Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why We Don't Carry Fuzzi Bunz (Anymore)!

If you've been with us since we launched Ecological Babies (in 2008), you might remember that we carried Fuzzi Bunz for awhile.  I was excited about this diaper as it was popular and also made in factories nearby (New Orleans area and in Arkansas).  The quality of their diaper was done well and we used them with our kiddos with success.

Then, the company made a decision to shut down their American factories and start producing in China.  I was very disappointed in this change and immediately emailed their CEO, Tereson Dupuy.

My response is in regular font and hers is in bold:

"After hearing your response, I am going to seriously consider whether
I'm going to choose to keep Fuzzi Bunz as a retailer.  I definitely
want to continue supporting your business, if it still meets my

"I think it is an oxymoron that people want to support US companies, but only if they are supporting other US companies.  What about our US company that just dropped us?  What about the US companies that would not do business with us b/c we could not order 50k yards in material - it is the US companies that do not want to support small growing businesses that have forced me into overseas.  It is the US companies that can't manufacturer a decent product and force you to pay for their screw ups that have forced me into non-US based manufacturing.  But I am STILL a US based company with employees to distribute product and children to feed.  Supporting MY company IS supporting a US based company.  There is a much bigger picture that meets the eye.  

Our factory produces for Walmart and Disney.  It is a very good factory that treats its workers well.  I will be visiting in a few months (not looking forward to the flight - but will get to take my daughter to Hong Kong).  

What people do not realize, and I was quite taken back myself - is that manufacturing is a very good way of life in China.  Can you imagine working for a company that housed you, fed you, paid for your medical bills and 2 trips home each year to see your family and likely bring them back home all of the money you have made?  Not bad.  

Its a different way of life and a culture.  We can't understand it b/c we are so consumed with "things" and "freedom" but I would definitly work for a lesser wage if I did not have a house note, insurance, medical etc to pay for.  China has really cracked down in the last 10 years on manufacturing practices etc.  And I am sure there are still some bad ones.  But ours is not.  

OMG and can I tell you how much better this will be for the environenment?  Not 25 containers per year shipping raw goods to one factory, then shipping them to another warehouse then shipping them out etc.  6 containers a year - one distributor.  Much better.  

I am very happy with my decision.  thank you so much for your support."

*Note:  I underlined for emphasis on the lines that really struck me. 

To my dismay, I planned on discontinuing their diapers.  I had a fill a few orders and so I ordered a few "new" batches from their China factory.  We had delaminating issues, the color consistency was off, elastic being shot after only a few months of use, and the fleece inside wasn't as soft.

More importantly, I chose to discontinue them due to their choices that crossed over my ethical boundaries.  Walmart and Disney have been cited for their human rights violations and this is the factory where these cloth diapers are being made.  She condoned the use of housing these workers, and glamourized this lifestyle.  Are they REALLY lucky that they get to see their family 2 times a year???

One thing I love about operating my own business is that I get to choose who to support.  Granted I have and will lose customers seeking Fuzzi Bunz, but that is just fine with me. There are other companies that I also choose not to support and again, have the same customer loss.  The companies I support are ones in whom I agree with their business choices and the quality of their product.

Honestly yours,

Jen Starks, Owner


Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas said...

Good for you, Jen! This is one of the many reasons that I love Ecological Babies. I found her explanation of "cultural differences" as a rationale for cheap labor particularly odd. If only we weren't so obsessed with "freedom" we could see that they actually love working for low wages and being away from their families! (what the what?!)

Maureen said...

That is SHOCKING!! The tone and choice of words... hoe unprofessional! Ugh! Those were my fav go to diapers my first time around cloth diapering b/c they were so easy to use (this was in 2006). Thanks for sharing this.