Looking to start a business? Follow Fiona King’s path to finding the right business: think of a better alternative to an existing product that does not meet your needs.
She started her successful business TotBots http://www.totsbots.com/ after she got frustrated with disposable diapers, and developed a better alternative that consumers loved. Today, TotBots offers a range of cotton, washable and reusable diapers (or nappies for the UK).
Fiona’s business started in 2000 when she gave birth to her second child. After the frustrating experience they had with disposable diapers for their first born son Kyle, Fiona and her husband vowed never to use disposable diapers again. While they appreciated the convenience of disposable diapers, they can’t live with the impact disposable diapers have on the environment, in addition to the fact that they cost a lot of money.
However, they were also not satisfied with the reusable and cloth diapers that were on the market. That’s when Fiona decided to experiment and created their version of reusable diapers!
In an interview, Fiona explained how her business started:
I designed and made Maia’s first nappies using an old towel and was so pleased with the result I ordered a 50 metre roll of toweling – much to Magnus’s horror but I don’t see him complaining now! I was amazed at how well my prototypes worked and soon our friends wanted some, they told their friends, who told their friends and it wasn’t long before we were well on our way to becoming the thriving business TotsBots is today.
Fiona’s washable diapers are available from birth to potty training ages. Her diapers are made of bamboo fibers, which are more absorbent and quicker to dry than terry toweling. They are shaped like disposable diapers though chunkier in appearance. Unlike disposable diapers, however, TotsBots does not swell when wet and are easy to put on. The elastics in the legs make it effective in keeping the wetness in.
TotsBots products have received rave reviews from customers. Their products have also received a number of awards in recent years, many of which are for recognition as a green business. In September 2010, Fiona’s business was chosen by a panel of independent judges sponsored by directories business Yell as the winner of the Best Green Business Award. She was also recognized at the 2010 Mompreneur Conference and Awards sponsored by Ryman Stationary.
Today, TotsBots is still a family run business, and Fiona remains a full time mom working from home. But instead of creating the products in their kitchen table, their diapers are now created in a factory in Glasgow, Scotland. Given that TotsBots put performance, quality and ethics above the bottom line, it’s no wonder that Fiona’s business continues to succeed.