Ethical WAHMs Have Standards

I have been feeling a lot of love for WAHMs as of late.  Of course, my diaper dealer, Kerri of Cozy Bums, is a WAHM.  I’m also enjoying cloth diapers made by several WAHMs as of late: Diapers by Chris, Ella Bella Bum, and Tadpole Jones Diaper Supply (among others).  There’s one important thing about all of these ladies: They are ethical WAHMs.

One of the best things about ordering cloth diapers from ethical WAHMs is that you can often get custom diapers.  In fact, Diapers by Chris and Tadpole Jones Diaper Supply pretty much exclusively do custom cloth diapers in lieu of setting up a store with weekly stockings.  It’s pretty easy to get a unique, one of a kind diaper made to your specifications from them.  It takes longer, of course, than ordering a ready made diaper from a weekly stalking, but that’s one of the trade offs of getting a completely custom diaper.

Ethical WAHMs Have Standards (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

HK Musical Scrappy by Ella Bella Bum. Image used with permission.

Ethical WAHMs take great pride in their work and building their fan base. 

That being said… remember that ethical WAHMs do have standards that they won’t violate.  In the case of Cozy Bums, Kerri won’t have anything in her store that isn’t ethically made.  A lot of her diapers are made in Canada and the US.  (Or, in the case of TotsBots, made in Scotland.)  She only carries higher end, premium diapers from a wide variety of manufacturers with good warranty support.  In the case of ethical WAHMs who craft diapers, they will not send out second rate diapers.  Each diaper will be made with love and pride in every stitch.

With that in mind, there are things that ethical WAHMs will not do.

Ethical WAHMs will not alter another WAHM’s diapers for you.

I don’t mean a basic repair, like you had a snap break.  Sometimes an ethical WAHM will do that for you when she’s local just because she’s nice.  I’m talking about the big things, like “I like the colors, but I don’t like the shape of the wings or the width of the crotch.  Can you change that?”  Or how about “I have this Ella Bella Bum diaper, and the print is pretty, but can you change it to a wing to wing?”

No.  Ethical WAHMs will not do that for you because it’s destroying someone else’s creation.  It would have been like Pope Julius II contacting Botticelli and saying, “Yeah, I don’t like the shape of Eve’s breasts in ‘The Fall of Man’ on the Sistine Chapel.  Can you come and fix that?”

Okay, the scale isn’t quite the same in terms of historical or cultural significance, but the idea stands.  Truly talented WAHMs are artists in their own rights, and that artistry deserves to be respected.  If you want something changed about a diaper, then you either a.) ask the WAHM who made it for you or b.) sell that diaper and find another WAHM who makes diapers that better fit your child or your style.

Ethical WAHMs will not lift someone else’s design

You found a WAHM that you’re partial to.  Maybe she’s local, maybe you’ve heard good things, or maybe she’s just in your budget.  You want cloth trainers made… but she doesn’t make them.  You like these cheap trainers for how they fit your kid, but they’re ugly and cheap.  So can she just copy that design?

Or how about you really like a diaper that’s in another WAHM’s stocking, so you send a link to another WAHM and say, “I really like this diaper.  Can you copy it for me?”

Ethical WAHMs will say no.

Sure, two ethical WAHMs may use the same basic pattern.  They may have bought it from the same place and then each made tweaks to suit.  Maybe one prefers rounded corners instead of square.  Maybe she wanted the tabs to be narrow or to have a different number of snaps.  Whatever.  Either way, those two ethical WAHMs working off of the same pattern may have diverged.

But to ask a WAHM to just plain copy  someone else’s design is slimey.  It hurts the WAHM who spent the time to develop the pattern if she’s using her own.  If the WAHM were unethical and did copy someone else’s design, then she could be facing copyright infringement issues.  Plus, asking ethical WAHMs to deliberately rip someone else off is just plain offensive.  And, really, do we want to sacrifice our ethics over fancy poop catchers?

Ethical WAHMs May Have Similarities

Sure, you might find that some WAHMs are using the same fabrics, following the same trends, or what have you.  Even if they independently make diapers that can be quite similar, there’s still a massive difference in “similar stuff” and “copied stuff.”  Even if they look the same, the ethical implications are completely different.

Appreciate Your Ethical WAHMs

Ethical WAHMs don’t have an easy road.  The market is oversaturated.  If the WAHM is not a skilled seamstress from the beginning, making diapers can take excruciatingly long, which makes her time become worthless.  There’s also competition with the bigger manufacturers… and with moms looking for a deal going to co-ops.

