Every month another baby boutique specialising in cloth diapers shuts down in North America. Month after month they struggle to compete with the internet and with the never-ending crusade of dirt cheap diapers being pushed out of manufacturing countries (and other factors, I’m sure).
Purchased from co-ops, or directly from manufacturers, these diapers cost pennies on the dollar. They allow consumers to build a cloth diaper stash of 25 for a mere $150 USD (or ~$190 CDN). Sometimes you can even buy them for less, buying in bulk and driving down the cost. This is assuming an average cost of $5 per diaper.
But, is it really worth it?
There are a lot of different reasons people choose to cloth diaper. Some choose to cloth diaper for budgetary concerns, while others opt to do it for the environment. For some, it might be the cool thing, while others choose to cloth diaper for the convenience of the matter.
But, this conversation is about money.
We could talk about inferior quality, ethical manufacturing concerns, or other issues that come up with these diapers, but that’s not for today, that’s not the main reason why I don’t recommend knock-off diapers. I don’t recommend cheap overseas diapers because they hurt small businesses don’t dont make finanical sense.
What if I told you that you could cloth diaper for about the same price by shopping local and supporting small business?
Would you? You can. I’ve even talked about my flat diaper stash that cost me less than $100 CDN.
We can’t afford to keep buying cheap diapers from overseas.
We can’t afford to not support our local economies of scale because never before have we needed to help our neighbours and build our local communities than today. While this has been crucial in the past, the negligence of shopping small will impact our quality of life down the road.
It’s a cycle we are all connected to and while sending our money elsewhere does little for the greater good.
If we bought everything online directly from the manufacturer what would our communities look like?
Just stop and think. How many people do you know involved in the retail sector? If they lost their jobs tomorrow because of online shopping would your community thrive?
Cloth diapering is a little different because of the specific niche it offers. Not every community can afford to upkeep something so specific, but we can support local but supporting small businesses within our region. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean we can’t support it.
There is so much more to these concepts than my humble Bachelors Degree and understanding of the world can offer. But I can take a moment to pause and think about this.
But it’s just $200.
- It’s not just $200 because the decision to purchase cheap diapers isn’t the first time or the last time money is sent somewhere else because it’s “cheaper”
- Because, one person might not have an impact, but a group of people does.
- Just $200 by 5 people, is $1,000, keep multiplying that number and it keeps growing. I think you can do the math.
If I spend $200 at my local cloth diaper retailer that money filters back into my economy. I am not an economist by trade, and I’ve barely taken any business courses, but as an outsider looking in here’s no how it might work.
- She employs at least two others, giving them a small but meagre income with a purpose in life.
- She purchases from other small manufacturers and distributors, which in turn talks about jobs. Some of these brands hand produce goods here in Canada or the USA. That means more ‘local’ job opportunities.
- She purchases business supplies, shipping services, insurance costs, and more from others often giving more jobs within my local community.
What if everyone in my community shopped with her for their cloth diapering needs? Would that mean she could open a brick and mortar store? That brick and mortar store could give more people access to cloth diapering…
Where would that take us?
The spiral of opportunity unfolds into so many options. How awesome would that be for my community? Maybe you have a store in your community too and the same ideas apply. We can’t afford to not shop locally if we want more in our life and in our communities.
Why are we buying cheap diapers from overseas? because it’s the only thing you can afford? Is it really? We can’t afford not to shop local. We can’t afford to not shop small businesses.
You can cloth diaper and support small businesses without spending a ton of money, and over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to talk about that. Last week, I showcased a made in the usa budget friendly cloth diaper the Elemental Joy which if used like a cover runs a mere $150 CAD. And while yes, it is difficult to cloth diaper for under $200 at CozyBums it’s not impossible to do it for under $300.
When you shop at your local retailer you get the quality of care. You get a support during your cloth diapering experience. You get a smile at the door and a note on your invoice. Shopping local brings me joy and I will continue to flaunt it from the rooftops when people ask me about cloth diaper options.
This conversation is more than just cloth diapers, it applies to so many other things in our life.
I can see a few of my readers thinking “but Bailey, your husband has a good job, you can afford to buy quality.”Totally, but I can’t afford to buy everything and do everything. Buying local menas changing your mindset. This might not be something you’re ready for. But guess what, we dont’ need everything. Redefining affordable also means redefining our wants and needs. Do I want a new winter coat this year, or do I need one?
If you can afford to spend $150 on cheap diapers from overseas, then you can afford to buy a stash of cloth diapers from a local retailer. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ve partnered with my local cloth diaper retailer to Redefine Affordable because cloth diapering isn’t expensive and you can do it on a budget. I’ve cloth diapered for $100 CANADIAN <- THATS LESS THAN A STASH OF CHEAP DIAPERS.
Why do you make the purchasing choices you make?
It’s about making small choices with the spending power you do have to keep our neighbourhoods awesome. What small choice did you make today?