There are so many different types, designs, style and prices of cloth nappies out there. It has become a huge market in Australia over the past 9 years so much so that you can feel literally flooded with all the options.
So how do you know which cloth nappy to buy?
How do you know which nappy to buy?
Well, let’s look at two basic categories within the market. The Modern Cloth Nappy and the Cheap Cloth Nappy.
Modern cloth nappies start in price from about $12 - $15 each. They are made of very high quality materials like micro-fleece, suede cloth and have specific design features, unique to each brand.
These are the results of many hard working Mums and Dads who are trying to support their families, trying to get out of the Rat Race and are trying to change the world. These are the results of real, hardworking people like you and me, not nameless, faceless corporations.
Cheap Cloth Nappies are similar in style however there are several major differences. Firstly, the quality of the materials used is far inferior to the Modern Cloth Nappies.
Secondly, they are often mass produced by a nameless, faceless corporation.
Thirdly, they can often employ sweat shop labour practices or have poor employment practices.
Lastly, they hurt the hard working Mums and Dads of this world who are just trying to make ends meet.
This is the dark side of the Cheap Cloth Nappies that no one talks about. We believe it is best to have ALL the facts, not just let the dollar signs do all the talking.
Every buying decision you make is a vote – a vote for a better world, or a worse world – and nappies are no exception.
Sweat shop labour is still a major issue
Poor Labour Practices
Think about what you know of labour practices in Australia and the price of labour. How is it possible to have $3.00 nappies made, even with the latest in machinery?
Sadly, there is still a lot of poor labour practices going on in overseas countries where a lot of these Cheap Cloth Nappies are made. Hours are long, wages are low, conditions are terrible. Worker prop their eyes open with pegs, are crammed into factories like cattle with poor lighting and very little air. They work 12 – 16 hour days, every day as standard. They work for a pittance.
If the whole idea of cage eggs or battery hens outrages you then you should consider where your nappies come from and how the people who made them were treated. Personally, I prefer the guilt free option of a factory that treats their staff well and ensures they are paid fairly. Otherwise what example am I setting for my children?
Poor Quality Materials
Having been in the industry for a little while now, we have had our fair share of troubles. The most expensive error we made was not paying enough for good quality materials. This resulted in nappies that would, no matter what you do, repel every drop of liquid. Our business suffered a great deal because of this – we lost clients, it damaged our reputation and cost us thousands of dollars to rectify.
Additionally, the manufacturer refused to replace, repair or even refund our order despite admitting to using inferior materials. We were left with nappies no one could use and losses that any business could barely have sustained as a result.
We learnt a lot from this mistake. We are much more vigilant now on the use of materials, what type and the quality. We source our materials from the major provinces which provide, in general, much better working conditions and wages for their staff.
As a result, our nappies have been through the wringer with our daughter for over a year now and have stood up to the vigour. Whereas our ‘test’ Cheap Cloth Nappies? Not so much. Elastics fail, they stretch out of shape, the PUL peels away. In short, it’s much better to pay a little more to know you are getting quality materials that are made in better factories.
Design Rip Offs
Imagine this – you awake one night, a tired, struggling Work at Home Mum with a brilliant idea! You’ll create this new design of modern cloth nappy, it will be the only one of its kind and you’re going to revolutionise the industry! You’re excited, so excited you can’t sleep. You jump out of bed, grab your sketch pad and start sketching like a mad thing, high on the elation of your latest design idea and how much this is going to help your family. You rush to the sewing machine to make up some samples. You pack them into a bag sealing with a good luck kiss and post them off to your manufacturer so they can produce some samples for you.
You put your design into action, you get patents moving, you trademark, you copyright if you can… and you’ve given your design to your manufacturer. All seems well in the world.
No sooner have you done that then your manufacturer turns around and issues samples of YOUR design to another company to use in their business! In the same STATE / CITY / TOWN as you!
Your baby, the design that kept you awake night after night, working hard and spending hours and hours away from your husband and kids has just been palmed off to someone else. This business makes and sells cheap knock-offs and produce your design for a fraction of the cost, in poor quality materials, under-selling you by half.
There’s nothing you can do. The mistake was made by the overseas company, your patent hasn’t been approved yet and so you can not stop the competitor from selling YOUR design. You sit down one day after fighting as hard as you can to save your design and your business and just cry.
Sound too bad to be real?
It is real. This. Happens. Every.Day.
Think twice how YOUR decision affects others
So many hard working, WAHM’s create amazing designs, unique products and revolutionise the industry with the latest in modern cloth technology only to have it ripped off and stolen by other businesses.
Sometimes, the other businesses don’t know they stolen someone else’s design and it’s a genuine mistake or the manufacturer, overseas is responsible. Given they are overseas, you need contracts in both THEIR legalese and yours as well to protect yourself. This is not as easy as it sounds and is virtually impossible for a talented yet small start-up business.
Sometimes though other businesses DO know they are ripping off someone else’s work and proceed anyway because they know the small start-up can’t do anything about it.
You cannot understand or imagine the heartbreak of a tired, struggling Work at Home Mum who’s been up night after night working on something amazing just to see it ripped off, rebadged and cheapened in a competing business for half the price.
So many businesses have gone under as a result of this happening – over and over again. Are you going to help this awful practice continue or are you going to go out in full SUPPORT of Work at Home Mums who have designed all these wonderful options available to us?
Just remember – the Cheap Cloth Nappy for $3 has probably been designed by someone else who’s been crying over her lost fortune and designs for years now. Still feel good paying a pittance for it?
Think twice before buy your Cheap Cloth Nappies. Odds are they could be from a sweat shop set up, using very poor quality materials or are actually the brain child of a brilliant designer who works from home around her babies, who is crying over her designs because she can no longer sell them.
Cheapest is NOT always best and there are repercussions that move far and wide for every buying decision we make.
Make the right decision, support small business, buy unique designs and stop paying peanuts. Invest in your children and by doing so you’re investing in a better world.
Photo of Sweat Shop used above used with full credit to China Blue documentary about sweat shops in China