Entrepreneur: Pallavi Utagi
Business Name: Superbottoms
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 98
Disposable diapers may seem comfortable for babies, but are they really good? This thought struck Pallavi, who was then a mother who used disposable diapers. Pouring in her experience of marketing into life, she understood such diapers may soon become a very expensive affair . Besides, they contributed to alarming levels of pollution.
From that single thought, she ideated her business. That’s how she founded Superbottoms, an exclusive brand for reusable cloth diapers. Unlike other brands, Superbottoms offers a comfortable experience for mothers and babies. Moreover, it is affordable and durable.
Above all, Pallavi conceptualised her brand to tackle the looming threat of pollution in an effective way. How was her journey? Let’s find out as she shares her story.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
As a marketing professional, I was always passionate about creating brands that went beyond selling a product, but also genuinely made a difference and impact.
As a new mother, like all others, I used disposable diapers on my baby.
I realised that this is going to be a significant expense over 3 years, and also that these diapers are going to be sitting in the landfills for years!
However, the traditional cloth nappies like langots hardly helped.
Diapers seemed like a necessary evil and I struggled to find the right balance between the convenience of the disposable diapers, and the comfort of cloth.
That is when I began to look for alternatives and realised that there are ‘Advanced Cloth Diapers’ that balance the convenience and comfort perfectly.
Realising that a country like India, where even after strong awareness about disposable diapers the penetration remains sub 10%, a cloth diaper that provides parents the convenience of disposable diapers in terms of dry-feel, long hours absorbency, and waterproofing would be loved.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
“Now” is when we have to act on our plastic usage and “Now” we are also seeing parents becoming more conscious about their parenting choices.
As such, not only because the market seems ready for a products like this, but also because we have to immediately take action against our plastic pollution, this is the right time for us to think about cloth diapers.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
Coming from a family of teachers and engineers, business was never seen as the ‘safe’ option. It was always considered best to work in a conventional job.
However, since I had a small baby when I decided to start a business, it was seen as a better option than a full-time job as I could balance my person priorities with the business.
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
I believe the sooner an entrepreneur learns to delegate responsibilities and trust others to build a team, the better it is in terms of growth.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
For now, as a brand working on building a new category in India, our biggest challenge remains generating awareness about the concept and helping more and more parents come aboard cloth diapering.
We have a brilliant all-mothers managed helpline for this and we see that we will need to focus on strengthening it as more and more parents decide to give cloth diapering a try.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
Ability to emotionally connect with customers and truly care for their problems – going beyond keeping the relationship purely transactional has been something I have been doing and the love our brand receives from parents shows in how they help spread a word about us.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
Build a team sooner.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
Whatever does not break you makes you stronger
9) Where do you find inspiration?
I love reading books and find inspiration in all of them. These may not be business books necessarily, however any story about how someone decided to do something and overcame challenges to do it can be inspiring and there are so many of them around us.
10) What is your favourite book?
The latest favourite is ‘Shoe Dog’ by Phil Knight. It is the story of how the brand Nike was built, especially in the early years.
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Just take the first step, and then the next. Keep at it with perseverance.
Pallavi’s passion to create an impact on the market made her launch Superbottoms. It wasn’t essentially a new idea, but an area that wasn’t explored.
As an entrepreneur, she also addressed the grave environmental concerns that we face today. Her brand is in the forefront to fight plastic pollution and it gives a reliable, cheaper and safer alternative to disposable diapers.
As Pallavi points, to make your dreams come true, you just have to take the first step and keep your perseverance intact. A big thanks to her for sharing her wonderful startup story.