If you’re a Canadian who has bought something from the States recently, then you know that the Canadian dollar is in the toilet. At the time of writing this post, $1 US = $1.18 Canadian. That’s awesome if you’re in the States and you’re buying Canadian merchandise. (So, Americans, this is a great time for you to load up on AppleCheeks, AMP, Bummis, and Funky Fluff from stores north of the border.) But if you’re in Canada and your favorite cloth diapers are imported through the States, it’s a little less awesome. $1 Canadian = 85¢ USD.
Maybe there’s something going on in the planetary alignment. Maybe Mercury is in retrograde. Whatever is going on, there seemed to be a lot of stupid drama going on in my favorite cloth diapering groups over the weekend. On the bright side, this is giving me plenty of things to write about. In particular, what’s the value of a used cloth diaper?
The simple answer: a used cloth diaper is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. [Read more…]
I love my cloth diapers. I have a fair amount of mainstream brands, but my collection of WAHM diapers has been growing by leaps and bounds. I can see why. They’re beautiful. They can often be well-made and fun, along with highly collectable. But here’s the thing: they are still fancy poop catchers. [Read more…]
Cloth diaper shopping. It’s a fun, delightful activity that can suck up a ton of money from the checking account and hours from your day. WAHM diaper shopping, or diapers made by work at home moms, is an even more incredibly fun task. Depending on how the WAHM diaper business stocks, it can be as easy as clicking and ordering. Sometimes, if it’s a sought after business on Hyena Cart, “stalking tips” can be helpful.
Still, though, when you just start to delve in the world of WAHM diaper shopping, it’s helpful to know what to look for. You don’t have to be a seamstress to recognize these things.
WAHM Diaper Feedback
Ask around your local cloth diapering community. (Or your online community if you have no locals.) Have any of these moms ordered? How long did it take to get the diapers? How did they hold up? If there were any issues, did the diaper maker stand behind her diapers and resolve them? That being said, issues can come up from time to time. I firmly believe that how the diaper maker reacts to an issue is the most telling. If she’s apologetic and wants to make it right, that’s a huge plus. If she’s angry and defensive, I don’t want to order from her. I get enough crap from my kids. I don’t need it from my fluff.
WAHM Diaper Quality
I do not sew. It’s been suggested that I should never, ever touch a needle. Ugly, horrendous things result. It’s why I don’t do repairs for my local Cloth for a Cause chapter. In spite of my own complete and utter inability to sew, I still recognize quality of work. Go to that Etsy diaper that you were eyeballing. Click on a high resolution image and look at the sewing. How does it look? (I have no expectations of you understanding a chain stitch, a zigzag stitch, or anything else. Knowing the names are not important.) Are the lines straight or does it look like a drunken toddler played with a sewing machine? Are they even? Are there skipped or missing stitches? Do you see loose threads? Are the snaps straight? If it’s Velcro, is there a hook and loop point? It doesn’t matter if she’s using the most beautiful fabric in the world. If a WAHM diaper shop has that quality (and then has a disclaimer about handmade items having perfections), run the other way.
Why am I anti “handmade items may have imperfections that will not impact the function of this product” disclaimers? Because to me, those imperfections mean that she may not do the quality control that I want. I have diapers that work. I have no further need of diapers. Heck, at this point, I could have triplets tomorrow and still not need any new diapers. I expect diapers that I buy to be functional. But I go for a WAHM diaper shop because I want artistry. I want beauty. I want them to look good. And I want them to hold up and have resale value for when I’m done.
I expect print placement to not necessarily be exactly the same if she’s making more than one of the same diaper print. That’s a given. But off-balance sewing doesn’t work for me… and that disclaimer means that if it works for her, I don’t have a leg to stand on. To me, diapers with those issues are second quality and I would expect them to be sold as such.
Have you ever bought a WAHM diaper? What was your experience?
One of the biggest hurdles that struggling families face when looking into a sustainable diapering solution is the start up cost for cloth diapers.
I can’t afford the start up cost for cloth diapers!
Starting with premium brands like Fuzzi Bunz and BumGenius can be expensive. Starting with, say, 18 Fuzzi Bunz Elite diapers with no sort of volume discount or sale comes out to right around $400 in Canada, or $360 in the US. But you’ll spend right around that in six months on disposable diapers.
There are a few ways that you can work around the scary price, including using prefolds and covers, buying diapers here and there, or starting out with a non-premium brand. You can start out with a stash of prefolds that will work for you for right around $100.
There are also brands of diapers that are less expensive that can be bought online in bulk. Keep in mind, though, that with these less expensive diapers, the quality is not always the same… but it’s still better than disposables and a cheaper option until you can bulk your stash up with better diapers. If you start out with the inexpensive brands (or “China cheapies”), it will at least pay for itself in the first month or two.
