Taking care of a baby is a parent’s top priority and with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, sourcing baby wipes is more difficult than ever. It is even more difficult when the baby’s skin is sensitive and requires natural products, seldom found in the market.
Australian parents Suthan and Dr. Durka Naganayagam are the couple behind Niki’s Natural Wipes, which claim to be the world’s first and only baby wipes infused with all natural ingredients, including Manuka Honey essence and organic Coconut Oil. The duo created the product to meet the needs of their newborn son, Niki, who suffered from a UTI and a nappy rash.
“Niki’s was created out of desperation to alleviate the ongoing pain our newborn son, Niki, was suffering following a UTI and ongoing nappy rash. He ended up being hospitalised for this UTI which was extremely traumatic,” Suthan Naganayagam told Inside FMCG.
The couple had been using generic baby wipe brands at the time which contained fragrances and chemicals such as methylisothiazolinone and phenoxyethanol. Since there weren’t other natural product options in the market, the couple were inspired to create their own alternative.
“And after many late nights testing various natural ingredients we found a stable one that proved effective for our child and many others in our circle of friends and family. We’re proud to say that Niki’s are the world’s first baby wipes infused with Manuka Honey essence and organic coconut oil. Both of these hero ingredients have been proven in many independent studies to have powerful soothing properties,” he said.
The entrepreneurs launched the business in January 2019 and began selling through online subscriptions. Naganayagam shares an insight into their business journey.
Inside FMCG: Why did you decide to use Manuka honey in the baby wipes?
Suthan Naganayagam: Manuka Honey has years of scientific research behind it, proving it’s antimicrobial properties in wound recovery. Manuka Honey has been used in bandages in Australia, New Zealand and the UK to effectively prevent infection and promote skin healing. The active ingredient methylglyoxal in Manuka Honey gives it its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. When used in skincare, it can help reduce skin inflammation and redness, as well as providing soothing and healing benefits to the skin. It’s also proven to act as a natural humectant – helping to hydrate and draw moisture into the skin.
Inside FMCG: How much does it cost to create organic baby wipes?
SN: We often joke that we may have also developed one of the world’s most expensive baby wipes in terms of cost per unit, but as we genuinely want as many parents as possible to benefit from the product, we have been able to keep the retail price reasonably low – especially for the value in the product.
Inside FMCG: What makes your product eco-friendly?
SN: Niki’s uses an ethically sourced cloth from wood pulp that is eco-friendly and also biodegradable; it’s important to us that we do what we can to avoid contributing to the growing landfill waste. The wipes have no alcohol, phenoxyethanol, chlorine, petrochemicals, formaldehyde, parabens or phenols. The wipes have been independently tested by EuroFin Dermatologists with zero reactions. They are certified safe to be used on sensitive skin and are pH balanced.
Inside FMCG: Are you planning to tap any supermarkets or retailers in Australia?
SN: After the recent television coverage of Niki’s on the national news, we have had a lot of interest from various retailers and are currently working through different offers. We want to reach as many parents and caregivers as possible with the product, so we will develop a strong retail presence with the right channels.
Inside FMCG: Do you have other new products coming out this year?
SN: Our core focus is maintaining our world leading standards to ensure that every Niki’s product is as perfect as possible. That being said, we have some ideas for complementary products in the future.
Inside FMCG: Any plans to expand outside Australia?
SN: The product is already selling very successfully in the US and we have secured a partner for China. There has also been interest from France, the UK, the Middle East, New Zealand and India. We are really humbled by all the interest and will be ramping up production to meet the level of demand from international markets.