Start-up journey with Emma Avery: Cloth Baby, Wangaratta, Victoria
By Madhu S
This is the first article of our Perfect Pitch Series where Brandon Burns, Head of Community - Runway Virtual, interviews small business founders / entrepreneurs in the field about the secret sauce of their successful start-up journey and their opportunities and challenges they face. In this article, we break down insights gleaned from our interview with Emma Avery, Sustainability entrepreneur and founder of Cloth Baby. Emma has served in sustainability roles at a variety of companies over the last several years, including North East Water, Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Programme, Rural City of Wangaratta, EA Sustainability before starting Cloth Baby. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management and Ecology from the Latrobe University.
During our interview, we discussed Emma’s vision on Cloth Baby and how it helps reduce waste & saves money for all the newborn households of Australia
We believe these discussion topics will help start-ups in regional Victoria with tips & tricks in setting up small businesses. It will also help the overall Victorian household communities’ awareness on the environment friendly cloth nappies thereby saving huge amounts of money. Our breakdown of Emma’s insights begins with the introduction of her business.
Vision of Cloth Baby
As a mother of 2, Emma says she found it extremely difficult to understand and use cloth nappies successfully on her babies. Emma found Cloth Baby to help new parents to start using cloth nappies successfully. Emma defines Cloth Baby – All things modern cloth nappies and avoiding waste from day 1. Emma claims with the use of cloth nappies for approximately 2.5 years, will have two significant benefits viz. reduction of waste and huge money savings for all the Australian households.
Partnership and customer outreach
Emma says, she has partnered with the best existing Australian brands of cloth nappies. Her reach to customers is mainly through advice & education through workshops and through social media platforms on the use of cloth nappies. Emma is looking to constantly expand her thinking on zero waste parenting and other areas where waste can be reduced when you become a new parent.
Target customers for Cloth Baby are parents. Emma says, her Avatar is that of a pregnant mother who is in their third trimester of pregnancy. Emma opines, the best response she gets normally for her product is when before the baby is born for the parent. This is the time where the mother will have time to carry out a research for her upcoming baby.
Unique selling proposition
When asked about the key differentiation of her product, Emma says, though there are umpteen online retailers, she is the only shop retailer in the Wangaratta north east area. This would pave the way for the locals to visit her shop, feel her product by physical touch. This is especially useful for new and expectant parents to experience / educate about the myriad varieties of nappy brands to choose from which can be sometimes daunting. Emma strongly feels that the disposable nappies are not the way to raise babies.
The other key element Emma feels would stand-out of other products is her background and education in sustainability where she has invaluable experience in creating a movement of behavioural change i.e. getting people to do something that they have not done before.
Audacious goal for cloth nappy
Emma claims only 10% of the overall Australian family uses cloth nappies. Her ambition is to get more and more parents to use cloth nappies and break the social norm of parents going the disposable nappy route. 30 years ago, Emma says, almost 90% of the parents used cloth nappies. Convenience turned that percentage to drop significantly, the goal would be to make the modern cloth nappy to come back into the market and increase the usage percentage to at least 50% of the population.
When asked about how cloth nappy business makes money, Emma has a variety of ways for sales and services.
Firstly, there are sales through retail and online front for 3 big brands. Secondly, Emma runs paid workshops with numerous cloth nappy samples for parents to feel the product. She has plans to extend the workshops to parenting networks and parenting structures. Lastly, Emma makes ready & researched posters that prompt customers on when to wash, how to wash and settings to be used for washing nappies.
Biggest personal/professional achievement
Emma is very proud of her monthly sales right through her goal setting phase through to achieving and sometimes exceeding them.
Pitching in various forums viz. Pitch fest in Benalla and Global Sisters – women in business, Emma says gave her great opportunity to get the Cloth Baby in spotlight and create a holistic awareness about waste reduction.
Emma quotes that approximately every baby goes through 6000 nappy changes before they get completely independent of nappies through toilet training. Emma opines, that this issue needs public awareness across all levels - local, state and federal government. Statistics suggests, City of Melbourne – landfill would be run out by 2024. Emma clearly finds the opportunity to avoid the waste in first place so that the landfill can last longer.
How can everyone make a difference and support Emma and her Cloth Baby mission?
Emma pledges everyone to support her cause. Anyone who has keen interest in reducing waste (not just parents) can follow Cloth Baby, attend pitch events, waste conferences and government initiatives. Website: http://www.clothbaby.com.au
Facebook and Instagram: @clothbabynappies