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Category: Interviews

An Interview to inspire Plastic free living – Tammy Logan

Recently I wrote a post about how I was thinking of doing the Plastic Free July challenge, and the reasons as to why I felt this was important. I’ve been an avid reader to a group of ‘Plastic Free’ blogs for a few months now, and I’ve admired everyone of the women that have taken on this lifestyle. My go to blog of choice though was Gippsland Unwrapped, as the author Tammy is a mother too, so I felt like I could relate to her journey.

I contacted Tammy and asked if she’d be willing to do an Interview, and she graciously accepted.

Interview with Bel & Matt Field – Creators of NACIDO clothing

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I loved writing my last post about the awesome brand NACIDO. I was really pleased to be able to get an interview with Bel & Matt, I wanted you all to know more about the heart and soul of NACIDO – as there’s lots of it!

  • Q – Bel & Matt, NACIDO seems to be a real family affair, was this a conscious decision?
  • AYes. We’ve heard it said that you spend more time with your colleagues than your family. We wanted to spend more time with our family so we made each other colleagues! When Rocco was born so many people said: “they grow up so fast!” We knew that we couldn’t slow down the ‘growing up’ but we could choose to be as present as possible, hence the decision to start our own label and work from home. Easier said than done… thankfully our parents have jumped on board and NACIDO has grown quickly into a family business. It’s definitely hectic, but there’s a lot of fun in the madness.
  • Q – Where and when did the idea of the brand for NACIDO come from?
  • AThe name NACIDO has been with us for a few years…it means BORN in Spanish and since Bel’s family are Spanish it felt good. NACIDO actually came to us while living in Barcelona in 2011. We would walk from our apartment in El Raval down to the ocean through an area called El Born. El Born was magical, especially in the early evening as the streets and bars were getting dressed up for the night. It was our favourite place, one day it clicked…. and we knew that was our name. We are all born…We are all NACIDO. We started with an idea to develop handmade, not mass-produced product that was special and not easily found or copied. Also, being in the fashion industry Bel didn’t want to put ‘just another product’ out there. As the idea of our business grew bigger it turned into a family affair. Ethics, versatility and sustainability became a huge part of our ethos. Once we knew what we wanted to do/make we started researching how to get it made, putting together a loose business plan and developing our brand identity through graphics (logo, photos, social media etc…)
  • Q – The fabrics used in your Bam Bam pants are cotton and rayon – rayon originates from a natural source, however this isn’t widely known. Why did you use rayon instead of 100% cotton?
  • AWhen we were looking for natural fabrics we came across our rayon. It has a beautiful softness to it, softer than any 100% cotton fabrics we found (that said, our rayon is a cotton blend). The way our fabrics feel is really important to us as they’re sitting against a baby’s skin all day. When the first of our Bam Bam samples were made we loved them instantly…. sooo soft to touch… so we now have rayon baby swaddles, rayon slouchies for tweens and teens, a rayon body in our shape-shifter dress and rayon unisex slouchies for adults. Matt reckons real men should make their peace with super-soft slouchies (you know you want to).
  • Q – All of your pants are hand dyed, do you guys get your hands dirty with the tie dying?
  • AWe’ve had a go at the hand-dying and gotten very dirty! …but our talents lie more in photography and graphics, which will feature in our upcoming ranges. On the quest to keep our products handmade and original, we decided to work with the skills of our makers (our Indo families). We design our styles and pick our colours and patterns. The longest part of the tie-dye process is the tying, each garment is individually tied to achieve a unique pattern. Our makers dying skills are incredible and though we’re not shy of getting our hands dirty, for now it’s in the hands of our makers, literally.
  • Q – The cotton used in your pants is so soft, how did you go about sourcing such beautiful materials, and putting together a team to create your pieces?
