One of the projects we are most proud of at Lil Helper is the Baby Do Good program – for every three cloth diapers that Lil Helper sells, we donate one diaper to a family in need.
We are always deeply humbled to be able to ease the burden on a family dealing with diaper need. But, every now and then we come across a great opportunity to make a huge difference. Making a difference means so much to us at Lil Helper. It reminds us that this is why we do what we do! The Baby Do Good program was recently able to work with an amazing project. We were given the opportunity to partner with Venue Church in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Venue Church members Jenny and Dan Strilzuk took 30 lbs of Lil Helper diapers to Monkey Bay in Malawi, Africa!
What kind of a company do we want Lil Helper to be?
When I had this conversation with K., I had no intention of posting it anywhere. But the thought kept bugging me for weeks that there might be other customers of ours who are probably in the same unfortunate position as K.
And since we didn’t have an explicit policy in place wherein customers can get in touch with us in the case of a tragedy, we might be inadvertently causing already grieving parents to relive their loss by selling their diapers.
Even my wife and I had lost a child early on in our pregnancy so I know the pain to a certain extent and wouldn’t wish it upon anybody.
A prospective customer commented that she had doubts about our diapers and company. In order to explain to her why Lil Helper was different, I uploaded the above screenshots to Imgur.
As an aside: I had made my account on Reddit weeks before posting for the first time and had just made an account on Imgur to post the screenshots there. I had no idea how either of the places worked.
Here’s the exchange on Reddit:
Why we posted the conversation with K. publicly
The purpose of posting the screenshots was to give a recent example of how we treat our customers. The screenshots were only meant for the Mama and nobody else. I named the image gallery God Forbid Guarantee as I couldn’t think of a better way to address such a sensitive topic before prefacing it with god forbid.
Lil Helper Cloth Diapers going viral
Little did I know that the screenshots would be voted on to the front page of Imgur, and it eventually garnered more than 550K views and spread across the Internet. We were learning what it means to go viral.
How Lil Helper operates when nobody is watching
Now, this isn’t the first time that we have gone out of our way to treat a customer right.
Nader, the mad-scientist-half of Lil Helper, drove in the Canadian winter for 2 hours, one-way, to deliver a $90 order to a customer because her original order was at the Post Office and she had an early morning flight.
I have delivered cloth diapers at 1 am because a customer had a newborn baby with a diaper rash as bad as second-degree burns and the whole family hadn’t slept in days. I could hear the baby wailing as the mom inquired if our charcoal diapers would help her baby. Based on my experience and feedback from customers, I knew for a fact that our charcoal diapers would help the baby sleep and allow the stressed mother to relax, so I went and delivered the diapers in the middle of the night.
As you might already know, each and every order, no matter how small or big leaves our premises with a hand-written thank you card from yours truly as a means of showing that we truly appreciate the business that good folks like you give us and not for a moment do we take it for granted.
Everybody who works for Lil Helper would have done exactly the same thing or more had they been in my place. Yes, but this was the first time more than 2 people knew of our ethos as a company, something that we’ve had from the start.
Update on K.
The good news is that K., our loyal Lil Helper mama, was blessed with a beautiful baby boy soon after the post went viral. And when she ordered more diapers from us, I had the pleasure of telling her that her money was no good at Lil Helper. She was as touched by our small gesture as much we were by her courage to allow us to share her story and help other families who might, god forbid, find themselves in a similar situation.
All’s well that ends well.
Share your thoughts
If you have anything to say about this policy or ways in which we can improve how we run Lil Helper Cloth Diapers, I would love to know your thoughts.
You can leave a comment here, email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on my cell at 647 885 4642.
If you are in the US and would like to try our diapers, you can go here: www.lilhelperdiapers.com
If you are in CANADA, please go here: www.lilhelper.ca
Why it took us more than 2 years to design a cloth diaper? Why our seamstress thought we were crazy?
Going through stacks of documents to find a long lost receipt for tax purposes I came across this drawing of one of our initial cloth diaper designs.
I hadn’t seen this drawing in more than two years; all soft copies were lost with Nader’s crashed hard drive.
This drawing in essence summarizes the entire philosophy behind Lil Helper Cloth Diapers. We make mistakes, we learn from them, we make different mistakes and we try to have a sense of humor while going through the ordeal.
Sophia, my wife, thinks Nader & I run this business as if we are running an uncontrolled science experiment. She doesn’t realize that there is method to the madness. Well, maybe not. The rest of this post will try and make sense of how we go about getting our cloth diapers to market.
Step1: Find a problem and research the crap out of it.
When we first decided to design a diaper we spent countless hours meticulously studying each and every top-selling cloth diaper in the market. We prepared a list of things we like and features that were missing.
Our biggest hope is to contribute positively in the lives of our end users. Our utmost concern is to harm no one. Whenever we deem something not worth pursuing, be it a cloth diaper design or a certain component of it, we lay it to rest.
Actually all bad ideas are blamed on each other and the lack of sleep, causing impaired judgment. The only casualty at this stage of the process is our battered ego. We’ve taken an oath of secrecy that the most ridiculous ideas cannot be shared with anyone.
Step 2: Getting it down on paper
We usually over-think and over-design all of our products. When we were designing our cloth diaper we made the mistake of doing it on SolidWorks, a software that is usually used for contriving complicated mechanical structures and devices. Our caffeine induced brains went on a nerdy trip and we put features on it most robots would not be able to make.
I kid you not, Nader wanted to have a sensor on our diapers that would ring an alarm after a certain amount of moisture saturation. I considered it for a passing moment before realizing we cannot even find a reliable supplier of Velcro. Nader doesn’t take rejection well, so I had to tell him that we can add this feature to a future design iteration.
Step 3: Making a physical sample
The next step is to get a few samples made from one our many seamstresses. This is also the point where women who are as old as our grandmothers usually mock us for our CAD generated drawings.
Most seamstresses shook their head when they looked at our designs, giving us a look of disgust mixed with a sprinkling of amazement. The puzzled expression on one seamstress’s face almost spelled out, ‘Why would you make such a detailed drawing of a cloth diaper? And how much time do you have on your hands?’
We had to go back and simplify the things that a sewing machine could not do and come back for another round of shaming.
One of the seamstresses jokingly said that she would think twice about flying in planes after finding out that both Nader and I, design flying machines at our daytime jobs.
We’ve quit designs and prototypes at this point of the process many times.
Apart from a bruised ego, we’ve also lost valuable time and money. So now you know why I drive a beat-up Hyundai Elantra.
Step 4: Cost of Materials?
Whenever a design passes our acid test and is realized into an actual product, we go ahead to procure materials that are safe, sustainable and readily available. We price it out and get our material cost.
We have detailed costs of everything. We had priced out things like the cost of elastic that would be used for the cloth diaper. For the curious, when the diaper was made in Canada, the elastic cost 11 cents.
Step 5: Get feedback
Then we go about finding moms who will use our cloth diapers. We like to get feedback on how the diapers fit and if they perform as well as we think they should. We also ask moms if they use it in a way we intend for them to be used.
We try and address the biggest and most persistent complaints by making changes to our design.