Meet the Founder Behind Petit Tippi, Vicki Chuard
Curator of the best designed products for Moms and their little ones, to give them the most natural and eco-friendly start to life.
What inspired you to start Petit Tippi?
I started Petit Tippi because I wanted to cloth diaper my baby, and generally found it really hard to find more natural and eco-friendly baby product in Hong Kong. I thought to myself that there must be other parents like me who want safe, high quality, aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly baby and kids products, and thus Petit Tippi was born
How has being a mother changed the way you work and manage your time?
Being a mother takes multi-tasking to a whole new level! I remember the day my son was born, we received our first online Petit Tippi order (talk about a lucky baby!) and I was just recovering from my emergency C-section while trying to work out breastfeeding and coordinating my husband and mother to help me fulfill our first order - all at the same time. Actually sort of sounds like ‘a day in the life’ ever since!
One of my struggles in the early days of having a baby, especially recovering from a C-section, was that there were very few online baby shops that carried quality baby products. It was hard to find time between never-ending feeds and naps and diaper changes to go to a brick and mortar shop and then spend time trying to choose the best products. Finally when you’ve picked out what you need, you had to carry home bag-fuls of product along with your baby, nappy bag, stroller and/or car seat. What a mission!
I set out to make Petit Tippi an easy-to-use, online baby shop filled only with products that I have already researched, tried and can recommend, to make the life of a new mom as easy as possible. All the best baby essentials delivered quickly right to your doorstep!
You work in Finance by day and run Petit Tippi by night - do you have any tips for women and mothers who are exploring to start their own business?
It seems that having children often make women go through a soul-searching phase where they re-evaluate whether their careers are worth the sacrifices. I’ve chatted with so many mothers who want to explore business ideas, and I think it’s great! Having your own business definitely offers some level of flexibility, but it’s also very hard to shut down when you’re needed elsewhere, and that’s the hardest part.
My little pearl of wisdom to offer, is to find something that you love and are passionate about, because it has to feel rewarding to sustain you through the tough times.
Petit Tippi represents a number of organic, natural and eco-friendly baby brands. Tell us more about the products and brands you choose to offer?
All the brands that we carry at Petit Tippi are brands that I use with my own kids and I feel strongly about being able to stand behind the quality and trust for the brands that we add in the future.
We look for brands that are well-designed - that work well for babies and parents - and are made with better, safer materials, by companies who are ethical and mindful of their business practices, and ideally help babies and parents lessen their environmental footprint as well.
AppleCheeks cloth diapers was one of the first products we sold on Petit Tippi and they are a small business run by 2 wonderful ladies in Montreal, Canada. There are many cloth diapers on the market these days, but I was drawn to their beautiful prints and even when my son was just weeks’ old, I felt that they fit really well and their bamboo inserts are even today some of my best sellers. They work really well for heavy-wetters and as a nighttime diaper, since overnight leakage seems to be a common problem, even for babies who are using disposable nappies! Their swim diapers are also one of the best I’ve found for babies. Next year they will be launching a range of reusable products like feminine pads, snack bags and more!
Most recently I found a pacifier which we are working on bringing to Hong Kong called the Bibs Pacifier. I love it because it’s got a natural rubber teat, the shape of the teat and the pacifier itself is more similar to a mother’s nipple and areola, so it’s more breastfeeding friendly, and the range of colors are just stunning.
We are also big supporters of the family-run start-ups because we find that often the best ideas come from parents themselves and are designed right in their kitchens, or bathrooms, or nurseries! Fortunately and unfortunately, these smaller brands are often not represented by global distributors and so we import the products ourselves and that’s also how we’re able to be more reasonably priced than our peers offering major-brand alternatives.
What does being environmentally and socially responsible mean to you and how is Petit Tippi making a difference?
Being raised in Canada, doing your part in being environmentally friendly feels natural to me, and I struggle in Hong Kong to be as environmentally friendly as I would like to be. With Petit Tippi I wanted to empower parents to do better, to choose better. Given the facilities and options, everyone would prefer to be more eco-friendly, and I want parents to feel that choosing to be more eco-friendly with their babies is an easy choice, not a burden.
One of the brands we found and love is Silikids - they are both functional and more environmentally friendly. They have designed these awesome silicone, stretchable lids that can fit over any cup to turn it into a straw or sippy cup. They are super easy to carry around in your purse or diaper bag, and all of a sudden you have a spill-proof, reusable straw option for you and your kids! Silicone is softer for little ones, especially on the gums, and is safer because it doesn’t conduct heat or cold, plus it can easily be sterilized.
Another one is Planet Wise - they have literally a bag for everything! We’ve been able to replace most single-use bagging needs with a Planet Wise bag - from bagging snacks to sandwiches to wet swim suits and dirty diapers to packing cubes for your suitcase. Their wet dry clutch is particularly handy for swimming or for a change of clothes and diapers to send them to nursery with.
What have been the most rewarding things about starting your own business? And what have you learned about yourself during this journey?
Looking back at how far I’ve come on this personal journey and everything I’ve learned about entrepreneurship and the many aspects of running a business, and all the people I’ve touched in a positive way is the most rewarding thing about this whole venture. Hearing customers say how much they love our products and how it has changed their lives makes it all worthwhile.
What I learned about myself along the way is that I cannot sit still for a single moment! I am always looking to do more and probably don’t know when to stop!
What do you love most about the community you have created around Petit Tippi?
I love the caring, non-judgemental bunch of parents that have become a part of our little community, and what I admire most is how inclusive and supportive they are. Being a parent is hard, whether it’s your first, second, or third (or more!) time, and everyone is doing their best to be the best parent, and person, they can be.
I have parents who apologize for using disposable diapers at night, or supplementing with formula milk because their job doesn’t allow them to breastfeed or pump for their baby, and those in our community will be the first to pipe up and say that that is totally ok and that you’re doing a great job nevertheless. That is the kind of community you need as a parent, because raising a child really does take a village.
You’ve just opened your own store in Sai Ying Pun, congratulations! Tell us more about the space and what you hope to achieve there.
Thank you! While we’re not ready to open a walk-in shop just yet, we really wanted to have a space to meet and greet our customers face-to-face and to host some workshops on topics like cloth diapering, baby wearing, baby led weaning, gentle sleep training methods, prenatal and post-natal health - and we want to hear from our community on what would be valuable to them as well.
Any last inspiring quotes or words of wisdom you would like to share?
This too shall pass. Someone once said this to me during a particularly rough patch of sleep (or lack thereof, rather!) and since then it has really grounded me through some of the “up’s” and pulled me up through some of the “down’s” in life. It’s so applicable to all facets of life, everything’s a phase, so take everything in stride and cherish the moments, they go by so quickly though it may not feel like it in the moment.