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How to Replace Cloth Diaper Elastics {Video Tutorial}

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Let’s face it, cloth diapers don’t last forever!  Eventually every diaper that has elastic will lose its stretch (become relaxed) and will need a new elastics to be as functional as before.  A diaper’s lifespan can be 1.5-3+ years before needing repairs; this will vary based on your washing/drying routine and the diaper itself.  If you need your diapers to last though multiple children replacing cloth diaper elastics is a skill worth learning!

How to replace elastic in cloth diapers

Lara, DDL contributor, came over and we filmed a 2 part video series on how to replace the elastics in cloth diapers! You’ll hear the noises of 3 children, 2 of Lara’s and 1 of mine. We tried our best to keep them entertained but in Part 2 you will find that Lara’s baby Autumn makes random appearances on her lap while she is at the sewing machine! Don’t worry, Lara is an experienced seamstress and does this often with great care taken to keep her baby safe.

Supplies:

The seam ripping is the most time consuming portion of replacing elastics (unless you are feeding through the elastic casings in certain brands like bumGenius 4.0).  Lara says she likes to rip seams while the kids are sleeping and she is binging on Netflix shows.  The actual sewing portion can take less than 10 minutes per diaper

Pull up a chair, sit your laptop or tablet next to your sewing machine, and start repairing those diapers!  With new elastics your diapers can last another 1-3 years or more!

In Part 1 Lara replaces the elastics in a Flip Cover.  The Flip has encased elastic with an extra strip of PUL over the top.  This same technique could be applied to other brands of diapers as well.

In Part 2 Lara replaces the elastic in an AppleCheeks envelope cover.  In this procedure it took considerably longer since the elastic was completely crumbled and in a million pieces but that process was cut out for your own sake.  This cover has back, stomach, and leg elastics and you’ll notice each step wasn’t left in the video to save time but once you have performed one side the same will be done to the rest.

Every diaper will have a different construction but the basics in this video should help you succeed with your own diapers! For those with pocket diapers with encased elastics, especially the bumGenius 4.0, you may be able to simply remove the old elastics and feed in fresh, bouncy elastic with safety pins and just stitch down the ends.  Diaper Wrecker has a tutorial to this end.    I’ve also heard and tried the simple trick in my 4.0’s of just clipping one side of the old elastic, pulling it tighter, and stitching it back for a QUICK but temporary fix.  Old elastic won’t stretch as far, if any, and new bouncy elastic is really the way to go if you can.

Watching Lara work her magic in person while filming the video has inspired me to try on my own diapers!  I’m so thrilled to have such an expert share her knowledge for DDL. Happy Sewing!

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Posted in Cloth Diapers, Featured3 Comments

Mainstream, are we there yet?!

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In July 2008 I discovered the world of modern cloth diapers.  I know because I was adorable and kept a pregnancy journal because I was a newlywed, first time mom with a lot of time on my hands.  I’m almost 7 years from that time in my life and a lot has changed.  For starters, I didn’t keep my baby’s milestone book past 6 months and for my second I didn’t even buy a book.  And the cloth diapers I started researching over 6 years ago?  Well those have changed a lot too and so has the public’s awareness of them.

In 2008 I didn’t know a single person who cloth diapered in any of my circles- not my co-workers, not my cousins (all 50+) or any of the parents I went to school with.  I only learned of them online in a mommy forum for those of us pregnant with babies due in November 2008.  The idea struck a chord with me since I had read about how many diapers a baby would use in their life and how long they took to break down.  As soon as I realized I could use cloth diapers that were not the “old style” I had my mind made up.

I was sailing in uncharted water!  I had to search long and hard to find a place to buy my diapers and even drove 2 hours to a store in Ithaca, NY in order to see those diapers in person and get hands on with them before making my final decision.

