When it comes to baby diapers, the Indian market has been fixated with disposal diapers, which are not particularly great for an infant’s skin. But entrepreneur Pallavi Utagi is here to change that. Her company Superbottoms specializes in cloth diapers for babies which are washable and reusable for up to 300 plus times.
Like any mother, Pallavi’s introduction to the world of baby care was through her child.
She had previously worked as an electrical engineer, and post her MBA degree was associated with companies such as Piramal and Sanofi and managed and built brands such as i-pill and i-can. She conceptualized the idea for Superbottoms during her maternity break and took up a job again, only to return to her venture full-time.
She says, “My son soon developed a reaction to disposable diapers and I desperately hoped for a solution that provided the convenience of disposable diapers in the goodness of cloth!
My frantic search introduced me to cloth diapering which is a fairly popular concept in the developed countries. I imported a few to try on my son and loved them. I realized that for a country like India where we love using cloth on babies, these diapers would definitely be loved. That is when I began working on a product for the Indian markets”
The key challenge Pallavi faced was to find the right supplier that would provide the quality of products that she wanted.
In the beginning, it also took time to introduce the concept to parents and generate an initial awareness. The entrepreneur had to take care of her child and a new business, at the same time, without compromising on either.
She explains why there hasn’t been much environment-friendly innovation in the country, “Diapers as a whole are a fairly new category in India. Even after huge advertising, the category stands at about 3% penetration, though growing fast. Hence, diapering solutions till date were primarily around traditional langots or traditional cloth diapers alone. Since the diapering category itself is so nascent, the need for environment-friendly diapers was never really felt because the current solutions – traditional cloth diapers – were always ‘environment-friendly’.”
Superbottoms has received an overwhelming response so far – primarily because Pallavi’s worry for an alternative with compromising on the convenience of disposable diapers has resonated with many parents.
She feels that the company’s strength has been a parent-to-parent recommendation, “Once a particular parent likes the product, she will tell about it to her friends and other moms in her circle. And when a friend tells another parent, it is not difficult for us to get them to try the product. They can return it to us within 15 days if it doesn’t work out for them.”
Pallavi, who plans to make Superbottoms a key player in the overall diapering scene in India in the next five years says that the confidence attained through entrepreneurship, is very empowering, “You realize what you are truly capable and that you can create something of value and make a difference.”