Sustainability is arguably one of the most pressing issues of our time, and yet there doesn’t seem to be a lot of companies willing to talk the talk and walk the walk. Oftentimes, you get a great marketing message with no follow through. That’s what makes Coterie diapers stand out from other brands in the baby space. (But instead of walking the walk, it’s more like they’re crawling the crawl.)
Coterie is a small team, made up of only a few dedicated individuals who want to change the diaper world. Frank Yu, the founder and CEO of the company, started the brand in 2018 with Michelle Persad, co-founder and VP of Marketing, whom he met in business school. Together, they started a company that would shake up the historically wasteful diaper industry and would finally provide parents with a truly sustainable product that was also high quality.
“Frank grew up in Asia where there were a ton of high quality diapers. However, in the US, there wasn’t anything comparable on the market,” recalls Persad. While there were thousands of fashion brands for consumers to choose from, there were only a few diaper brands. “He did a lot of research and realized that the big players hadn’t needed to innovate or improve at all, so we set out to build a modern brand for modern parents.”
The pair quickly got to work. They did their research and discovered that parents had a lot of complaints when it came to disposable diapers (leaky diapers and rashes at the top of the list). Yu and Persad spent two-and-a-half years developing their product and consulting engineers and designers to create something that would find the balance between sustainability, quality, and comfort.
As a result, they built a product that was unmatched in its absorbency, superior in its softness, and unrivaled in its flexibility.
Coterie diapers are engineered to help prevent skin irritation and limit leakage — and they’re free of fragrances, lotions, latex, rubber, dyes, alcohol, parabens, phthalates, chlorine bleaching, and animal testing. As Persad mentions, they’ve taken everything into consideration.
Coterie’s main mission is built on three pillars: the innovative quality of their products, sustainability, and the community associated with their brand. Their end goal is to bring peace of mind to parents. With Coterie, parents don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to check to see if their child’s diaper exploded or have to worry about their baby getting a rash from the poor fabric quality.
“It’s all about honoring parents and giving them time back in their day,” says Persad.
Currently, Coterie is working towards finding a new, sustainable, and innovative way to both bring their diapers to parents and not to have their diapers contribute in destroying the planet. “Let’s face it,” Persad notes, “Disposable diapers aren’t good.” Even biodegradable diapers are injected with materials that degrade the quality of the diaper. And even if you do buy the biodegradable diapers, they still need to be disposed of in a certain center, which Persad says only a small percentage of parents actually do… so what’s the long-term solution?
Ultimately, Persad says Coterie wants to establish the first sustainable diaper recycling solution in the US. While they don’t have the technology at the moment, they’re investing their own sales into Diaper Recycling Technology, also known as DRT. One percent of all Coterie sales are donated to DRT, which was founded by long-time Procter & Gamble veteran Martin Scaife and former Ontex Group CEO Micheal Teacher. Together, they’re pioneering recycling technologies that will eventually be able to recover up to 95% of the raw materials of a soiled diaper in an energy and cost-efficient manner.
On top of their sustainability efforts, Coterie is working towards the goal of becoming a lifestyle brand for parents — one they can count on. They’re working on expanding and improving their products every day, whether that be creating a new kind of pull-up for kids or launching plant-based baby wipes (like they did in November of last year). They’re also looking to launch globally, bringing a premiere product that is solving the issue of sustainability to parents across the world.
Logan Cross is a writer, editor, and dancer based in Los Angeles. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter, or listening to every fictional podcast her phone allows her to download.