Product Evaluation Essay: Instructor’s Example Essay- 2012 Workshop

(Sample Provided for 2012 Composition Symposium)


My Quest for the Best Diaper Bag

            On January 15th, 2010, my husband and I discovered that we are expecting our first baby.  It’s now the beginning of April, and in two weeks we will find out if we will have a daughter or a son.  Of course, I’m super excited to find out if our little baby will be a boy or girl so that we can start visualizing our future family, but also I’m excited about all the necessary SHOPPING!  Having a new baby means having to make a lot of important purchases such as a crib, changing table, car seat, stroller, and high chair.  Of all of the many important purchases my husband and I will have to make over the coming months, the one I’m most excited about is the diaper bag.

A diaper bag, also known as a baby bag, is much like an oversized purse used to transport the necessary accessories for caring for an infant when away from home.  These necessary accessories may include bottles, pacifiers, burp cloths, bibs, blankets, extra clothes (for mom and baby), and, most obviously, diapers.  Although the diaper bag plays a very utilitarian role, fashion doesn’t have to be neglected.  Many designer brands such as Gucci, Burberry, and Coach offer very appealing options for moms who appreciate fashion and designer labels.  I am this type of mom-to-be.  Since a very young age, I have had an obsession with designer bags and purses, so now when its time for me to purchase a diaper bag, I have narrowed down my options to those offered by the designer brands.  On my quest for the perfect diaper bag, I found myself perusing several designer websites including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Juicy Couture, Coach, and Kate Spade.  Coach and Spade had the best offerings because their bags were both visually appealing and thoughtfully designed.  In order to decide which option of the two is best, I will need to evaluate the size, weight, functionality, price, and aesthetic appeal of both the Coach and Kate Spade diaper bags.

The size and weight of a diaper bag is very important to consider because, as a new mom, I will have several heavy items to carry so the diaper bag should be light and compact as functionally possible.  To begin my comparison, I evaluated the Coach and Kate Spade diaper bags using the product information provided on their separate websites. The Coach diaper bag, according to its product description, is made of patent leather and is 16” long by 12¾” tall by 6” wide, which is roughly the size of a standard briefcase or business attaché.  The Kate Spade bag, on the other hand, is slightly smaller at 14” long by 11.7” tall by 5.1” wide; however, it is made of cotton jacquard, which, combined with its smaller size, will make the Kate Spade much lighter than the patent leather Coach bag.  Considering the fact that the Kate Spade bag is only slightly smaller than the Coach bag and will be substantially lighter, the Kate Spade would be the best option regarding size and weight.

Another important element to consider when purchasing a diaper bag is the functionality of the bag’s design.  Diaper bags need to be functional in terms of the number and configuration of pockets in addition to the material used for the lining of the bag.  Of the multiple items being towed in a diaper bag, several of these items will contain liquids such as bottles of milk or medicine, so it is important for the inner lining of the bag to be waterproof and easily cleaned.  Both the Coach and Kate Spade contain multiple interior and exterior pockets and compartments to carry all the necessities; however, the Kate Spade features a waterproof lining while the lining of the Coach bag is made of fabric.  Clearly, this is a huge issue because a spilled bottle of formula in a fabric-lined bag would certainly be disastrous, so the Kate Spade bag is the obvious choice for this criterion.

Even though many moms-to-be register for  their needed baby accessories so that friends and family members can chip in to help the new parents purchase these pricy items, the cost of these items should still should be evaluated.  On a personal note, since I have expensive tastes when it comes to my bags and purses, I would never ask my family or friends to purchase my coveted designer diaper bag, so I plan on purchasing it myself.  Since I want a designer diaper bag, price is not a huge concern for me because very cheap non-designer options are readily available.  However, if there is a huge disparity between the two options, before purchasing the much more expensive bag, I would need to be very confident that I am paying for the best diaper bag.  Between the Coach bag and the Kate Spade bag, there is a $173 difference as the Coach bag is $648 and the Kate Spade is $475.  I consider this to be a significant price difference, and given my previous evaluation of the Coach bag, I wouldn’t, thus far, want to spend the extra amount for the Coach.

On the other hand, the Coach bag wins out when in comes to the overall aesthetic appeal, which is a very important personal consideration.  The aesthetic appeal of a diaper bag may not be important to all new mothers, but for me and many others, my diaper bag will serve as a fashion accessory.  The color of the Coach bag, plum, is very versatile and striking.  Plum matches with both warm and cool tones and is also a trendy color that speaks to what is current in fashion.  Also, even though it is heavier than cotton, patent leather is very elegant and dresses up any outfit.  The Kate Spade bag, however, has a black and white checkered pattern, which also matches many different colors but tends to read more classic rather than trendy.  Cotton also dresses down the Kate Spade bag, which might make it seem out of place when worn with a dress and heels. Even though I don’t expect to dress up on a daily basis, having a diaper bag that conveys a sense of elegance rather than comfort is definitely a person preference of mine, so in terms of overall aesthetics, the Coach bag would be my best bet.  (See attached photos of both diaper bags.)

However, even though the Coach bag is more visually appealing, the Kate Spade is overall more functional in terms of weight, interior construction, and cost.  Despite the fact that in the past I have selected bags and purses purely on their aesthetic appeal, I have decided to purchase the Kate Spade diaper bag because as a new mom I need to consider functionality over aesthetics.  After all it would be very unfortunate to pay $648 for beautiful plum patent leather diaper bag only to spill a bottle of formula on the fabric interior and then have to walk around for the next year or so smelling like spoiled milk.  Now that I have completed my quest for the perfect diaper bag, I can now look forward to all of the many other exciting shopping opportunities that await me as I prepare for my life as a new mom.