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?