Parents these days have no idea how lucky they are!  While it can still be hard to find cloth diapers in stores in some areas, things are getting much better.  In 2008 it was rare that cloth diapers were mentioned on TV segments or in news articles.  Now my google alerts are so long they don’t fit into one daily email!  Mainstream newspapers and webpages like Huffington Post mention them on the regular.  Sometimes it’s still in the “well there is this other option the weirdo parents like” but hey, at least it gets the word out that it is an option.

BRUdiapers

 

bumGenius diapers are now in select Babies ‘r Us stores on the shelves (and not just online) and they have an exclusive print for the stores.  I think their packaging is in need of some changing in order to prevent the utter chaos that has been happening but otherwise this is very exciting news.  Just passing by modern diapers as a pregnant mom can put the idea in their head.

Even celebs like Ciara are helping to #makeclothmainstream (thank you Spray Pal for that hashtag!).  Ciara’s baby has been spotted in cloth at least twice, once in a photo and once in a video while wearing a cloth swim diaper!  And her then 7 month old was swimming!    Even Anna Duggar has cloth diapers, I just hope she uses them and they make an appearance in an upcoming episode of 19 Kids and Counting.  If they used cloth even half of the time it would cut down on a great deal of landfill waste for the future children they intend to have.

Big brands are taking notice too!  Gerber, makers of the diapers most of us in the know refer to as “gerber trash” or “really good burp cloths” has come out with a sized All-in-One diaper.  So far the diaper is online only but with their weight in the baby industry it could come to a store near you and Gerber is carried in every single Wal-Mart, Target, Babies ‘R Us, and Buy Buy Baby in the country.   Early reviews are mixed on the performance but I’ve purchased one for Lara to try out and DDL will have a review of them soon enough.  Honest Company (disHonest company) has a reusable swim diaper now.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a cloth diaper is in the works.

Gerber All-in-One

Cloth diapers are becoming more mainstream, right before our eyes.  Though we may not be there all the way the progress is there.  The disposable diaper companies are sweating, I promise you.  Today when a pregnant mom says she is going to cloth diaper more people know that she isn’t planning on beating her diapers on a rock in the river.  More magazines know that if they talk about diapering a baby they had better include cloth diapers too or else their readers will lash out on social media to ask if they were paid by P&G not to say anything!  We are mighty and fierce and are not to be messed with.  That scrappy attitude has helped grow the industry from the roots and the brands are doing a great job of keeping up with and fostering that growth.

I see more ginormous butts on the playgrounds now, and yes, I am always still watching even though my kids are now out of diapers.  It’s just in my blood.

Image credit: Amanda Spans

Posted in Cloth Diapers3 Comments

5th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 3: Open Topic

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We’ve had a great and enthusiastic start to this year’s Flats Challenge and our bloggers are contributing their experiences to this now vast library of knowledge.  So far this week we have covered the WHY and the WHAT.  Today our bloggers will be getting creative and sharing anything they feel is important.

There’s also been great activity on social media, which I love, because it continues to show how affordable and possible using flats (and even handwashing if needed) can be!

I’ve collected a few of my favorites to showcase today. One in particular I love because this participant is living in an RV while taking the challenge, amazing!

sciandra

A photo posted by Naomi (@frugal_crunchy_mom) on

A photo posted by Bree Lien (@beelien) on

You can see more experiences by clicking over to the blogs or checking the #flatschallenfe hashtag on social media.


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5th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 2: What’s in your stash?

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Today is all about what flat diapers we are using for the 5th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge but also the covers, accessories, and the other items that are in rotation for the week.

The reason we discuss this is to show the variation in what people can get by with- whether they invest a good bit and use wool covers over their flats, or they do it as cheaply as possible with homemade or upcycled covers and free or cheap t-shirts. Even store-bought flats are usually cheaper than any regular diaper you can buy.

I’m always amazed at the ingenuity and creativity this event brings out from those participating.

