Changing Diapers: the Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering

Friday, September 7, 2012

The True Cost of a Daily Deal.

As the leader of the DFW Cloth Diaper Group, I have learned a lot about the cloth diaper community.  I love being part of a community that is so close!  It really is like a family.  I have had the honor of meeting two founders of major cloth diaper brands, who were both extremely gracious.  I love how the community comes together at the same moment for the Great Cloth Diaper Change to promote the use of real diapers.  I love how helpful everyone is for those new to cloth, even though they've answered the same questions (what seems like) a thousand times. 

I have had the opportunity to learn about both the consumer and the retailer "side" of this wonderful community.  I even worked in a local shop for a few months.  I have become friends with many of our local retailers, which has allowed me a glimpse of what it is really like for them. 

Before I started the DFWCDG, I thought the same thing as many other cloth diaper enthusiasts:

I could open my own cloth diaper store!  It can't be that hard.  It is something I love to do, talk about, and it would be a great way to help others.  Why not make some money at the same time?  Our family sure could use the extra income.  

When I realized there were 2 cloth diaper stores fairly close to me, I decided not to even try to compete.  I did the next best thing.  I started this Group!  I am so happy I did.  It has become something far beyond what I could have ever imagined.  I have made so many wonderful friends.  It has helped many realize that using cloth diapers is a real choice.  I also LOVE seeing the connections made within the Group. 

I contacted the local shops that I knew of, to see if they would help promote this new little group.  I also wanted to help promote them.  I soon learned of more local shops, and contacted them, too.  One thing I have always done, and will always do with this Group, is promote our local retailers.  For free.  We have them listed on our website, at no cost to them.  Many blogs and websites charge advertising fees.  I will never do that.  The support they have shown this group goes far beyond making a few bucks for the Group.  Sure, that money could come in handy to improve the Group, but it is more important to me to support them.

They work hard, with little return.  They invest a lot of their time and money towards their shops.  I quickly learned that they don't do it for the money.  They do it because they are passionate about cloth diapers and helping others. 

When I started out with cloth diapers, I soon learned about the "daily deal" sites.  These sites feature one product per day (including, but not limited to, cloth diapers) at a fantastic price!  Often 40-50% off.  I was very excited to be able to try new things at such a discount!  When cloth diapering on a budget, it helped to be able to buy a new product at half the cost.

I used to promote these sites with the Group whenever I saw cloth diapers were being featured.  I wanted to pass along the amazing deals!  Then I started talking with some of our local retailers about these daily deal sites, and what they are doing to retailers. I had never thought of it from their perspective before. 

In short, it hurts them.  Greatly.  Often, the products are offered to the daily deal sites for less than they are offered to retailers.  There is no way a retailer can compete with that price.  As a consumer, you want the best deal possible.  But at what cost?

I no longer shop with or promote the daily deal sites.  I would prefer to support a local retailer (or any retailer) than get the best deal possible.  I know that for many on a very tight budget, the daily deal sites are the best way to try and use the "nicer" products.  They may not be able to do so otherwise.  I understand that.  However, there are so many affordable options that it is not necessary to buy from the daily deal sites.  A cloth diaper retailer can help you find the best option for your lifestyle and budget.  You can't get that customer service anywhere else!
Many retailers won't stock certain products because they frequently sell their items on the daily deal sites.  They also won't stock products that allow co-ops.

Co-ops and daily deal sites almost go hand-in-hand to me.  The Cloth Diaper Geek said it best in her post Co-Op's, the GOOD, The BAD, and The UGLY TRUTH!  I couldn't have said it better myself.  She explains how co-op's hurt small businesses, which is also the very same reason the daily deal sites hurt them:

"Small business owners typically have to buy into a brand/company with a minimum order amount, which ties up a lot of their funds, and then they are required to sell the products only at MSRP pricing.  This means they are very limited as to the sales they can have, often even a discount of 10% is against policy and selling at less than the MSRP can result in that business owner losing their account with that company."

You really should go read her post, it explains it all so well.   It is the reason I'm writing this!  I shared the Co-Op post on our Facebook page, with this comment:

"Beware of "un-authorized" and "secret" co-ops. They greatly damage small business, as do the deal-a-day bargain websites (which is why I no longer promote them). Cloth Diaper Geek shares her perspective on co-ops, one I strongly agree with. (ps... I think "authorized" co-ops are great, as long as they are run openly and honestly.)"

