Friday, 26 October 2012

New Gro-Via Products

New Cloth Diapers - the good, the bad and the ugly - "GroVia"

"In case you missed it, today I posted a video about all the new cloth diapers, products and accessories that have recently comes out. Now since I haven't done a video like this in exactly one year, I made sure to talk about diapers that have been released over the past 4+ months to make sure I was thorough. I did focus a lot on products released just this past weekend at the ABC Kids Expo 2012 as this is the time of year when companies usually release all the new stuff they have been working on. Since I did talk about so many products, I wanted to keep it to the point and not throw my own opinion in there (too often) so I thought I would do some blog posts on the products I was most excited about, some I was unenthused about..and maybe a few that I found just plain ugly. I'm definitely not including every single product mentioned in the video, or every single product released recently, just the ones I feel are worth mentioning. "

I'll start with the brand I was most impressed with this year; Gro-Via. They have really done well at bringing themselves up to par with BumGenius and Fuzzibunz when it comes to being the "well known" cloth diaper brands since they (The Natural Baby Company) established in 2008. Their website is simple and flawless, advertising is everywhere and they even got themselves into brick and mortar stores that people actually frequent. Last year they came out with a few new colours and training pants. I was elated over the 2 new colours (one which I mistakenly called "Smurf" in my video..yeah, it's "Surf") but not overly enthused with the trainers. This year, they went all out. First off, can we talk about this?

Yes ma'am, that is wool. I could not contain my excitement to see this new product. First off, awesome product choice. Wool is slowly creeping in and making people obsessed in the cloth diapering world. Sure, it's been around for a while and us cloth diaper veterans know all about wool - but it's getting much more notice these days and having a wool cover with your brand name - great decision. Those will sell out time and time again. Secondly, thank you for making wool more in the public eye. Being one of the top diaper companies right now, bringing fitteds and wool into focus is fantastic. Now us wool fanatics may seem a bit less crazy and there will be less "what's the deal with wool?" posts in every cloth diapering forum on the internet. Now it does only come in one colour, which I'm a bit bummed about - but I'm sure if when it's a success, more colours are on the way!

To go along with their wool, they released wool accessories. Thank the cloth diaper gods, a company that actually acknowledges diaper and customer needs? Magic. Too many times has a company come out with fitteds, but no covers. Wool, but no fitteds. Wool, but no wool wash. Wool and lanolin go hand in hand and I applaud Gro-Via for acknowledging that and not making their customers ask "how do I wash this wool? do I need to buy anything special to use it? I didn't know I had to do anything special with it." It's right there, in the store, next to the wool itself. 

Now you may think "hey Kayla, you talked about the wool and accessories - what about what actually goes under the wool?" Yes, the fitteds. I must mention them, mustn't I? I'm going to start off by saying I have no experience with the fitteds and pass no judgement on their usability. From what I've read from their reviews of people who have tried them out - they are great. From comparing them to the previous Kiwi Pie fitteds, they seem like they function just fine. But good lord, those prints. I feel like I am the only one who thinks they are hideous! Absolutely hideous. I like the idea they had, going with a more simplistic print, not too busy and small and repetitive. As a graphic designer, I can appreciate the thought for sure. But half the prints I can barely even distinguish what they are supposed to be. Is that a cat? A fish? A bear? Is this supposed to be under water? The prints are a bit large and tend to get cut off, not leaving the most appealing image. And even if they were a bit smaller, I will just be blunt and say I don't like 'em. I don't think they are as classy as other prints GroVia has come out with..although to be perfectly honest there are not many GroVia prints I am a huge fan of. I can't even get on board with the elephant one, and I am elephant obsessed through and through. I think some of the old Kiwi Pie fitteds were to die for. But to each their own; most people seem to adore the new ones. Oh shoot, I haven't even had a chance to talk about what they are made of or where they are made; which are great selling points. I guess I'm a "judge a diaper but it's printed cotton outer" kind of gal. 

Now, as to not leave this post on a sour note - the greatest announcement of all - the "GroVia Perfect Pail." Words fail me. It is wonderful. It is gorgeous. It is genius. It comes in all three of my favourite GroVia colours; vanilla, surf and cloud. The pail liner opens from the bottom. Smart.  The pail liner Let that sink in. It attaches to a clothes hanger. Obviously. Why wouldn't it? Why wouldn't any pail liner have the ability to go on a clothes hanger?'ve outdone yourselves. 