Lara gave us a full breakdown:

Over the last couple years I’ve managed to bulk up my flats and covers stash to enough diapers that I could probably use flats full time on one child if I chose to. Since I’m now using cloth diapers on two babies I have added a few extra flats, covers, and Snappis to my basket. Some of these items were reviewed for Kim’s website, but I’ve listed the prices to get a realistic tally if I weren’t writing for Dirty Diaper Laundry.

a stash of flats, covers, and wool

My flats:

  • Sugar Sheep flat – (3 pack for 31.50, so 10.50)
  • Fruit of The Womb Green Apple flat – 10.50
  • Sweet Iris flat – 13.95 each
  • Flip organic flat – (18.95 for 3 pack, so 6.32ish for the one I’ll be using)
  • Imagine flat (butterfly print and woodland print) – (6 pack for 14.95)
  • GeffenBaby – 6.95 each
  • Ikea flat – (3.00 for 2 pack, so 1.50ish)
  • Diaper Rite cotton flats – (21.95 for 12 pack, so 1.83ish each for the one I’ll be using)
  • OsoCozy Flats – 6 for 15.00
  • Flour Sack Towels from Kay Dee Designs – 3 for 9.99

My covers:

  • Kissaluvs – 15.50
  • Gen-Y Simply U – 18.99
  • Bummis Simply Lite – 16.95
  • BumGenius Flip cover – 14.95 (I’m using 6 this week, so 89.70)
  • Sloomb Catalina wool cover – 52.00
  • Sloomb Basewoolies – 72.50

I also have a white plastic 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot for 4.47. My mobile washer is a plunger like contraption is available on Amazon for 19.59. I have 4 Snappi closures (3.99 at my favorite local cloth diaper store, so 15.96), a pair of rubber gloves (these are from last year but I think they were 2.99 at a local discount shop), and my workhorse clothespins (I use these every single day and they show it, yet they were only 2.35 for a pack of 50 at Home Depot).

When looking at the retail value of my stash I can estimate 91.49 for flats, 265.64 for covers including my wool covers for overnights, and 45.36 for my accessories. That’s a whopping 402.49 altogether. Obviously, were I not working to earn these amazing gifts (some are purchased on my own but quite a few were presents from friends or have been reviewed, check the archives for flat reviews or cover reviews if you’re curious) I would make do with a much more modest stash as befits my household budget. The incredible thing about flats and covers these days is that there really is something for everyone. If you are looking to save money you can find some incredible deals on quality products (especially if you purchase a pack or set). If you have a bit more to spend you can find some truly luxurious options with incredible absorbency or leak protection that still washes and dries better and faster than the other diaper styles on the market. Either way, there are a slew of style and colors available, perfect for any household. Flats are the one size fits all of the diaper world (once you get used to the folding, of course).

I didn’t actually purchase anything at all for the challenge this year, I was given some items (my friends and family know how passionate I am about cloth diapers and we are lucky to have some great local retailers in my area, too) and am reviewing others (you can look forward to reviews on Sugar Sheep and Fruit of the Womb soon). I did spend some time repairing a lot of relaxed elastics and a snap that had come off a cover, so I was able to use quite a few covers that would have otherwise been headed to the trash. I also could have probably made do with less covers and flats (I’m arming myself with a whopping 22 flats and 9 covers plus 2 wool options for overnight) but since I’m diapering two children this year and my six month old is nursing pretty much around the clock I want to make sure I have plenty of diapers available. I did learn from the last two years that I can get away with far fewer covers, and if a cover gets soiled but I rinse it right away, it will be easier to clean at laundry time. I’ve also learned that with my heavy wetters it is imperative that I use wool and a good thick bamboo flat at bedtime or I can expect to change them at least once during the night or there will be an accident. I am using four Snappis when I could get away with two because sometimes a wiggly baby will distract you mid change and you’ll forget where you set it down. I’ll be curious to see how this week goes, if I actually use all of these flats and then find a way to tackle a large laundry load or if I am able to wash a little each day to keep things on a more manageable rotation.

