The rising trend towards organic babywear is one that Nature Baby identified early on–20 years ago to be exact – and since then have gained a popular following amongst the mummy club. For Jacob & Georgia Faull, the family duo behind the brand, this conscious approach was instilled whilst raising their own children. Zara Overton caught up with the pair to find out more about the brand’s core values and navigating the sustainable space.
N. Congratulations on 20 years in business this year! What made you start Nature Baby?
Thank you, it only seems like yesterday when we began! We started the business when we had our first baby in response to the lack of natural alternatives around at the time, it was the late 90’s and polar fleece was all the rage! Someone had to release the babies from those sweaty synthetic fabrics.
N. Organic cotton has been a defining feature of Nature Baby’s range since the beginning. What is it that makes organic cotton a favourite textile for children’s products?
It’s super soft, easy to care for, and long lasting, because we use the best fibres in their best state, it’s not uncommon for our cotton garments to be passed down through families and worn again and again!
N. Remaining true to its core ethics and values as a brand, Nature Baby has been at the forefront of innovation and respect for the environment for a long time, dating back to its launch in 1998 when sustainably sourced and organic materials were not so mainstream. What does sustainability mean to Nature Baby today?
It means having a beautiful, healthy world for our children to grow up in. When we had our first baby we wanted the best natural environment surrounding her. We quickly learnt to have this and to be able to offer it to others when selling our products, we needed to look after all parts; the environment, the farmers, the makers, the water ways. It’s a commonsense approach for us.
N. What goes into the production and manufacturing process to ensure that a product is deemed ‘organic’?
All processes are carried out in accordance with the Global Organic Textile Standards from farming, processing, spinning, knitting and weaving through to making. There are no toxic chemicals used at any stage, everyone is treated fairly and with dignity for what they do, the environment is left in a better state and the finished garment is pure and soft.
N. Allergies (including skin allergies) are increasingly more common in children these days. Are there any particular fabrics which are better for kids with more sensitive skin?
Organic cotton is such a soft and gentle fabric against sensitive skin. Our natural basics range or pointelle are great places to start, and we always recommend using a natural laundry detergent. We get a lot of feedback from parents saying when their baby wears our garments and they use a natural detergent that their eczema goes away. Babies’ skin is so sensitive that using soft and pure fabrics is key.
N. Being a parent to three children of your own, how do you juggle the demands of parenthood and running a successful business?
Ha, I’m not sure we do all of the time. We try to share the load, get outside help from family and mentors, the odd yoga class, get to nature as much as possible and make sure to get quality time with the family during holidays.
N. Nature Baby place a lot of importance on celebrating and supporting mums, particularly in the workplace. How do you implement this inclusion within the company?
It’s important for us to have mums (and dads) in the company, they bring so much to the business and can use their experience as a parent to relate to our customers’ journey with empathy and understanding. We work with them to ensure they have the flexibility and support they need to raise their family and carry out their role.
N. Where do you get ideas and inspiration for your collections from?
A mix of nature, culture and often the whimsy of story books from around the world.
N. In an increasingly digital environment, consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to making retail decisions resulting in a more challenging and competitive space, especially for bricks and mortar stores. How has Nature baby balanced the demands of operating both online and physical stores?
Originally, we were a mail order company, then we set up a physical store, so we saw the benefits of both early on and how they feed into each other. Although online is such a fast- growing area of the business, we love our stores as havens for expectant parents to physically see and experience who we are and what we do.
N. The rise of influencer mum-bloggers has seen several international and New Zealand children become social media stars. Do you have any advice for parents when it comes to documenting their children’s lives on social media?
There’s an amount of anonymity when they are babies, but once they start getting above a certain age and develop their own identity it’s important to understand how much of our own identity we want to put on them. I think we all have a natural desire to share the beautiful story of this special time, it’s just about being intentional and clear with the boundaries you set as parents.
TOP FIVE NATURE BABY ESSENTIALS
- Long sleeve bodysuit 2. Drawstring pants
- Drawstring gown
- Willow rattle
- Organic goats milk soap
N. Can you tell us about the interior inspiration behind your Newmarket store?
We wanted our customers to be able to come in and feel relaxed and nourished while they get organised for the new baby in their life. It can be an overwhelming time so we always use soft and neutral tones along with natural materials to present a world that feels familiar, domestic and ordered, amongst a backdrop of nature.
N. What are the biggest challenges that you have faced building your own brand and running your business?
Money… every time you grow you need to invest more, those plants need watering! Also consistency with lots of different people working on different things at different times, it’s important we hold and develop the vision of the brand so our customers understand what we do as clearly as possible.
N. Nature Baby’s community often includes collaborations with wholesome chefs and naturopaths. How does including advice and articles from experts in other fields contribute to the Nature Baby brand?
There are so many great voices out there in our field, to a degree we want to be able to thread as many relevant experts as possible to be able to get great stories out there. Organic clothing and natural products are still a reasonably fringe idea for some, so it’s important to continue to champion and empower these alternatives that may not get heard in the mainstream.
N. Have you ever considered expanding your range to cater for older children?
We have and we often debate this one. We just have so much work to do for the babies so are focussing on that for now, beyond the age of 5 seems like a step too far from our current journey… one day.
N. What is Newmarket’s best kept secret?
The secret northern slope gardens at the domain, perfect for a family picnic away from the crowds. And Maison Vauron, simple yet amazing French food, wine, cheeses, it’s like travelling to France while staying in your own backyard; authentic, unpretentious and delicious.
N. How did the J.Crew collaboration come about?
We were stocked in this cool baby boutique in Soho, Manhattan and the owner Mickey Drexler and Creative Director Jenna Lyons of J.Crew would come in to shop for their own babies there. They fell in love with what we were doing and asked us to head up their baby division with our bodysuits, we were in there with all the other great baby brands of the world, we had to travel to New York and work with their design team.. it was so much fun!
N. What is one piece of advice that you would give to expectant or new parents?
Don’t be too hard on yourself, let go and see where parenthood leads. There’s just as much to learn from your baby as there is to teach them.
N. It’s 10am on a Sunday morning, where will we find you and what are you doing?
Downward dog at a yoga class… sometimes you need to be upside down after being up on your feet all day and night.
N. What’s next for Nature Baby?
We continue to look at how we retail and work with our communities of makers and customers to bring as much goodness as possible. We have just done a pop up store in Sydney in March, and Melbourne last year, so taking this idea of organics to different communities is part of our focus at the moment. We are never quite sure where we’ll end up, but hope to keep growing and learning, and developing this idea of the very best for baby and the world.
118 Carlton Gore Road | 09 520 6167