All in all, I'm impressed with what they've done. They've worked hard and come out with quality products that people are going to like. That wool will be in my hands very soon. They also released prefolds and new trainer colours, which is a bonus. 

If I had it my way? The fitted prints would have been cooler, more chic. The wool would have come out in a few more colours (like brown. that would be gorgeous), and the trainers would have come in some new cute prints. But that's just me :)

I'm not even going to acknowledge the price of these items because there has been to much complaint about it all over the internet and I'm not having it. You are paying for quality. You are paying for workmanship. You are paying for materials. And you are paying to have the products you use made in your own damn country, you are supporting your neighbours, your family and your friends. Shut up about it. 

xoxo BlogsAndLala (perhaps I should change it to ClothAndLala?)

Monday, 1 October 2012

Selling Cloth Diapers

I just made a new cloth vlog (my cloth diaper video series, which you can view here) all about buying and selling cloth diapers. It focused mostly on the selling portion, because that is the part that people have the most questions about.
Questions that I covered include "where can I sell cloth diapers?" as well as "how do I sell cloth diapers?" I also talked about buying and selling terms you may hear as well as just some general tips I have for selling cloth diapers online.
In this video, I mentioned a list of things to include in your "listing". A listing for cloth diapers is much like a listing for a house.

Listing a house requires sharing general information about the house (like the number of stories, the year it was built etc.) along with a price, some photographs and a description that's goal is to make the potential buyer interested and intrigued.
Now, unless you're talking about the coveted NIP Goodmama Rainbow Noir, the average used cloth diaper us going to get you nowhere near the kind of income that selling a house is..duh. However, if you take a real estate listing as your jumping off point, you can definitely make a nice cloth diaper listing just as successful.

Here is a list of things you should (or should consider) including in your listing.

Stay away from generic titles such as 'cheap diapers' or 'awesome diaper deal'. No one knows what the heck this means and is less likely to click on your listing. Also, many people use the search function on websites because they are looking for a specific brand or type of diaper. By completely omitting what brand of diaper you are selling in your title, it is going to see less traffic. Also, do not include too much information in your title. Save that for the description. A title that says "one-size new style brown fuzzibunz with snap closure EUC" is not appealing. Something simple like "One-size Fuzzibunz" should suffice.

Your photo is what is selling your diaper. Regardless of your catchy title, awesome description and price, nothing is going to sell your diaper like a photo. Nobody would buy a house without seeing it first, nobody would buy a car without seeing it first, and not many people are willing to purchase diapers without viewing a picture. First off, a title and description often can't do justice to what condition the diaper is really in and secondly, it creates a doubt that the diaper even exists (perhaps you are an internet scammer and completely illegitimate). Make sure your photo is clear, the lighting is good and the diapers look worthy of being purchased. Use natural light so you can get accurate colours and present them in a way that looks appealing.
If you can't possibly get a picture of your diapers (borrow a camera, use your cell phone), grab a photo off the company's website and use that. Keep in mind when taking your photos that often the buyer will want a picture of the inside of the diaper as well (to see wear and staining) so take those pics while you're at it.

Go to the company website and find out information about the diaper. Make sure to include the brand (if you know it) and the sizing (if you can find that out). Including the weight range is helpful to the buyer so they don't have to look it up themselves. Also include what TYPE of cloth diaper it is. Is it a prefold, an all-in-one, a fitted? If you're unsure, check out my cloth vlog explaining the different types of cloth diapers. Include what fabric it is made from (some people only like natural fibres and lean towards listing with those qualities) and if the diaper has inserts, what those are. Microfiber? Cotton? Are you including one or two? What closure does it have, snaps or velcro? If there is no closure, remind them of this.

