Cloth diaper businesses see boom amidst coronavirus pandemic

Customers are clamoring for cloth diapers now that there's a shortage of disposable diapers.
Diaper shortages have led to parents seeking alternative options for their babies.
Diaper shortages have led to parents seeking alternative options for their babies. Getty Images stock
/ Source: TODAY

As coronavirus-related shortages lead to empty shelves and canceled orders around the country, parents of young children are desperate for diapers.

Two different cloth diaper companies told TODAY that this has led to spike in business for their organizations.

Liz Turrigiano, co-founder of companies Diaperkind and Esembly, said that the coronavirus pandemic has led to skyrocketing growth. While Diaperkind, a cloth diaper delivery and cleaning service, has been running since 2009, Esembly, a line of organic reusable diapers, skincare and laundering products, has only been around for a few months.

With some products in short supply, parents are turning to alternate diaper options. Getty Images stock

"It’s just been like, 'Holy heck, what is happening?'" said Turrigiano. "In the past week everything’s been turned on its head... Our revenue has grown by 300% in the past five days."

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Sandy Beck, the founder of Tidy Tots Diapers, told TODAY that there has been an uptick in orders placed to her company.

"We have gotten orders in that are over $1,000, over $1,500," Beck said. "People are stocking up for the long haul, absolutely."

Some parents are making the switch to cloth diapers, which advocates say are more cost-effective and better for the environment than disposable diapers. Getty Images stock

Turrigiano said that some of her new customers have mentioned having trouble finding diapers online or purchasing them at their usual stores.

"We're hearing, straightforward, from people who are reaching out to us," said Turrigiano. "People are like, 'Tell us all about your system, how soon can I get started, because Amazon just cancelled all my subscriptions' or 'All store shelves are empty' or 'My baby goes through 70 to 80 diapers per week and I can't stockpile that many.' I think it's really just the lack of availability of disposable diapers and the sheer quantities that babies go through."

A spokesperson for Amazon told TODAY that "given increased demand, some customer's 'Subscribe & Save' items may be temporarily unavailable." The spokesperson added that customers have "until 7 days before their delivery arrive-by date" to make any changes to their order. Out-of-stock notifications and information about delayed shipments will be conveyed to consumers via email updates.

"We are working with our partners to get these items back in stock as quickly as possible," Amazon said. "Future orders will not be impacted."

Cloth diaper companies have assured that they will remain stocked throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Getty Images stock

Turrigiano and Beck both said that they do not anticipate any supply chain issues with their companies. Beck said that all of her products are manufactured in upstate New York and she and her employees are taking extensive measures to avoid any spread of the coronavirus, including limiting staff, keeping workers "more than" six feet apart, and testing employees before they come into building.

"I'm doing baby products. I would not want anyone here, even with the flu, to give it to a baby," Beck said. "Everybody is being very good about it."

Turrigiano told TODAY that Esembly "does not anticipate having any trouble providing product to our customers, as our distribution warehouse is fully stocked with inventory."

Both organizations are currently considered "essential businesses" and are not currently affected by coronavirus shutdowns.

"We're definitely ready," Turrigiano said. "If your diapers are reusable, you'll never run out, and I think that's really attractive right now."