If you cloth diaper and you haven’t yet heard of the “print craze,” there is a whole world of insanity you’ve been missing out on. It’s amazing how many of my HineyTales clients start to fall into this clever marketing trap; it’s like quicksand! I don’t blame them – the prints can so adorable – but I am also dismayed at the fact that it can turn seemingly normal parents into maniacs. The “print craze” happens when a cloth diaper company – BumGenius is known for this and it’s spreading to other companies – limits the production of a certain print. Once that material has been used up, it’s gone. No more will be made. This rarity drives up consumer demand – who doesn’t want what they can’t have? – and sends print crazers into orbit. If you’re not on the ball when they’re released, these diapers can sell out in a matter of minutes. Similar to what happened with “Tickle-Me Elmo” or Beanie Babies, parents will buy up all these coveted diapers and then sell them for 3, 4, 5, or even 6 times their retail value. Here’s 5 reasons why exclusive prints and limited edition cloth diapers are bad for the cloth diapering world:
- The Bubble: Retail value is the price you can buy a diaper in a store. When you have a highly-coveted object (like a Monet painting or a rare coin), the seller can ask a much higher price than the actual value of the object. This is called the “Market Value”. So when you have rare cloth diaper prints that cannot be found in stores anymore, people flock to buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook to find them. Market Value for very rare prints can run as high has $130 per diaper because others are willing to buy them for 6x their actual value (called inflation)! People paid top dollar for Beanie Babies in their heyday and now most of them are basically worthless. That’s because the Inflation Bubble popped. Once demand went down, so did the prices you could get for the item. Remember the saying “WHAT GOES UP, MUST COME DOWN”? It’s just a matter of time before these prices start to fall. Be careful this doesn’t happen to you if you’re banking on selling your diaper for a lot of money!
- The Popularity: A big part of what drives demand for these print diapers the fact that everyone wants them. They’re extremely popular and, once you get them, you become part of an exclusive “club” that can claim bragging rights. You can now say you own every single print and color that a line carries! Other moms will simply drool over your latest fluff mail. You can say, “look at what I have! Aren’t I so lucky?!” I truly believe most people say things like this out of genuine excitement; however, I think limited edition and exclusive prints turns cloth diapering into a sort of popularity contest. I believe this is the wrong message to send the rest of the world – especially when we’re trying to spread the #makeclothmainstream and #crazyforcloth message!
- The Spirit: Let’s face it, there is enough contention in the mom world for a lifetime. Everyday the internet is flooded with opinion articles about why this way of parenting is better or that way is worse. Parents knock each other down more then lift each other up. Cotton Babies, for examples, says it “endeavors to build bridges with people, not walls over differences” and I think that’s a wonderful motto. This motto, however, is not reflected in the fact that they began a Flash Mob on Facebook to drive up print craze frenzy. It’s pretty hard for Cotton Babies to “build bridges” when it’s simultaneously fostering a highly competitive print craze.
- The Intent: Diapers are meant for one thing: to collect urine and feces. There. I said it. If you’re a die-hard print-crazer, it might help to step back a little bit and get some perspective about what’s happening. You’re spending a ton of money on something that’s designed for poop and pee. If you’re happy to do it and can afford it, then it’s all good. But I know of a LOT of people that probably shouldn’t be spending as much as they do on these limited/exclusive prints.
- The Bottom Line: The “print craze” is a lot of hype and a very clever marketing ploy that companies use to increase their sales. I’ve had to resist it myself on several occasions! Some people just go for one or two of their favorite prints while others make it their life goal to collect every color and print of a specific line. This kind of competition can breed drama of the worst kind between mothers and should be avoided because it distorts and undermines the message of cloth diapering. I completely understand the argument for free enterprise, but sometimes the message needs to be more important. Finally, variety is the spice of life, right?! Why would you constrain yourself you only one brand of cloth diaper? There are some truly amazing diapers out there, so if you’ve got some money to spend try branching out!
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Molly, founder of HineyTales, has been cloth diapering for 3 years. Working 4 days a week and with 2 kids under 3 years old in cloth diapers, she tries to remember that parenting is an adventure with plenty of room for mistakes, short-cuts, and imperfections. Her inspiration for starting HineyTales is to spread the #crazyforcloth message to working mamas. With only a little help needed to get started, it’s one of the best decisions a family can make.