Friday, January 11, 2013

Cloth diapers: a grassroots industry in a capitalist society

Cloth diapers are becoming trendy. Usually when certain movements, styles, or products become trendy, big business jumps on the chance to turn a quick profit. When profit takes top priority, quantity goes up and (generally speaking) quality goes down. In the case of cloth diapers, however, I have noticed a mutual understanding between manufacturers and consumers.

There are obviously exceptions, but most producers of cloth diapers and diapering accessories are small businesses or started out that way. With the help of Etsy, HyenaCart, and similar outlets, individuals and small companies are able to sell their products with very few overhead costs. This aids in their ability to focus on the quality of their products instead of paying rent, utilities, staff, insurance, inventory, etc. Many of these businesses even specialize in (and pride themselves on) custom orders.

The brick and mortar stores have a place in this industry as well. At least, the small locally-owned ones. They deliver personal services that Target and Babies R Us can't even dream of matching. (I dare you to ask the cashier at Wal-Mart if she knows your name. She probably won't recall any conversations you've had about co-sleeping or poopy diapers either.) Most also offer classes on wash routines, babywearing, breastfeeding, and parenting. My local store, Mami's and Papi's, is literally a Mom-and-Pop shop so I know that the money I spend is going to the food on their dinner table, homeschooling supplies, and bill payments, not speedboats, mansions, and private planes. The best part, if you have any questions you'll almost never hear, "I don't know if we can do that. Let me ask my manager." And if you do, you know you won't have to wait 20-30 minutes to speak to said manager.

Cloth diaper consumers, again there are exceptions, are also willing to go out of their way in terms of time, money, or both, for quality and to support WAHMs and small businesses. There is a reason that your chances of finding cloth diapers at national retailers is slim to none. They can't compete! Let's keep it that way, mamas! Continue to support your favorite businesses and keep QUALITY the priority of this industry.

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