in North America. “Many people don’t realize how prevalent diaper need is in our country, but through this partnership, we have the opportunity to drive awareness of this issue and encourage people to help support families in need so their babies and children can thrive.”

We spoke with Kristen about the campaign, working with her husband to make the shirts both chic while delivering a very important message, and how she finds balance as a businesswoman and mother of three.

1 In 3 Families Struggle To Afford Diapers In The US.  Huggies And Kristen Noel Crawley Have Teamed Up To Change That.Courtesy of Huggies

ESSENCE: You’re helping to get the word out through these awesome shirts. Can you tell us about what inspired the designs you chose for them?

Kristen Noel Crawley: We worked with the statistics, like the one in three families struggling with diapering their baby. That’s one thing we wanted to message. One shirt has the 1 in 3 on the back, then we have one that was Warhol inspired with the diapers, and then there’s the above the belt idea. It’s a sports reference, so we did the boxing gloves in the shape of a diaper. It was my husband’s idea. I wanted to have something for the guys since they are meant to be unisex.

It was a really fun project. It really pushed my creative boundaries. It wasn’t just designing a T-shirt, but how do we get the message across? How do we raise awareness and make them cool and make people want to buy them to support this cause?

And you mentioned having the assistance of your husband, Don C. You both are big in design, so what was it like for you to work together in this way?

We always bounce ideas off of each other. When he did the Jordan 2 [Retros], the blue 2, they were quilted and modeled after my first Chanel bag. He literally used that as his inspiration. We’ve been collaborating in a sense for a very long time. He always asks me my thoughts and things like that. I’ve done some collabs in the past and appreciate his input. His taste level is very high and his eye is very unique. He always has great ideas even though sometimes it’s annoying [laughs] because I’ll have to change everything I’ve been doing, but I’m like, “oh yeah…you’re right.” It’s fun.

Being a mother, as you mentioned, we can take the essentials needed for our kids for granted sometimes. How did your own kids inspire your work with Huggies?

When I had my first son almost 13 years ago, we went through some tough times. Not to the point where we weren’t able to afford diapers thankfully, but there were some tough financial times for us. Thinking about that, how helpless I felt, often times we blame ourselves and thinking we’re not doing enough and our kids deserve better. So it was important to me to really try to make these T-shirts the best I could so that we are able to raise a lot of money and awareness for the cause. When you have those feelings as a parent that you’re not providing for your children, it can put you in a really low place. I want to be able to help in collaboration with Huggies to help families overcome that.

1 In 3 Families Struggle To Afford Diapers In The US.  Huggies And Kristen Noel Crawley Have Teamed Up To Change That.Courtesy of Huggies

I’m sure you’re on maternity leave right now, but how have you been able to balance your business and collaborations with motherhood?

Sacrifice definitely. I sacrifice now more my business than I do my family. It used to be the other way around but I realized during and after the pandemic, at the end of the day, these are the people that are here for me and the people that truly love me and are always going to be here — hopefully. This is what I want to focus on. And for years I built my business up to a point where it’s pretty self-sufficient now. There was a lot of sacrifice in the beginning, but now it is about balance.

One good thing is my older children are in school so that gives me the school day to work and then my baby right now is sleeping a lot, which also gives me some time. I made sure before I had her that I finished up any big projects. And make sure you have a support system when you do really need that time.

How is it transitioning from two to three kids?

One to two is the hardest because you’re just used to that one child. Once you get the two down you’re like, Oh this is nothing. I feel like I’m more seasoned, I know what to expect. With my first two I had postpartum depression really bad. So with this one, I’m making sure I have my support system, I’m getting good nutrients and eating really well, I’m making time for self-care. Really being able to focus on my baby has been super, super helpful. I feel a little more comfortable and confident as a mother now that I’ve had three.

What would you lastly like people to know about your work with Huggies?

Maybe you or someone you know has struggled with this issue. It’s one in three, which is pretty common. I just want to bring awareness to just what a great company Huggies is. They’ve been doing this for over 10 years and I never heard about it. They’ve donated over 200 million diapers to families in need. That’s really incredible and I think that should be celebrated and amplified. We should all go to Huggies.TakeBacktheT.com because all of the proceeds are going back to this cause. And you can feel good about wearing something or buying something that is helping real-life families.

1 In 3 Families Struggle To Afford Diapers In The US.  Huggies And Kristen Noel Crawley Have Teamed Up To Change That.huggies

Help #TakeBacktheTshirt by purchasing a shirt on takebackthetshirt.com. The tees are $18 and 100 percent of the t-shirt sales will go to the National Diaper Bank Network.

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