I also explained why I think some "authorized co-op's" are okay:

"I do think a co-op run by a wahm (who makes and sells her own product, but not to retailers) is a great idea. It's a good way to get their product out there, especially if first starting out. I know the wahm set the co-op price and is comfortable with it, and that it's not hurting any retailers. But so many don't understand the "other" side to co-ops and deal-a-day sites. I'm glad this post was written, and I hope it sheds light on the subject. "

I was asked why I included the daily deals sites, too.  I explained my reasons, but wanted to share them in a better setting than just a Facebook comment.  Yes, the daily deal sites are legitimate, unlike many co-op's.  But they hurt the retailers.  The very retailers that give so much of their time (and even money) to help you cloth diaper your child(ren). 

I also shared a post about the impact of independent businesses vs. chain stores (read the article HERE).  Their first line sums it up well:

"Choosing a locally owned store generates almost four times as much economic benefit for the surrounding region as shopping at a chain..."

When shopping for cloth diapers, I encourage you to become informed about where you purchase.  Spend wisely.  Think about the true cost of the daily deal sites and co-op's.

disclaimer:  I fully understand there are many on a very tight budget.  We are happy to help you find the best resources!  Everything in this post is the opinion of Brenda, founder of the DFW Cloth Diaper Group. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Area Leaders Announcement

We have our Area Leaders!  In case you haven't heard, we are going to try something new with our meet-ups.  We are "splitting" up our meet-ups so that everyone has a better chance to attend.  We have found some wonderful mama's to help lead them, that can answer your cloth diaper questions!  They are all very excited to help you out!!  So, without further ado, here are the leaders:

LEWISVILLE/DENTON AREA - Keila B., Cindy T., and Kristen. M.

PLANO/FRISCO AREA - Amanda B., Kelly C., Katie J., and Angela J.


ARLINGTON/EULESS/E. FORT WORTH AREA - Sanddi L., Carla V., and Angela C.

N. FORT WORTH/SAGINAW/S. DECATUR - Brenda B., Jennifer H., Jayne T., and Jessica M.

CLEBURNE/S. FORT WORTH - Nicole S.  ***We still need 1-3 more people for this area, as we changed the areas from what we originally planned.  Please fill out the form HERE if you are in this area and interested in helping.  Thanks!

We are SO excited to get things going and hosting more localized meet-ups!!!  If your specific area is not listed, we apologize.  We based the areas on a number of factors (this map and meet-up attendance were the main factors).  If your area is not listed, you simply attend the ones nearest you!  Each area will set their location and time, as well as additional playdates if there is any interest.

While we will have meet-ups in various locations, we will continue to have a central online community!  We will also occasionally host centralized meet-ups so we can still see our friends in other areas.

We look forward to seeing you at a meet-up near you very soon! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

2nd Birthday Giveaway!! CLOSED

CLOSED.  WINNERS ARE LISTED BELOW NEXT TO THEIR PRIZE.  YOU HAVE 24 HOURS (until 11:30 am CST on 9/5/12) TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE.  EMAILS HAVE BEEN SENT TO ALL WINNERS.  All winners were chosen by  Photos of drawings will be listed shortly, but winners are listed below.

Our 2 Year Birthday Giveaway is here!!  The items you could win are listed below, donated by some of our wonderful members!


You MUST be local to win.  While we love our non-local members, the main focus of this group is to help those in the North Texas area.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but we hope you understand!

Leave ONE comment here on this blog post that includes the following information: your Facebook name, your current city, and your contact email (so we can notify you if you win).  Multiple comments by the same person will be deleted.

There will be multiple winners, each winning one of the wonderful prizes below! 

Winners will be chosen by  Winners will be emailed and have 24 hours to claim their prize.  We will also announce winners on our Facebook pageIf there is no response within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosenTo prevent our email from going to your spam folder, add dfwclothdiapergroup{at} to your "safe" list.  

Drawing will take place at approximately 5:00 pm on Friday, August 31, 2012.  (I am a mommy first, so time will be flexible to the needs of my kids.)