Plus, if you’re open to the idea, you can always start out with used cloth diapers. There’s absolutely no harm in buying used cloth diapers. In fact, I have a few used cloth diapers in my own stash that I bought because I wanted to try out that brand or it’s just not something sold locally in my area. You can often buy very good to excellent quality used cloth diapers for 50% to 75% of retail value. Sometimes you can get new cloth diapers that the seller hadn’t even washed for 75% of retail. There are ways to start slowly with building a cloth diaper stash when you’re on a budget.
Not only that, but you can recoup some of your expenses when you’re done with diapers by reselling the used ones. There are groups online and on Facebook that are great places to sell your used diapers. Those are also the great place to buy your used cloth diapers when you’re starting out or are looking to experiment.
If you’re still in a bind, there are groups dedicated to loaning out cloth diapers to those who cannot afford them. I work with Cloth for a Cause‘s Prince George chapter. There’s also The Rebecca Foundation in the States.
While the initial start up costs of using cloth can be scary, it’s something that can be overcome!
How did you cope with the start up costs of using cloth diapers?
I’m no stranger to buying cloth diapers. While I usually stick to buying cloth diapers from my local cloth diaper store, I’ve been known to shop from a co-op.
Buying Cloth Diapers from a Co-Op
When you’re buying cloth diapers from a co-op, you’re getting some diapers at some absolutely amazingly low prices. Really, the price is the single biggest draw to going through a co-op. There’s also the sense of community that can be built through a co-op. Some diapers (like my absolutely gorgeous purple paisley Sunbaby diaper) are beautiful and not readily available from other sources. Letting the co-op head deal with ordering from overseas instead of having to deal with that headache yourself is fantastic. If you’re out for a beautiful diaper to wear with an outfit but have no illusions of it holding up for more than a season, then co-ops are a great source for that. And I’m really fond of RLR, but it’s not locally available. And I can buy it from a co-op for half the price. [Read more…]
Over the weekend, the news broke about an explosion at a factory in Japan. You’d think that the main reason that an explosion would be of interesting news would be over the impact. When we had sawmills explode in British Columbia, the reason that it was so important was because of the impact. Loss of life, injuries, loss of jobs…. Some of these sawmills are the primary employers in their tiny communities.
The Japanese explosion is newsworthy for a different reason: that factory that exploded only killed one (fortunately for everyone else, but not so fortunate for that man’s family), but people all over the world will feel the impact of that explosion. According to NBC, that factory produced 20% of the world’s supply of one of the components of disposable diapers. The other factories that produce the same material are already producing at capacity.
Guess what this means? Twenty percent less of the stuff needed for making disposable diapers. Anyone with even a minimal knowledge of economics is familiar with the concept of supply and demand. If the supply of an item cannot meet the demand, prices will go up. When prices for manufacturing materials go up, so does the finished product.
It’s not unreasonable to expect the cost of disposable diapers to go up a minimum of 20%. They may go up as much as 25 to 30%. Disposable diapers are already causing a financial hardship to lower income families. People are already depending on diaper banks because they cannot afford the cost of disposable diapers.
I’m wondering now how many parents are going to decide that the cost of disposables just isn’t worth it. But then again, the ones who are truly struggling to pay for disposable diapers right now are not likely to be able to afford the start up costs of buying cloth diapers.
What do you think will happen as a result of this? Will struggling families reuse disposable diapers even more than some already are? Or will cloth diaper charities like Cloth for a Cause be inundated with requests for assistance? (Or something else?)
Just today, I learned from my favorite cloth diaper dealer store Cozy Bums that there’s a new Best Bottom diaper coming out. Up until this point, I’ve been mildly curious about a Best Bottom diaper… but I’d yet to see a pattern or color that I just had to have. Of course, because of the nature of my cloth diaper addiction, I’m constantly curious about new fluff. I was getting more curious by the day, but I was also mindful about the ridiculous size of my stash, my husband’s wish for me to stop buying cloth diapers, and a host of other things that document my cloth diaper addiction.
I love cloth diapers. I have a minor cloth diaper addiction. Buying cloth diapers is just plain fun. But now, I’m at the point where it’s time to start destashing a bit. There’s no reason in the world for me to have over 80 cloth diapers. Right now, I can have a load of cloth diapers in the wash, another basket already washed that’s waiting to be folded, and still have enough cloth diapers to hold me over for a couple of days. Of course, with my addiction (and thanks, Kerri at Cozy Bums, for enabling me!) comes a lot of experience with buying cloth diapers.
As soon as you start looking at cloth diapers, you realize that there are millions upon millions of options. Okay, maybe not literally millions, but there are certainly more brands, types, and patterns of cloth diapers than one can ever reasonably use. So, here are the conclusions that I’ve come to: