Back in 2005 I struggled to find natural clothing for me and my girls. My children and I having eczema helped motivate me to start my own business. Organic Island Baby launched in 2005 importing organic cotton children’s clothing brands for online sales, local fairs and markets, then I operated a retail store under the same name in Devonport 2007 till beginning of 2010. I closed the store to focus on wholesale rather than retail and to focus on designing my own range of organic cotton jersey clothes, "Imp`ish", from my hectic Waiheke Island home. All my clothes are made Fairly in India.I have always been interested in nutrition and believed in organics, and was seeking healthy options, to help heal myself and my family. After many hours of research i found the extremely toxic processes involved in the apparel industry meant that food alone couldn’t help the sensitive nature of young children and allergic skin. When I first finished school I did a fashion design course in Sydney and now I’m finally using those tools and feel the passion for ethical fashion!
My business has taught me about what parents and gift buyers want from basic organic cotton children's clothes, having 6 children of my own has also helped me understand about kids being hard on clothes and wanting value for money and quality - long wearing clothes that we hope will last for more than one child. I am newly separated which has complicated the juggle of working from home and the obligations of being a mother and roles within that calling. My ex-partner has moved to Sydney which makes life more challenging for my kids but no complaints from me (or him) about all the 30 -40 boxes scattered around my house full of stock...home is imp`ish central!
I make sure i have some time to myself...walks on the beach, go to the movies at local community cinema, have friends over for knitting group night (which last week i started to crochet a hat) & catch up with friends for a cuppa tea! My creative space is my desk in the corner of my bedroom with mac, printer favourite magazines, stacks of my children’s artwork for inspiration...and the paper work yet to be filed.
My children are involved in the daily running of the business. They know I pack orders, check my emails and need time to draw sometimes. I get them to help and they have input on my designs. For example my 10 year old daughter drew the original design for my ‘hello sailor’ print on this season grey marl tee. I plan on this business becoming a part of my children's life and for more than just for me, because I have 5 creative daughters I hope this could become a part of their future.
I have a dream to have a school near, or in, the factory where my clothes are manufactured in India, and other social projects for India and locally between buyer and supplier to bridge the connections.
Check out Joanne's Imp'ish blog HERE. Please do...she writes about the farmers of the organic cotton she uses for her Imp'ish line, their families and life in the village. Beautiful photos too. So good to see the whole process of a fair trade garment from seed to being worn. Every time Jed wears any of his Imp'ish gear i think of Joanne, her family and all the way back the chain to the folks in India who grew the cotton and manufactured Jo's designs, and their friendship. That is pretty cool. I can't say that about any other of our clothes.
JOANNE'S GIVEAWAY: Jo is offering one Hello Sailor Imp'ish organic cotton top. Your choice of size (0-7). To enter simply leave a comment below. All comments go into the magic hat and the winner drawn by the smallest member of the household at the end of the week. Good luck!
Organic Island Baby website is HERE. Go, love, buy! -or just covet :)