Recently, Babies R Us (BRU) stores across Canada have begun stocking BumGenius cloth diapers. I know that some big box stores in the States carry cloth diapers, but this is the first time we’ve seen it north of the 49th. (Except for some Kushies products at Walmart… and Kushies should not be counted as modern cloth!)
BumGenius’s appearance on the shelves at BRU is bringing about mixed reactions in the close-knit Canadian cloth diapering community, and here’s why:
Pros of BGs being available at Babies R Us:
– Makes cloth mainstream: Seeing cloth on the shelves of Babies R Us is a big step towards making cloth diapering a mainstream parenting choice instead of one “just for crunchy Moms.” It might even cause parents who’d never even considered cloth to at least think about it! Certainly, seeing the gorgeous colours and prints and the ease of use of modern cloth diapers up close and personal can be a huge eye opener for parents who would otherwise have poo-pooed the idea of choosing cloth. Buying a couple BGs at BRU might be what gets a skeptical parent on board the Crazy Cloth Addict Train!
– Makes cloth easily accessible: Canadians with a local cloth diaper store are lucky, but few and far between. Most large cities have a BRU location, however.
– Makes asking for cloth for your baby shower easier: Let’s face it… most non-parents head to BRU to get baby shower gifts, and being able to add cloth diapers to your registry is awesome. Lots of aunts and grandmas don’t want to order online, so they’ll be able to buy your fluff in store without a problem. (I remember telling family I wanted a gift certificate to Boutique Bummis, and they looked at me like I was nuts.)
– Puts gift cards to good use: I received plenty of gift cards to BRU when I was pregnant and when Cub was first born. I would’ve loved to buy cloth diapers with them!
Cons of BGs being available at Babies R Us:
– BRU staff are most likely not qualified to sell cloth diapers: I don’t turn to BRU staff for advice on baby products in general. In my experience, most staffers are just as likely to have been hired by PetSmart… That being said, cloth diapers are a pretty specialized item, and for a total newbie, a good cloth experience starts with the right instructions. There are a lot of beginner’s mistakes that can be avoided by a quick lesson from qualified sales staff. (For example, a cloth newbie might not know that a BumGenius microfibre insert shouldn’t touch baby’s skin! Ouch!)
–Fluff gets man(mom?)handled: I don’t know what happens to people in big box stores, but we kind of turn into animals. In a cloth diaper boutique, you’d never see a customer opening packages or dropping products on the floor. At Babies R Us, there’s so much space and so much merchandise that it’s easy for displays to get trashed. You would never see a display like this at a fluff boutique:
– WAHMs and small business owners lose customers: Honestly, my number one beef with BRU carrying BumGenius is that, up until now, Canadians were buying their BumGenius diapers from WAHM or family-owned online retailers and small brick and mortar stores. The profit margin on cloth diapers is notoriously low, and when you factor in the high cost of shipping, it’s not exactly a walk in the park to earn a living as a cloth diaper retailer. Hopefully, the sense of community and the excellent customer service offered by Canada’s small fluffy businesses will help keep them afloat.
And. just a note: Some Moms were wondering if the BumGenius diapers carried by BRU were in any way different (quality wise) from the BGs carried by cloth diaper retailers. (For example, Aden & Anais make a lower quality muslin blanket for sale at Target and a more luxurious one for sale in boutiques.) I have been assured by BumGenius owner, Jennifer Labit, that this is not the case for BumGenius.
What do you think? Is it genius or kind of a bummer?