  • AOur choices were influenced by wanting to source the most ethical, sustainable method of production we could. After researching manufacturing in Australia we decided that we could contribute more and gain more by working with families and communities we had a personal relationship with and that could benefit from the work. We’re also keen supporters of transparent consumerism, i.e. empowering consumers to make conscious decisions when buying their products. Working with families in Indonesia allowed us to be very hands-on in the process and thus provide our buyers with as much knowledge as possible about their NACIDO product. Having spent some time in Indonesia we met many beautiful families with skills in crochet, carving, dying… so we started sampling. We started by asking around, meeting people, talking with locals, spending time with different families and ‘building our industry’ rather than finding existing factories etc… Our first 5week trip (when our baby was 6weeks old) turned into 2 months! I think NACIDO has already been back 5 times in the last year.
  •  Q – You seem to be trying to produce as little waste as possible – Linen shopping bags , recycled paper, reusable tags… Do you finding it hard coming up with new sustainable ideas for the business?
  • AAt the moment we’re finding it pretty easy, purely because we’re creating every day – new styles, new looks, new artwork. When you’re in this space, creativity keeps flowing, and coming up with sustainable ideas is just another form of creativity in our business. In fact, this has been a really positive lesson for us in reducing our footprint. Creativity goes a long way in creating a greener planet.
  • Q – The wood that’s used to make the egg’s and tags is beautiful, were you able to source these sustainably?
  • A We’re working our way towards sustainability. Our wooden tags are made from recycled wood sourced from offcuts, old wooden boats and discarded furniture. Our wooden egg shakers are made from an Indonesian mahogany. We work with a wood-making family who employs 2 teenagers from a remote Balinese community. The work we give that family helps to pay and skill their teenage workers, who in turn take money and skills back to their community. We always knew we wanted to start a business that helped us make a difference. It’s really interesting and inspiring watching how this path presents itself as NACIDO grows.
  • Q – I met you guys at my local market, do you travel to many markets in Australia?
  • AWe have our regular spot at The Beaches Market, Warriewood. It is an organic produce/farmers market and we LOVE it. It’s also local so we like it a little bit more. Our Saturdays and Sundays are spent at different markets across Sydney. Most weekends we’re in either Leichhardt on Saturdays or Marrickville on Sundays… or both. We’re at the Sydney Boutique Markets, Rouse Hill on the first Sunday of every month and the Shelly Beach Markets on the last Saturday of every month. We also do one-offs like the awesome Avalon Market Day, and occasionally we travel to Newcastle too. At the moment it’s all spreading the NACIDO word. Ultimately we’re moving towards online and wholesale so we can focus on art, product and sustainability… but in the meantime we’re loving the people and places we’re getting to know through our markets. We also admire the people who set up and organize these market days as their hard work gives businesses like ours a platform to grow.
  • Q – What’s the next step for you guys, any exciting plans around the corner?
  • ASo many exciting plans… In the near future we’re making way for our first trade show, KidsinStyle in Melbourne this August. Hoping this will see NACIDO find a home in some boutiques and allow us to continue working with SLOW FASHION, exploring new handmade products and continuing to share the work with our makers. Our dream is to raise a family surrounded by art and music, aware of the impact they have on this planet and all they can contribute to making it beautiful. We love it, it makes us sing, and as for kids there is so much freedom for individual expression within a creative world. In the next year we’re also working towards using our own artworks on our garments, digitally printing on our fabrics. Bel loves making Art and Matt is music mad. We like to think that we’re raising little festival babies who will benefit from the changes that we’re making to our planet today. However we can weave our passions through NACIDO is fine by us.