I’m really looking forward to reading all of your blog entries about your stashes. I’m interested to see who spent the least, who made all of their flats and covers, who sourced everything locally, and who got the most creative (I love the tie dye flats I’ve been seeing on Facebook)!

right click and "save image as"

right click and “save image as”

Blogs will be linking up their posts detailing the supplies they’re using this week below.


Posted in Flats Challenge2 Comments

Win it! Little Warrior Prize Package from Jack be Natural!

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By now you’ve probably heard about the newest solid color from GroVia- Little Warriors!  Thanks to the online cloth diaper store Jack be Natural one lucky DDL reader will win one!

littlewarriorsgiveaway

Little Warrior is a collaboration between GroVia and Spray-Pal.  10% of sales will benefit March of Dimes.  The inspiration behind the diaper is the Little Warrior himself, Ryan.  You can read more about Ryan’s story here.

Jack Be Natural is providing the prizes today!  JBN has been a top rated cloth diaper store with an excellent reputation when it comes to customer service.  A family owned and operated business, JBN offers Free Shipping on orders over $30.  Orders under $30 have a small handling fee of only $2.95!

Jack be Natural has Little Warriors in stock now if you are itching to get your hands on this gorgeous color that supports a great cause!  You can enter to win your choice of Grovia Little Warriors Newborn AIO, AIO or Hybrid Shell in Hook & Loop or Snap plus (1) Grovia Little Warriors Wetbag and (1) Grovia Itty Bitty Magic Stick Diaper Balm!  Open to US only.  Ends May 22.

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Posted in Featured, Giveaways120 Comments

5th Annual Flats Challenge Blogging Prompts

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The wonderful thing about the Flats Challenge is that it brings the cloth diapering community together so that we all learn from those who are documenting their journey.  Even those who don’t own a blog can answer the prompts in our Flats and Handwashing group on Facebook.

If you aren’t yet familiar with the event or would like to sign up find more details here: Sign Up and Rules

right click and "save image as"

right click and “save image as”

The following list is for the Flats Challenge blogging prompts. For bloggers participating you will need to make sure to link the Sign-Up page with rules for your readers and briefly explain what the event is (in your words) and what it means to you and add your own images to each post.

Day 1 (May 11)- Why I’m Taking the Flats and Handwashing Challenge

Day 2 (May 12)- Show Us Your Stash!  Talk about supplies and give us a breakdown of the total cost, including the things you are using that you owned prior.

Day 3 (May 13)- Open Topic (Good ideas: Overnight solutions on a budget and/or that are good for handwashing, flats and daycare or careproviders, unexpected challenges, etc)

Day 4 (May 14)- Out And About!  How do you travel with flats on errands?

Day 5 (May 15)- Wash Routine- Tell us what’s working and what isn’t.

Day 6 (May 16)- Flat Style!  Folding methods and closure, share your favorites.

Day 7 (May 17)- Final Thoughts- How was this experience for you, what have you learned, and what will you do with your new knowledge?

Are you a blogger taking the challenge? Leave your URL here! This linky will be present to link each day’s blog entry for the 7 day challenge.


Posted in Blog Life4 Comments

Why the loose diaper? www.dirtydiaperlaundry.com explains why diapers were worn loosely by babies in old photographs.

Why the loose diapers? An explanation of vintage diapering techniques.

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Why the loose diaper? www.dirtydiaperlaundry.com explains why diapers were worn loosely by babies in old photographs.

Look back at black and white images of babies wearing diapers and you may see something perplexing… every single baby’s diaper looks to be ill fitting and far too loose.  The diapers are so loose that you begin wondering if they were even effective!  The diapers are pinned in a way that leaves room all around the legs, plenty of room for little gifts to roll out from onto the linoleum floors.  Not only that, but babies were almost never pictured wearing those poofy plastic pants we so often think of when “cloth diapers” are mentioned.  Why?

