Entrepreneur

No Stinky Business - 2 S'porean Dads Invested $100K To Create Diapers That Last The Night

Mums and dads are truly admirable human beings.

As beautiful as the journey of parenthood is, new parents go through crazy situations that nothing can ever prepare them for—and some of their toughest ordeals are made out of pee and poo.

When babies’ diapers overflow multiple times through the night, clocking a full night’s sleep becomes just a fantasy.

Waking up at regular intervals becomes the norm, but parents still have to keep it together to clean bedsheets, mattresses and furniture if a monster leak explodes.

It could even strike when they’re outside, leaving them to deal with messes that spill onto their clothes in public.

jaz lai pee-ka-poo founder singapore
Jaz Lai (42) with his wife and 3-year-old son

These are personal experiences that Jaz Lai and Andrew Tan, co-founders of Pee-Ka-Poo, have gone through themselves as fathers.

That’s why they wanted to develop a better line of diapers to give themselves and other parents an easier time.

Two Years, One Perfect Diaper

Parents go through the motion of changing diapers as an everyday affair. However, for most parents, the mechanics of a diaper may seem very foreign and complicated.

It was the same for Jaz and Andrew, before they started peeling through the layers and getting deep into research in 2015.

andrew tan pee-ka-poo founder singapore
Andrew Tan (45) with his family

Their understanding of how diapers work came from examining supermarket products, attending countless trade fairs, and visiting factories.

After weeding out a sample that was closest to the standard they hoped for, they then worked with the factory to improve it until they had a diaper that met all their requirements.

“We were very specific with what we wanted, and it took us three versions to get there,” says Jaz.

Knowing whether the diaper succeeded or not was easy, as they could see results directly from testing it with their own kids, and their friends’ and family’s babies.

About two years after they kicked off the endeavour, with $100,000 from their savings pumped into it, they finally created the perfect diapers and began selling them in 2018.

Made Of A Baby’s Sweetest Dreams

pee-ka-poo baby diaper singapore
Image Credit: Pee-Ka-Poo

The founders are candid with their thoughts about other products in the market: “Advancements in diapers have been archaic,” they say, which was exactly what motivated them in the first place.

Pee-Ka-Poo now boasts the first 3rd Generation diapers in Asia.

On their website, they explain that most brands currently sell 2nd Generation diapers made with Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP), which was introduced as long ago as 1982, and wood pulp.

It’s a step up from the first diapers people used in the 50s, but it’s surprising that not much more has been developed to resolve issues like leakage and rashes by now.

Jaz says Pee-Ka-Poo’s bread and butter is their Permasorp Core that can absorb liquids faster and hold in a lot more of it while still remaining dry on the surface.

Their main promise is that one diaper will last the entire night, or 12 hours, without needing parents to wake up for any surprises.

As their diapers prevent urine from leaking back to touch babies’ skin even when they put their weight on it, bacteria cannot easily breed.

They also take pride in choosing cotton over wood pulp, as the former is “more breathable [to] prevent skin rashes”, and less likely to tear when babies move about.

Even though they do such heavy-duty work, Pee-Ka-Poo says its diapers are soft, comfortable, and thinner than most other brands.

The Underdog Among Global Brands

So they had a great product, but that was only half the battle.

Despite their confidence in what they created, Jaz shares they were initially “quite anxious that [they] may not be able to retain customers” when Pee-Ka-Poo launched.

As a new player in the field, they knew there would be a number of hills to climb in order for their diapers to sell.

pee-ka-poo baby diaper singapore
Image Credit: Pee-Ka-Poo

Firstly, it would be hard to get customers’ trust and recognition among a sea of established international brands that have long been household names in supermarkets.

People were also likely to think their diapers are of low quality and durability at first glance, due to their softness and thinness.

Then there was the issue of price that might put off some new customers.

Referring to the ‘cheap, fast, and good quality’ conundrum, in which you can only ever pick two of the three, Jaz says they would never compromise on quality, which results in higher prices.

“Our products are definitely not the cheapest. Our diapers are sold around the 30-cent per piece range, whereas the majority of our competitors are around the 20-cent per piece range,” he says.

Watching them take on these challenges, some of their friends and family were also skeptical, worrying that they “did not have [enough] resources and had a small budget”.

Nonetheless, Jaz and Andrew did whatever they could to put Pee-Ka-Poo’s diapers out there, online and at baby fairs, to reach as many parents as they could.

It came as a surprise to us when our initial pool of customers left us impressive reviews. They told us that their babies were able to sleep better, and [were not getting] rashes anymore.

View this post on Instagram

Eliya has been wearing Peek-A-Poo diapers since birth and I love how it has extended diaper length to prevent waistline leakage when she sleeps chest down. Their internal and external material of the diaper has very soft texture which doesn’t give any rashes too. Normally, I don’t change her in the wee hours cus I don’t wanna wake her up when she’s soundly asleep. Sometimes even after 5 hours, there were no leakage. I guess that explains why she’s soundly asleep at night 🤣⁠ ⁠ -Lydia Izzati⁠ #peekapoo #peekapoobaby #babycompany #babystore #babygram #babyshop #allaboutbaby #babycare #cutebaby #lovebaby #lovelybaby #lovebabies #motherlife #lifewithbaby #familytime #baby #love #diapers #sgmom #sgmummy #sgbaby #sgparents #motherlove #motherhood #babies #singapore #babiesofinstagram #testimonial #sgbrand #supportlocal

A post shared by Pee-Ka-Poo Diapers (@peekapoobaby) on

Winning The Hearts Of Mums And Dads

Beyond selling good diapers, the founders make sure they provide the kind of support they’d like to receive as parents themselves.

On top of their online store and 11 physical points-of-sales, they run a Whatsapp ordering system and deliver diapers to customers so that they can focus on their time with their kids.

Their Facebook page has become a growing community, frequently updated with little parenting tips and pictures shared by happy customers.

Recently, Pee-Ka-Poo also organised a group buying sale on Whatsapp, letting customers buy together in bulk to enjoy large discounts.

pee-ka-poo whatsapp group buy
Screenshots from Pee-Ka-Poo’s Group Buy Whatsapp channel

Since launch, they have amassed 18,000 customers in just about a year.

“Most of our feedback has been generally positive, with many of our loyal customers referring [our diapers to] their friends,” Jaz shares.

While Pee-Ka-Poo is still short of breaking even, its founders are confident that they’re on their way there in another year’s time.

Next, they’ll be looking to keep more babies’ butts clean and dry through plans to expand into more Asian markets within the next three years!

Featured Image Credit: Pikdo / PicBear

 

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