Cloth Diaper Podcast – Show 22
Lil Helpers Diapers
Ever wondered about Lil Helper Diapers? Or maybe you’re a passionate fan and you just love listening to their story. Grab your tissues, settle in, and listen to this heartwarming story of two guys running a cloth diaper brand with amazing customer service.
diapers, product, customers, charcoal, people, business, cloth diaper, bamboo, brand, company, cloth diapering, listening, factory, washroom, money, podcast, evolving, helpers, customer service, literally
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers, Bailey Bouwman
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 02:15
Nadar, my business partner and I both are aerospace engineers. And we started the company. So we have both have a bachelor’s and a master’s in aerospace engineering, we both worked in the industry, I was making claims for the body aerospace, its largest aircraft manufacturer, one of the largest totals that is my aircraft manufacturer in the world. And work with them for three years. Another still works for MDL robotics, which does space robotics. on the International Space Station, you see the Canada Armthat is basically designed by Nader company Nader works has worked on their product, he has worked on the sending projects like sending like the Mars rover and things like that. So the guys, nah, smarter. Still really hasn’t quit his job, I quit my job because I hated it. So, so then I started back in 2009 with nada and I and we launched a company 2011. And we’ve been in business ever since. And I love what I do, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. And so right now, even at this point of time we are in Costco Toys R Us Walmart and Canada. So the only cloth diaper to actually go mainstream and Canada, I would think.
Bailey Bouwman 03:40
I think so yeah, I those I’ve never seen you’re the only brand I’ve ever seen in any of those retailers.
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 03:45
Yeah. So and what is unique about us is our products obviously are I think are are great. But what makes us unique is how we treat our customers. And that is an integral part of our business is basically making sure that the business’s customers centric and every business actually says that. And but we have implemented it in tons of different ways. And it’s all one when you actually see the business online, see our reviews, see what we’ve done. So we created apps for customer service. So if you have a leaky diaper, we have created apps for it is there is a there you have a smooth app, but then we have created an app for it basically takes you through the whole process of figuring out why something is happening rather than just giving you these random a one-page solution Okay, if it’s your favorite, Doc right? So we have taken customer service and elevated it to a different level for things like have you heard about a god forbid guarantee belly? No. Oh,
Bailey Bouwman 04:57
yes, yes, yes. Cuz, I follow you guys on Insta So I hope you’ve seen that I’ve seen that I’ve seen you mentioned that God forbid policy, which you want to explain it to somebody listening.
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 05:07
So something like the bathroom account is one small part of our business, which is, back in 2015. There was a customer of ours who was selling her diapers on our buy sell trade group on Facebook, and that time you will base fairly small company, literally, the person in your company, and she was selling the diapers and she was selling it because she had against. For anybody who’s had lost recently and would not like to split like to skip this part. I’m just giving you a fair warning that this talks about triangles and miscarriages and stillbirths. So if anybody wants to skip this part, please go ahead. Anyways,
Bailey, @WinkDiapers 05:51
630 if you don’t want to hear about the story 720 if you want to move past this entire section,
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 05:57
so this customer was selling her diapers because she had a stillbirth. And she was she wanted to get rid of a few colors because they were more girly. And I was distraught by it, just because I knew that customer because it’s very, very small company, every hour would actually be hand packed by me. And so I literally knew all the customers by name. I don’t sell it, don’t worry about it, don’t sell it, keep the diapers, I’m going to refund it back, refund the money back to you. And that was basically the spark of the conference that guarantee that was a startup the god forbid guarantee. And now we’ve made it an integral part of the business where if you have a loss, if something were to happen during the pregnancy or the birthing process, and you can’t use diapers, God forbid, all you need to do is give me a call or email us and tell us I want to use a one for bit guarantee. And that’s it. And we refund your entire purchase amount. You can keep the dipole if you’d like, you can return it back to us. Give it to a friend. Do whatever you need to do at that point, too. But the idea that the whole concept is that like, we let you grieve and peace not worrying about what to do with these damn diapers. Yes, that should
Bailey Bouwman 07:18
not be a concern for any woman. Yeah, she’s going to say in the in the cloth diaper community, I was looking for conversations about little helpers that your customer service stands out as the reason people love your brand. What you offer to, to families is stands out above. But 10 years ago, the cloth diaper industry would have looked very different. So it’s been it’s been a big change. Hey,
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 07:42
yeah, absolutely. I mean, even actually, like it looked very different. The landscape is very different. But how it’s evolving as we speak where all of these you see every literally every Monday, you’re called Deborah company closing down. Yeah. Like, it kind of bothers me in the sense that because this, and I because of the especially when we don’t look as our competitors, we don’t look as competition as competitors. We look at them as like collaborators like so hopefully somebody else brings people onto the cloth diapering. And if they don’t like that choice, maybe they will choose us. And, and I’m sure it happens with our customers, where they’re trying to help her and it’s not for them, and they might find a good fit, quote unquote, but some somebody else. So it’s just kind of disconcerting that so many people are going out of business. But I guess that I think it’s involved in business and new business as well.
