Anyone who has ever had a baby understands the dreaded diaper bag. One little child needs an inordinate amount of stuff whenever leaving the house — and it all gets jammed into the diaper bag.
For some moms, that big, overflowing probably-won’t-fit-in-the-overhead-bin diaper catch-all isn’t a problem. But for Kelsie and Jeremy Rios of Provo, it was. The Rios are young parents, raising their 13-month-old Ryder, and they really dislike the cumbersomeness of all things traveling with baby.
So they started a business, Vauva, a minimalist parent’s baby accessory company with the flagship product: a minimalist diaper bag.
“I was tired of the huge diaper bags. I tried three different ones, and they were always falling off my shoulder. I was always losing everything — they are so big, they are like a black hole,” Kelsie Rios said.
Jeremy Rios remembers getting in trouble with his wife when he couldn’t find the keys or the pacifier in the bag, even though he dug through it.
“Diaper bags are so big, so the perception is you need to fill all that room. It must be this big for a reason, right? So we’d add everything we could possibly think of to it, and then she’d say, ‘Grab the binky,’ and I’d be like, ‘Where is it?’” Jeremy said.
They both were sick of losing their phones, keys, all the essential things in a bag that was supposed to help them in parenting. They were also sick of the stress and strain it added to the task of parenting. They switched to a backpack, but found it was still too big.
“So I told Jeremy, this is what I want in a diaper bag, I want it as minimal as possible,” Kelsie said.
Kelsie wanted something classy and stylish but simple and functional. Jeremy has a background in manufacturing processes from a previous business venture, so he got to work designing and customizing a backpack with Chinese manufacturers. After a couple of prototypes, she loved it.
The Vauva diaper bag has space for diapers, a diaper pad, a change of clothes and a few extras. Its pockets are specific to a baby’s needs, though, and include an insulated bottle pocket, a separate binky pocket, and other zippered pockets for food items. On the outside, the Rios have included a tablet-safe pocket that rests against the wearer’s back. The sides have uniquely sized key and phone pockets.
“It maintains its form, and you are able to find everything because of the different pockets for different things,” Jeremy said. “Parenting is hard enough. Using this has taken so much stress out of the daily grind of parenting.”
Before building a company around their invention in October, the duo contacted about 420 moms and parents from all over the country, to see if this was actually a problem for others. They were delighted when the response was, “Where can I buy this?”
They officially launched in November, and have been selling their bags through their online store since then. They continue to stretch their reach by marketing through creative posts on Instagram and social media.
This isn’t the first venture for Kelsie and Jeremy. They each have side businesses they run individually. They both also continue work their day jobs — Kelsie as a dental assistant instructor, and Jeremy as a student at Brigham Young University. But working on Vauva together, they’ve found they are more successful in business as a team. Ultimately, they hope this will be something that develops into a viable business for the two of them.
They also don’t feel like they will run out of ideas for products — instead they think they are actually just beginning.
“We’re taking things one at a time, focusing on what will empower parents to raise the greatest generation of kids ever. And we’re looking at what can reduce parents’ stress at each stage of parenting,” Jeremy said.