Updated: Nov 12
Firstly, I just want to say that nothing I write in this (or any other) post should be taken as legal/business or other kind of professional advice. If you need this sort of information, you should definitely speak with the relevant expert.
In the world of cloth pads, what do I mean when I say the word 'compliance'? For many, its a word that seems quite out of place for an industry dominated by those working from home or just looking to make a small extra income on the side of a day job. To explain, compliance to me, means what someone should be doing in order to be a legitimate business for customers to safely purchase from. As much as you would expect any cloth pad seller to take valid steps to be responsibly selling to the public, unfortunately, many don't.
What should I look for in a cloth pad seller?
If you're looking to purchase pads, don't be afraid to ask the seller if they're registered with HMRC. If someone is claiming to be a business, they should be telling HMRC about their earnings, whether its a tiny income or a lot more than that. Of course, there are specific circumstances with regards to the registration process depending on individual situations so prospective business owners should seek advice before deciding to set up. Here at House of Callaway, we've been completing all relevant tax returns since we began trading and pay any tax due.
You should also consider asking the seller whether they have valid insurance for the products they sell. With our business, it took us a while to find an insurer who was happy to cover cloth menstrual pads since it's quite a niche industry to them - eventually we did though! Insurance doesn't remove the need for proper care and attention to be put into products but its a responsible step when selling to someone as a small business.
If you're in the US or purchasing from a US based cloth pad seller, they should be registered with the FDA to be able to sell within FDA controlled areas or (if based outside of the US) be able to ship into these areas. Registration has high annual fees which is why, currently, we are unable to ship to the USA here at House of Callaway but it's just an important thing to keep in mind about a prospective seller.
How can I tell if something is too good to be true?
Within cloth pad communities, there have been many cases where people have been scammed by 'too good to be true' type offers. If you're unsure about whether to purchase from a particular maker, try asking yourself the following questions:
- is the price extremely cheap for what is being advertised?
- does this maker have any reviews?
- how long have they been trading?
- do they have insurance and are they HMRC registered?
- when should you expect to receive your products?
- are you able to send the seller a message to clear up any questions or concerns you have about what they're selling? Do they give you straight answers and appear trustworthy?
I understand that sometimes, even with all safeguards in place, purchasing pads from someone doesn't always go to plan. However, I personally believe that a good seller would try to put something right before negative feelings go against them and their business so its definitely worth dropping them a message before panicking if something does go wrong.
I hope this helps to shed some light on the topic of choosing a responsible, safe cloth pad seller. Do you have any further things to add? What would make you trust a particular maker? Let us know by dropping us a message!