25 September 2016

Cotton Booty cloth diaper subscription box review

This is a long detailed review after 7 months of using a subscription service.  You have been warned.

Since we're adopting it makes buying baby gear tough.  We can't buy things like car seats or cribs because we don't know when we'll actually become parents.  It could be months or years.  It makes no sense to buy things that could be recalled before we even use them.  Newer and often better models of things come out.  But I did want to do something to start building our collection.  Things like cloth diapers and blankets seem safe.  So I looked around and found two cloth diaper subscription boxes.  That felt like a nice, slow, and easy on the budget way to at least build a decent diaper stash, giving us one less thing to worry about when it's finally time to buy baby items.  Especially handy if it happens suddenly - the less to worry about on (potentially) short notice, the better.

The first diaper subscription box that I found was Cotton Booty.  It appears to be the best know.  But most of the reviews appeared to be older -- as in years older.  It seems like maybe it was a thing for awhile, shut down, and then was restarted by someone else awhile later.

The second that I found was Fluff Envy.  I found even less current reviews for this subscription box, though I was slightly more interested in it.

I went back and forth and finally decided to go with what had reviews.  Cotton Booty, it was.   7 months in I do feel like I can review the service.  Not the diapers themselves, obviously.  Just the service.

First off, they offer two types of boxes:

Diaper only guarantees you at least one cloth diaper each month.  It is often supplemented with small toys, samples, accessories, or even a second diaper to meet the required value.  It runs $24.99 for the single option per month or $48.99 per month for the twin box.  I chose this single option in gender neutral.

The other box type is the "same old Cotton Booty" box, which is apparently how the service began.
This box is $5 more per month for single and $10 more for twin.  It is generally the same diaper(s) as the diaper only box but also includes an accessory.  Because I don't yet have a baby, I didn't feel it was really worth it for me to splurge as I've seen items like teething rub, diaper creams, as well as swaddle blankets.  Obviously the blanket is something I could save and use.  The rest is just something I won't need for quite some time, so it felt like too much of a gamble for me for now.

Before we get into the diapers I do want to say my only real concern with this service is their customer service is somewhat lacking.  I realize they're a small company which can be overwhelming  if it's just a few of them.  Also, to be honest I am sure the only problem I had is my fault, but I still had to threaten to quit to get a response after several emails with no response.  Once I did realize in the back and forth that I did obviously somehow (still don't know how) create two accounts and she was looking at one and me another -- hers the actual active, mine showed no info, I sorted my issue easily (an address change).  But not going to lie, it was a bit frustrating to get to that point.  Once I realized I needed to just delete the who knows how I had two accounts account and log into the actual account, it was all good.

Now, onto what I have gotten:
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Month one:

March 2016 -
I was actually super excited about the first box.  My first box and it was two diaper covers.  I did not keep all of the cards they send with these, but luckily do have this one.  
They list the Retail Value as the MSRP which honestly on some brands is going to be truly what everyone charges and on some, will be off.  I've noticed some brands are pretty set in price no matter where you buy, others are much cheaper than the MSRP. 
Here they list the Imagine cover values at $25.98 for two, so $12.99 each.  Both Amazon and Kelly's Closet have this cover at $10.95.  So if I were to buy that cover, I'd actually pay $2 less each, $4 less total.  
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It also came with an OsoCozy Organic Cotton prefold.  They list it at $4.49.  I am pretty sure (this) is that prefold, it's obviously sold in packs instead of individually.  The current price there on Amazon for the 6 pack would put it at $4.25 per prefold.  Not quite but close enough.

Also included was a OsoCozy Bamboo / Organic Cotton flat.  There were two different listings for this on Amazon, one was a a couple of $ cheaper, but were I ordering there, I'd spend the few extra $ to qualify for Prime shipping instead of ordering from a third party, so that would be (this listing), and would make each flat about $3.66.  In this case it would cost me more than their listed MSRP of $2.99. 