Bailey Bouwman 08:51
Yeah. It’s refreshing to hear you feel that you don’t want to feel competitive in the industry. I just took a job with nuzzles diapers. So I work for Shell. And she also resonates with the same feeling of it’s more about collaboration in the industry. That Yes, it is
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 09:11
such a small hole. Like we are literally like beyond the David’s at this point of time. And are these huge corporations and I don’t know if we can even how do we compete with these guys like I’m like, you even will hyper right now again, all these big stores could be a very small outfit.
Bailey Bouwman 09:34
Is it just you and matter still or do you have? Do you have a few employees to help you out?
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 09:38
We have tons of people who work with us. We own 30 is people who work with us but they’re all part time. And this is again, a unique thing about little helper is everybody who works in the company has been a customer of ours.
Bailey Bouwman 09:55
So they know your product in and out. The only now higher cost tours. Yeah, hopefully they can speak that passion.
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 10:03
No, only then because previously I would hire people outside of the company has to do things. But then I will have to I have; I have to instill that to them what hyper stands as a brand? Like what why do you do these things? Why is there a handwritten thank you card in each order that goes up? Why? It’s because I like to do it. It’s all because something, because I want to show my customers the appreciation that like I, we care about the business you are getting. Yeah. But our customers, on the other hand, have been on the receiving end of this customer, this kind of customer service. So I don’t have to tell them, they already do a little helper inside out. they’ve enjoyed our customer service. And they when they come on the other side of the curtain, they can provide the same care for the sisters were coming in and joining the community.
Bailey Bouwman 10:54
Now one of my questions here I have my list, I think feeds into this is that about your brand is that personally, I’m really passionate about supporting brands that seek out responsible manufacturing. And on your website, I read your story about how you did that. And that relationship that you’re building and seeking out the right factory? Could you talk to your manufacturing process and why that might be something listeners or purchasers should be concerned about.
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 11:19
So no. One IP has become flat. There was a time when manufacturer manufacturers were like these prized commodities prized possessions like because now, I will know who company manufacturers is who makes product who makes this kind of product for completely. Now you can literally go on Alibaba and find out who does who makes contractors, and then you can work out who has an internet connection, can go right now and find a product or whatever else you want to manufacture in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, where have you. And the problem with that is that you have no idea where the product is coming from or how it is made. It is a transactional process. What I mean by transaction processes, I give you money, you give me a product, I don’t know where it’s coming from, I can’t speak to that process. Yeah. And we did not want to do things that way. Because we’re not on our conscientious people. We always thought that if I’m not comfortable putting my child into this product that I make, then I have no business selling it to anybody else. I cannot in good, good conscience say, hey, buy this product, it’s safe. I know exactly how it’s made. No, you can’t I can’t say that. So that is why we sought out to go and visit factories ourselves. See the process see exactly how it’s done. And now are the workshops in in China that that makes a product. It’s not. It’s not a third-party vendor. They are literally like family that kids. The kids call me. I am going to screw this up as soon as you know, basically. So everybody knows, knows me. I know everybody, all the workers. When I go there, I’m eating with people in the factory, their factory is beautiful. In the sense, it’s actually beautiful. They’re not yourself to them, or sorry, breakfast or lunch or some sort. They have a siesta time. They bring in kids, and they have a little kind of like, what do you call it like a little daycare, a couple of grandmas look after the kids. And then they’ll call them when it’s feeding time. Kind of like when they’re on the feeders again. So these women would go down feed their kids come back up to work.
