[100 Emerging Women Leaders] How this mother decided to help solve for the diaper rash problem with D2C babycare brand SuperBottoms
Like any new mother, Pallavi Utagi was worried about one thing - dealing with her new-born’s diaper rash. Her son, born in late 2013, was developing frequent rashes as a reaction to regular disposable diapers.
“We tried different products and even thought of using cloth diapers as they are better on the baby’s skin. However, those are inconvenient and difficult to manage. This every-day issue got my husband and I wondering what to do,” says Pallavi in a conversation with HerStory.
Cloth diapers have been used for years, but the problem with these are they need constant monitoring, she opines. “I brought different forms of diapers from different parts of the countries, and some of the brands in the West were great but were simply unsuitable for Indian babies in this climate,” adds Pallavi.
Superbottoms Founder Pallavi Utagi with son Kabir
An MBA from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Pallavi has a background in the Pharma industry. She has worked with the likes of Piramal Healthcare and Strides Arcolab. She had taken a break from work during her maternity.
“It was then that I thought to use my expertise and understanding of the pharma industry and make unique Indian cloth diapers. Apart from working on my own and building from my experience, I spoke to friends and family and understood the different needs and requirements that mothers have,” says Pallavi.
After speaking to many vendors, she started tying up with vendors across the globe for different kinds of fabric. The idea was to create fabrics with unique, fun and quirky designs as that is what most Indian parents wanted.
The moms who built SuperBottoms
“Needless to say, I tested every product on my son and shared a few with my friends for their babies. My home and my room had turned into a warehouse of sorts for a while. Only once we were sure of it did we establish the brand and the product,” says Pallavi.
In April this year, the startup year raised $2 million in Series A funding from Saama Capital and DSG Consumer Partners.
“In the initial days when we were bootstrapped, I knew I had to pick a frugal team. I was in constant touch with other mothers, so I wondered, why not get mothers to build the brand and the product?” recalls Pallavi.
She adds that many women who were exceptionally good at their jobs and who had taken a break due to motherhood, just weren’t finding the right kind of jobs after their break.
“One of the top digital marketing experts wanted to work and we gave her the option. She still is a part of SuperBottoms. The problem with most jobs is the timings. Being a mother, I understood the need for flexible timings. Way before it became popular during the pandemic, I had ensured that women could work at whatever time they could, and work remotely anytime during the day or even night for that matter,” adds Pallavi.
With its products tested and certified under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, 2008 (CPSIA) of the US, SuperBottoms now sells 30,000+ diapers each month primarily through its own website and also other leading ecommerce platforms.
According to the IMARC Group, the diaper market in India touched $1.25 billion in 2021. Some of the other brands are Naya, Lalubaby, Bumgenius and others apart from the regulars like Pampers, Mamy Poko Pants, and Huggies.
Advising all women entrepreneurs, Pallavi says, “Just don’t listen to the naysayers. It is important to take feedback and advice, but if you believe an idea is good and needs to be worked on, just go for it. I had many people advise me not to go ahead, they even advised me to startup with my husband. Many assumed this would just be a hobby. My advise is, keep doing whatever you are doing with conviction,” Pallavi concludes.
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