Taking care of a baby has changed quite a bit in recent years—sleep sacks are in, swaddling is out, and baby powder is a big no-no. But even as medical recommendations shift, cultural expectations evolve, and the babycare market is met with more devices than one could know what to do with, one category has remained largely the same: diapers.
Despite the fact that the average baby uses more than 2,000 diapers in the first year of life alone, with their bare skin in near-constant contact, the vast majority of diapers in the United States haven’t changed since 1985. It was this discovery and a chance encounter with an impossibly soft Japanese diaper that inspired Frank Yu to found Coterie and create a diaper that not only felt better than what was already available but also performed better.
“The market has been dominated by two brands with little incentive to evolve, and legacy diaper brands have designed their products with a situational approach, making parents believe they need a different kind of diaper for every occasion.” Yu says. “But at Coterie, we take a highly differentiated stage-based approach to diapering development.”
This approach has helped the brand sell more than 80 million diapers to date, accounting for nearly 1% of the $6 billion diaper and wipe industry, and three years after launching, it’s what’s behind Coterie’s latest round of funding. Led by Ben Bryce at Align Ventures, the Series A raised $23.8 million, bringing the company’s total funding to $34 million, and it includes investments from Beliade, Willow Growth, RiverPark Ventures, and model Ashley Graham, among others.
For Graham, Coterie proved a worthy investment by first proving its value in her own life. “I’ve been using their diapers and wipes since my son was born, and they’re hands down the best out there,” the mother of three says. “They’re so soft and plush, no blowouts, no diaper rash, and best of all, because they keep my little ones so dry, they sleep better through the night—which means I do too!”
But the model and investor was also struck by the brand’s commitment to and transparency around safety and sustainability, using only clean and tested materials, and knew it was an outlier in the babycare space. “Coterie has been such a game-changer for my family,” Graham notes. “I’m thrilled to join their mission in making parents’ lives—including my own—a little bit easier, and can’t wait for all that’s to come!”
Her investment, and the larger Series A funding, enables Coterie to not only double down on its mission but also expand into new realms. “We’re intensely focused on innovation at the product level [by] developing uniquely cleaner and higher performing diapering solutions, the developmental journey with a stage-based approach to growth, and the unprecedented customer experience we provide to parents every single day [with] flexible subscription, text order management, and beyond,” explains Yu, the company’s founder and CEO. “Our mission is to make parents’ lives easier, and we take a 360-degree approach to supporting parents in every step of their journey.”