The emergence of smaller boutique brands as well as more sophisticated private label products has created more choices in the diaper market. This trend dates back to around 2010 when actress Jessica Alba founded the The Honest Company to create an alternative to baby care products with unfavorable ingredients. The success of the Honest brand has been replicated by many entrepreneurs looking to appeal to consumers’ consciousness—whether it be natural ingredients, a more sustainable product, or a positive social impact.
While none of these new brands are taking significant marketshare in the diaper category, they are doing what they set out to do—appeal to a certain kind of consumer by targeting what matters most to them.
Hello Bello, a diaper and baby care brand started by Kristin Bell and Dax Shepherd, launched in 2019 with a mission to offer parents products with the ingredients they value at an affordable price point. This strategy seems to have paid off. Not only has the brand expanded out of Walmart, its initial retail partner, it announced last month it was going to start manufacturing diapers in Texas. This development is particularly interesting because it is the first known instance of a smaller diaper brand taking on its own manufacturing. The other start up companies make their diapers with the help of contract manufacturers.
It will be interesting to see how Hello Bello takes on its manufacturing effort, which will be based in a facility once owned by Domtar. Will a one-site diaper manufacturer be able to achieve the same economies of scale as its multinational counterparts and will they be able to achieve the same performance as veteran manufacturers? More importantly, if they are successful, will more companies follow suit?
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