Tips & Tricks from a Fluff Addict: How to Sell Used Cloth Diapers
Has your little one outgrown some cloth diapers and you’re now wondering what to do with them? (And how you’re going to fund some larger ones)?
Have a few cloth diapers that you just never reach for at change time?
Wondering what to do with your stash now that your baby has learned to use the potty?
Yes, if you’d believe, there is a resale market for used cloth diapers, and it is hot. Not only will you be well on your way to recouping some of that money you invested in your stash, but also you’ll continue to be environmentally friendly by encouraging reuse (and thus reduce) of products.
The following tips and tricks have worked well for me. If you have anything to add, or have any questions, be sure to leave a comment below!
Find your target market.
Let’s be honest, not everyone is interested in used cloth diapers… But I guarantee you there are lots of mamas who are. All you have to do is find them! From your local Kijiji to online forums there are quite a few places to sell.
In the past I’ve had a bit of luck selling on Kijiji. But, after a while, the hassle of arranging appointments to view items, staying house-bound because someone was coming over to see them, and dealing with last-minute cancellations (or even worse, no shows) became quite inconvenient. Plus, there was always the inherent concern of my (and my young child’s) physical safety when meeting up with strangers. Because of these issues with local sales I decided to try online selling, and I have seriously never looked back!
Not only have I found selling online to be physically safer, but also easier and more convenient. And as an added bonus, it can be more profitable! Online you’re able to sell directly to your target market (who recognize the value of your goods), and that target market is much, much larger than that of your local Kijiji.
There are a few places to sell online; from closed Facebook groups to open forums. Unfortunately, with a lot of the closed-type groups, you need to know someone to join (or to even know they exist). Additionally you may have to be a member of a particular social media group, such as Facebook, to join. This is where, in my opinion, clothdiapertrader.com has really filled a void. It’s open to everyone, it’s free to use, it’s targeted at the cloth diapering community at large, and no membership or the like is required to view ads. Awesome!
So now that you have your medium to sell on, let’s talk about your ad:
There’s a reason why used-car salesmen have the bad rap they do: They aren’t honest. Let’s not make the same reputation for used cloth diaper sellers, mmm-kay? If there are issues, state them; if there are stains, mention them; if the diaper leaks, repels, stinks or otherwise does anything else it shouldn’t, maybe you shouldn’t be selling it in the first place. Remember, buyers are moms and families just like you – don’t scam them! There. I’m glad we cleared that up.
When pricing out your merchandise keep in mind that it’s cloth your child has soiled in – probably multiple times – so no matter how cute you think it is or what great condition it’s in, it no longer has the same value as it did in the store. And while we’re on the subject, nor do your brand-new never worn items. Return policies, warranties, and the option to pick and choose colours are all worth something, and as a reseller you don’t offer these services so you need to adjust your price accordingly. However, if you have a highly sought after item that’s in high demand and short supply, you can certainly try to eke out of few more dollars! :)
To come up with a realistic selling price, carefully take into consideration the condition of the diaper, what it retails for new, and the cost of shipping (including packaging). To figure out the cost of shipping, get an online quote from Canada Post from your address to a postal code across the country and use that as a ball-park figure. An alternative to this is to calculate shipping costs on a personal basis, in which a potential buyer provides you with their postal (zip) code and you use this to derive a quote online and add that to the price; in other words, post the price without shipping and make it abundantly clear in the ad that the buyer will be charged an individualized shipping rate based on their address, and you get them a quote on the shipping before the sale is finalized. Personally, I find it easiest (and quickest) to just incorporate shipping into the asking price by using a ball-park figure as described above. This way the buyer isn’t surprised that shipping is extra and it doesn’t take those few extra steps in the middle to seal the deal. Online sales move fast, the fewer the steps in the middle of the process the better it is for everyone.
Also, spend a little time getting to know your market (the value of the item you have to offer plus the state of its supply and demand). Do so by Googling your diaper brand and the condition it’s in, for example “FuzziBunz size small in good used condition” and you’ll be sure to get a ballpark selling price from others’ ads and see if they have been selling quick or not.