#1.  Wool Diaper Cover, donated by Whimsy Baby Wear.  Details:  color is chosen by WBW, but
winner specifies girl/boy and size. Cover comes freshly cleaned and lanolized. 
WINNER: NICOLE STAELENS, #3  (we had to draw a new winner, as we never heard back from Nicole).  BONNIE MALATESTA, #11.

#2.  $10 Simple Baby Gift Certificate, donated by Simple Baby.  Details:  May be used in-store or online. WebsiteFacebook Twitter WINNER: SAMANTHA ALLISON, #52

#3.  ThirtyOne Organizing Utility Tote, donated by Samantha Allison.  Details:  Print is Paparazzi Dot (edited to correct the name of the print).  WebsiteWINNER: LINDSEY PAYTON, #24

#4.  $15 Gift Certficate to Jack's Choice, donate by Jack's Choice.  Details:  $15 off a $25+ purchase.  WebsiteFacebookTwitter.   WINNER: BRITNI BRADFORD, #59

#5.  30 Minute Half Session, donated by Stefani Marcus Photography.  Details:  Location to be determined, chosen from a list provided by the photographer.  Includes 10 images.  WebsiteFacebookWINNER: JULIE BILLMEIER, #58

#6.  Knickernappies One Size Pocket Diaper, donated by Baby Rear Gear.  Details:  Red (EDIT:  it is actually GREEN); side snapping.  WebsiteFacebookWINNER: MICHELLE COTTRELL, #62

THANK YOU for making the DFW Cloth Diaper Group such an amazing group!! 

Friday, August 3, 2012

2 Year Anniversary Giveaway Details

In August 2010, I started a little group to meet local mom's, and to help them with cloth diapers.  Little did I know that 2 years later we would grow to over 1,320 "likes" on our Facebook page, help countless parents get started with cloth diapers, promote our local cloth diaper shops, host monthly meet-ups in various locations, host the Great Cloth Diaper Change 2 years in a row, and start a local cloth diaper charity (the DFW Cloth Diaper Project). 

And yes, I have made many wonderful friends along the way!

Many times I have referred to this group as my third child.  It is my baby!  I am so proud of where this group has gone, and how much it has grown!  I also don't think of this as my group.  It is OUR group!  You help make it what it is.

In honor of our success, I would love to host a giveaway!!  If you are interested in sponsoring, please email dfwclothdiapergroup at hotmail dot com with the following information:

1. Your name and company name.
2. The item you wish to donate.
3. Your website and contact information.
4. Your Facebook and/or Twitter links.

We will hold the giveaway at the end of the month, on Friday, August 31, 2012.  If you wish to donate an item/service for the giveaway, please email me no later than Friday, August 17, 2012 so we have time to set up the giveaway.  Thank you so much for your support!!

Monday, July 9, 2012


Yep, I am moving.  But not too far.  We are moving to Jacksboro (west of Decatur and Bridgeport).  I will not be directly in the metroplex anymore.  :-(  But it is a great opportunity for us to save money towards buying our own house! 

What does this mean for the DFW Cloth Diaper Group

Not much, actually!  I will still have a strong online presence on our Facebook Page and Chat Group.  And with the changes coming up with the meetups (read HERE to find out more), there isn't a need for me to be at each one.  I didn't know about the move when deciding to put the changes in place, so it worked out well!  Later this week I will be getting an application up and start doing phone interviews to find people to help lead the area meetups. 

The DFW Cloth Diaper Project will go on, we will just have to find new storage for the donated diapers (since they are all currently in my house).  We are working on this now.  I will have to become more of a background role, and won't be able to meet with clients much.  I enjoy this part of it, but we also have a great committee of mama's to take over for me.  So for now, we will remain closed to new applications until we have the details worked out.

I am happy to know there is even a cloth diaper store (somewhat) close to where we'll be!  Cushy Tooshie is in Decatur.  Not that I need anything, as E is on the verge of potty training, but still good to know!

Maybe I'll start a new trend and get a bigger cloth diaper community moving out in the country?!  I'm hoping there will be enough interest in the Decatur area for meetups.  I will still come to the metroplex for some of the meetups, but it will be hard to do each month.  I will miss seeing everyone I've had the privilege to meet since starting the Group.  I have made many friends, and I love seeing the connections that are made within the Group. 

