Have you ever sat down and wondered, “how did Fluff Love University become the massive entity it is today?” Why is it that one group nearly dominates the cloth diaper wash routine conversation? And how did this happen?
I am not associated with Fluff Love University or any brands, retailers or the like. This post is my opinion. I’m not pushing any products or advice.
Today, more than ever, there is an increasingly vocal opposition to Fluff Love University. People are tired of the only way of working. People are tired of void warranties, destroyed diapers, and broken washing machines. People are tired of being told what to do and the complete dissolution of peer-to-peer problem solving around cloth diapering. Learn over 20 common complaints to Fluff Love University here.
Side Note Commentary: It’s funny, the image for Fluff Love & CD Science Group now states “there’s no such thing as an approved routine,” yet for years in groups people will claim they have an “admin approved” routine from FLU and it does or doesn’t work. Hey Fluff Love, let’s clear the air, what
‘s your stance on approved routines? It seems that if people offer information contrary to your page they’ll be booted, yet, you’re making strides in trying to suggest your not a cookie cutter type of group? I’m not sold.
Over the years, Fluff Love has claimed to put together survey’s and science backing their stance on detergents and routines. While these may have some moment of fact in them, they also spread misinformation and experiences like wildfire. While many of their admins have a background in science, nobody has a degree in cloth diaper laundry science because that didn’t exist. If it did, I’m sure as hell they wouldn’t be giving away their information for free because 4 years of post-secondary, and a master degree ain’t cheap.
Born Out of Fire.
You can find a brief history of Fluff Love University (FLU) on their website here. Based on my searchings of the internet including digging up old conversations on Forums far and near this is my piecing together of the history. I wasn’t an active member of the cloth diaper community at that time.
Essentially, FLU formed after a firestorm of internet drama similar to the parrels that exist in 2018. Back in 2013, a mom named Kate, who claimed to have a science background, operated a cloth diaper group on Facebook known as The Cloth Diaper Compendium (TCDC for short). Sometime in early 2014, a scandal unravelled. There was a supposed fire. Many mothers having trusted this mama sent donations and cash to help with the aftermath. When the fire was determined to be a lie, this created an explosion of drama, mistrust, and rage. We all know scammers exist today in cloth diaper groups, mom groups and more, and it was happening in 2014 too.
Kate’s facebook profile was closed, the group disappeared, and nothing has been mentioned or rumoured since. I hope this woman has gone on to turn a new page in her life away from the drama of cloth diaper mamas.
A few groups sprung out of this crash and burn including I <3 Cloth Diapers and the Cloth Diaper Asylum. These groups operated relatively separate from each other, but some members of the original group were not happy with the varying degrees of cloth diaper advise being provided and decided to start their own different group that is now known as Fluff Love & CD Science. All three of these groups continue to exist in some thread or another today.
In early July, Kinsey left I <3 Cloth Diapers leaving it to Dakota. Internet tales suggest a parting of ways in the direction each woman wanted to take the group. Drama ensued and troublemakers, rift raft, and others were removed from I <3 Cloth Diapers, while Fluff Love continued to grow rapidly. Kinsey remained with Fluff love until 2016, when she retired and finally moved on to other passions. Kinsey’s strong passion for cloth diapering information and routines seems to have largely benefited Fluff Love with many women following her from other groups over to Fluff Love, speaking highly of her advice and support on the internet.
There appears to have also been other women involved in the group’s creation including Heather, Holly and Jennifer. But none of these women seems to have the same fame and traction as Kinsey.
Rumours also swirl that at one point, Fluff Love was growing too fast. They couldn’t keep up with admins and ended up bringing on members of the admin team who didn’t even cloth diaper! Serious. Moms who were still pregnant with babies and never done a day of cloth diaper laundry in their life were just spewing off the sheets of answers the organisation provided.
Many people and groups on the internet feel Fluff Love has skimmed their knowledge and information. Rumours fly that files were “stolen” and used and knowledge not properly sourced back to the women who worked fiercely to create and share.
October 2014 saw the launch of Fluff Love Univesity, the online resource for the Fluff Love doctrine of cloth diaper laundry information.
In December 2014, Fluff Love fundraised to attend Mommycon, but they did not attend. It is presumed one of the sponsors of Mommycon kiboshed that idea. One of the MommyCon Sponsors is a cloth diaper brand known to smash heads with the information provided by Fluff Love.
April 2015, Fluff Love Photostream formed to share and nerd out over fluff love and non-wash routine related chatter.