I may make a whole other post dedicated specifically to pricing used dipes, but for now let’s just sum it up by saying be realistic. And, of course, be considerate of the buyer. Always put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself: Would I pay ‘x’ for this? If the answer is no, then a buyer shouldn’t be expected to either.
Pictures really are worth a thousand words. Be sure to post photos of the outside and the inside of the diaper plus any flaw/stain that you’ve mentioned (and you should mention them all, remember?).
Also, there’s more to photos than just proving you have the item. Pictures actually represent what kind of home it is coming from. Pay attention to the background – If there are piles of laundry, dead plant life, and dirty dishes, chances are you won’t sell your items. I remember seeing a horrifying ad one time that included a dog sniffing the diapers that were for sale. I’m not saying you can’t sell diapers if your house is a disaster or you have a curious pet, all I am saying is to keep that info out of the shot. A solid coloured or cute patterned, non-distracting background is best. And if you can set this up beside a window for natural light, all the better. Be sure that the photos show the item’s accurate colours too, natural light will help achieve this.
When someone contacts you with a question about your ad, respond ASAP. Like I said, the world of online sales moves fast, and the quicker you can get your seller to commit to purchasing your item the better. Remember, they are scouting out people to give their hard earned money to, make sure they know they can trust you. If you’re not willing to be readily available for questions prior to purchase, they’ll never trust that you’ll be available if an issue arises post-sale.
Additionally, ship promptly after receiving payment. Once a stranger sends you money they become a bit anxious to receive their item. The shorter the wait time, the happier the customer; the happier the customer, the more likely they are to buy from you again. Everybody wins.
Paypal offers both buyer and seller protection in the case that something goes sour. There are regulations, of course, so it’s important that you familiarize yourself with them and the process long before ever needing them. Additionally, I’ve found Paypal’s invoice function to be incredibly helpful for keeping records of transactions and mailing addresses.
Although I first and foremost recommend using Paypal, I’ve also received payments via personal cheque and Interac e-transfers (also known as electronic money transfer or EMT) without any problems. For personal cheques I waited for the cheque to arrive in the mail and had it cleared by my bank (each institution is a bit different, but my bank was able to notify me once the cheque was cleared) before mailing the item to the buyer. I would only consider doing this if the buyer is willing to wait the time required (a few weeks all told) and for a relatively small monetary amount. Personal cheques do make me a bit uneasy, but it is an option and whether you accept them or not simply depends on your comfort level. EMTs are much faster, but just like personal cheques they don’t offer any insurance for either the buyer or the seller like PayPal does, so only accept them from someone you trust.
Again, a sale comes down to trust. Always keep the buyer informed. They should know exactly what the condition of the diaper is in before purchasing, how you expect payment, and when you will be shipping the item. Tell them when you plan on shipping (“If paid today I can get this in the mail for you tomorrow!”) then tell them you shipped (“Just to confirm, I did get your diaper in the mail today, please let me know when it arrives!”). Then, if you haven’t heard from them in a while, ask if it has arrived. With communication there’s trust, and where there’s trust, there’s sales. Also, when the buyer lets you know they’ve received their item, that is the perfect time to thank them for the purchase and encourage them to leave feedback for you on clothdiapertrader.com
So there you have it! Make an ad that truthfully represents the item, with a realistic price, and accurate pictures; be prompt in answering questions, accept PayPal for payment, and keep open communication with the buyer... If you follow these simple tips and tricks your item will sell quickly and the buyer will have no reason to be anything but pleased with the process and the item.
It is very satisfying to recoup some of the cash you’ve invested in your stash and, oddly enough, it feels great knowing that your once loved item is now at work for someone else.
Oh wait, did I miss something?
Do you have any questions?
Feel free to contact me in the comment section below!
Candice has a BSc in Human Ecology and MSc in Human Nutrition. She’s traded in traveling to developing countries and writing scientific research articles for staying at home in Montreal with her son and writing cloth diaper reviews. Unfortunately for her son, the researcher in her isn’t gone, but instead has been limited to a sample size of one. From inputs (organic homemade baby food) to outputs (cloth diaper capabilities), he’s the willing test subject to many important questions of a stay at home mom.