Bailey Bouwman 13:50
Beautiful, absolutely, man. I mean, I wasn’t sure what you’re going to tell me. But that was not what I was expecting today. So this is so currently I can speak to it. Because I’ve also become a part of this process. Because I’ve also told you guys, why can we do this? Or we don’t have the funds for it. Okay, so what if I gave you a little bit of the funds that you put in a little bit of the funds and then we can do this? Because I wanted this way? Cuz I’m comfortable selling this product coming from this place where I know it starts off in a happy spot. Yeah. Any modern products being made, where people are not paid well, and their people are doing it under these conditions that are not kind or even nobody wants to come to work and they’re just waiting for a paycheck. I would I seriously I would rather not do business that way. Yeah, you can give the product to me for free and I don’t care about it. Yeah, so we don’t do not even right now like there’s a video that I made not too long ago that says I’ve your talks to the point like why I rejected working with the factory. To make trainers club, these usable trainers, yeah, club trainers. Yeah. So for one simple reason you want to guess it the reason what it could be for you. The factory wasn’t I; I’m just assuming that it wasn’t up to your it wasn’t that community in the factory Hey, no, they didn’t have soap in the washroom. They didn’t have so one.
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 15:27
Yeah. And I had spent months and hours and hours and working with the factory, figuring it out how to do the rules, and that at the end, was basically there was no sorting of in the washroom and there was only one washroom in the entire workshop. And I, and it could be a cultural thing where they don’t wash their hands after they use the washroom. I and again, I’m nobody to judge their culture. Again, I’m not comfortable doing business with a factory does not the people who don’t wash your hands when they’re making a product, which is so intimate.
Bailey Bouwman 16:01
So intimate of a product,
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 16:03
as somebody who was paying money to get a product manufactured, but I have the right to walk away saying that I’m not comfortable doing this one other countries. It’s not for me to point out is right or wrong, but I’m not comfortable doing business.
Bailey Bouwman 16:19
Yeah. Fascinating. Also gorgeous. I love hearing your story about your manufacturing. And 10 years ago, right? You would have been introducing one of the first modernized cloth diapers into the industry, right? There wasn’t a knob true? No, not really, I guess. One of the first was there wasn’t much was there not to the extent that there is today. Obama genius. The bumGenius was fuzzibunz was things have really changed and evolved. But at that time, it’s not it wasn’t nearly the same extent. Hey,
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 16:50
- So again, we kind of sought to make cloth diapers. Not only easy, simple but approachable, less intimidating. So when you look at look at our website, everything is there. business selling we don’t sell products like I even right now I’m a crappy salesman. So when I go out and do a show once in a while, these people will tell you after you give them how to do the speed, now close the sale? And I would say like why do I need to close the sale? If they wanted to buy it? Not now. But tomorrow, if not more than maybe in a month’s time? Why do I need to close the sale? Because I don’t like being pressured into it? And why would I do something to somebody else that I don’t like being done to me?
Bailey Bouwman 17:44
Yeah, I was thinking earlier in the conversation, I had popped up the question in my head of whereas you get your customer service skills, being an aerospace engineer background, but obviously you don’t have the sales background. So to be is this just like family upbringing to be this amazing customer service?