Fluff Love considers its birthday July 4, 2014. In one year, it grew astronomically.
Let’s look into that, and I would love your thoughts on the issue. I’m purely speculating on hours of the late night researching from the web. In 2014, I was busy living life as a college student, maybe.
Growth, & More Of It.
The part that most interests me about Fluff Love University is its massive growth. There are many cloth diaper groups on the internet, but there is nothing like Fluff Love.
Fluff Love holds a few of the same values of what appears to have been that original group. It’s these values that seem to attract people. These seem to be mostly a liking to cloth diaper laundry as science, as well as a distrust of brands/manufacturers, and what feels like an aggressive recruitment strategy. Other ideas here are my thoughts on their rapid growth succession over 4-5 years
“Science” & “Fact”
The first being the presence of science. I want to use “science” in quotations because I think it over complicates what is a very simple matter. The issue of science seems to provide a foundation of trust. I believe the groups choice in names both Fluff Love & CD Science and Fluff Love University give it the necessary ranking and believability needed to grow rapidly.
Of course, that’s common marketing 101. Why wouldn’t we believe a group dedicated to “cloth diaper science” as being the best source for potentially factual cloth diaper science? It’s the reason I named the cloth diaper podcast, the cloth diaper podcast. Choosing simple, straightforward names, can help you gain authority quickly.
Additional claims to the admins have science backgrounds gives the illusion of “scientists.” Many moms resonate with the rumour the group is run by scientists. However, we do not know who runs the group or if they have a scientist background. Some of them have degress in science, but so do I.
Only One Way
The second reason I think Fluff Love University has succeeded is their persistence to one doctrine of thought. While other cloth diaper groups at the time, and still today, dish out a ton of peer-to-peer based advise, or varying degrees of information based off limited knowledge and experience, FLU continued to press hard to one singular ideal. Their ideas were then hard formatted into relatively flashy, easy to share, resources (you’ll see images shared of the strip routine or the bleach, or the such and such) and spewed across the internet like glitter.
What really sticks here is this one singular idea of information about cloth diaper laundry, and the persistence to stick to it. This continues into 2018. Advice contrary to FLU is deleted, censored, banned, and admins heavily monitor the group. Early evidence suggests there was drama within the groups, but the wide variety and wild west nature of other cloth diaper groups in 2014 paved forward the growth of what seemed to be a stable, somewhat reliable source of information that remained the same time and time again.
People like stability. They like knowing this or that, black or white. Shades of grey scare people.
Talking smack about retailers and brands started with TCDC and continues with Fluff Love. It’s perhaps one of the underlying tensions downplaying the cloth diaper market and the worthiness of reputable brands.
Today, cloth diaper brands and retailers offer very different laundry advice than 4-5 years ago. Gone away are the brand specific detergents and the varying limitations on cloth diapering.
Instead, we now practice simple cloth diapering using mainstream strategies in modern machines. This means many retailers and brands have changed their routine recommendations. However, 4-5 years ago, routine recommendations weren’t the best at getting machines clean.
Since, Fluff Love has adamantly stated that healthy babies are more important than warranties creating distrust and fear-mongering about the information provided to customers. Some of the nonsense spewed at this time included the notion that brands just wanted to make money off people, that brands had limited interest in the customer experience and more.
Little could be further from the truth, and I think that’s why we’ve seen an upsurge in the changing conversations around cloth diaper routines, laundry and the processes at play.
To this day, Fluff Love continues to ignore manufacture recommendations including the directions on products such as GroVia Mighty Bubbles and more.
Recruit, Recruit, Recruit.
Do you belong to a cloth diaper group with anadamantt rule AGAINST FLUFF LOVE UNIVERISTY? It probably says we don’t support FLU guidelines, any menitons of FLU will be deleted.
These rules exist because when Fluff Love & CD Sciecne was laying down the foundations for their new group, women would bombard other groups and actively recruit in an aggressive manner. Instead of helping someone with their question, they would say “check out Fluff Love & CD Science. They do the best routines” or some other sort of BS line.
This became standard across groups to the point that it made admins of toher cloth diaper groups angry, and frustrated they couldn’t build their own communities adn provide their own support. I know, because I’ve felt that pressure too. These mama’s would also PM members and tell them to join going above the public conversation and trying to persuade them to go quietly in the dark.
Some of the dark sources of the internet even suggest FLU admin and members created false, pseudo accounts on public chat forums and interacted in birth month groups where they poached unsuspecting mama’s to join the FLU as the primary source of cloth diaper information. This poaching on the internet continues to happen as moms ask for advice, and other moms divert their attention to another group.
