Buying second hand cloth nappies – A four part series

Buying Second Hand Cloth Nappies – Part 1

This article has been supplied and written by Tennille at Apikali. It is a four part series covering everything you should consider when buying cloth nappies second hand.

Part One: Buying Secondhand Cloth Nappies: What retailers wont tell you.

Part Two: Buying Secondhand Cloth Nappies: Things for you to consider before you part with the cash.

Part Three: Buying Secondhand Cloth Nappies: Questions to ask the sellers.

Part Four: Buying Secondhand Cloth Nappies: What the sellers should include for buyers.

Part 1: What Sellers Will Not Tell You

I have just recently been trying to sell my own stash of cloth nappies on the secondhand websites and Facebook pages. Last time I did this was over a year ago. My stash includes new cloth nappies which I bought for my last boy thinking I was having a girl, and used cloth nappies he has grown out of.

To be really honest it has not been a pleasant experience to sell them secondhand, particularly on the Facebook sites.  (Just to be clear, I am not selling my stock as a business there, but my own personal cloth nappies which I have bought at full retail price). It has been very time consuming, compared to serving my great customers through Apikali.

This has raised some concerns for me as a cloth nappy advocate, a retailer and as a ‘thrifty’ mum with kids in cloth nappies.

There are two concerns I have I’d like to speak of. The first is that there appears to be a major sense of desperation and anxiety on these sites, with buyers almost frantic for a bargain of any kind. They believe what is written about the photos from the sellers, which I know to be misleading a lot of the time based on what I have seen. Dont get me wrong, there are some honest people, genuinely selling off their stash at used-nappy prices. But unfortunately many sellers are not experts in the brands and often provide misleading advice for potential buyers.

As if the frantic bargain hunt aura is not enough, the amount of unsolicited, unqualified and unsubstantiated ‘advice’ offered and opinions expressed is alarming. As a cloth nappy advocate who has made a business of knowing the cloth nappy experience inside-out, a lot of the advice is unfounded beyond one person’s individual experience and opinion. Yet it is given as gospel with sweeping comments about particular nappy brands, styles, materials, etc.

At the end of the day, choosing a cloth nappy is like choosing a pair of undies/jocks or a bra. Its your own personal choice based upon budget and preferences.

The second issue I want to raise is that of bringing awareness to you about your purchases. If someone on these sites is selling a lot of cloth nappies new (say, 6 or more), be extremely suspicious. In a lot of cases they have bought stock at a discounted bulk price from a retailer when they are having a sale, and are then on-selling it for a higher price to make a profit for themselves. There is nothing illegal about this, as far as I know, but I have concerns that make me squirm a bit thinking about it as a consumer.

To protect yourself here are a few things to do and be aware of:

  1. Check the cloth nappy brands website for their specials – you may be able to pick it up cheaper. A Google search should produce something.
  2. If they are selling a new item, you should not pay the same price as they did. Why? Because you are not getting a warranty and you have no course of action if the product if faulty. It may happen, even to the best brands. What price do you personally put on piece of mind? I would expect at least 30% off the RRP for any new item on the secondhand sites.
  3. If a cloth nappy is new, but has been washed, again I would expect at least 40% off the price. You do not know how it was washed, and again you are not getting the warranty.
  4. If the item, is truly secondhand. The price should reflect this. If it is in good condition, no stains, all fastenings working and elastics fine, then I would pay no more than 60% off the RRP. Why? This is a secondhand cloth nappy. A child has done their deeds in it. Would you purchase a second pair of undies for 30% off the RRP?

If you want bargains without the hassle of trawling secondhand sites, sign up to retailers’ and brands’ newsletters or Facebook pages. This is how they communicate with the outside world! We love passing on the sales! It moves the stock.

But also, be aware of the scams that are happening. Ask questions of the sellers on all secondhand sites.

Find a friend or a retailer you trust and ask your questions. As a retailer, I seriously just want to put the right cloth nappy on your baby’s bottom.

So who am I to make such claims and give such advice? In my other life, I spent much of my time reviewing and critiquing other peoples’ research and results. I have no problems with personal opinions and sharing experiences, but people making sweeping statements without qualification or substance to back up such claims is something we could all be on the lookout for.  And picking a real bargain from the sales out there is easier when you have played with most of the nappy brands and know what sort of prices they go for. I aim to apply my skills to help you choose a cloth nappy from the wide range of brands we stock at Apikali. And I hope this blog might help you avoid a bad cloth experience.

Dr Tennille

Your cloth nappy doctor.


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