La Petite Ourse Reusable Nappies
How did La Petite Ourse get started?
Almost 10 years ago, our little family (Agathe, David and soon to be born first child Nathan), realized that raising children in our community according to our values did not mean doing things every other parent was doing. In order to be true to our nature and values, we opted to buy many of our baby products second hand, we took freebies from friends and family and looked for the best deals to match quality with price. In our calculations, we quickly saw that nappies were going to be the biggest expense of all! Using cloth nappies therefore made perfect sense, yet matching quality and price was not an easy task with the nappies we could find locally. And then the idea came… “Let’s start a small home-based business allowing families to save, just like we are looking to do.”
10 years later, our brand is known in more than 15 countries, our two boys are older, and we are SOOO thrilled our business has taken off. Although our boys are out of the nappy phase, we’re glad they helped us design our very first nappy models!
What's the most important thing to LPO?
LPO has always based each action on a simple value: Empathy. From customer care to manufacturer relationships and now even with our hundreds of retailers and partners, we always remain human, simple and caring.
We all have good days and bad days. Changing nappies is not always fun. We make mistakes. Some things leak. Some things break. Life is what it is, and we’re glad to be enjoying it with our community. This explains the very generous warranty, but we hope our clients know and feel how much deeper this value is to us.
What makes LPO different?
When we first worked on developing our nappies, we had had the chance of testing dozens of different nappy types, sizes and styles with our first-born child. This allowed us to only keep features we adored, keeping our priorities straight: Using cloth nappies had to be easy for us!
We could only imagine our clients would appreciate this priority as well! A few months later, our first branded batch of nappies arrived with the following: A nappy with two openings, two
gussets and a two-year warranty. These three features that came in pairs became our building blocks for steady growth!
Tell us about your story!
We are not trained entrepreneurs. We were both educators in local schools, but definitely had a knack for business. Having met during our college years, we used part of our student loan money to invest in hopes to make some profit! The idea was to buy a Westfalia 2500KMs away, enjoy it for a year and sell it. We knew nothing about mechanics… and way less about air-cooled engines. We ended up losing a lot of money on this adventure, but it was the beginning of our learning curve! Lesson 1) Invest in something you know! The next adventures were less risky and paid off. Then, 5 years later, LPO came along.
Where does the brand name come from?
It was written in the stars! Agathe has always been fascinated with the sky at night. La Petite Ourse is actually the name of the Little Dipper constellation in French. Having the north star to guide us, the name was as soft as it was a match with our new baby brand.
Do you have any tips for parents?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. There is so much pressure out there when becoming a new parent. Breastfeeding can be great, or it can be a heart-breaking experience. Using cloth
nappies is fun… but not always. “What? You give peanut butter to your 6 month old baby?”
Our advice: You do you! All your baby really needs is love, nurturing and kindness. The rest is superficial. It’s easy to get caught in the stress of it all. Let’s be normal, let’s be ourselves. You have nothing to prove, and you don’t even need to use cloth nappies, but they do make your baby cuter! ;)
When we started LPO, we wrote our financial objectives on a napkin in a small local restaurant near Montreal. We wanted to sell 2 nappy-kits per week. This would replace Agathe’s salary, and she would not have to return to the school board after her maternity leave. She actually never did go back, and David joined her a few years later! Who would have known!
What does the future hold?
We really want to make a difference. Since the very beginning, we’ve helped low-income communities and families around the world have access to free washable hygiene products
(Recently: Haiti, Tanzania, Canadian women’s shelters and European based family initiatives for a total of more than $60,000 in donation). We’ve recently leveraged our followers to help Ukraine and don’t fear getting our hands dirty in order to concretely support people in situations that are less than ideal.
If you ask us what the future holds, in light of these crazy economic, social and even emotional rollercoasters, it’s going to be more involvement and more expansion in markets where we know we can make a difference. We’re thrilled and so appreciative to be able to work with communities from around the world and be part of the solution!
From Canada to you,
Agathe, David, Nathan and Caleb (oh and Rocky of course, our red Bernese Mountain dog!)