The results are in for the Australian Cloth Nappy Awards 2017. Unfortunately, though, the whole thing made me cringe in despair for parents who may be using these awards to influence their nappy choice.
The big winner was, in my opinion, Baby Beehinds. They received a placement in 10 of the 14 categories. Another two brands, Baby Bare and Bubblebubs, had great result, too, so that three brands dominated the awards.
Does this mean that these brands are the best in Australia and the best option for parents? Absolutely not. The only assurance a parent can have is that these brands have the marketing budget to enter such competitions, as these competitions are not cheap. Especially if entries are submitted across several categories. It may also mean these brands have the social media reach to have people vote for them.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think the Cloth Nappy Awards 2017 are a great idea. They assist in spreading the word of cloth nappy usage. ‘Bums in cloth’ is the goal of the Australian Nappy Association, and these awards raise awareness. We entered Apikali in 2016 and received runner-up for Best Customer Service. Yay! I just want to put the awards into context for parents.
Due to the limited number of brands that enter, and the practise of allowing brands to enter across many categories, parents shouldn’t consider these awards to be an exhaustive representation of the cloth nappy market in Australia. It does provide a fabulous opportunity for brands to get their product in front of customers, but not without extracting an ‘entry fee’ from the brands. Are the brands that won prizes great products/cloth nappies? Yes they are. I’m not knocking the products. We either currently stock the brands or have done so for many of them in the past. With the number of nappy brands in Australia on offer to parents, these Awards do not provide a suitable representation of what is available, nor do they help parents make an informed choice. They only provide an advertising and PR opportunity for the businesses taking part. It does not appear to be parent/fan focussed, although there are some awesome prizes available to those who do vote
We did not enter any of our brands in 2017 for any of the categories, nor our business for Best Customer Service. We cannot compete against the budgets and social media presence of larger brands, and aren’t inclined to resort to bribery. Of course, as a business, we have looked at paid award systems to promote our brands and our business, but it feels ‘icky’. We know our brands, and know them to be worthy of any comparison to other brands and nappies- even the award winning ones. I also firmly believe in parent-to-parent referral, or engaging our community to participate in reviews of our products, permitting an end-user assessment that new users can trust.
I would love to see the Australian Cloth Nappy Awards develop to be a parent-nominated process, not a business ‘buy-in’ process. I’d love to see a process that allows parents to nominate businesses and brands from the entire market, such that even small businesses can ask their adoring fans to nominate them. I would also prefer to see the Best Customer Service category limited to only allow multi-brand retailers to enter. Parents visit cloth nappy stores whether online or in-person to access a range of brands and talk to the nappy experts about the differences between the brands they offer. I would love to see at-home businesses and traditional brick & mortar stores celebrated and recognised.
What should you take away from the Cloth Nappy Awards 2017? Not much, really. Note that these are the biggest brands in Australia. They are popular and they are so for a very simple reason: the products are good. Are they perfect for you because they won an award? Maybe not. And that is the key. Aim to trial about 8 different cloth nappies across brand and style. If you know your style, trial about 4-5 brands that you like the look of.
The Cloth Nappy Awards 2017 can you provide you with a starting point when it comes to choosing a cloth nappy. But please don’t disregard the other brands or smaller businesses. Some of the best brands that we’ve stocked were smaller players in the market, yet provided attention to detail, quality and warranty that saw their products punch well above their weight. Remain open to finding that perfect nappy for you somewhere other than at the top of a podium, when the race has been run by a select few in the first place. .
Tell me what you thought of the Cloth Nappy Awards 2017.
Disclaimer: Our business or brands are not a member of the ANA currently. However we were for 6 months between 2016/17.