Monday, July 1, 2013

Hurdles to Selling Used Cloth Diapers

One of the major benefits to cloth diapers, is that they can be used through multiple children.  However, what do you do with your cloth diapers when you're finished diapering your kids?  Many people are opting to sell their diapers in order to recoup some of the initial cost of their cloth diaper stash.  However, selling used diapers may not be as easy as it seems.  While some brands and types of cloth diapers hold value extremely well, other styles of diapers are more difficult to unload.  Other diapers that were produced in limited quantities, unique prints, or made by a WAHM, may actually sell for more than the original purchase price.
Limited edition prints may resell for a higher price if there is enough demand.

As the market for cloth diapers has expanded, so has the resale market for used diapers.  Through sales and coupons, many parents are able to purchase new cloth diapers for large discounts. Consumers can sometimes receive 20-30% off their diaper purchase, or receive free products in combination with their purchase.  There is less incentive to purchase a used cloth diaper when a new diaper can be purchased for a good price.  Additionally, most diaper retailers offer free shipping when a certain price point is reached, while a buyer will typically have to pay shipping for a used diaper.

It seems that many parents are also less interested in purchasing large quantities of used cloth diapers.  Unless a parent is just starting a cloth diaper stash, most of their diapering purchases will consist of small purchases or impulse buys.  Someone trying to sell used cloth diapers would most likely need to break up their stash and sell it in pieces.  How many diapers can be grouped together?  It may be difficult to sell diapers in multiples, and buyers are more likely to purchase one to two diapers at a time.  However, selling diapers in small quantities may lower profit and discourage buyers who need to pay shipping costs.  An oversupply of used cloth diapers also means sellers are forced to compete for buyers and that sellers may end up undervaluing their diapers.

In addition to the hurdles of competitive markets for used and new cloth diapers, parents are also more weary of buying used from an unknown source.  Buyers are often asking for proof of the legitimacy of cloth diapers to avoid purchasing a counterfeit diaper.  Not only is it difficult to distinguish a counterfeit, but buyers need to keep up with subtle changes made in the manufacturing of legitimately branded diapers.  Some feel that purchasing used cloth diapers is not worth the risks involved in transferring money and receiving a product that is potentially not as described.

While selling used cloth diapers is common, buyers should be aware that cloth diapers may not recoup much value in resale.  Sellers should also assess the value of their time: does it make sense to spend the time whitening, photographing, posting pictures, packaging, and shipping that diaper?  Can that cloth diaper be donated to charity with less effort and possibly for a tax write off*? These days, selling anything can be challenging, and selling used cloth diapers can be even more of a struggle.

Have you sold used cloth diapers and what percentage of the original sale price did you receive?

*Giving Diapers, Giving Hope is in the process of applying for status as tax deductible organization.

11 comments:

  1. I have some never used diapers and it makes me wonder how much I can charge for them (and maybe include shipping) or whatever and still make a decent amount of money. I mean after all they're NIP. But with sales and such, it's hard to decide what to charge.

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    1. I think everyone struggles with the question of pricing. My best advice is to see what others are asking and price your diapers around that value. Don't start too low either: you can always drop the price but you can't increase it. Be patient because it may take time to find an interested buyer: good luck if you end up trying to sell!

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  2. I initially thought I would sell my diapers, but I don't think they will have much value after 2 kids. I think I'll donate mine when I'm done. I will definitely use this info to sell higher value diapers, though.

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    1. After two kids, those diaper will have earned their keep :). That's great that you are considering donating some of your well loved diapers so another family can enjoy them.

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  3. I always have a hard time unloading mine. People want them for 'garage sale prices', even ones that are never or barely used. Great post!

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  4. It depends on the brand...usually I base my price on what others sell them for or offer a "best offer".

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  5. I don't have a hard time selling mine at all. A really big part of why mine sell so easily is because I have the reputation for being the local guru. I generally sell mine for 80% of the new price. Because I sell locally, there's no postage issues. I also prefer to sell individually because I can ask a higher amount for one per diaper than I can for a lot. The bigger the lot, the bigger the expected discount.

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  6. I have sold a few diapers for super cheap. I just wanted to get rid of them. I am not counting on selling my stash when I am done. I will probably donate everything to a diaper charity or someone I know who needs diapers when I am done having babies.

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  7. I have sold a handful, but not for much. I ended up de-stashing to a mom friend of mine whose husband just died when she was 5 mo pregnant. It was more valuable to bless her than to make my money back. When I am completely done, I think my prefolds and covers will go to the local homeless shelter (easier to get them hand-washed)and my pockets will go to an orphanage in Kenya that a friend of mine owns/operates.

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    1. That is so touching, thank you for sharing this. Isn't it wonderful how something as simple as cloth diapers can make such a difference in a person's life?

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  8. I agree that it's a challenge selling diapers. I belong to a local CD group in hopes that I can destash one day. I sold my newborn collection to a friend's cousin for a very good price (for her). She was new to cloth diapering so I wanted to encourage her by giving her a break. As much as I would like to get some of my initial investment back, if no one will buy my diapers, I would be more than happy to just donate them. That's the thing about cloth diapers, people actually don't mind used one. You can't really say the same about sposies.

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