Updated: Apr 27

An Introduction

Superbottoms is a start-up with sustainability at its core which develops eco-friendly, stylish, re-usable cloth diapers. It was founded by Pallavi Utagi in December 2015.

The Inspiration behind the venture

Pallavi Utagi had a background in the Pharma sector, she had worked in sales and marketing departments at Strides Arcolab and Piramal healthcare and had some experience in product development. What made her leave this job, while she had a baby on the way, to start a company which produced cloth diapers? Talking on The Climapreneur Show, Pallavi says that there some pressing matters with regards to chemicals, plastic and environmental damage that needed to be addressed when it came to disposable diapers. She recalls looking at the diaper basket at her home every day, thinking about how much pollution the plastic would cause when thrown into a landfill. The thought of an unsustainable product always nagged her. The final nail in the coffin was hit when her baby started getting diaper rashes, it was when she decided that it was time find a solution to the problem of disposable diapers. She used to tell herself, "I want to do something, but where should I start?"

She recalled the process which she went through while starting her company. She came up with a laundry list of possible solutions. She wanted to find a solution which was the most viable and practical. She says, "Convenience is the most important factor." Her experience in product development helped her to come up with a biodegradable, sustainable, reusable cloth and polyester diaper which is not only economic and cost efficient but also environment friendly.

The Journey so far – From baby steps to giant strides

The journey has been surreal, but challenging as well. Pallavi had her fears about her product. She says, "There were a lot of challenges and fears. I was getting into a category which was difficult to create, because it was not just another product already known to people". Most parents prefer using disposable diapers , because, well they are disposable. However, it is a lot better for the environment to use reusable cloth diapers free of chemicals, and of course they are cost efficient because they did not need to be bought in quantities as large as disposable ones. The challenge lay in making people realise these benefits of the product. Another challenge was getting the support of her parents, who asked her to focus on her baby, and not quit a decent paying job. They suggested to start her company when the baby grew older. And the biggest personal challenge for the founder was the baby itself, which made her anxious. Despite the ordeals facing her, Pallavi was determined to do what she felt was right and she co-founded Superbottoms with her husband.

The pandemic posed a lot of difficulties for Superbottoms, as it did for many other start-ups and small businesses. As every challenge came along, she used to think it would be final one which would break her company, but her husband inspired her to weather on and keep fighting. She said that rather than focusing on the bigger picture, it was easier to live each day as it came. Focusing on each day is what got the company through the obstacles. Pallavi drew her motivation from her customers. Whenever she felt down, a single text from a customer would prove to be a game changer. Knowing that her customers would come back to her because of her product made her remember the difference she was creating in the world. Every parent who purchased her product helped her to keep going on despite the doubts she had. Today, the company has made outstanding progress and has grown to become a famous and known brand among many households with a baby. It has become a successful company. Pallavi tells us about her interesting measure of success. She says that success for her is not just about monetary gains or revenue, but about making people happy. Knowing that customers are happy purchasing her product, investors are happy to invest in her company and team members are proud to be a part of this start-up which makes a difference in the planet's environment is what makes her believe that Superbottoms is indeed successful. "The feeling that you're doing something right, the feeling that you're making something you're proud of and people proud of being associated within" is what Pallavi says she considers as success of her start-up. The team consists of 50-60 moms who realise the importance of sustainability in today’s day and age.

She had started out with the objective of reducing 4000-5000 diapers going into landfills, today the company has far surpassed that objective. However, Pallavi says that a lot of work is to be done. There is still a lack of awareness about the undesirable impacts of disposable diapers. People do not know about the chemicals that cause rashes or even that the diapers are not completely made of cotton but also have plastic as a raw material. She is currently working on her target to educate as many Indian parents as possible about the competitive advantages of reusable diapers. She also believes that sustainability must be affordable and convenient, which is why it is not surprising to see that diapers sold by Superbottoms are affordable and fall in the 600-1000 rupees bracket.

Lessons to draw from the Supermom Entrepreneur

Pallavi Utagi is truly an inspirational woman. She started a company which has the ability to ensure that mothers who are concerned about the environment can actually make a difference to it. She has gone from changing diapers to changing the world through diapers. Sustainability is not just a way to advertise her product, it is a core value for her. She ensures that every step along the way of them supply chain of the product is sustainable. We have a lesson to learn from her dedication, motivation, and moral values.

Watch the complete episode here : Even if it makes a very small difference, it makes a difference | Pallavi Utagi

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