How long you used the diaper will help the buyer to know what kind of quality to expect. You can use terms like "NIP, EUC, UC" which are explained in the video above, but nothing is better than a clear, concise description. If you used and washed the diaper daily for two years, express that. If you used the diaper in a large rotation for only a few months, explain it that way. Make sure to divulge any flaws with the diaper. If there is a loose snap, a hole, a weird smell, non-sticky aplix..type it out. You may feel like this is making your diaper not sound as good, but you need to be honest. If you don't divulge the imperfections, the buyer will in turn not get what they thought, and negative feedback looms just around the corner. Make sure to be honest, and price accordingly.

This is the make it or break it, the selling point. No matter how much you love that mansion with 10 bedrooms and a chef's're not going to buy it if it's out of your price range, plain and simple. Most people purchasing cloth diapers have a price point in their head that they are looking for, a budget that they are trying to stick too. A large amount of cloth diaperers ARE cloth diapering to save money. If your price point is simply too high..people will glance right over your listing and move on. Your price needs to be realistic. Search around at what that diaper has sold for in the past, but be willing to negotiate if your diaper is not a hot commodity at the moment. If you're not in dire need to sell your diapers, wait it out a few months. For example, Goodmamas will go in and out of "style". One month, you can get your hands on used ones for $15, and other months you will be lucky if you can find one for under $50. It may seem crazy, but that's the way the cloth diaper world works. If you have a hot item, make an auction and sell to the highest bidder.

Unless you are planning on sending the diaper out the moment you get your payment, share in your listing when you plan on shipping it out. If you can't ship until next Friday, let your buyer know that so they know when to expect their purchase. Also, make sure you mention shipping cost. Some websites will have a section where you can add that, and some will not. Let your potential buyers know if the shipping cost is included in the price (PPD) or if they need to pay extra (and how much).
If you only want to get paid via funded Paypal, or echeck - include it in your listing. If you're going to be picky about it, you need to put it out there. Don't wait until someone has already clicked "buy now" before letting them know if you want to be payed a specific way.
Also include where you are willing to ship, and the accompanying price. If you only want to ship within the Unites States, say so. If you are willing to ship Internationally, share that information. Also keep in mind shipping cost. You can definitely list multiple shipping options and costs depending on where the buyer lives.

There are a few others things sellers often include in their listing that you may want to consider for yours.
1. If the items are coming from a smoke free and/or pet free environment. Some buyers will ask later, so this will help skip that step..but if you ARE indeed a pet friendly and/or smoke friendly is common courtesy to let your potential buyers know that.
2. If the items have been used with "cloth diaper safe" accessories. Some buyers do not care, while some care a great deal if the diapers have been used with a non-safe detergent or diaper cream. You can divulge this or not, the majority of buyers will not ask. However, if your diapers are having severe repelling problems, again common courtesy would suggest you mention this.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Canadian Cloth Diaper Websites

Okay, this is it. I have scoured the internet for what feels like years..and I have come up with the list. THE list. It's the only list you need. Canada cloth diaper websites. Cloth diaper websites that are based in Canada. Sure, there are a ton of US-based sites out there that will-maybe-kinda-iguessso ship to Canada, but THESE here are based in Canada. They are shipping from Canada. To Canada. Winner winner cloth diaper heaven!

So, as a graphic designer there are things I look for on a website, as I have been trained to have an eye for layout, design, interface and marketing schematics. These are websites that not only sell diapers, but websites I would personally purchase from. Websites that aren't hard to navigate, aren't painful to look at, and have a variety of diapers. So no, not every cloth diaper site in Canada is on here; just the ones I currently approve of.

So click away, look around, find the diaper you're on the hunt for! And good luck!

Ava's Apple Tree
By Nature
Hip Baby
The Cloth Diaper Shop
Caterpillar Baby
Peekaboo Bottoms
Pure Modern Baby
Nell's Natural Baby
Gorgeous Baby
So Green Baby
Eco Bebe Boutique
Adventures of Little
Ottawa Cloth Diapers
Extraordinary Baby Shoppe
Snuggle Bugz
New and Green
Little Tree Hugger
Huckleberry Baby Shop
Cozy Bums
Abby Sprouts
A Tall Giraffe
Fluffy Bottom Babies
Belly Laughs
Tickled Green Baby

(Might I add that there are some lovely Quebec based cloth diaper websites out there, but I just can't navigate them due to the fact that me no parle francais (I think that was a mix between french and you see what I mean)