Newborn in a loosely pinned flat, presumed date pre-1960.

Newborn in a loosely pinned flat, presumed date pre-1960.

This is the question I began asking myself as I started collecting old advertisements and photographs from the first half of the 20th century and the late 19th century.  Today we expect all diapers to fit snug around the legs, stomach, and back.  The fit is one of the most important aspects of proper diapering- too loose and stools can escape from the legs and back of the diaper, creating a mess for all parties.  Our modern diapers are completely different than the old flats used prior to the 1950’s, but the style of diaper is just one piece of the puzzle.

From a Maytag advertisement published in TIME, 1944

From a Maytag advertisement published in TIME, 1944

Children’s fashion used to be dictated by the infant care manuals and advice columns of the day.  Go back to parenting books before 1960 and you’ll see that baby care was a far cry from our routines.  Cleanliness was touted as supreme and a reflection on the mother as much as the child’s future self.  “A baby should never be left in a wet napkin, for the expectation of cleanliness should begin early.” (Maternal & Child Welfare Manual No. 9. 1956) To do such would encourage future unclean habits.  “At a very early age, even at three months, a great deal can be done in teaching baby proper control over his bowel movements.  Besides the early cultivation of a habit of regularity and cleanliness, which saves much work in the washing of diapers, the habit of regularity also helps to prevent constipation… but the end certainly justifies the means- that of doing away…with the ever offensive diaper.” (A Baby’s Day, p. 16. 1917.) Early potty training was the standard practice until the age of Dr. Spock in the 1960’s.  Babies were expected to be on an elimination schedule- drastic measures to ensure they were not soiling their diapers were recommended to be taken- such as soapsticks hand carved to resemble an enema- were inserted into the rectum if digital rectal pressure didn’t produce results.  (The Practical Care of the Baby, 1903)  The methods were not always gentle, some babies were even strapped to their pierced chair (potty) as long as it took for a movement to be made. This strict mode of parenting went out of style when Dr. Spock, author of the best-selling book “Baby and Child Care”, wrote that babies should potty train when mentally ready.  This explains why diapers, and their effective (tight) fit was less important prior.  Diapers themselves were worn as infrequently as possible in order to reduce washing and expedite toilet training and there was no reason to make them any more effective or convenient.

Illustration from parenting manual in 1956 to show infant toilet training techniques

Illustration from parenting manual in 1938 to show infant toilet training techniques

 

“A babe of three months and upwards, ought to be held out, at least, a dozen times during the twenty-four hours; if such a plan were adopted, diapers might at the end of three months be dispensed with—a great desideratum-and he would be inducted into clean habits—a blessing to himself, and a comfort to all around, and a great saving of dresses and of furniture. ‘Teach your children to be clean. A dirty child is the mother’s disgrace,’ Truer words were never written,—A DIRTY CHILD IS THE MOTHER’S DISGRACE.”  (Excerpt from Advice to a Mother on the Management of her Children, by Pye Henry Chavasse 1878)

Concerns over movement and development were also at play; doctors and advice manuals as well as family advice were all to leave diapers loose fitting.  “The diaper should never be pinned too tight and must not be too thick.” (A Baby’s Day, 1917)  Of concern to parents of girls was the constriction of the hips. (citation needed, I have found this information but lost the original source.)  Mothers concerned about their daughter’s future child-birthing ability influenced the loose pinning.

Advertisement for new Riegel flats, 1950's.

Advertisement for new Riegel flats, 1950’s.

Movement and the baby’s ability to freely exercise their legs in all ranges was important as well.  Flats were large and when applied in certain fashions, were worn lower on the legs.  Modern cloth diapers and disposable diapers are cut higher.  To ensure babies could move their legs freely a loose application was required.  Between the large flats, using pins, and the folding techniques of the era diapers were worn in a different way than today’s flats secured by a Snappi.

