Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What's so special about the cloth diapering industry?

Guest post by The Cloth Diaper Geek

To an outsider when I try to explain what is was like being a cloth diaper retailer, a cloth diapering family and now, that I am now simply a cloth diaper advocate, they get this sort of bored look on their face.  I imagine them comparing my enthusiasm for cloth diapers to a mom who's enthusiastic about toddler shoes or baby blankets.  They just don't get it.

If you're not here online, on blogs, facebook, diaperswappers, twitter and the like, then you have no clue about this secret little cloth diapering community in which we all live on a daily basis.

Those who don't use cloth diapers or don't have kids, they can't really imagine it.  Heck for that matter I don't even think my husband quite gets it and he's married to me.

But what exactly is special about the cloth diapering industry and what sets it apart from other baby and child product markets?

To start, the growing popularity of social media and the world wide web have allowed us all to connect with the brands and the faces behind them in a way which did not exist in the past.  With the click of a button we've read about the mom who started XYZ brand and in most cases we're even able to speak with her in person via her FaceBook Page or Twitter account.  She might share with you what she had for breakfast or how her family's trip to the park went.

A lot of cloth diaper businesses are still small but they're growing, or at least some of them are.  I suppose there will come a time when select little guys will become big guys and will no longer be personally interacting with their consumers.  But, there will be new little guys to support if you prefer the products and services provided by small mom-entrepreneurs.

The other reason such a thriving cloth diapering community exists is because of the nature of the product.  As a consumer you're constantly researching, constantly buying more cloth diapers or reselling old ones.  Support is necessary, unlike the toddler shoe or baby blanket business where customers might interact once with the manufacturer or retailer and that's it.

Because parents are passionate about their babies, their babies health and the nature of the items they use on them, cloth diapering holds a niche all it's own.  The presence of an online cloth diapering community is partly what I think is responsible for so many mamas not giving up on cloth, they can't imagine NOT being a part of this.

The industry is of course growing but I presume that the things which I hold so dear will always remain.  The faces and brands may change over the years to come, but the nature of the industry will always be kind, there will always be businesses run by mom-entrepreneurs, you'll always have the option to buy from whomever you want where ever you want and I suspect there will always be an online community of like-minded cloth diaper enthusiasts eager to talk cloth and help those in need.

What are your thoughts?  Do you just love the cloth diapering community or am I as crazy as my real-life friends and family think I am?

Julie, The Cloth Diaper Geek


Jill said...

everyone is so willing to help. and customer service is great. i find myself frustrated with large corporations that have zero clue how to deal with real people...

so.. yeah you're not alone.

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