Patrice John finds out about the value of organic fabrics at a baby clothing firm.
Two budding entrepreneurs are proving that baby knows best when it comes to clothing.
Mark Nicholls and Paul Maurice, both aged 24, founded the organic baby product company The Little Green Sheep.
The pair who met at Aston University opted for a greener approach to business after they found out that organic fabrics are not just better for the environment but better for business.
And Mark, who grew up in Redditch, says using organic fabrics at the Bromsgrove-based company was an easy choice to make.
“For us, choosing to use organics was about making sure we could have top quality products,” he says.
“This is the reason we decided to use organics. We didn’t go into this because we wanted to be pioneers.
“We went for organics because of the quality and we wanted to source the best quality products on the market.
“I researched the market and found there is quite an emotive response to baby clothes, especially from parents and since they want the best quality products we opted for organic materials.”
Mark and Paul met in 2002 when Mark was studying Marketing and Paul was studying Design.
After completing their studies in 2006 both were offered graduate positions and Mark worked in the marketing department of Kerry Foods, in Surrey, while Paul went to Pareto Law, in Macclesfield.
It was while at Kerry Foods that Mark began to realise the value of organic products. “I was in the marketing department and started to research some of the values of organics,” he says.
“Time and time again I found that the quality of organic cotton is finer than the non-organic variety.
“It washes better, is more durable and so we felt it would be much better for our customers. On top of this there is the fact it is eco friendly and it has not been treated with pesticides.
“There are no chemicals in the organic products we use which is so important for those who want to buy for a baby.
“I originally started the business on the side while I was in a graduate role after university and it got to the point where I decided to just go for it full time.
“I needed someone to come on board with me and so Paul joined in. We started the company because we both had business backgrounds and it is ingrained in us.
“Graduate jobs are fantastic in terms of giving you a way to progress through a company but they can leave you feeling restrained and so we started our own business.”
Mark says he and Paul adopt a back-to-basics approach to the items they sell as they find natural products can be better than modern-day equivalents.
Mark says: “We stock mattresses and by selling organic ones we can guarantee the fabrics don’t contain chemicals.
“A traditional foam mattress is full of chemicals whereas opting to use something like natural wool is great because it is naturally fire retardant.
“There are natural products that do the job just as well as those treated with chemicals. With something like a mattress, there is no need to use foam when natural wool works just as well.
“So in some ways we have gone right back to basics as the benefits of using these types of natural fabrics was proven many years ago.”
Mark says he has noticed that other retailers opt to use different materials because their primary concern is to deliver at the cheapest price, but he says it’s worth investing in materials and products that will last longer and ideally be better for your health.
“Other retailers will use different materials because they are concerned about the cost benefits, but the more we looked at it the more we realised that for us, this was not always the best approach.”
* The Little Green Sheep company is based at 38 Stoke Road, Aston Fields, Bromsgrove, B60 3EJ.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01527 577 544 or see www.thelittlegreensheep.co.uk for further details of products and prices.