You may have noticed a lot of new prints being released from cloth diaper brands that are exclusive to a particular cloth diaper store. These “Retailer Exclusives” are taking off in popularity! As a consumer you may be wondering what it all means- are these exclusives limited in quantity? Why can only one retailer have the print? Will they ever be made as a full release by the brand? Time to end the confusion!
Exclusive vs Limited:
First things first. The word “Exclusive” does not mean the same thing as “Limited.” These words are not synonyms and using them as such is causing a lot of confusion and some hurt feelings.
What is “Exclusive?” Exclusive means the print being made is only available at a single retailer. For example, Sea Adventure is an exclusive print made for Lil Tulips by Smart Bottoms. These prints will never be released by the brand to other stores.
What is “Limited?” In the cloth diaper world, especially in very recent years, the “limited edition” print has become an incredibly popular way to operate. This means the brand has ordered a certain amount of this printed PUL for their diapers and wet bags. Once that material is all used up and all products made using that material have been sold chances are you will never get to buy a NEW product with that print again. This often drives up the price in the used market. If consumers are willing to pay above retail that will dictate the price on B/S/T boards. That is why certain prints will demand $50 or even $100 per diaper. For example, Jules was a limited print by bumGenius that was available at all retailers and is now so hard to find it is one of the most sought after prints ever made. Limited products have turned the diaper world sour, and lord help you if you bring back a limited print for a re-release. Moms who paid a premium price will break out their pitch forks and form an angry virtual mob!
How is an Exclusive Made?
With Retailer Exclusive prints the store will either pick their design from what a brand has to offer or they work to custom design their own! The retailer will order a batch of just this print and the brand can only sell to that retailer. This means if a consumer wants this particular design they MUST buy it new from that retailer.
Examples of Retailer Exclusives:
Harper for Abby’s Lane by bumGenius
Sea Adventure for Lil Tulips by Smart Bottoms
Star Struck for Abby’s Lane by Planet Wise
Atomic Blast for Kelly’s Closet by Smart Bottoms
Kona by for Abby’s Lane by Blueberry
Family Tree for Kelly’s Closet by Thirsties
Rainbow Love for Abby’s Lane by Smart Bottoms
Louis for Cotton Babies by bumGenius/Flip
The Babies ‘R Us Prints by bumGenius/Flip
The Pros and Cons of Retailer Exclusives:
- The Retailer gets exposure- consumers chat in their fan groups for the brand and brand loyals are compelled to buy from a new retailer to get the exclusive print. Also if the print is desirable on looks alone it will appeal to people and they will go discover a new store to order from!
- The array of designs available widens. Certain stores have their own unique taste and may design or ask for a design from a brand that is more “out of the box” and unique than we typically see in diaper prints.
- Brands can move a lot of product in each store, helping them grow their profits. It is good business for the brand, the store, and the industry.
- Often these exclusives are NOT limited which means everyone who wants one will get the chance to purchase. Even if they sell out of the first run the stores can order again, and again, and again as long as people continue wanting it. A steady supply means the aftermarket value will remain at retail or lower for used diapers and not reach above market value prices.
- For consumers who are collectors this widens the number of prints or colors they need to buy to complete their rainbow. It is hard to keep up and can put them in a financial strain if they continue to buy each brand’s retailer exclusive.
- It is hard to keep up! There are so many exclusives being announced that fans of a brand or style may miss it only to learn it is sold out permanently or until a new order comes in.
- For consumers who are loyal to their favorite or local retail store they struggle with whether to buy the retailer exclusive. New customers may have to register with several stores, losing loyalty points at their usual store.
- If the print is never purchased again it may become “limited” and cause more drama and hurt feelings when people want it but can’t find or afford it on the B/S/T market.
- Due to the larger runs needed many smaller retailers cannot yet afford to run their own exclusives, making them only attainable for the larger diaper stores.
- Exclusive prints, whether they are limited runs or not, feed into the “buy and collect them all” hype prevalent in the community today. This leaves a bad taste in the mouths of some and also negates the “money saving” and “green” aspect depending on your perspective.
What consumers have to say about Exclusive Prints for Retailers:
“I think it’s a great way to drive customers to new retailers, however, I’m not as big of a fan of “limited editions” when the limited is a VERY small lot. I’m not a fan of fighting the “mob” to get a print that I might actually love.” -Amy Cooper
“Many of the stores that are getting exclusives are small businesses, many that began as (and still may be) WAHMs. I think exclusives are a great way for them to build their business and obtain new customers! From a customer stand point, exclusives can be annoying because of “flippers”. If everyone just bought what they wanted and not extras to flip, then the exclusives would be a total win/win situation.” -Anna Reis
“I prefer to stay away from all the hype that goes with limited prints and I have to say retailer exclusive feels a little bit like that. I appreciate companies that don’t feed into that hype. I think everyone should be able to buy all the cute diapers they want to or can afford.” -Kerstin McFeely
“I really hate the exclusives. I just don’t have time to run around and find them and then set up a whole new account for all of the sites.” -Becca Schmeltzer