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 18:03
It’s actually I have tears in my eyes right now. But I’ll tell you this story. When I was growing up, my dad has a has a surgical shop in India. So what that surgical means actually is they sell like, home health care products. And people come into the store and buy wheelchairs and walkers and things like that. So basically, they’re coming into the store when they’re not at the best point in their lives, right? Because why would you need one of those things, somebody has been injured or they’re at home recovering whatnot, whatnot. And it will come into a store and my dad, though, they’ll be these people around him, he owned the business. And he talked very rudely to the customers, my dad would. And as a child of Goodwill store a lot. And I would always I did not. I asked my dad one day when I had the courage because I was very strict man speak, what it was and things like that. And old school kind of a guy. But he was a softy. I knew because I would see him like if you were to be the first one to cry and things like that as a software. And I’ll tell them that like why do you speak to these guys this way? Your customers say I don’t want to be attached to them too much, because I can’t because they tell me their story that I’m too attached to them. And I can’t do business that does that make sense to you? No. So basically, they will say these people some of them are poor in India is not very nice in the 90s it was not a rich country now there we are okay doing okay. So people would sometimes come and say I don’t have money for do this. Can you reduce the price and he will basically build this wall around himself? So people will not talk to him. I’ve always thought that if and when I would have a business, I would do it very differently. Yeah, so if somebody talks to me, or somebody emails me and tells me why I’m in this position, I can’t do this, I’m going to give them a product for free. And I do it still to this day. But I know I saw what he did. I want to do it the other way around where I want to be known as a one level company you want to scam us; I’ll give you 10 1010 ways how you can scam us right now.
Bailey Bouwman 20:29
Kill them with kindness right back at you.
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 20:33
You can see that right now. People who see the company from outside when I tell them about the corporate guarantee, and I tell them, all they need to do is call us and your email us and tell us they want to use the corporate guarantee. So and the first question to ask me is how do you know whether they are telling the truth? I don’t care. No, I don’t care if they’re telling me the truth. If somebody is lying to me about their child dying, then they really need that money. Yeah. So I don’t have to do any kind of checking on my end is upon them. And I’m sure people have lied about it. But that’s not for you to worry about at home. I don’t care. I sleep like a baby at night. And that’s what how the business is. I tell everybody do not do anything that will not let you sleep at night. That
Bailey Bouwman 21:35
great advice. I think I wanted one of the things I also want to talk about was your you donate one day per for every three baht, correct? Is that part of this, this passion, the story of yours?
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 21:48
Again, the spark was like how do we make cloth diapering more accessible? And I think to tell you the truth, I feel like that part of our business. That the donation part of the business, the baby part, I think that hasn’t worked well. No, no, I don’t think it works. Well. And I’m going to stay I think we’re going to stop it very soon.
Bailey Bouwman 22:12
Yeah, fair enough. And that was right. And you learn.
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 22:17
And we’ve always kind of had this thing that we are no geniuses, we kind of do our best. And we come up with the best team that we know at this point of time, can evolve the business. And you’re not married to anything if you tell me tomorrow, you know what, there are iPhone three materials that work better than the materials you’re using. I’m going to see it; I’m going to check it I’m going to adapt to it. I’m not going to I’m not wired to anything.
