We’ve all had that familiar feeling… You run into a child you used to babysit in the grocery store, and they are excited to tell you about what college they got into, leaving you feeling suddenly aged and a little bewildered. Or, you are catching up on Facebook, seeing a fun post about your old favorite breakfast cereals, fashion trends and music when you realize the title of the article is “archived hits from the past!.” Grrr…
Getting older can evoke feelings of nostalgia, take us down memory lane, or depending on the mood, bring a tear to the eye with how fast things and life can change! I had those emotions when Maria asked me to write an article about our time in the cloth diaper industry, which this fall marks eleven years. It is amazing to me to see the evolution over the past decade of cloth diapers, hopefully some of these highlights can bring some fond chuckles to the cloth veterans, or at least give a laugh to those new to the experience, and parenthood in general 🙂
My oldest turns 12 this summer, which also marks my milestone of an introduction to the wonderful world of fluffy diapers. Options in most stores consisted of rubber pants, pins and birdseye flats. Congratulations to our domestic companies who now have a presence to the mainstream shopper in the baby aisle, how much easier would diapering have seemed back then to find them stacked next to the disposables! Venturing online, most options seemed to be centered around the cover/prefold system, with many companies having a variety of fabrics for their prefolds, Snappi fasteners, and covers from Proraps, Diaperraps, Bummis, LiteWraps and more. All In Ones were hard to find, a few brands had an online presence, but the absorbency was light, and the fit of them was rather bulky compared to the trim and compact modern diaper. Pockets had just started to come onto the scene, a few brands existed but mostly in sizes. One or two brands had a one size pocket, the price was higher and colors very limited. The focus seemed to be on simplicity. Keep the options simple, offer Velcro or snaps, and colors were a very basic palette.
We’ve come a long way, baby! Slowly, the “One Size Revolution” started to take hold, as customers could see that making a one size pattern was similar to most “large” sized diapers, just with rise snaps and a few adjustments. Marketing changed as cloth diapers now were not only great for the earth and your wallet, but would grow with your baby as well. Colors started to become a bit more dynamic, and as customers started to grab a hold of social media, posting “fluff stash shots” in a wide array of prints and colors appealed to collectors around the country. No longer concerned with masking a white diaper under a cute outfit, manufacturers saw that moms and dads were planning outfits around their fluff, and responded with a variety of prints and bold solid colors.
Into the modern day, where this quickly-changing market is still evolving to meet customer demands, with versatile and fashionable options. Today’s parent wants their cloth diapers to be easy to use, trim, absorbent, and fun to buy. Even your simple prefolds and covers can come in exotic colors and luxurious fabrics, and most manufacturers change their offerings seasonally or sooner, to entice new customers, and keep their current ones coming back to add to their stash. Social media is perhaps one of the biggest changes in this industry, no longer can retailers rely on print media or 1-2 websites with cloth diapering forums to advertise. Having your finger on the pulse of what your customers wants and needs are a must to make sure you are offering the very best, today’s shopper has so many ways to ask questions and gather information.
It is exciting to see how far our industry has come, and with a quickly changing landscape for the modern parent, it never is dull to see what our manufacturers will be coming up with next. Cloth diapers have been here since the beginning of time, and will continue to diaper little ones for many years to come, we are very honored and excited to be involved with our boutique, and having been able to use them on our own little ones. Thank you for your support over the past 11 years!
Stephanie is the proud mom to six great kids (with one on the way) and owner of Abby’s Lane. Her cloth diaper journey began with Abby in 2003. Camille, Lucy, Sebastian and Jaxson have been cloth diapered from birth. She was a reluctant participant at first, and believed the myth that cloth diapering is messy, messy, and…well…messy! Now she can assure you that is entirely false! She says cloth diapering has been the most wonderful experience, and “if my husband is an advocate, anyone can do it!”