Cloth Diaper Knock Off Sites and How They Hurt

Ever since Shop Diaper made their appearance nearly two years ago, there has been an unsettling trend: cloth diaper knock off sites are spreading like a disease.  Cloth diaper knock off sites offer nothing beneficial to the cloth diaper community and offer plenty of harm, so with that in mind?  I feel that comparing them to a disease is very, very accurate.

Cloth Diaper Knock Off Sites & How They Hurt

What Makes Cloth Diaper Knock Off Sites Appealing?

I can easily see why these cloth diaper knock off sites pop up.  China does not have the same copyright or patent laws that we have in North America and in Europe, so they don’t have any legal issues in their own countries with making knock offs.  And because they can make their product so very cheap with substandard materials and shoddy labor conditions, it’s easy for them to offer merchandise that looks the same at first glance at a fraction of the cost.

For parents who are looking to cloth diaper without breaking the budget (and often without education on the implications of shopping with cloth diaper knock off sites), the opportunity to buy a diaper for $9.95 when it looks the same as a diaper that sells for $20 seems like it’s just too good to pass up.

How Do Cloth Diaper Knock Off Sites Hurt?

Cloth diaper knock off sites hurt any legitimate business and they’ll hurt the customers, too.

Cloth Diaper Knock Off Sites Hurt Manufacturers

It’s hard to design a great product.  It’s hard to get financial backing to actually make that great product.  It’s why cloth diaper businesses often start in someone’s living room and gradually grow.  (Ella Bella Bum is my favorite manufacturer to use as an example in this regard.  The company started as a single person doing everything, then grew to a small team working in her basement, and is currently up to a full-blown commercial space for production… all while maintaining that same level of service and owner interaction that she had when it was just her working alone.)

When legitimate cloth diaper manufacturers do the leg work of designing that perfect diaper and finding the right materials and manufacturing… cloth diaper knock off sites hurt them by stealing their work and producing a substandard product.

Cloth Diaper Knock Off Sites Hurt Small Cloth Diaper Boutiques

Cozy Bums is a big name in Canada… but, really, it’s run out of the store owner’s basement.  It’s run by the owner with some help from her mom, and a little bit of social media stuff by someone else.  Kelly’s Closet has less than ten employees, and that’s one of the biggest names for buying cloth diapers in the US.  When people buy imitation products, it’s hurting legitimate businesses that create jobs for actual, real people.

Cloth Diaper Knock Off Sites Hurt Families Like Yours

People are often looking for a cost effective way to buy cloth diapers.  When buying from cloth diaper knock off sites, you’re running some risks.  Some cloth diaper knock off sites have been known to provide horrendous service.  Wrong things or missing things are sent.  You may encounter rapid failure rate.  If Customs searches your package, you may not get it at all, as these items are knock offs that do not meet federal standards.  Customs can and will seize packages of that nature if they catch it.

Then, of course, there’s the support.  When you buy from a small cloth diaper boutique, you’re also buying their product knowledge and their warranty.  Cloth diaper boutiques are usually owned by moms (or moms and dads as partners) who have cloth diapered and knows their product.  They are able to give you advice or walk you through how to handle a warranty claim if your compliant diaper fails for whatever reason.

It’s quite possible that shopping from cloth diaper knock off sites will cost you more in the long run: diapers that need to be replaced, diapers that aren’t working, etc.

Some Cloth Diaper Knock Off Sites

I will not directly link to any cloth diaper knock off sites, and I ban them from advertising in my Google Ads.  That being said, some of my blogger friends and I have written about various cloth diaper knock off sites.  I’ll link you to those so that you can check up on individual sites without visiting them.

Amazing Cloth Diapers

Have you ever bought diapers from cloth diaper knock off sites?  What was your experience like?

