A mother's love inspires a whole new eco-friendly category of diapers
The eco-friendly startup commenced operations in early 2016 out of Utagi’s spare bedroom with a personal investment of Rs 24 lakh.
Utagi, having a strong academic background, resorted to research to find a solution to her baby’s diaper rashes – a problem that recurs in many babies using modern day disposable diapers. All her research pointed her back to her roots when she realised that cotton diapers traditionally used by Indian mothers over the ages was the ideal solution for tender baby skin. But cotton diapers despite being skin-friendly, bring with them the discomfort of wetness and inconvenience which is hard for new parents to cope with. “This is where we infused comfort and convenience with environment friendliness and sustainability to design leak-proof, adjustable and reusable organic cotton diapers. Thus, the brand Superbottoms was born” says Uttagi.
The eco-friendly startup commenced operations in early 2016 out of Utagi’s spare bedroom with a personal investment of Rs 24 lakh. The enterprise which managed its first-year operations with a team of just two members is today run by a team of 50 plus strong all-moms team, including their channel partners. The brand boasts of positive cash flow from day one and is clocking about 200orders per day and a repurchase rate of at least 40%. It is available in about 100 offline stores in India including modern format stores like Toys R Us, but 90% of the sales are through online channels. With a 5x year-on-year growth, the brand aims to cross Rs 25 crore in turnover in the next two years.
Employing an all-moms team that manages the company’s core operations as well as an all-India mom-sales channel makes it unique. and one of its kind. “In the initial days of Superbottoms, I would personally reach out to each and every customer to ask for their feedback. One of our customers was extremely particular and would get into extremely minute details about the product and its performance. While difficult to handle her queries that time, she was very helpful in giving me deep insights into the product. When I felt the need to expand the team, I realised her insights would be invaluable. She became the very first employee of Superbottoms and it set the stage for the all-moms team that Superbottoms is today,” add Uttagi.
“A baby from birth to the age of a toddler uses (at a conservative estimate) approximately 3600 diapers, which is 3600 nonbiodegradable waste in the environment. But as the society becomes more environment-conscious, Superbottoms’ diapers provide a washable, reusable, 100% eco-friendly option. “We use GOTS certified organic cotton which is free of harmful chemicals. With CPSIA certification secured, Superbottoms qualifies for USA safety standard for children’s products,” says Uttagi.
Compared to disposable diapers that take hundreds and hundreds of years to dispose and largely stay at landfill sites, Uttagi says her product is much more economical in totality as they are adjustable and reusable therefore can be used for all of baby’s growing years.
“At Rs 10/disposable diaper and minimum 3 diapers a day, a baby can use a minimum of Rs 36000 worth of diapers in three years of diaper usage. Compare it with our organic reusable and adjustable diapers at Rs 800 a piece; only 10 of which will last your baby all through his growing years. At just Rs 8000 outlay it is one-fifth the cost of disposable diapers,” says Uttagi.
With increasing awareness, the demand for eco-friendly diapers is emerging not only from Metro cities but from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities too.
The brand has received an undisclosed funding from Venture Catalysts. “While the disposable diapers industry may look massive at Rs 5000 crore, the penetration is still just 10%. The reusable and sustainable diaper segment may still be at a nascent stage, but the potential is extremely high as Indians traditionally identify with the culture of cloth diapers. A product such as Superbottoms, which combines the comfort of cloth with the convenience of 100% reusability and sustainability, definitely has a great future,” says Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Co-founder and President of Venture Catalysts.
The company plans to use the funds towards increasing the product lines, creating brand awareness and expanding its distribution network.