If you’re a WAHM, have you ever had anyone ask you to do something regarding another WAHM’s diapers?  How did you respond?  Moms, have you ever asked a WAHM to make changes for you?  What kind of changes did you ask for?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

Comments

  1. I love using my favorite WAHM items as inspiration for my “knock-offs” at home. However I would never sell them claiming to be as awesome. Likewise, I would never want someone to rip off my unique designs and sell them as their own. Great post. Thanks for the reminder!
    Shary recently posted…Introducing Daddy & Co. {+ Giveaway}My Profile

  2. I value EVERYTHING a WAHM does. Working outside the home is tough, but trying to work FROM home…..I can’t imagine how tough that would be! So yes, it’s definitely important to value the WAHM ethics and not ask for something shady.
    Dede recently posted…Check out Motives Cosmetics to wow your ValentineMy Profile

  3. So much respect for WAHM!!! It is tough getting things done with babies around!!

  4. Chris Fannin says:

    Suzi, I would like to thank you for your continued support of the WAHM. In light of recent events that have taken place in the diapering world, it is nice to know that there are still those who have a positive attitude towards those of us who love to create one of a kind items for those special little people. I hope that people continue to give the WAHM’s their support.

  5. Thanks for such a timely post, Suzi! In light of everything that’s been going on lately, it’s nice to see a good positive post about the cloth diapering community!

    I think it’s awesome when mums are inspired by other mums and want to try their hand at making diapers (After all, it’s what got me started!), and I don’t think that drawing inspiration is unethical at all, I think it’s fantastic and gives us all an opportunity to see the beauty another can create (so poetic tonight. I must say, the evening diet of pretty Hiddleston pictures is helping).

    In all fairness, I think a lot of people don’t understand the creativity that goes into the unique WAHM diapers – they’re fancy fairy dust and unicorn fluff poop-catchers because each one is individual, and while I certainly have been inspired by many WAHMs awesome work, I would never want to create something that was identical – it would be a pale copy.

    Just my 2 cents.

  6. It has never occurred to me that someone would send a diaper to a different WAHM to make alterations. This,seems so odd to me but obviously it happens.
    Regan recently posted…The Sanctimonious World of Cloth Diaper Laundry {a rant}My Profile

  7. I have only purchased a couple of WAHM diapers at this point and love them both but both companies have already gone under. I had a diaper that I had requested as a custom when the WAHM all of a sudden closed up shop. I am still pouting because I would still love to have that diaper. However, I have never thought to ask another WAHM because it seemed inappropriate.

    I crush on EBB every week but have yet to catch a stocking because they alway happen while I am at work. 🙁

    Thanks for the great post!
    Melanie S recently posted…Reminder! BabyKicks Valentine’s GiveawayMy Profile

  8. I think this could be said for other wahm mom businesses too. I think customer service is another thing to consider. Glad you found some great wahm’s to deal with
    Angie B. recently posted…Just for Fun, What Would Buy if You Won the Powerball?My Profile

  9. Wow, cloth diapers have come such a long way since my kids were small. My oldest is 26 and all we had were the dingy white cloth diapers that I often had a tug-o-war with the toilet. Most of the time I would win, but there were a few times that the toilet would win and down went the diaper. I look forward to having grandbabies so that I can purchase the new-to-me cloth diapers and I definitely will do so from WAHM businesses.
    Kelli Claypool recently posted…Delicious Raw Food Snacks for the Whole FamilyMy Profile

  10. I admire all the WAHM out there. I tried being one, but crafty was not my suit! now my kids are grown and I work at their school as a para.
    Kandi recently posted…Valentine’s Day Sale for Little Passport!My Profile

  11. Totally off topic, but that diaper is adorable! I love HK.
    My favorite WAHM does all her own stuff and rocks at it!
    Michelle Bowman recently posted…Little Tikes Deluxe 2-in-1 Cozy Roadster GiveawayMy Profile

  12. Thanks for addressing this important topic. We often focus on where a diaper is made, but I think how it’s made and how a business person represents her/his self and brand is just as important.
    Mindy recently posted…Rage Against the Patriarchy: Channeling My Daughter’s Frustration with Media into New StoriesMy Profile

  13. Thank you for posting this!!! I could not agree more!
    Alisha Duncan recently posted…Picture Keeper Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  14. I love that there are still businesses out there with standards and ethics! thanks for restoring my faith in that!
    heather recently posted…Skin Softening LotionMy Profile

  15. Very interesting! I love supporting ethical businesses!!
    April @Pixie Dust Savings recently posted…Ready Always with an Answer?My Profile

  16. I have always loved buying from WAHMs. To me it seems not only are most ethical but their products are so much better. and you can see and feel the love that they put in to it.
    Tamara Wilson recently posted…3 Simple Tips to Teach Your Child to CommunicateMy Profile

  17. I think WAHMs are the best place to buy from. They are always most unique and best made. I purchased quite a few cloth diapers. I love the hello kitty one pictured. So Cute! Thanks for posting!