Reasons to Avoid ClothDiapers.Us.Com

Generally, I avoid calling out specific sites.  Yes, there are stores out there that I love and will flog to anyone who will listen… but I’ve only come across two cloth diaper stores that are so darned gross that I never want anyone to shop with them.  Ever.  The first was Shop Diaper.  Lindsay of Maman Loup’s Den did a wonderful post explaining what’s so awful about them.  So did The Anti-June Cleaver (and her readers’ comments).  They did it so well that there was no need to reinvent the wheel; they said it all.  Today, I learned about a new gross place.  They are ClothDiaper.Us.Com.  I won’t link them because I don’t want anyone to click to them from my site.

[Read more…]

Buyer Beware – Cloth Diapers on eBay

This morning, I was perusing eBay.  Sometimes I go through to see if there are any hard to find cloth diapers on eBay.  Maybe it’s something that I’m looking for (like an AMP Very Cherry) or it’s something I already have and I’m curious what I could realistically sell it for when the time comes.  Or, you know, maybe it’s just because I’m cloth diaper obsessed and have too much time on my hands.  Whatever.

[Read more…]

Recommending China Cheapies Makes Me Cringe

Without fail, I see people post frequently about wanting to start cloth diapers, but not being able to afford the “expensive brands” like bumGenius.  (Bonus points for seeing this come up on the Cotton Babies Flash Mob, where people are slightly rabid over their bumGenius diapers.)  Sometimes people will recommend ways to get cloth diapers without paying retail price.  Then there are the comments that make me cringe: I see people recommending China Cheapies.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not about snobbishness and elitism.  I do have some China Cheapies in my stash.  However, when I’m speaking with people who are new to cloth diapers, I don’t feel comfortable recommending China Cheapies at all.  There are a few simple reasons for this. [Read more…]

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.  [Read more…]

Cloth Diaper Co-Ops – Right or Wrong?

Cloth diaper co-ops.  It’s a topic that’s been coming up lately.  It’s been popping up here and there for years, but recently I’ve seen posts from Jennifer Labit on her personal blog and from Bummis on Facebook.  I’m sure cloth diaper co-ops have popped up in other places over the last couple of months, but those two have been the ones that immediately registered with me.

I’m not going to come right out and oppose cloth diaper co-ops.  The simple fact of the matter is that there are a wide variety of them and they are run by different people with different methods for different reasons.  Really.  How ethical a co-op is or is not depends entirely on who is running it.

But let’s look at the basic criticisms of cloth diaper co-ops. [Read more…]

Daily Cute Fluffy Bum – Sunbaby Damask

Daily Cute Fluffy Bum - Sunbaby Damask (Cloth Diaper Addicts) How gorgeous is this?!  Today’s cute fluffy bum features a pretty little princess in a Sunbaby Damask diaper.  Sunbaby diapers, a “China Cheapie” brand, are typically available directly from their website or in co-ops.

Cloth Diaper Start Up Fees #SchoolofCloth

Starting cloth diapers.  There are a number of reasons why parents want to do it, but there are two main reasons why parents fear it.  Reason #1 is fear of poop.  After realizing that smells and contact with feces can be less in cloth, we get to objection #2… which has nothing to do with “number two.”  The last intimidating hurdle is the cloth diaper start up fees.

school of clothCloth Diaper Start Up Fees – Less in the Long Run

It’s really easy for people who are sitting back with a calculator to point out that the cloth diaper start up fees are significantly less than the long term cost of disposable diapers.  Sure, $3,000 is a lot less than $300… but if you’re doing great to manage the $12 for a pack of disposables, $300 is way out of reach.  If you’re doing okay financially, $300 can still be a good chunk of change to put down on something you’re not even sure will work for you.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost $300 up front.  There are ways to get around it and make it cheaper.  This way, the cloth diaper start up fees can be broken down into a more manageable, “bite size” purchase.

Start with All-in-Two Diapers

All-in-two or hybrid diapers from your big name manufacturers can make the cloth diaper start up fees far less painful.  If you’re in Canada, you can get a Flip Day Pack for around $61 at Cozy Bums.  (You can also find a Flip Day Pack at Nicki’s Diapers in the States for $50.)  A Flip Day pack will get you 6 diaper changes, which is a full day for a toddler and half a day for a very young baby.  Flip also has a disposable insert option if you’re having a rash problem, need to travel, or are not ready to cope with carrying a wet bag of dirty inserts for whatever reason.

