These days, the words “certified organic”, “ethically sourced” and “sustainable” are all no-brainers when it comes to shopping for baby clothes. As parents, we want to know what we are putting on our baby’s skin – as well as how and where it was made. However, back in 2002, it was a very different story.
Mirabai Winford was searching for quality clothes for her newborn daughter when she realised there was nothing on the Australian market that was sourced from organic, natural materials and that was also made from sustainable practices.
Launching Purebaby from her home with a newborn (and whilst also studying a law degree), Mirabai admits it was difficult initially to educate customers on why they should be buying organic for their little ones.
Since the brand first launched, the parenting space has changed immensely:
“Parents want a lot more information now compared to when I first started the business”, the Founder and Creative Director tells Kiindred. “Parents research a lot online as they always want what’s best for the child and to be well informed about what their needs are.”
Over the course of 20 years, the Purebaby business has evolved significantly; however, quality, awareness, care (and education) remain at the core of everything they do.
“As the awareness around sustainability increased around the world, it became one of the driving forces of consumer behaviours wanting to make considered choices about what they put on their child.”
We chatted to Mirabai about Purebaby, the gorgeous new Essentials collection and of course all things motherhood. From building a brand with a newborn to morning routines and the lessons she’s learnt along the way.
Can you tell us a little bit about Purebaby, how the company came to be and what sets it apart from other brands in that space?
Purebaby is an organic clothing brand for babies and children. Purebaby was founded back in 2002, following the birth of my first child, when there was no organic cotton clothing in the Australian market. Purebaby offers beautifully designed products made with awareness and care for the environment through its retail, wholesale, and online channels globally.
The key difference with Purebaby is that every product produced is made using GOTS certified cotton which means the whole supply chain is covered. In the early days of the business, Purebaby had to educate customers about the benefits of choosing organic cotton as it was a new concept. Now, education is what sets Purebaby apart, offering a multitude of educational webinars, podcasts, blogs, and content designed to assist parents navigating the journey into parenthood.
Environment and sustainability are at the core of your brand, what made you decide to go down that path?
Caring for the environment was instilled in me very early on so when I fell pregnant I was surprised to discover that there was very little clothing available for babies that were made from natural organic fibres, and also made from sustainable practices. In the search for a natural alternative, I started Purebaby to offer parents the choice of buying something for their little one that was not only good for the environment but great for the health of their baby’s skin.
Organic cotton is grown without harsh chemicals and is a natural fibre. It allows your baby’s skin to breathe and regulate temperature. It also made a lot of sense at the time (20 years ago), that our children would inherit the world we leave them with – so creating something that has a low impact on the environment was important. Going down this path earlier on has inspired many other brands who have followed this path in the hope that will have less impact in the way they do business.
What challenges have you faced in doing so?
Initially, it was difficult to educate customers on why they should be buying organic cotton. We made sure our designs were beautiful and functional for parents so that buying organic cotton was just an added bonus.
As the world became more aware of sustainability it became one of the driving forces of consumer behaviours wanting to make considered choices about what they put on their child. Some of the main challenges though are the strict adherence to the supply chain however this is also one of the best things about our product and business. We go to great lengths to ensure the best quality and safety standards for every single one of our products.
More recently the challenges have become about logistics (during Covid lockdowns) but we have been able to navigate these different times quite well delivering our clothing to many customers during lockdown.
How do you feel Australian’s attitudes have changed towards being more eco-conscious and sustainable since you started Purebaby?
There has been an enormous shift in the way that Australians view sustainability from when Purebaby started to now. There is certainly more awareness about where things come from, how they are made and what impact business has on the environment. We can see from the growth of the business that more and more people are choosing to be more eco-conscious in their buying habits.
Can you tell us about the newest collection and the inspiration behind the gorgeous new prints?
Our recently released Essentials styles celebrate our brand heritage with the inclusion of our new cotton print and natural/earthy tones. Our Australiana collection was inspired by our native animals and flora, a popular one to gift friends and family of the holiday period and year-round.
Many months of working in lockdown prompted a lot of creativity with the seasonal ranges. Spending time in the garden, cooking, getting a new puppy have inspired the Into the Garden Collection. We are also always inspired by nature, so our Under the Sun collection draws from the seaside with many sea creatures and of course sailing. The fabrics are all light and breathable, suitable for the warmer months.
How has the parenting space changed since Purebaby entered the market back in 2002?
Parents want a lot more information now compared to when I first started the business. Parents research a lot online and are really well informed about what their needs are. We have been able to boost our incredible digital educational content to assist this changing environment.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
On a personal level, to be part of growing a business with such good underlying values has meant that I have been able to remain passionate about what we do and look forward to continuing to grow. Professionally it is always good to be able to make mistakes, learn from them and continue to try and improve.
Your business was born out of a need after having your daughter, what was your experience like of starting a business as a new mum? You were also studying law at the time?
Starting a business, raising a family, studying and working at the same time had its challenges! Being motivated to create the kind of product I wanted for my own child was what kept me going in the early stages. Somehow, the journey, although difficult at times, was worth all the effort and I learned a lot about myself and about resilience going through tough times. It is also a really rewarding thing to be able to relate to many parents who are also juggling family and work.
What lessons have you learnt along the way when it comes to being a working mum?
Being organised helps! Make sure you also prioritise some time for yourself as it is very difficult to give out to others if your cup is empty. This lesson has taken a long time to learn, however, it is particularly helpful for anyone juggling work and family.
What is your morning routine like in your household?
If I am lucky, I get woken up with a hot cup of tea before everyone heads out for the early morning swim, gym or bike rides. After our exercise, I normally make a pot of porridge or a smoothie for the family. We only have one teenager left at home as our 21-year-old is studying overseas so our current routine is to get ready for remote learning or online meetings.
Do you have any productivity hacks, tips or apps you swear by?
Normally I try to do most of my focused analytical work in the early morning and schedule the design meetings in the afternoon as I feel more creative then. I try to keep at least one day free of meetings and I like to make phone calls when on walks so I can get two things done at once however it is good to try to get some time that is not taken up too. I like to spend time organising my calendar, making sure I allocate enough time to each area of the business as well as time that isn’t allocated to meetings. When in meetings, I like to set timers to keep focus and be able to come up with solutions to problems.
What makes you tick outside of your work?
I love to travel, spend time with friends and family, reading and going for as many swims as I can in the ocean.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love being able to create a product that solves a problem that is environmentally friendly. I love being able to work with talented people who are equally invested and passionate about what they do, this is what motivates me.
This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x Purebaby.