  18. I think WAHMs is doing a great service to mom by helping us make the switch from disposable diapers to cloth. I love knowing where the diapers are made and that the people making these for our child’s bum has ethics.
    Joie recently posted…February Networking Witches WinnersMy Profile

  19. I love WAHM diapers. They are some of my favorites. But I also know some that are selling diapers that are really just a cheaper copy of name brand diapers and I’m not sure i like that either. Thanks for the great post and I am now going to resist checking out the new diaper names you listed! Well I’ll at least try really hard.
    Erin S. recently posted…Tuesday’s Good Eatin’ Recipe Hop 2/25 #goodeatinPLMy Profile

  20. Love the fact that you are helping WAHM’s make money and doing something wonderful for your kids at the same time. A lot of people don’t realize that being a work at home mom is a full time job with little to no pay. And cloth diapers are the way to go when you want to do something awesome for your kids and the planet.
    Cyndee Wells/Rude Mom Blog recently posted…One Broke Girl by Rhonda Helms #CoverRevealMy Profile

  21. I think it should also be mentioned that ethical WAHMs are CPSIA compliant. As a fairly new WAHM that was step one before I started selling. Doing the research, putting in the extra time and effort to get the correct materials, obtain the business license for my state, keep up with the records and new regulations that come out, it is VERY time consuming.
    Ethical WAHMs are true business owners and put the work into the business and legal side of things, as well as the sewing and creative side.

  22. Ethical WAHMs also pay attention to other legalities such as state and federal regulations in terms of business registration and taxes, and CPSC/FTC compliance regulations. They take that “extra” (required) step to ensure their consumers will be happy, respected, and safe.

  23. Thank you so much for this…. I so appreciate the encouragement as a WAHM that strives to be ethical! At least once a week someone comes to me asking to copy a design or give them a co-op price fur a custom diaper, or expect a quick turn around when I make all customs and have a waiting list. It is hard to say no and be above reproach because I don’t want customers upset with me but anyone trying to push me to do something unethical is told that I do not copy, I do not let people cut in line, and I already sell myself short for the work I do so I will certainly not give a high quality, one-of-a-kind diaper away at cost!! I truly appreciate the reminder because it is sometimes hard to remember that my time and skill is valuable!

  24. I would definitely buy from a WAHM than from a big chain store. The quality is most likely going to be better.
    Michelle F. recently posted…One Month and Two Weeks DownMy Profile

  25. I’m not a diaper-making WAHM, but I think many WAHM from all fields have ethics standards. Like, as a writer, i would never “lift someone else’s design” so to speak. I would definitely choose to buy from a WAHM when given the choice!
    OurFamilyWorld recently posted…Smartest Ways to Use Your Tax RefundMy Profile

  26. Great post. I am a wahm also. I used to sell powwow regalia and life had me take a break. Now im just re-starting as a wahm again but in diapers. It is a lot of work, its nice when people realize that. When I made powwow regalia I ran into similar requests. I always said no, my site even advised those requests would not be fulfilled. Doing powwow regalia also meant making family designs for people that could only be worn by that family so to stay in business and hold my head up high, such standards were necessary. I feel the same about my diapers.

  27. I think it’s important to support any small business person who have good ethics. There are bad ones out there so by supporting the good ones you are helping the overall system.

    I have to admit that I never knew there was so many customized cloth diapers…I assumed they were just basic white. Shows what I know. 🙂
    Ben recently posted…Geocaching: High Tech Treasure HuntMy Profile

  28. I’ve never asked for any alterations from a wahm.

    I appreciate that ethical wahms don’ copy another’s design.

  29. Rachel N says:

    I love the look and quality of WAHM diapers. I don’t like how hard they are to get! But I do understand why, they are only a small business and can’t mass produce. I guess it just makes me appreciate my few EBB and other WAHM mom diapers even more:)

  30. I have recently made my first WAHM purchase and I LOVE it! What a great way to support our local communities! Now, i just wish some of the ones I want from other sites were easier to get my hands on lol

  31. Cheri P says:

    I have seen different products made by WAHM and I love the detail they put into their work. I hope to in the future bless them with business.

  32. liz curtis says:

    I’ve been looking at WAHMs lately and this is definitely something to think about

  33. Erika Summers says:

    I love this post because as a recent sahm I see how difficult it is to run a family and the fact moms find the time to raise babies AND make handmade beauties is a great accomplishment. I have been trying to make cloth napkins with my new sewing machine for a week and just never have the time with a teething baby that wakes up everytime I get out of bed haha. I love supporting ethical wahm!!

  34. Jen Whetstone says:

    I’ve been thinking about becoming a WAHM but to be honest, I’m scared to! I’m not a business person- and that might be my main issue. But I also have no idea how I would start. I don’t think people would want more competition either though- so I don’t think there’s much information out there about it.

    • Honestly, being able to make a great product is only part of it. If you can’t make a great product quickly, then you’ll be losing money because your time is valuable, too. Beyond the product, starting requires testing and marketing. Marketing doesn’t have to be a commercial or a glossy page in a magazine. It can be done effectively through social media and broadening your market that way. Good luck! (Not something that I’d do, that’s for sure.)

  35. Melissa E says:

    This is a really good guide to navigating the world of wahms in terms of ethics. Thank you!

  36. Just starting to cloth diaper and I would love to furnish my stash with WAHM diapers! The only issue I am having is that I am overwhelmed by the abundance of them and can’t decide. Too many choices and I shut down. Wish it were easier! The reviews on the blogs help but then I just want them all!

    • There are definitely a lot to choose from! Part of it is figure out what style you want (and most people like WAHM hybrid fitteds), then go with a couple of different WAHMs that have good reviews. But I do totally understand the temptation to BUY ALL THE DIAPERS!!!1!!ONE!

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