Mother of the month

I : Inside Out

'Let's go green for baby's sake'

An engineer-turned-entrepreneur, Swathi Sri Aravind is a new-age mother, who believes in driving a change that positively impacts the lives of other mothers and their babies, and that's the reason why she and two others came together to launch A Toddler Thing in July 2017.

The overall brand outlook of A Toddler Thing represents sustainability. All their products right from fabrics to packaging are made of eco-friendly materials.

It was in July 2017 that Swathi Sri Aravind and two others came together to launch A Toddler Thing as a sustainable diapering brand that cares. And in these two years, the brand has been able to reach out to more than 25,000 mothers, spread awareness about cloth diapering and has delivered more than 10,000 orders across the country.  
An engineer-turned-entrepreneur, Swathi is a new-age mother, who believes in driving a change that positively impacts the lives of mothers and babies. “Being a mother myself, I take meticulous care in cloth quality, comfort level and designing of all our products. I envision a modern society whose mothers are well-aware of safe and sound baby care products and provide ultimate care to their babies,” she says, summing up her passion towards sustainable living. It has been her in-depth knowledge of baby products that has given an edge to A Toddler Thing to develop its range of unique baby care products.

She’s joined in this venture by serial entrepreneur and data enthusiast Ashwanth Suresh Babu, who holds a management degree in marketing and analytics from the Pace University, New York. Babu firmly believes that a strong idea and a dedicated team are the two key ingredients for a successful business, and envisions A Toddler Thing as a revolution to empower mothers to be responsible citizens of the country.
The other person in the core team is Lokesh Naveen Sivakumar, an engineer-turned-entrepreneur, who has been running multiple startups from travel to finance industry in the past five years.

And the movement of cloth diapers has been gathering steam, slowly and steadily. “We were the Runners-up for the Best Eco-Friendly Diaper brand by KSP Awards 2018 and our products were a part of the Innovative Corner at CBME 2018, Mumbai, one of the biggest Child Expo in India,” she says with a lot of satisfaction and pride.  
Edited excerpts of a freewheeling chat with Swathi Sri Aravind.

What is the back story of A Toddler Thing? 
I had a keen interest in working towards bringing about a change in the life of a new age woman, who is excelling in all walks of life, and successfully juggling between home and work. I found that the most common problem that new age mothers are facing is the diaper rash issue, which is drastically affecting the sleep, well-being and thereby the overall development of the baby. The other major drawback of these disposable diapers is that these are toxic for the environment, and I was determined to find a safe alternative that is easy for the mothers and safe on babies. I along with Ashwanth Suresh Babu came up with the idea of revamping our traditional cloth diapering methods. 
It was a challenging endeavour as neither of us had babies three years ago. We started our trials by pouring water and seeking help from family members with babies. We took 18 months to research, plan, formulate and execute our idea meticulously. We were cautious to keep the highest quality and efficient manufacturing intact. We carefully finalized our supply chain and manufacturers to launch the most amazing product that was designed to revolutionize diapering by making it safe for babies and environment.  
In July 2017, we launched it full-fledged.

How did this idea come about?
There’s a promise that every parent makes to the newborn – to provide the very best to the child. We, as parents, want the safest and the best for our babies, be it their first diaper or their first step into the world. We, at A Toddler Thing, focus on making this promise a reality. We aspire to provide baby care solutions in the safest and most eco-friendly way. We believe that every baby, from the moment of birth, can contribute positively to the world. Our vision is to continually innovate towards the creation of unique baby care products, which offer the best protection to babies’ skin and the least hazard to the environment. We take pride in contributing to the right to 100% safe products of every baby across the country.

You have been in this business for two years. What have been your significant challenges and takeaways?
Being a new entrant to the industry with no experience in textiles, we faced quite a lot of challenges right from sourcing of raw materials, making samples and getting the right set of products acceptable to the market and also the customers. Building a brand from scratch involves a lot of variables that have to be considered, tested and developed. We had a vision for the brand, but execution involved a lot of commitment, strategy and the most important was the right set of team and the product acceptability by the customers.  

How far have you succeeded in changing people’s perception about cloth diapers?
We have been able to reach out to more than 25,000 mothers and make them aware in the last 18 months and have delivered more than 10,000 orders across the country. We do frequent Cloth Diaper awareness sessions online (over 17k followers) and offline, we host awareness sessions in and around Coimbatore through many parenting networks, paediatricians and local community forums. In addition to that, we also host “The Great Cloth Diaper Change” in Coimbatore; it happens every year across 18 countries and 100 cities as part of spreading the importance of the usage of cloth diapers and its effectiveness. 

What are the other items available at A Toddler Thing?
Our 100% organic muslin essentials are very soft on the skin and highly breathable, which is very good for Indian summers. The Essentials involve a wide range of products such as Swaddles, Blankets, Jhablas, Nappies, Towels, Wipes, etc.,
Our Toddler Toes, anti-fall ultra-grip shoes are extremely hassle-free. These are made of nylon socks and silicon soles so are stylish, lightweight and easy to use.
Our Gift Kits varies from 5-12 pieces set which are made of GOTS Certified cotton fabric. These Gift Kits includes Jhablas, Cap, Mittens, Booties, Hoodie, Towel, Swaddle, Diaper, Wipes and Nappy Pad.

What is your brand’s USP?
The overall brand outlook of A Toddler Thing represents sustainability. For example, we use 70% cotton paper for our packaging, we give plantable paper as an expression of gratitude to our customers with a motto saying, change the word while changing the diaper. All our products right from fabrics to packaging are made of eco-friendly materials.

Who are your immediate competitors? What give you an edge over them?
We don’t consider any company as competitors, we get inspired by any homegrown brand that develops eco/baby friendly products for sustainable living. We develop products thinking of the utility from the customer’s perspective that would be of very high quality and economical. We have a personal one to one connect with our customers, and we take their feedback and reiterate our products based on that.

Is it available in stores or e-commerce sites or does one have to buy from your website?
Yes, we supply to over 25 retail stores across India such as BABEE WORLD, Coimbatore; The Baby Store, Bengaluru, etc. We are also available at over ten e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, BabyChakra, PaytmMall, The Better India, Indieprojectstore, etc. 

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