Coterie: A Next-Generation Diaper
As parents, we all want the best for our kids. One new product that fits that bill to a T is Coterie, a next generation diaper. Just launched this past summer, Coterie is the highest quality diaper available, with twice the absorbency (read: fewer leaks, blowouts and overnight protection), softer and safer materials and a true commitment to sustainability. Here’s a bit more about Coterie, straight from its founders, Michelle Persad and Frank Yu:
What lead to the launch of Coterie?
Frank: For my last job, I had to travel to Japan quite often and noticed that there were quite a few high quality diapers on the market. However, when I moved to the U.S., there was nothing comparable. After doing tons of research and talking to thousands of parents stateside, I realized that there was a demand for a better diapers in America, there was just no one making them. That set the course for over 2 years of R&D on our diapers. We traveled the globe to source the highest quality materials and worked with world class engineers to upgrade virtually every component of the traditional diaper.
Interesting! Can you please share your backgrounds? I know you come from different industries…
Frank: I grew up in London and took design courses at Chelsea College of Arts and Central Saint Martins while being trained as an economist at the University College London and London Business School. I was drawn to good design and product development from a young age. Prior to Coterie, I had a career in finance as an investment banker/private equity investor which helped me develop an analytical decision making framework that is applicable to my day to day job at Coterie—from product development to organizational management.
Michelle: Before Coterie, I was a fashion editor. As an editor, I was very much a consumer advocate—culling through everything on the Internet and telling readers what products and items were worth their time and money. Now, when building Coterie, I look at everything through that lens. Why would consumers care about our products? What value are we adding? What are the true consumer benefits? How can we be as transparent as possible? I also think that my love for storytelling has helped me as a marketer—it’s so important to craft a narrative and tell a story… you’re never just selling a product.
How is the product absolutely different from anything else on the market?
Most diaper companies see the disposable diaper as a commodity and think that a good enough product is good enough for this category. However, after conducting surveys and interviews with thousands of parents, it is evident to us that there are a lot of unmet needs. Most parents come to us with two problems, a) leaks and b) diaper rashes. Fundamentally, our product development philosophy is different than other diaper brands – we are focused on creating a diaper that is best for baby and best for parents. Not only do we source the safest and highest quality materials from around the world, we engineered a product that can help reduce the two major paint points. Below are the highlights:
- Best leakage protection due to 2 times more absorbency than national leading brands
- Wicks moisture away from the baby’s skin in less than 16 seconds (compared to industry average of 30 seconds)
- Innovative apparel grade materials
- Superior softness
- Highest safety standards
What do you hear most often from parents trying it for the first time?
The first comment we typically get from most parents has to do with our softness. We used apparel-grade material, which has never been used in a diaper before, so it’s immediately noticeable how soft they are on a baby’s delicate skin. We also get a lot of feedback on our absorbency. Our diapers are 2x more absorbent than national leading brands, so everyone is very happy that their babies are sleeping through the night without any leaks or blowouts—parents are also thrilled that they can get a full night’s rest!
Always invaluable as a parent! Why are high quality materials so crucial?
When developing our diapers, we wanted to address the two biggest consumer complaints in the category—leaks/blowouts and skin irritation. In order to address these concerns, we had to upgrade virtually every component of the diaper. That meant increasing the capacity of our diapers to prevent leaks and leveraging super soft materials not typically found in diapers to help alleviate diaper rash. Safety is always our number one concern, which is why our diaper has over 16 certifications, including being clinically proven hypoallergenic & free of harsh chemicals. A baby’s skin is extremely delicate, so it’s crucial to avoid irritants and anything that could potentially harm their skin.
Your packaging is much more subtle than other brands. Is that intentional?
When doing our market research, we learned from parents that even though their lives change in so many ways when they have a child, their desire for beautiful, well-designed products remains constant. We spoke to so many parents who had spent hours designing their beautiful nurseries, only to stuff ugly diaper packaging in the back corner of their changing stations because of the garish colors and bad design. With that in mind, we wanted to create sleek, minimal packaging. We also wanted to create a diaper that was plain white—not one with cartoon characters.
Who is your typical client?
We don’t really have a typical customer. We would say that one thing that unites our customers is the search for the highest quality product on the market. Our customers also care deeply about our safety standards and the environment. Many of them love Coterie because of our multiple sustainability initiatives. In the short term, we are giving a percentage of all diaper sales to NativeEnergy to fund renewable energy initiatives. Our longer term initiative involves donating a portion of diaper sales to our global recycling partner, Diaper Recycling Technology (DRT). DRT has pioneered technology that will allow us to reuse 95% of the materials in a diaper.
What are you most surprised by since the launch?
When launching Coterie, we thought that most of our customer base would be made up of first time parents with newborn babies, as they wouldn’t yet be loyal to one brand. However, we’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many second and third time parents with toddlers are now customers. It speaks to the gap in the market that we are able to address with our diapers.
How can people buy your products?
Right now, you can buy all of our items a la carte on our site. After you place your first order, you can opt into text message reordering, so you’re able to reorder with a few simple texts. We don’t currently offer subscription, though we have plans to launch it next year.
What’s next for Coterie?
We just launched our baby wipes! They are made from 100% plant-based, hypoallergenic fibers and infused with premium cotton sourced from Japan. If you like our diapers, you’ll love our wipes!
Interesting in trying Coterie? Head to www.Coterie.com.
This story is sponsored by Coterie.