People, They’re Flipping Diapers

“Limited edition”.

Those two little words, especially if followed by “bumGenius”, seem to be enough to make people flip out.

The Cotton Babies "limited edition" frenzy... madness or genius?! How much would YOU pay for a "limited edition" print diaper?

Websites will crash. Fists will be pumped in victory, or for those who aren’t fast enough in checking out, swear words will be uttered.

You’ve gotta hand it to Cotton Babies: they created the Cotton Babies Cloth Diaper Flash Mob and turned it into an actual mob more than 10,000 strong. The cover image has a tempting offer: “Want the inside scoop on Cotton Babies news before all your friends crash the server”?

It’s some kind of genius marketing. (“Genius” is, of course, also the name of one their print series…)

Seems to me that Cotton Babies is borrowing from the Beanie Babies playbook to generate all this limited-edition hysteria. The Wikipedia page for Beanie Babies reads, in part:

“Beanie Babies began to emerge as popular collectibles in late 1995, and became a hot toy. The company’s strategy of deliberate scarcity, producing each new design in limited quantity, restricting individual store shipments to limited numbers of each design and regularly retiring designs, created a huge secondary market for the toys and increased their popularity and value as a collectible.”

I’m sure most of us remember the insanity of the Beanie Baby heyday. But take a second to rewind to your pre-baby days. Wouldn’t you have totally LOL’ed if someone told you that there were would be people going every bit as crazy over diapers?!

Chart of bumGenius colors/prints through August 2014 | Image by Erin Falvey

Image credit: Erin Falvey

Over in the Flash Mob and other bumGenius buy/sell/trade groups, mamas post photos of their bumGenius diaper stashes; the more limited-editions you have, the more impressed everyone else is. You thought you were using cloth diapers to go green? Or save green? Yeah, ok, and also making other mamas green. With envy, that is.

When you’ve hunted down all of the available colors and prints, you’ve got what they call a complete rainbow. Behold, a bumGenius stash to die for:

Impressive bumGenius rainbow! What a stash!

Come to think of it, posting an impressive bumGenius stash shot is akin to having a ton of karma on Reddit, although unlike cloth diapers, karma doesn’t actually have any useful purpose. What’s that, your karma can’t absorb baby’s urine or contain blowouts? Take that, Reddit.

And that secondary market the Beanie Babies were so famous for creating? Cotton Babies has definitely fueled a healthy resale market of its own. As soon as the newest Cotton Babies limited editions are no longer available from retailers, the real flipping begins with hard-to-find (“HTF”) prints going for two, three, or four times their typical retail prices.

Wow; crazy listings on eBay for bumGenius diapers!

And who can blame people for buying and reselling the diapers for a profit? Cotton Babies creates an insanely rabid demand for their prints and then only manufactures a very limited quantity. If you’re lucky enough to snag a limited-edition diaper, why wouldn’t you sell it and double (or triple or quadruple or quintuple) your money? Willing buyers are not difficult to find.

Of course, the thing that killed Beanie Babies back in the day was they they became too popular – at which point they no longer seemed so unique and special, so people quickly lost their enthusiasm for them. We’ll just have to wait and see whether Cotton Babies can keep up the excitement surrounding their limited editions, or if people will get tired of all the frenzies.

Do you buy limited edition prints? Why or why not?


  1. This post reinforces one of the things that scares me about the bum genius price inflation bubble– that it will sooner or later pop! I still have a handful of beanie babies and you can’t even give those things away, much less get your money back. I’ve never paid above retail for a bum genius print, but I really hope that when I’m ready to sell, they are still worth something. I love my Jules, but I wonder if I shouldn’t sell it now while the prices are hot instead of continuing to use it.

    • I say sell it and go out on a nice date night with the proceeds! 😉

    • you’re exactly right! the bubble will pop, however, I dont know if they’ll necessarily be worthless. I do think that the crazy will die down and prices will decrease but, unlike beanie babies, cloth diapers serve a purpose so it’ll still be worth something. I think Jules prices are probably at an all time high right now so, strike while the iron’s hot! I would if I had one 🙂

    • I would buy it!

  2. I try not to get sucked into the frenzy, but it can be hard! There are a few BG prints that I really like, but I’m not paying up the wazoo for them, and I haven’t really cared for the last four releases. I have bought LE from other brands, like AppleCheeks. Actually, only AC. lol Not that many, I only bought them because my local dealer said there weren’t going to be any more available and I like them. I think BG is going to cut their own throats with the LE madness.Which is sad, because BG’s are good diapers. I love the Freetimes.

  3. I don’t care much for the last 4 prints either. The only LE I’m even remotely interested in is Albert. But there’s no way I would pay a pretty penny for it. If it costs too much, I don’t need it. But that’s just me-a mom on a very limited budget.

    • Albert should never be worth a whole lot because it isn’t HTF. It is still sold at retailers and is not discontinued for now at least. It’s been around for a long time. lol

    • Albert is still available at retail on cb website 🙂

  4. Jennifer H. says:

    Beanie Babies is the first thing that comes to my mind, too, over the Limited Edition Diapers craze. I have to say that Cotton Babies has been brilliant in terms of brand building and marketing. I sure hope their brand remains popular when it’s time for me to destash my (very-Plain Jane, non-hard-to-find) BG diapers! And when I get the desire for a new print… I’ll skip the LE diapers go and order an Alva cover from eBay for under $5, lol. 🙂

  5. Hi All Moms:
    I’m a Nurse and Grandmother.
    DO NOT buy Huggies Baby Wipes. Check the ingredients.
    They contain methyl parabens, antimicrobial chemicals that are Endocrine Disruptors, which can feminize baby boys.
    Most other products have stopped using methylparabens, but not Huggies.
    When I called their 1-800 number to complain, they brushed me off.
    Tell everyone to Boycott Huggies. !!!! Thanks, ingrid

  6. This is an old article to reply to, but with my recent acquisition of a long-desired Jules with the supposed final re-release, I’ve caught the bug and have been scouring the internet trying to throw together a “print rainbow” for my wife as a Christmas present. Right now I’m trying to find every print in either 4.0 or freetime, the diapers we use, but I’d like to some day get her one of everything to use and one of everything NIP to keep and adds to as the prints come out. I’ve also bought a few NIP copies of some of her more favorite prints that are still available through boutiques (I’ve scoured 50+ online boutiques so far out of a mountain of them) Needless to say I’m several hundred dollars in so far after about a week. If I make a loss on it I don’t care because we’re proud to cloth diaper, we could absolutely eat our daughter (and future children) up watching them crawl around with that perfect bum placement, and I work more than enough hours to assure she can stay a stay-at-home mom (sometimes against her will) and there’s usually still enough money to blow on silly things like this. I’m proud to be active in my daughter’s life and am more than happy to give my wife much-needed sleep and rest on the weekends. It also doesn’t hurt that our daughter is usually most loving, entertaining, fun, and an all-around riot right after she wakes up. 🙂
    My wife works just as hard as me if not harder (our daughter is always on the go and seems to run on a few hours of sleep and a couple half hour naps) and she hardly ever wants to spend money on herself so I’m more than happy to reward her with whatever little surprises that I can. I just hope she doesn’t kill me for paying almost double retail for some of these prints! 😮

    (Oh, not to mention that cotton babies is based in STL which is very close to us and I’m also a big supporter of things made in the U.S.)