I was hoping the rest of our summer would be calm before Riley starts kindergarten.  We've had 6 straight weeks of go-go-go!  (Literally - 3 big trips and 2 smaller ones, plus 2 weeks of family visiting from out of state!)  Now the rest of our summer will be spent packing and purging everything we own and getting the house ready to sell.


Friday, June 22, 2012


For a couple of months, you have heard me talk about some changes coming to our little Cloth Diaper Group.  I promise, I have NOT forgotten about this!  Life has just been more crazy than usual lately.  I keep waiting for it to slow down, but that hasn't happened yet... 

The first (and biggest!) change concerns our meetups.  I know how hard it is for everyone to travel to meetups each month.  The main purpose of this group is to help you meet other local like-minded families, while learning about cloth diapers.  In order to help you be able to attend more meetups, we will create 3-5 areas for regular meetups!  Each meetup will be on the same set day, at the same set location, each month.  In addition to the regular meetups, there will also be an opportunity for casual playdates and diaper swaps!

What areas will meetups be in?  I have a general idea, but the exact location will be TBD as we find mom's in each area to help lead each monthly meetup.  Once I return from our next trip (the 4th in a 6 week period), we will start accepting and reviewing applications for area leaders.  The areas were chosen based on the MAP we have on our website to determine where everyone is located:

Plano/Frisco/N Dallas



Burleson/Cleburne/S. Ft Worth

Lewisville/Grapevine (maybe)

North Denton/Decatur (maybe)

If you are in these areas and would like to help lead meetups, check back for details on how to apply.  We will do training and work together on monthly topics. 

Another change has already been implemented.  Since Facebook has changed to the Timeline format, interaction has greatly decreased on our Facebook page.  Online interaction is a very helpful way to learn about cloth diapers, learn about sales, specials, ask/answer questions, and get to know each other!  While we want to expand our in-person meetups, we want to keep a centralized online community.  We have joined up with the DFW Cloth Diapering Moms group on Facebook.  Here, we are able to chat, share, and learn in a private setting.  The main Facebook page WILL still be active.

The way Timeline is set up is more about the "business" and less about the "fans", so the page will be mostly for us sharing links, articles, and information.  We will continue to ask our daily questions there, too.  In order for us to stay in your newsfeed, go to our page, hover your mouse over the "liked" button, and choose "show in newsfeed".  This way you can stay up to date with all of our local (and non-local) news! 

One more change I would love to make is getting our blog up and running!  I simply don't have time to blog as much as I would like.  I will be looking for regular and special contributers.  Essentially, someone to just take it over.  In the survey I put out a couple months ago, several said they are interested in helping with this.  I will be contacting them over the next month or so to get it going!  If we need more contributers, then I will ask for applications at a future date.

I would also like to address one other area at this time.... We will no longer be supporting any local swap groups.  Unfortunately, where there is an online swap, there is drama.  Those who know me know I can't stand drama.  I will not tolerate drama in our Group, nor will I tolerate gossip.  I am proud of the fact that we have stayed (relatively) drama free for over 2 years!  I want to keep our Group as drama-free as possible.  I will not answer any questions about this, unless it is with those directly involved (and then, only through private emails or messages), so please don't ask.  We are deeply sorry for this, since we love swapping locally, but we feel this is the best thing for our Group.  The DFW Cloth Diaper Group always supports swapping locally at our monthly meetups!  We also have 2 in-person swaps a year.  In the future, we will have them better organized since we have grown so much. If you are looking for an online swap, we recommend you try CraigsList or DiaperSwappers

I ask that you be patient with me in the timing of these upcoming changes, especially the meetups.  Like I said, things have been insanely busy recently.  And we may have some big changes coming soon in our family (and before anyone asks... NO, that does not include a new baby!).  I feel like I am neglecting my 3rd child this summer, and I apologize.  Fortunately, you mama's (and daddy's!) are so awesome you help each other out! 

I have to give a HUGE THANKS to our other online admins, Elise and Alece!  I know they have had things under control on Facebook, and I love knowing I can rely on them!   I really couldn't ask for better co-admins!!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My week with disposables.