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Interview with Sara Hoeg-Staun – Founder of Teepee Learning.

Having had fairly regular contact with Sara on our Instagram and Facebook pages, I knew I wanted to do an interview with her once I’d posted the review on her Flashcards. She has certainly inspired me seeing what she has created with TeePee Learning, and all while looking after a toddler the same age as my two! What a amazing woman.
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  • Q – Sara firstly I want to congratulate you on such a beautiful creation. While flashcards are not a new concept, you have raised the bar in my eyes. What made you decide to take the conventional Flashcard and stir it in a different direction?
  • A  – Thank you so much, it means a lot to me to hear that people are loving the cards as much as I do. To be honest, at first I was just going to create a “healthy” flashcard. With only the front of the card not the back. This stemmed from not being able to find these for my Son. I could find an App, I could find cartoon ones and I could find tiny little cards but nothing big, beautiful, and healthy! Sometimes when you can’t find what you want for your own self or family, that’s where amazing creations take place.
  • Q – When my Flashcards arrived the other day, I was immediately struck by how much thought and effort had gone into them. It looks like you really enjoyed making them? 
  • A Thank you!! So much thought and effort has gone into them, and if I were to tell you how much, I would most likely take up this whole page. My favourite part was actually shopping for the produce from my local organic market very early on Sunday mornings here on the Gold Coast and of course shooting it (as I have a background in photography). None of the process was easy as I had to work around my little boy who sometimes would only nap once a day. So I of course would go crazy shooting, researching, calling, sewing, e-mailing etc when he was asleep. I was also working 3 days a week whilst making the cards which made it hard.
  • Q – There are two cards that I had no idea what the fruit/veg were – Ube and Xylocarp, did you purposely want to add a few that people might need to look up, or was it hard to find fruit/veg starting with those letters? 
  • A I definitely did not choose these two on purpose! I can tell you now I think this is why no one else has made these cards!! It took me months to try and find fruit/veg that was in SEASON that started with these letters. The Ube took me calling roughly 20 fruit and veg places to find one. And when I did I screamed and said “can you hold it for me please, and I’ll be there in the hour”! I sped there, as she only had 2 Ube left (and fresh ones are hard to come by for some reason in Aus). I do however love the fact that once the little ones are old enough they will feel quite proud of themselves for knowing facts/produce that their friends at school might not know. I didn’t want these cards to be the same as anything else out there. 
  • Q – These Flashcards are not just a letter and a picture, you have also added information on the back – Fun Facts, such as why that particular fruit is good for you, silly ways to eat the fruit that your child will find fun, and also a yummy healthy recipe that includes the item on the card. What drove you to take these cards that step further? 
  • A At times I wondered whether I was taking it too far, but then I realised if I was going to make flashcards they needed to be done in a way that no one had made them before. Once I started, it all just fell into place, as these things do over time. One fact turned into three for each card. And one nutritional benefit turned into three for each card and so on. They really are a learning tool for the WHOLE family. I have always had an extreme fascination about why food is good for us ever since I was a young girl, so I enjoyed learning more than I already knew. These facts etc have been checked off and provided from lots of different resources like nutritionists etc. 
  • Q – You’re a mum yourself, have you found that these cards have helped your own kids learn more about healthy eating , and want to try more foods? 
  • A My little one is still only 19 months however every time he sees the cards (which is a lot) he tries to say A, B, C. It is VERY cute! He is not at a stage where he can learn about healthy eating as such. Instead I am so excited that he will learn his letters and sounds with healthy food instead of junk food and cartoons. It has definitely made me want to be more adventurous with new foods. 
  • Q – You have gone to every effort to make this product as eco-friendly as possible, even down to the wooden buttons on the bag coming from fallen trees. Was there any part in the process of making these cards that you found hard keeping eco-friendly?
  •  A  I found it very difficult to keep this product Eco Friendly and almost gave up. But in the end I said to myself, if I am creating a product to go out into this world that was not there before, I don’t want it to be unethical or impact this earth in a negative way. We already see enough of that as it is. The Organic Fabric as you know costs about four times as much as normal fabric. However once you research the impact and damage of how natural cotton fabric is made then it makes sense to use Organic. The buttons are always made from fallen branches and never cut fresh off trees. And as you know we made sure we sourced a high quality (once again more expensive) Certified Forest Sustainable Stock for the actual cards themselves. A lot of time and thought has gone into my first product. 
  • Q – I’m really excited to hear if you have any other products on the horizon, and if so when we might expect to see them? 
  • A I am so excited about my next product and have it all locked away in my little creative mind, however at this stage it is just on the horizon and not yet created. Stay tuned, because it will be unique, beautifully designed and of course Eco Friendly for the little ones to learn with!

Interview with Valerie Lecoeur founder of Zoë b Organic

Valerie Lecoeur the founder of Zoë b Organic was kind enough to answer a few questions about where her vision came from and where it’ll go in the future.
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  • Q  –  You started doing ‘Trash & Treasure hunts’  with your kids on the beach. Were you yourself brought up to be aware of your environment?
  • A  –  I grew up taking glass bottles and newspaper to the recycling center growing up in France.  
  • Q  –  What was the turning point when you thought enough is enough something has to be done about the amount of rubbish, including baby toys you were finding on the beach?
  • A  –  The idea of the beach toys came after i came across bioplastic and was looking to make a product with a biodegradable material, i was at the beach and saw all these lost plastic shovel and toys on the beach and thought biodegradable beach toys would be a good idea.
  • Q  –  Once you had that ‘Idea’ moment how did you feel – did it seem like a big hill to climb or were you ready with your hiking boots on and up for the challenge?
  • A  –  It was big hill and still is. It is a new concept and people does not know what biodegradable means, how it happen, so there is a lot of education to do. But hopefully more and more products will come to market so i am not the only one.
  • Q  –  Your beach toys are made from a material derived from corn sugar, was this a material you were aware of before you came to working out how you’d design your product?
  • A  –  I came across the material first but it was made from potato starch and did not like high heat, so i had to look for a new resin that was made from corn and was certified to biodegrade in marine environment. 
  • Q  –  How long was it from the light bulb moment to seeing the first pieces being sold online? Was it a smooth road or did it have its complications?
  •  A  –  It took over a year with lots if bump in the road but the bump will continue, it is the nature of the business. 
  • Q  –  You also have plate sets made from the same material, do you have any plans to expand into other areas of baby/kids products?
  • A  –  We are thinking placemats, utensils, sippy cup.
  • Q  –  Finally, is there any piece of advise you’d give a mum wanting to go Eco but not sure where to start?
  • A  –  The best way to be Eco is to buy less, when you have your first child you think you need so much and there are so much out there, so many gadget, i would recommend to keep things simple.