Bailey Bouwman 22:47
On that kind of that kind of leads to one of my questions here was, um, you guys just recently introduced the bamboo insert, right? Like in the last
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 22:54
couple years, no, no, a bamboo insert. So we started our original offering the three types of distinct diapers, the charcoal diaper, the bamboo diaper, and the cotton diaper. Okay. And we found out that the charcoal was by far the most popular, so we pared down our choices to only the charcoal and the bamboo is an additional option, if you want the kind of mammals that are that is available right now. Is blue ish, but we always had a bamboo insert. So again, the product evolves, right, we made the product, we changed about as we find better alternatives to making it like to the better alternatives to the materials to do construction process. So double insert has always been there. He has it has taken a different avatar or but I don’t know if it only was bamboo instead of the bamboo boosters. Well,
Bailey Bouwman 23:53
one of the biggest complaints that I was seeing on the web about your diapers is that you primarily use the microfiber insert that people were getting frustrated with. So I was just wondering when the bamboo, but then I was on your website, and I noticed that you had a bamboo product, so
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 24:06
I was kind of so we’ve always used microfiber without diapers. Yeah, but there but since the beginning we never had microfiber exposed. Yeah, it’s wrapped, right? It’s always wrapped because I don’t like how it how it feels against escape. Now yucky. So we’ve always had that and we’ve kind of again, we’ve been open about it and there’s no whatever we do we keep an open slate about it so even on if you go to our YouTube channel, I open each and every product that we have, and I show what’s inside, how we manufacture it. Each and every product, there is no exception. So I want my customers to be a part of this process. I want engaged customers. We are not selling a product I’m not say bye. And then Get out you out, I’m out. So we want our customers to be engaged with us. Every product is evolving, we do our best to put out a product in the market. And with feedback, we change. Gotcha. Give you an example. We introduced a breast bath. We’ve got excellent feedback for it. But a lot of moms were telling me that it was great for the day but in the night, because you’re not if they are not feeding, and they are obviously then they leak through them, they need something, basically give them more absorption during the night and the coverage is not enough for women who are big, big chested. Yeah. Yeah, pretty much. Okay, so, so we need another solution for that, to address that problem. So we made if we got another, we got feedback from our customers and made them an overnight press pad. So always evolving, our products are not perfect. Nothing is even mentioned charcoal, bamboo. And
Bailey Bouwman 26:13
I just know charcoal is being something kind of gimmicky. So charcoal bamboo again, it’s,
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 26:17
that’s, that’s a misnomer. Charcoal was not a good way of actually calling it so we do not call it charcoal bamboo.
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 26:25
Okay, so what should I What, what is it? In, in actuality is what we call a charcoal fabric. Okay,
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 26:34
there’s no, when you test the material, there is no discernible bamboo in it. Because bamboo is just you think of it as like a coloring agent, it is less than point 5%. And anything that is no material of less than point 5%. And you can put it on the kind of medium. So it’s almost liked a coloring agent, the amount of charcoal that goes into the making of material, almost like a coloring agent. Okay. But it gives it gives it the property of stay dry, hypoallergenic, all of that. So you can’t actually when you save that move that you want to say no, it’s Lukens. Like almost cold calling like a sandwich, chicken sandwich was literally like one tiny piece of chicken and
Bailey Bouwman 27:29
it’s just a, it’s just a charcoal insert and the charcoal is just a coloring agent. Is that what I’m understanding?
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 27:36
You think of it where the coloring is? Only that much is actually in there.
Bailey Bouwman 27:39
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 27:41
But so, think of it like when you make a when you make a pot of stool, you have like maybe a two-liter pot of stew, but how much salt I’m putting in? Not very much, not very much. It’s probably two or three pinches, right? That is the amount of charcoal, bamboo that actually goes into manufacturing of material.
Bailey Bouwman 28:02
So it’s just a fleece.
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 28:04
Yeah, it’s basically a fleece. So that’s why we do not call it chocolate. Anybody who called the chocolate, either, again, I hate to say either is mine or the product.
Bailey Bouwman 28:14
For they just don’t know the product. I like was my mistake here. And why do you think this is one of your most popular products? You mentioned that earlier?
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 28:22
Again, because I think we’ve listened to our customers. We’ve listened to our customers, their customers told us it’s a good product. We didn’t realize it was a good product and it was one of our offering. So and then we customers would only come back for the charcoal saying it’s all their baby’s diaper rashes, and it has them doesn’t smell as bad as the other diapers and all that only okay.
Bailey Bouwman 28:56
So you just run with it.
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 28:59
You listen, hearing and listening are two different things hearing is okay. It’s like an almost like a passive way of doing things. Okay? But you even like right now, the way this interview is going, you are on here and you’re listening to me here, you are actively working, so you don’t have a list of prepared questions and you’re just rattling them off and answering them and moving on. So you are basically you have no list, but you are still listening to where the conversation is going on. You’re picking up on it. So that is what we do with our customers as well. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but my phone number my cell phone number is published everywhere. I give it to each and every one of my customers, to our Costco customers to Walmart customers to my toys r us customers. Each and every one of my customers has my personal cell phone number. And the purpose is that if something goes wrong, call and yell at me. This keeps More on my toes as well, because I am now directly answer glamour behind some shield like my dad had created between himself and his customers.