I just got home last night from a 5 day trip to visit family.  We enjoyed family time, fishing, swimming, and riding in our golf cart (it's the best way to get around!).

My boys enjoying the sunset.

Last week I started the 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge, hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.  The first 4 days were fine (you can read about them HERE).  But on Day 5, the day we left for our 6 hour road trip, I cheated because I thought it would be easier.  I wish I had just bought more flats.

I got some Flip disposable inserts to go inside Flip covers to use on our trip. I normally take 100% reusable diapers with us (because I've found it's much easier than I originally thought it would be).  However, the water up at the lake isn't the best, and I wasn't sure about washing diapers in it and dealing with the aftermath.  I mean, I use bottled water when brushing my teeth because the well water tastes horrible (note: we stayed at a different house this time that had co-op water, which wasn't so bad; wish I had known that before the trip). 

I started using the Flip system the day we left, so I didn't have to leave any dirty diapers at home.  I admit it, we also bought disposable diapers.  E was having some funky diapers (still not sure why), and I wasn't able to keep up handwashing the 4 Flip covers in time for them to dry before he needed another diaper.  Plus, the thought of washing out the covers in gas station bathrooms was not appealing.  So we did a mix of the Flip system and regular disposables.  The Flip system is awesome, except the messy poo always got all over the cover.  The disposables ended up being easier because of this reason (of the 2 options we had with us).


We used disposables for 2.5 years (Riley was 2.5 and E was 2 months when we made the switch to cloth).  I remembered this weekend why I always dreaded diaper changes.  Disposables do not contain messy poop very well.  They have chemicals that bothered his already sensitive skin.  They STINK.  And then you have to deal with throwing them away (no garbage man to come curbside -- the dumpster was 10 minutes away).   When you run out, it can be a pain to run to the store (especially if the store isn't close).  They're not cheap.  They got nasty from rubbing on his shorts (the outer part of the diaper).  And let's face it, they're just not even half as cute as cloth.

We used disposable wipes, too.  I was reminded why I despise disposable wipes.  It takes so many to get him clean.  And the chemicals hurt his sensitive skin.  We almost ran out, so I was going to buy more at the nearest place I could (about 10 minutes away, a gas station/convenience store/restaurant; the next closest place was 25 minutes away).  The box of cheap wipes was $4.49 + tax.  I decided to try to make do with what we had (we came home with literally 3 wipes left).


I have always told people that it is easy to travel with cloth.  Yet many people say they just use disposables, or a hybrid system (such as the Flip system we used) because it is easier.  I gave it a try this time around to make it "easier" on me so I didn't have to worry about washing the diapers while on vacation, then stripping them when returning home (which I was sure I'd have to do with the different water up there).

I will never travel without cloth diapers again.

We are returning to the lake in July for a full week.  We are also taking a weekend trip to Houston in 2 weeks.  I will take the remaining Flip disposable inserts with us, but I will also take our cloth.  I would rather wash diapers than deal with disposables.  It may have been easier in the sense I didn't have to do diaper laundry.  However, it was not easier in so many other areas.  Especially when his bottom was bright red. I wished we had his soft, chemical free cloth diapers with us so many times.

For me, I'd rather "deal with" diaper laundry on vacation than disposables.  Things may have been different if E didn't have nasty diapers the entire time, but it just confirmed to me that disposables aren't always the easier diaper (including the hybrid sytems).  I think they do have their place, and if they work for you, I think that's awesome!  I also understand that if staying somewhere without laundry facilities that 100% reusable diapers aren't always practical (but I would likely use flats and handwash vs using disposables).  I'll just stick with cloth. 

I was so happy to be able to put a real diaper on his bottom last night as soon as we got home!  I am also looking forward to tomorrow when I do diaper laundry (strange as it seems, I don't mind diaper laundry).  After handwashing for the last 11 days (covers and/or flats), and using disposables/hybrids the last 6 days, it sure is a nice change!  I appreciate my washing machine more than ever.  And I am so thankful we made the switch to cloth nearly 2.5 years ago! 

Just for fun, here are a couple of pics of my boys enjoying their weekend at the lake!

Eli "driving" our golf cart. 

Eli throwing rocks, while Riley fished with his Uncle Wes.

This post was written by Brenda.