Twin boys in Diaper Derby, NJ, 1944

Notice the looseness around the stomach- likely from stretch and wear. Image 1944, 6th Annual Diaper Derby.

Even though diapers were applied loosely, the movement of a baby during wear would loosen the diaper even further.  This can be seen even today when babies wear a flat or prefolded diaper.

One final reason diapers were applied loosely involves temperature and airflow.  Heat rash and concerns over other diaper rashes caused by chafing and wetness were common.  This is why rubber and vinyl diaper covers were never popular.  Even though covers would have been much more effective at holding in the wetness and their tight fit from elastic around the legs and back is what we desire today to hold in the solid waste, they were cause for discomfort.  “…under no circumstances should ‘stork pants’ -made of rubber sheeting- be put on the baby since they cause overheating and produce chafing.” (Our baby: a concise and practical guide for the use of mothers in the care and feeding of infants and young children, 1912)

The Free Lance-Star, excerpt from advice column.  1942

The Free Lance-Star, excerpt from advice column. 1942

There was a clear and obvious disdain for the waterproof covers; it was inferred that parents using them full time were lazy and cared more for their own convenience than their child’s. The alternative to the pants was wool, and these garments usually had to be hand knit by the mothers. Wool soakers were a more breathable way to keep furniture and laps dry but they required knitting and had to be hand washed, even after the home washing machine became popular.

“I had four children between 1938 and 1946… I knitted only one article, SOAKERS… They guaranteed a more contented baby, one without diaper rash… ‘Modern’ mothers bought the latex pants at a dollar a pair, but their babies suffered sore bottoms… Another plus for soaker knitting was that mothers developed strength of character to counter the ridicule of those who espised the ‘why bother?’ school of mothering.”  Quote from Vivian Filipak regarding diaper methods of the 1940’s.  From the book “No Idle Hands” by Anne MacDonald.

The new contour shaped diapers started appearing in the late 40's and early 50's.  Photo from 1948.

The new contour shaped diapers started appearing in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Photo from 1948.

All of these factors combined, it now makes much more sense as to why babies wore loosely pinned flats. After the war a boom in babies ushered in new diaper designs, such as the infamous Boater by Marion Donovan. Better fabrics, snaps, and changing attitudes made diaper covers more common to wear, and contour shaped diapers like the B-52 changed the shape and style of how babies wore diapers. Later potty training (thank you Dr. Spock and home washing machines!) also made it important for diapers to be more comfortable and easier to walk in, again influencing their design and tighter fit. Today, even prefolds and flats fit trimmer thanks to the 1980’s invention of the Snappi, and are worn bikini cut style with new-fashioned folding methods under wrapping covers.

The images used in this post are all from the personal collection of Kim Rosas and may not be copied or republished in any way.  

Posted in Featured, History of Cloth Diapers11 Comments

DDL’s Home Office Makeover

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It has been a long time since I’ve published any home improvement pictures or updates. Of course, 3 years after moving in there aren’t many changes being made but this year I did kick my son out of his room in order to give myself an office. Previously my office was the guest room and I would have to breakdown the photography and video equipment for guests and with a bed in there I hardly had room to maneuver. Since my sons wound up in the same bed a lot of the time anyway I decided to make it a permanent thing! I also couldn’t bear taking away a guest room, especially my Golden Girls Guest Room, so it was the only option I had. Sorry kids, mama needs her space.

