Sunday, June 17, 2012

What's the real cost of a China Cheapie?

I recently read this article and decided it was time to share my thoughts. I've actually been meaning to write this article for months, but only finally got around to it today as I replied to a friend's question in a local CD board on Facebook. Her basic question: Why are some diapers $4 and others $30?
Alva and Sunbaby: Both diapers I would consider a cheap, China diaper.
Here's my response: 

You get what you pay for. :) 

Quality vs. Quantity
The materials in each diaper can vary and TPU (in GroVia and KangaCare brands) can cost more than PUL which is what the majority of diapers are made from. There is also a huge variance in PUL as many people who have used Fuzzibunz can attest to with all their factory changes. You will see many manufacturers have different water temperatures that their diapers can handle-it's because the PUL is different and some can withstand higher temperatures than others.

The fleece in many of the cheaper diapers is very thin and some don't come w/ inserts or the inserts they come w/ will need to be replaced b/c they are not as quality as the more expensive diapers. Check out the prices on quality inserts-that can be up to half the cost of buying a diaper if you get a more expensive fabric like bamboo.

You don't get a warranty with a $4 diaper. (Unless something has changed recently.) When you buy a $20 diaper, there is usually at least a 90 day if not a year or lifetime warranty. Wonder what your warranty is? Check out this chart I made recently. It includes most of the brands Bum Luxury carries, but I do need to update it with recent additions.


Honestly, a diaper that costs $4 is most likely made in a sweatshop. There is no way the materials put into the diaper and the labor can cost less than $4 to make, let alone sell retail. Look at the co-ops and you can get them even cheaper. That means the factory making them is selling them for less than that wholesale.

I understand many people like the cheaper China diapers and it's great at saving money, but I've learned a lot in the last few years and I choose to support small businesses and reputable companies. Now, that doesn't mean that all diapers made in China or other countries besides the US are made in sweat shops. Many popular ones like Kanga Care and GroVia diapers are made in China. You will see on their site the owners visiting their factories and making sure the working conditions are not sweat shop (can't think of the word right now!) I also know that just because a company is an American company, many items are outsourced to other companies and there's always a trail to where the item actually came from. (Like the big Victoria Secret scandal recently.)

Lastly, I want to add that many WAHM diapers are upwards of $30 or more. The cost of materials and their time to make each diaper needs to be considered when pricing their products. If each diaper takes one hour to make, the diaper should be at least cost plus minimum wage. A smaller WAHM will probably have higher costs because she's not buying in bulk like a larger WAHM or factory is able to.

I hope that helps answer your question a bit.

Okay-off my soap box. :) Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions with a comment.