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The Cloth Diaper Market
As parents, our time is often spent budgeting for our families. We have to decide whether we splurge a bit to buy a well-known established brand or take a gamble and go a cheaper route. However, when this happens, we’re always risking being dissatisfied with the end result. It’s especially risky to try buying different brands when we’re talking about the safety of our babies. Both American and Chinese cloth diapers exist on the cloth diaper market, but just how well do the brands from our Eastern brethren compare to the ones in our Western shores?
First things first, the cloth diaper frenzy has become popular throughout the world. As people started seeing the benefits of reusable diapers, so too did companies willing to manufacture the product. But, these companies aren’t really interested in the benefits to the environment or the comfort that only cloth can provide to our baby’s bottom. No, most companies are only interested in profit (there are outliers, however, who want to sell good quality products). As such, it is our duty to inform parents everywhere of how the brands outside the U.S. compare to our homegrown ones before letting them take the plunge into the cloth diaper market.
Too Good to Be True
China has a saying in its country; If you’re not good enough to use the same brand name, then you’re not good enough to purchase. When looking at the cloth diapers market online, websites such as eBay or websites with an outdated look in broken English straight out of Google Translate, you might be looking at a knock-off. These diapers are often sold at prices that are too good to be true, and despite looking identical to the name brands out there (featuring the same snaps, prints, and shapes as them), but are simply not up to par. At times the only way to tell these apart is to look at the names on the label which are similar, yet different. However, the pursuit of a good deal is nothing to scoff at, and I’m nothing if not a thrifty parent.
How Can I Ignore Such Prices?
Look, as someone who definitely vouches for the benefits of buying cloth diapers as well as thrifty shopping; I’ll be hard-pressed to ignore these deals. Not only are the Chinese brands easy to find in the cloth diaper market, but they’re also well-known by the cloth diaper community. I can understand their reasons as wells. When you buy a diaper at less than a dollar, with some economy shipping, you’re paying less than five dollars for a diaper. Even families with multiple children could buy enough diapers for the kids for less than a fraction of the price. It’s dang near incredible to think of the possibilities for parents with smaller budgets.
Considering that the better-known brands can reach over 20 dollars, parents with a limited budget will be spending almost their entire budget on buying enough for one child alone. As such, the savings are nothing to glance at. A parent spending nearly 500.00 dollars on a pack of cloth diapers might save hundreds of dollars by simply buying from an Eastern brand and might receive products of similar quality. But, the problem is that the “might” simply might be too pricey in the long run.
Everything Comes at a Price
Let’s be honest, opinions are mixed when it comes to the quality coming out of the cloth diaper market in China. But, we must be impartial when casting judgment as not everybody can afford to splurge their life’s savings on a pack of them, especially young parents. As such, for the sake of fairness, let’s discuss both positives and negatives.
While it’s not always true, the price of a product should dictate the overall quality of the result. We typically associate higher prices with better quality, and this is not always true. The Chinese have been discovering ways of making quality products for cheaper for years, and in fact, China has been one of the biggest exporters of goods for years.
If corners are cut during the production of a cloth diaper, your results may really vary, this might happen due to low production costs. Discrepancies such as flimsy snaps, sizing of the leg holes, and improper fittings are examples of these variations. A parent might be fortunate enough to buy in bulk and receive at least a few diapers that are truly well-made, but they might also end up with a stack of unusable diapers after few days due to a variety of reasons. Think of it as taking a gamble, you’re basically taking a chance and praying you hit the jackpot.
When a situation like this arises, you’ll be faced with making another decision. You either take another gamble or simply buy a better-known brand. All that money you saved in the past will be wasted, and you’ll be put off from buying the Chinese brands again. Remember that some brands out there are known to basically last forever, and these are the moments you’ll be thankful you decided to splurge a little bit (or a lot).
Quality Control Problems
Factories and sweatshops in China are often overworked and understaffed. The workers there are struggling every day to push out as many products as possible for pennies on the dollar. But, while these claims are founded by multiple documentaries and investigations, I’d like to say that the push for more products also equates to less quality control (I’m just guessing). Name brands, (i.e. BumGenius, FuzziBunz just to name a few) typically have better quality control in order to avoid damaging consumer trust, and unless they specifically note the second-hand quality of the diaper, the companies will not sell shoddy products.
Customer Relations and Services
While eBay has some very pleasant customer service, there isn’t such a guarantee with overseas sellers. If your product is not as expected, you might notice that the seller is not exactly as helpful as you’d like them to be. Often times, this isn’t because they’re actively trying to be unhelpful, but because the language barrier is too much of a gap. Another possibility is that the seller is a warehouse type store which is selling a large variety of products including the cloth-diapers. The wholesale type stores where they stock up on everything aren’t really trying to be helpful and are just trying to make profits, they simply won’t care if your diapers don’t last as expected. Thankfully, when I’ve dealt with these sellers in the past, they’ve always offered me refunds or replacements, at times without asking for a return too.
While many of these products do have warranties, keep in mind not everyone will be as fortunate as I have. Chinese are known to be rude, but I like to think it’s just a cultural difference scenario. When dealing with Chinese, you have to be strong-willed, and if you use all your assets including the help offered by eBay, most of the time they will budge and give you a refund without much hassle afterward. Just be prepared to be blacklisted by the company and not buy anything else from them. Heck, I’d go as far as creating a new account if you are going to try again. But, if you’re forced to pay again for shipping a replacement, tell them no, and make them pay for selling you a shoddy product.
What to do?
There are numerous reasons for why parents could go the route of buying on the Chinese cloth diaper market. But, ultimately it’s up to them to decide whether to take a risk or not. If you’re struggling to put food on the table, I’d be against recommending the more expensive brands as they can be pricey as a onetime purchase. But, there are some well-known brands such as Kawaii or Alva that have received good reviews in various parenting blogs and message boards. Yet, I haven’t been able to try those personally and as such can’t comment on how good they truly are. Yet, if I had to go with a brand of them to purchase I would have to trust my fellow parents and go with them. After all, if we can’t trust each other as cloth diapering parents, who can we trust?