DDLoffice5

When you walk in this is what you see- the dresser I originally re-painted for Fletcher’s room that has now become storage for my photography, videography, and office supplies.  The closet holds my backdrop stand, more photography and video equipment, and more unsightly supplies I only take out when in use. I like my office pretty and clutter free.  The tassel garland is from Studio Mucci on Etsy, desk and rocking chair are Eames reproductions, and the side table is a Homegoods find.
DDLoffice2

On top sits a few of my treasures including vintage cloth diaper detergent (never used), the Playtex NOS Dryper Diaper, Curity breast pads, and advertisements (all from the 1950’s). I also keep vintage cameras on the dresser and my Boon Glo nightlight.

office7

To the left is my desk. I actually don’t use the desk often except when I write thank you letters for donations sent to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope. I prefer to work on the sofa or sitting at the kitchen counter for simple tasks. I do record voiceovers here when needed and host my live chats from this office because it is quiet. I also use the Silhouette and laminator often for craft projects so in a sense this room is doing double duty as my crafting room!

DDLoffice1

I had Sew Fatty make this awesome handcarved rubber stamp for GDGH that I use on each and every handwritten card. I also have one for DDL though I think I need a new one to match my new logo. I adore stamp ink pens, they make multi-colored stamps possible and are just easier than ink pads.

DDLoffice4

Above my desk I have repurposed the wire line that used to hold my son’s artwork (it was a total you know what to install) to hold some of my other treasures. Vintage cloth diaper covers, advertisements, photos, and a few keepsakes from previous expos and conventions adorn the line.

DDLoffice6
To the right of the room is the main reason I even have an office! Videos are filmed in the light box and any product photography is also done there. I spend a lot of time standing in front of that table for video reviews. While my lights aren’t exactly fancy it does the trick. My table is just an old folding one with painted plywood on top so that if I need the space for other filming I can break it down. I will need that space for a video coming soon that Lara is helping me with! It’s going to be a good one! The basketball hoop just stays there… seriously… I have no idea why I haven’t taken it down and moved it to the boys’ room. Maybe I should just blow off some steam and play a little bball in my office…. haha!

So that’s the new office! Having my lightbox up permanently has been so amazing, it feels great to run over and take a few images for a post whenever I need to without setting things up and breaking them down. So far the kids haven’t complained about their shared space and we can work on crafts on the rug together in that room too!

Posted in Crafty Stuff0 Comments

Win it! A O.N.E. by GroVia in Dandelion!

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So you regret not backing the O.N.E. when you had the chance, or maybe you did back it but you only ordered one and you wish you had more!  I happen to have a O.N.E. diaper laying around that I can’t do anything with (no babies to wear it, cue sad face) but my loss is your gain!

A photo posted by Kim Rosas (@kim_rosas) on

I was the very first backer for the project and I picked Dandelion as my print.  I even picked my O.N.E. up in person at MommyCon in Atlanta!  Now I am parting with it but on one condition- you enter my giveaway.  Simple enough!

groviaONEwin

DDL’s 200th video review was today and I feel like that deserves a giveaway and some special extra tasks, if you’re up for it.  Entering is easy but you can get more entries too.

Follow the Rafflecopter and do your best!  I am even willing to ship this one to Canada if a northern neighbor is the lucky winner.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Giveaways120 Comments

A Consumer Guide to Retailer Exclusive Diaper Prints

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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!

exclusivesforretailers

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

abby'slaneharper

Sea Adventure for Lil Tulips by Smart Bottoms

Sea Adventure by Smart Bottoms

Star Struck for Abby’s Lane by Planet Wise

Cover_StarStruck

Atomic Blast for Kelly’s Closet by Smart Bottoms

Atomic Blast for Kelly's Closet

Kona by for Abby’s Lane by Blueberry

Kona by Blueberry

Family Tree for Kelly’s Closet by Thirsties
familytreeforkellyscloset

Rainbow Love for Abby’s Lane by Smart Bottoms

Rainbow Love Smart Bottoms

Louis for Cotton Babies by bumGenius/Flip

Louis by bumGenius (Flip)

The Babies ‘R Us Prints by bumGenius/Flip

bumgenius-babies-r-us-prints

 The Pros and Cons of Retailer Exclusives:

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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:

Good:

“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

Middle:

“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

Bad:
“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

 

Speak up!  What do you think of Retailer Exclusives?  Leave a comment!

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