Where are Lil Helper cloth diapers made? China!
But Why Do You Manufacture In China? Why Not Canada?
Here’s the long answer for folks who are a tad bit more curious about why we chose to make our products in China.
Nader & I started the design process for our diaper in early 2009 with the intention of making the diapers in Canada. We made a few hundred diapers locally in Toronto, Canada. All the raw materials and supplies were bought locally and we got our diapers manufactured in front of us. The cost of production was too restrictive.
The high cost of our initial product was also preventing us from donating one brand new cloth diaper to a family in need for every three diapers we sold- a mission that was more essential to our venture than the business plan itself.
We also realized that most of the materials and supplies that were being used were coming from overseas. Almost all the cotton that is used in any garment is coming either from India or China. Bamboo exclusively comes from Asia. The elastic and snaps are imported from China. So basically when you import a diaper from China, you are getting it at a later stage of production as opposed to importing the materials (cotton or bamboo). Even the guys who claim that their materials are Made in Canada/USA, could technically make the fabric here but the yarn still comes from Asia.
Having said that, we would've still preferred to make the diapers in Canada but then we would not have been able to offer our diaper for a reasonable price and also have our 3 for 1 "cloth diaper charity program" baby do good program or trial diaper (now the Baby Do Better Program). Hence, we started looking for other options.
Committed to Quality From Start to Finish
I went to China and stayed there for a month to find a workshop that will let me view its facilities to ascertain that our products are being made in a healthy environment. I visited 5 workshops mostly in Southern China. Some were dirty, some had bad quality control and others would not let me visit certain parts of their facilities. None of the workshops that were turned down by us were rejected on the basis of cost. There were always other things that did not sit well with us.
After vetting 5 workshops, we finally arrived to the workshop that is currently fulfilling our orders. According to the lady who owned the facility, I was the first foreigner to visit their workshop. Most buyers deal with them over the Internet as their office is located in a small town in Northern China and their factory is another 3 hours from their office. They didn’t understand why I was insistent in seeing where they manufacture their products.
That was October 2010. It took us a year to get the materials, workmanship and quality to a high standard where we would be comfortable to put our name on the product. Every step of the way we also sampled the products on my daughter and a bunch of other CD babes, incorporating their suggestions into our design. We believe that there is a right way of doing business with China and then there is the fast and easy way.
The right way is to go yourself, visit several workshops and be more than comfortable with the way your products are being made. During this grueling process both Nader & I were cognizant that my own daughter would be using the diaper along with every parents' most prized possession. The fast and easy way is to look up a company in China on the net that can make your product for the least amount of money in the fastest time without caring how and where its made. Frankly, we wouldn't be able to sleep at night if the latter option was exercised.