Personally, this is my pet peeve with Fluff Love. I want to support communities, and I don’t believe a massive community of 120,000 women is the best place to be starting your cloth diapering experience. Every time you’re in a small group and someone asks a question and diverts you to another group, a part of the original group dies. This is how big box stores destroy downtowns, and how we lose our sense of place, belonging and community. Ya, I did just compare FLU to Walmart.
The group actively promoted growth and recruitment over the years, including campaigns like this which helped bring new mamas on board.
Today, even heavy recruitment of groups such as All About Cloth Diapers and other popular groups continue to be mere fleas in the sea compared to Fluff Love University. I consider part of their success being at the right time and season. 2014 was the beginning days of Facebook and Facebook Groups. Since, we’ve seen Facebook explode as a popular source of connection, and the community of groups continues to explode. As a feverently established group with what seems like some sort of factual credible science, it only helped lead the group to it’s current “elite” status in the cloth diaper group.
Fluff Love quickly took over the internet with admins moderating many groups both on and off Facebook. Reports in other forums discuss issues of trying to talk about FLU but having posts deleted and removed. Even today, criticizing and talking out against the FLU entity can have you banned and censored. Posts on reddit are occasionally screened, and admin’s eyes are everywhere as members report removal fwithout cause for merely disagreeing elsehwere on the web. Talk about censorship problems.
Memes & Graphics
I also want to take note to point out the aggressive nature Fluff Love graphics are shared on the internet. While these graphics are dated pointing to the early 2014/2015, they serve an itneresting point of note. I think the accesibilyt and easy-to-share information they offer allowed Fluff Love to rapidly grow.
I don’t attirbute their fame and success entirely on the graphics, but they do make for a catchy way to spread your name and message. Even today, blgogers and brands brand our images ad information. I don’t really care if you steal my meme because at the end of the day, it still has my website on it and hopefully that will end back at me. I do care if you steal my meme and block out my website. Now you’re being a snooty pants.
I can’t help but wonder as I scroll through years of help questions, why the admin of Fluff Love do what they do. Do they really do it because they believe in their mission to make the cloth diapering world a better place? Who has that time in the world?
One of my mentors in the cloth diapering community had a deep seated hatred for Fluff Love and their advice. Today, I consider her approach to routines very limited and narrow-minded, but I am grateful for her expertise. She continued to share cloth diapering routine and help mama’s well past her kids being in diapers and I always questioned that because she didn’t have a website or any streams of revenue.
As a blogger, with a website, I’m actively seeking otu streams of revenue to help support me and my family. I love to blog and interact on social media, but this is a realm that is highly profitable. I have yet ot have a cloth diaper company pay me money to blog about their product, it’s likley others do. With a mass following of over 120,000 group members, and what is likely endless page sessions on their website, I must wonder why they don’t monetize the Fluff Love Empire. It seems stupid to do otherwise.
Likewise, how do they get women to volunteer their time to be admins, moderators and peer advisors? Is it purely off the knowledge that many people love power, fame, and recognition for their knowledge?
These are just a few of the questions I have about Fluff Love, but I continue to be puzzled by the lack of monetization. Mostly, because a ton of work goes into owning, operating and maintaining a group, website, and continuing to provide information available to the masses.
I have other questions and interesting concerns regarding Fluff Love. If you know the answer drop an anonymous comment below or email me. Likewise, if you want to uncover something feel free to connect. We can write it up, or podcast it out.
Who is MaryAnne Beatty? And why do they have a fake gatekeeper Facebook profile? That’s pretty much against Facebook TOS.
Who is the current head honcho at Fluff Love? Who willingly follows a group with no identifiable head??
How do they ensure integrity across all peer advisors, admin and moderators?
How do you become a peer advisor or admin? Is there an application processor are people hand selected?
Tell me about the secret groups. The chatter groups where people share things they need to troll on. None of that happens in the big group, but by gosh, it’s noticeable when the Fluff Love Community clambers onto something to spread their gospel.
Do you think Fluff Love needs to be taken down? Or will the knowledge and power of the cloth diaper brands and retailers persist?
Has Fluff Love played an important part in the growth of cheapeis and the decline of North American brands? How has Fluff Love discredited North American brands in favour of cheap brands creating a lasting ripple in the cloth diaper economy that may or may not be survivable. Yes, I’m questining whether Fluff Loves power has influenced the demise of the industry.