We are honoured to welcome Nature Baby to our journal this month. As kind as they are clever, Jacob and Georgia Faull, founders of world renowned baby-wear brand Nature Baby are in a league of their own, paving the way for ethical and organic business. A wee ways back I sat down with the dynamic duo for my book Wild Kinship; Conversations with Conscious Entrepreneurs and am excited to be sharing 5 questions for 5 minutes about this incredible brand and the work that they do.
Nature Baby is a household name the world over, can you take us back to where it all began?
It started with the birth of our first child, now 20 years ago, because there weren’t any baby clothes made from natural fabrics, definitely no organics, but even just natural fibres, it was all polar-fleece. It really was about what we wanted for our own family. We started out in the front room of our Ponsonby flat as a mail order company for the first nine months. We opened our first store in 1999 in Grey Lynn just across the road from our current flagship store, so we have been within this community for a really long time and it’s a special place to us.
How has the brand grown?
We have three stores across Auckland now, along with a big online presence, but we never strayed too far or grew too fast that it took away from what we are doing at home with a young and growing family. We could have done a lot more over the years, but it didn’t fit with our family values and priorities. It has meant we have been able to focus heavily on our core values and who we are. Business is greedy by nature and it always plays into this idea of profit, which is necessary of course, but if that growth extends past you, it can pull you in the wrong direction.
You have a large emphasis on organic and ethical production for people and the planet, you can expand on this?
Our garments are made in India, we have two amazing factories, one that we have worked with for the last 17 years and they manufacture about 80% of what we do. It’s really nice to have that close relationship with them. We have done lots of origin trips over the years, right back to meeting the growers in rural areas. Our factories also only use organic cotton whereas other factories do both and they really care about the whole picture; from ensuring local Indian families have someone at home cooking for their family and are making a living, but also shaking things up on a much larger scale internationally.
It goes beyond the product itself though, it’s the entire production process. If things are certified organic it’s also covering things like labour and social responsibility as well; it’s your own health, the health of the planet and the health of the people who are making the product. So not only are you going to be healthy but you’re going to have a planet you can actually live in that is going to be healthy. The negative effects can seem subtle. The way we use chemicals and toxins now, it’s such a usual part of life, but the buildup of these synthetics becomes so accumulative, you don’t really start to notice until it has built up and then it’s too late.
Its only more recently that people are understanding the environmental impact of their choices. We can’t see the devastated cotton fields here or the families and farmers who have been taken advantage of by big agriculture companies. We are so removed from the farmers who are drinking the poison and killing themselves because they are drowning in debt or their land won’t produce anymore because of years of pesticides and fertilizers or had their farms taken away from them due to financial strain. But that is the norm for them.
You are a tight knit family run business, how does this work for you?
We have quite opposite natures, but that means we work quite well together in business. It ends up nicely balanced in regard to our strengths and weakness’. We both have the same goals and ethics for the brand so are moving in the same direction, it’s just the way we approach it that is different. In any working relationship it’s about understanding that conflict and tension are positive and finding a way to work through it.
What do you see in the future of Nature Baby?
We have really big dreams for Nature Baby’s future, it’s just about how we are going to get from here to there and facilitate them that’s the unknown.
*interview extracts and images pulled from Wild Kinship, Conversations with Conscious Entrepreneurs by Monique Hemmingson. Images by Erin Cave. See more of their interview here
I am so excited to share this fortnights beautiful journal with Charlotte from The Living Doula. Many of us have heard the term 'doula' but I've found many Mama's are still a little unsure of the immeasurable support they can offer us, from fertility, pregnancy, birth and into our post natal period, on this often challenging journey. Here, Charlotte shares her take on this important role and offers some very important lessons we should all be taking stock of, mother or not.