Best Bottom also provides a cost efficient way to start.  You can get an equivalent package of Best Bottoms (2 shells, six inserts) for $65.50 at Cozy Bums or $57.60 at Nicki’s Diapers.

Prefolds and Covers

If you’re starting with a newborn, prefolds and covers are an absolutely fantastic beginner option.  Sure, they’re a lot like the diapers that your mother or grandmother would have used, but you can avoid pins and they’re wonderful for little newbies.  (Less amazing for bigger babies that will kick you in the face during a diaper change, but that comes later.)  You can get 6 newborn prefolds and 2 covers at Cozy Bums for under $35.  A same size package can be put together at Diaper Junction by hitting what’s on clearance at the time of post for $20.82.

These will provide you with about half a day’s worth for a newborn.  When your newborn outgrows that size, you can use those same prefolds for a ton of different things.

China Cheapies

I’m not going to tell you that your China Cheapie brands like AlvaBaby and Sunbaby are just as good as the premium brands out there because, well, they aren’t.  Not with their warranty, not with their ability to absorb.  But I will tell you that China Cheapies like Sunbaby can be an excellent place to start.  If your finances allow, you can always upgrade to better diapers later.  That being said, they are pocket diapers, which are popular because of their similarity to using disposables.  They are cheap, which puts them in reach for most people.  They can even be bought in co-ops if you can find one.

The only brights sides to them are that the prints are cute and they can be a “gateway drug” to finding better diapers out there.  The downside is that there are enough people who have problems with them that give up on cloth altogether because they think that all diapers are created equal.  (They aren’t.)  They can be found for around $45 for six changes, or less if you get them from a co-op.

Buy Used

What makes cloth diapers so amazingly sustainable?  Not only can they be used on more than one of your children… but they can also be sold when the family has no further use for them.  Buying used cloth diapers can be a great way to try a brand without making a huge commitment.  It can also cut your costs down by as much as half.

Find Sales

A lot of cloth diaper retailers have “price breaks” for buying multiples.   There are also diapers that go on sale because the manufacturer is having a sale or has discontinued a color or print.  You can get these diapers for 15 to 25% off, which can be a huge savings for you when you’re starting out.

Win Your Stash

This takes a lot of luck and dedication to entering giveaways on your part… but at any given time, there are at least 30 diapers up for grabs.  In fact, I currently have four cloth diaper giveaways up on my blog at the time of publication.  We do joke in my local community that one of our members has a Golden Horseshoe based on how frequently she wins giveaways.  It seems to be contagious; diaper wins in our area are up.  (And they aren’t just winning on my blog, either.)

Cloth Diaper Lending Banks

There are organizations out there that have one mandate in mind: get cloth diapers on babies’ bums.  These organizations are meant to be sustainable because it’s a one time loan per family, and that family can return the diapers when they are no longer needed so that they can be loaned out to the next family.  Cloth for a Cause is one such organization that services Canada.  Giving Diapers, Giving Hope and The Rebecca Foundation Cloth Diaper Closet offers assistance across the United States.

As you can see, cloth diaper start up fees can be easily adjusted for what your family can afford.  You can spend nothing or you can spend a fortune.  It’s all a matter of what you find that works for you.

What suggestions do you have for reducing cloth diaper start up fees?

Daily Cute Fluffy Bum – Sunbaby

sunbaby-black-catToday’s cute fluffy bum features my Eudora, all dressed up for Halloween!  She’s wearing a shirt from The Children’s Place, a pair of leggings from Judanzy, and a Sunbaby diaper.  While I’m not generally one for China Cheapies, a cute little Halloween diaper that will only be worn for the month of October is certainly suitable!

Daily Cute Fluffy Bum – JCTrade

Daily Cute Fluffy Bum - JCTrade (Cloth Diaper Addicts)Today’s cute fluffy bum is modeling a Hello Kitty diaper by JCTrade.  JCTrade is a China Cheapie diaper that is mainly available from co-ops.