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Tickles story: Interview with the founder Mr. Darshan K. Doshi

Tickles, the business born out of the hobby of Mr. Darshan K. Doshi. Tickles provides the one stop solutions for child care. TechnoVans team interviewed Mr. Darshan to know more about his startup and the products.

Startup Name: Tickles

About founders:

Mr. Darshan K. Doshi, founder of Tickles
Darshan works in Singapore in IT industry. He has been working in technology industry since past 12 years. So engineering is more of a hobby and Tickles is born out of the hobby.

Mr. Pratik Mavani, Co-Founder of Tickles
Pratik works as a Business Development Manager in UAE in IT Industry.  He worked in the technology industry for almost 15 years and eventually made a move in Sales. Since then, he is enjoying his work. His primary task is number crunching in Tickles.

Founders of Tickles
Left: Mr. Darshan K. Doshi, founder of Tickles and Right: Mr. Pratik Mavani, Co-Founder of Tickles

They both have developed a product which justifies the purpose of green parenting and is worth the investment of their customers.
They both know each other for almost a decade now, and operate at the same frequency, so it didn’t take them long to come together and bootstrap Tickles.

Interview with Mr. Darshan Doshi, founder of Tickles

Tell us about your startup Tickles. What products/services provided by your Tickles?

We can talk for hours on this!

When we were expecting our first baby, we heard about the product ‘Cloth diapers’. So, we started exploring this product and learn more about that. The whole purpose was to use Cloth diapers for the baby. During this period, I had a casual call with Pratik and discussed Cloth Diapers. Pratik was also overwhelmed after hearing about the cloth diapers for the first time. The discussion eventually turned into a business idea. We both found strong potential in Cloth diapers. That evening of 15th July 2019 became a foundation pillar for Tickles. And since then, a lot of sleepless nights were spent on whiteboarding and research to come up with a well-designed and high-quality product.

We wanted to come up with a reusable diaper that not only helps parents to switch to eco-friendly parenting but is also very comfortable for the baby and soft on the skin. While we wanted to create the best quality cloth diapers, we also wanted to keep our roots connected with our motherland, India. So, giving a made-in-India product to our consumers was also one of the prime objectives.

We spent almost 1.5 years in research, lab tests, and building a strong QA policy.

Our vision is simple:

  • Preserve nature and its resources
  • Invest in research and creativity
  • Be effective and innovative
  • Building high-quality products
  • Grow globally.
  • Embrace technology.

Tickles has introduced its flagship product “Washable/reusable cloth diapers” in October 2020.

There are three different products introduced under the hood of ‘Washable / Reusable cloth diapers.

  1. Tickles Cocoon (New-born cloth diapers, 0-3 months)
  2. Tickles Explorer (For toddlers, three months to 4 years)
  3. Tickles Bum buddy (extra inserts/pads for Tickles Explorer)

All the product names are thoughtfully chosen, and there is an interesting story behind choosing all the product names.

Why the name Tickles?

Tickles is a fun feeling which applies to people of all ethnicity and age group, and it brings a smile on a baby’s face.

We discussed many brand names and brainstormed around this topic for a long time. We were looking for a name that reflects fun, positivity, and innocence. Using these criteria, we liked Tickles the most.

Especially when Ticklish feeling was applied to our logo with the thin lines around the text, and placement of each letter in our logo, it actually looks like it got Tickled. So, we’ve tried to carry the expression along with the visuals.

How did you come up with this idea? and how much effort you have taken to implement it?

The story started back in July 2019 with a discussion around something new that we did not hear about earlier, Cloth diapers, and eventually, the conversation became a business idea. We clearly saw and experienced the problem with disposable diapers, so we knew what problems we’re trying to solve. 

It took us around 1.5 years to do various rounds of research, lab test and beta test before the launch of final product. There were many challenges and learning along the path and there still many, but we’ve tried converting problems into opportunities and achieve milestones one by one, slowly yet steadily. 

What were the problems/challenges you faced up to this date? How did you overcome them?

Quite a few actually.

  • Awareness of Cloth diapers
    • One of the biggest hurdles is the awareness of Cloth diapers amongst parents.
    • When a consumer doesn’t know about the product category itself, it becomes challenging to convey the message that how useful the product could be. The rest comes later such as build quality, USPs and any other aspects.
    • We realised that disposable diapers have made parents so comfortable, where all the negatives of disposable diapers are well ignored. Such as rashes causes by disposable diapers, amount of time a single disposable diaper takes to decompose in the landfill, overall investment goes into diapers are way higher than any reusable diapers.
    • Breaking the stereotype was and is difficult.
    • To overcome this challenge, we try to make awareness campaign on social media. The good thing is, we see the impact, though it’s slow, but it is there. And we know that people take their own time to understand good things!
  • COVID19
    • We were not immune from the COVID19 impact.
    • The amount of time we spent in research and lab tests had anyways kept us behind the anticipated launch of the product.
    • During COVID19, our launch was badly affected. Almost every class of the society was more concerned in overall expenditure during COVID19 period.
    • So, overall, the time and situation were not in favour of launching the brand, but we had no choice.
    • We continued our efforts to sign up with offline distributors. Our product is our strength and that’s the only weapon we could use to convince our offline partners. We somehow managed the situation and successfully on boarded 3 distributors to cover different territories of Gujarat, and I guess they’re doing well!
  • Chinese competition
    • There are many Chinese cloth diapers available in market at cheaper rate (and of course at low quality).
    • Since cloth diaper is relatively a new product, parents were hesitant to invest in high quality product because Chinese alternative is cheap.
    • However, when we provided our Tickles products to selective 100 beta-testers (parents), after using it, they became our brand ambassadors.
    • It isn’t a rocket science to understand that you get what you pay for. This is generally true for high quality product. 

How do you promote your product/services?

  • We try to leverage social media as much as we can. This covers awareness, branding and marketing.
  • Approaching influencer on social media is a parallel activity.
  • Making strong alliances with relevant partners such Firstcry, Amazon and CRED.
  • Participate in offline/online events that are relevant to us.

Why do your customers select you over your competitors?

  • Why not, actually!
  • Our strength is our build quality, material and craftsmanship.
  • The hand feel of the product is soft and plush. When you have a Tickles diapers and a competitive product(s) in hand, it’s a no brainer to go with Tickles.
  • The cloth blend that we are providing, Velour is only used in Tickles diaper and not by any other competition in India so far.
  • Every Tickles cloth diaper comes with an attractive package. That includes an awareness card, a wash bag and a diaper. We know washing cloth diaper isn’t very familiar, so we’ve tried making a complete bundle. We didn’t come across any other competitor with such a complete solution.

What are the future goals for your firm Tickles?

Future goals for Tickles are –

  • Invest in research and creativity
  • Embrace the technology
  • Grow globally
  • Continue contributing to nature
  • Strengthen alliances with more relevant partners. 

Any other thoughts you would like to convey to our audience?

We need to collectively take the responsibility for healthy environment for our coming generation. We urge every parent to consider adapting principles of green parenting. Choosing the product is an individual’s choice, but overall goal should be to make a better tomorrow for our generation. And preserving nature and resources might be the first step in this journey. Tickles is committed to make your parenting journey better, enhanced, elegant and green.

Visit our website for more details.

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Software Professional, Blogger. He writes about the Startup stories, Business Growth Tips, Blogging Tips, Influencers, Brands, Motivational real stories, etc.

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