It also came a single diaper pin that they listed as a value of $0.99.   I'm willing to say it's a brand name pin - let's say this OzoCosy one given the prefold and flat.  That's put it at $0.50 or so.  I don't know the brand, honestly I am not sure where it is to see if there's any marks, etc.  It doesn't say on the card.

It should be noted they list the value of shipping as $5.  I'm not including that in the MSRP because honestly I just feel like people do whatever they can to avoid paying shipping including buying more.  So while they include it and I understand they pay that,  I wouldn't on other sites.  Feel free to add it in the MSRPs if you'd like.  It should be also be noted that realistically I'd still spend more on Amazon or Kelly's Closet as they don't break apart say the 6 piece packages of flats or prefolds generally, so I would have to buy a package there and not just one but for our purposes here, I'll pretend we can order one and divide the price from the package.

Totals for this box = 

Their listed MSRP before shipping: $39.45

I Paid: $24.99

If I bought it on Amazon: $30.31  

Overall = I got more than I paid for but less than the MSRP, which is what I expect generally.  MSRPs, as I said, tend to be the highest you would be paying at say a boutique style shop and even at that most don't go there, to be competitive.  I was happy with this box, especially given my hubby's obsession with baby elephants. 
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Month Two:

April 2016 - 

Much shorter review with this one.  

I didn't keep the card on this one, so all I can do is a websearch.
The Tushmate website lists this price of this diaper as $25.98 (here).
The Blossoming Mama site (Cotton Booty's sister site / store) sells it at $25.99 (here).  So fair to assume they list the MSRP at $25.99.  Neither Amazon nor Kelly's closet has this exact diaper.  It seems to be a rarer one and the price seems to be about the norm.  So we'll just call it right around that $26 range is the norm.  And I pay $25 for the box.  So just above even.  Definitely a gorgeous diaper. 
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Month Three: 

May 2016 - 

Unfortunately, I don't have the card for this one either.  It's an Apple Cheeks swim diaper.  On Amazon the price of the size 2 swim diaper is $19.50 (HERE).  Same price of $19.50 on Kelly's Closet (HERE).

The shark is a bathtub toy from Begin Again and can be found (HERE).  On their official site, it's $4.00.  On Amazon (HERE)  it's $8.99.  Not sure what to do with the price difference here.  If I were buying just the shark, on the official site, it would make my shipping $5 or $25 for 2-3 day but on Amazon it qualifies for Prime shipping, so there's that.   Kelly's Closet also has it for $4.00 (HERE), and again, you'd probably buy enough to get free shipping.  

The two sample are some sort of mosquito / bug repellant wipe thing.  Don't know, they kind of got set on my dresser and forgot about to be honest.

I don't like putting a value on the samples because I personally am never buying those.  The toy in this one, as I said, a bit weird in that half price on the actually company site, but shipping would get you.  Realistically if I bought this myself I'd go the Amazon or Kelly's Closet route so... I'd skip the shipping, would never buy samples.  For me this is a $23.50 box.  They have been paying shipping and there is the sample.  But like I said, I wouldn't buy that sample and don't pay shipping so...  While adorable and handy in a year round swim weather state, this is pretty much a couple dollar loss for me.
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Month Four:

June 2016 - 

Also don't have the card on this one.  Found this one unique in that in researching diapers, I'd not yet run across diapers that were both snap and hook and loop (velcro). This Grovia O.N.E. has both.  Snaps are the main feature but at the waist it has snap in hook and loop allowing you to get a better fit if you prefer that.  Amazon has it (HERE) for $22.95 and Kelly's Closet has it (HERE) also for $22.95.  The bonus here was two loose leaf tea packets.  I honestly can't tell you anything about them as I cold brew tea, and while I tried that with these, they did not work out.  I do know that Amazon does sell the sample size packets and they run $3.00 as you can find one of the ones I received (HERE). 
That puts the value at $27.95 if I bought it myself.   While I probably wouldn't buy the teas myself because that size just doesn't work as a cold brew, that's fair enough for a box.  And I did like the diaper.  
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Month Five:

July 2016 - 

I was extra excited for this.  Maybe that's why I kept the card?  Who knows, but somehow this card did get saved, so yay. 

