This Dad Was Inspired By His Sons to Create a Bamboo Bandage Company
Bandages are a natural (and oh-so-common) part of raising kiddos—but we rarely think about just how important it is to have a good one on hand until our little one somehow manages to get another scrape.
Like so many other parents, Australia-based CEO James Dutton has his hands full taking care of ouch moments with his two young sons. However, his son Charlie has reactions to common bandages, and his son Xavier hates putting creams on his skin.
His solution has been to create a better bandage—one inspired by his sons. Dutton formulated PATCH, a line of hypoallergenic, biodegradable strips created from flexible bamboo fiber and natural ingredients to fight infection and protect healing wounds. We chatted with him to learn about his motivation and top tips for starting a business as a family—and we think you'll be just as inspired by his roar-worthy story as we are.
Q: How did your sons react when they learned you were creating a product designed just for them, and others like them?
A: To be honest, in the beginning, they didn’t really understand what was going on.
It was a very organic process of gathering information, but as time went on, they became very proud. It’s actually one of the best parts of creating this company. As grinding as it can be at times for our whole family, they get so excited when they see PATCH at shops and they often say “That’s our PATCH!” They are great little salespeople, talking firsthand about all the benefits of the strips—and they will proudly give them to their friends or pass them out at the playground. They are really cute when they walk up to other children who have hurt themselves and say things like, “It’s OK, I’ll get a PATCH for you, and it will make it all better!"
Q: We love the wildlife theme of these bandages, like your panda strips! What made you decide to use the panda design and flexible bamboo fiber?
A: The boys gave us our first insights as to what characters they would like to see on PATCH. We had samples of a kitten, Patch the dog (one of my favorites), hippos, giraffes, and elephants. From there, we took all of them into my son's school and a couple of other local schools and the children voted that the Panda was their favorite.
It made perfect sense because the strips are made from 100% bamboo. My wife has a business, JAK Organics, and she uses 100% bamboo fiber in her manufacturing of organic baby wipes, so I was well-aware of all of the benefits of bamboo from an early stage. The environmental benefits of it were highly compelling—it is completely compostable and sustainable. I was also impressed by its functionality in being breathable, flexible, comfortable, and non-irritating.
Q: Beyond being your initial inspiration, what role did your sons play in the creation of these strips?
A: The boys have been a major part of the journey at every stage of this business. We try to include them whenever possible. They helped choose the design and packaging, and they tested samples and ensured the final product got a thumbs up. They are also in all of the photo shoots, videos, and commercials. Really, they are the big bosses!
Q: If you had to choose the most important piece of advice for other parents who have an entrepreneurial idea, what would it be?
A: You need to connect so deeply with why you are going to pursue your idea, because this is what will continuously drive you toward your goal. You will be tested in every way, more ways than you can even imagine, so you need to make sure that you have a strong support group. I’m very fortunate that my wife and I are aligned in our 'why,’ our goals, and our vision. This helps tremendously! Whenever one of us feels that it is all getting too hard, one of us is always there to lift the other up to ensure that we keep moving forward.