Bailey Bouwman 30:10
So, but does that do that how does that impact your family life? How does that impact your day-to-day life? Do you find that your
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 30:17
new helper is not something? This is not a job, this is what I do. My family understands it, my family supports it. Sophia, so I don’t know, again, our daughter is visually impaired. So we had decided, Sofia decided my wife decided she was going to stay at home and be the stay at home parent with Zara. And as it happened, basically, I quit my job and I stayed back at home as well have a phone call comes at 10 o’clock in the night, and the phone is next to me. I’m going to walk out of the bedroom and answer the call and talk to my customers. Because when we when you take money from a customer debt, not only money, but it’s also not we do not treat it as a transaction. It is a contract a promise that you make to them that I’m going to take care of you
Bailey Bouwman 31:23
that relationship. You’re building relationships. Yeah,
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 31:25
the money is just basically a way to kind of feed to feed the beast. But it’s more than that. And I would take it as an obligation to be to do the right thing.
Bailey Bouwman 31:36
And you find that it doesn’t impact your family life you’re still able to be I don’t
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 31:42
think it does, if anything underneath it. It’s actually basically our whole business revolves around us and our whole world. My name
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 31:54
is me. I
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 31:56
- Yeah, this is exactly why Leon’s been bugging me to get you on the phone and hear your story. It’s gorgeous. It’s beautiful. This is my favorite story I’ve heard in in months. I don’t I don’t have any other questions for you. Thank you, unbelievably, so for sharing your story, you guys are so open on the internet. Like on your website. I was like, I don’t know what else I’m going to learn from Obama today, but I anything new in a way. All of the everything else. I even like how I’ll tell you this thing, maybe there’s a video about it, even how we clip how I was allowed to quit my job that feeds into the whole how to trust issues, not only with our customers, but we also have trust amongst ourselves as well. So Nadia, and I both have jobs which pay equal amount of money to us. So obviously in the hopper at that point was one making enough money to kind of pay my salary. So we said OKAY, one person has to quit their job to actually make sure that paper is working well. I said, okay, what next, both of us credit. So we have the same amount of risk. But then there was not enough work for two people. And plus who’s going to feed our families. So I was a person who was more kind of unhappy at my job. So we decided, again, this was my dad’s position. That one of you could be a job. And the other person is the one who quits his job half a salary. Yeah, I quit my job not to pay me half his salary after taxes in cash every month on the 30th. One off, to actually make the company sustainable. Have an amazing relationship with matter. Hey,
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 33:51
yeah, so yeah, so this as an example of our trust with each other. Yeah. takes out $10,000 from the bank and tells me Hey, Mom, and I took the $10,000 I was going to go and buy X amount of things for the company. And I lost the money. I will not doubt for a second Amanda is telling me the truth or No. I’ll be mad at him for being stupid enough to lose the money. But I will not doubt for a second that he actually lost the money. Yeah, he’s telling me the truth.
Bailey Bouwman 34:25
That’s a beautiful relationship but an amazing friendship like to have found somebody into your life like that, right? Yeah.
Bailey Bouwman 34:39
Yeah, I just listening to your story of that relationship is just incredible. I think that’s something we all yearn for. The Fighter views. But yeah, that would come with a relationship when it comes to visiting panda Sophia always will be my first wife. It sounds like it does. Yeah, well yeah, you guys are so open to everything on the web. But you know what sometimes sharing a story a different way through voice or through a podcast has a lot of power to
Mohammed, LilHelper Diapers 35:17
actually tell you to have done these things a few times but this has also been kudos to you for actually having a beautiful open way of communicating and being prepared. So our YouTube channel is pretty entertaining. And maybe it’s for entertainment for us information later so does that.