The diaper is a Buttons Cover.  Animals.  Elephants and gators.  Relevant to the hubby again, so yay!  It came with a Hemp / Cotton large insert.  But it also came with a roll of flushable Bamboo liners.  

Disposable liners (please don't flush these liners or anything besides bathroom business and TP).  That said, I am excited to have some disposable liners for the cloth diapers.  I know what you're thinking -- doesn't that defeat the purpose of cloth?  Yes and no.  We live in Southern California.  It's generally Warm - HOT year round.  Cloth will be awesome most of the time.  I definitely never wanna get stuck walking to the store in 95 degree weather in an emergency diaper run.  But if we're say going to do a Disneyland trip where we're out all day in the heat?  I don't want to deal with trying to clean the diapers enough to get all stink out so they don't cook in the heat.   Because, yuck.  So disposable liners and inserts will be good for times like those.

They list the MSRP as: Diaper = $12.99, Insert = $7.99, Flushable liners = $6.99.   Total = $27.48 (+they add a $5 shipping value, which while fair, wouldn't apply to my other buying options).

Amazon Prices: Diaper = $13.00 (HERE), Insert = $23.95 for 3 averaging  $7.95 for one (HERE), Flushable liners = $8.50 (HERE).  Total = $29.45

Kelly's Closet Prices = not available there.
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Month Six:

August 2016 - 

I can't even say anything but BATMAN!  I have a Superman tattoo.  Christopher Reeve is a personal hero of mine.  Getting Superman woulda been better, but as far as a close seconds as far as how a diaper looks?  Yeah, Batman is a very close second.  If there were a pure pop culture geek cloth diaper box, I'd have gone that route, so this?  Was so much YAY!  

Amazon Prices: Diaper = $20.56 (HERE).
Blossoming Mama (Cotton Booty sister site) price = $24.99 (HERE).
Kelly's closet: Unavailable

Given their price, I assume that's what they have the MSRP at ($24.99).  It's not what I would be paying, but fair enough for their purposes.

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Month Seven:
September 2016 -

Apple Cheeks Size 2 Envelop cover.  Eh.  Plain.  Bright.  Don't love it.  Don't hate it.  Pretty neutral on this one.

It came with a Apple Cheeks stay dry insert that is not pictured because I had already put it in the laundry.

There was also "assorted samples" listed at 99 cents.  It was a tiny diaper cream packet that I, personally, would never buy.  Can't review it obviously but it's definitely one use if that. I did, to be fair, try to google that size and the sites that did sell it, now list it as discontinued or no longer available and the official site lets you order a free sample (HERE) though admittedly, there form makes no sense.

Their listed MSRP:  Diaper cover = $19.99, Insert = $4.99, Samples = $0.99 Total before shipping = $25.97.  That padding of the sample is questionable, because honestly I'm not going to find it at Amazon or buy it.  Really the total for me is $24.98

Amazon Prices:  Diaper cover = $20.00 (HERE), Insert 2 pack= $11.95 ($5.98 each) (HERE). Total = $25.98

Kelly's Closet Price: Diaper cover = $20.00 (HERE), Insert = Insert = $5.00 (HERE).  Total = $25.

Cheapest here is the Cotton Booty box.
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So what do I think after seven months?  Mixed feelings.  The Batman diaper was obviously a win, but I would have found it on my own and for less.  The other wins I might not have ever looked for, so that's good.  But I also find things that are more us when I do look.   And often for less than the price of the box.  I think I will keep it through the year, and then either switch to Fluff Envy for a bit or just take that $25 and make that my allowance for diapers myself.  Sure, I lose the element of surprise, but I think in this case, we end up with more us diapers.   If you're only going for the element of surprise, it's a great thing.  If you're going for value it's borderline.  If you're going for diapers that are very much you?  Eh, depends.  If I were rating it out of 10 stars, I'd go 7 overall but their customer service is more like a 4 -- great once you get their attention but good luck doing that.  If you don't need to help with anything though?  It's a lovely service.
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