Today we’re catching up with Belinda Blooman who’s is the face behind the incredible children’s clothing brand Baobab. This Australian baby and kids clothing brand designs and makes original GOTS certified 100% organic cotton fair trade clothing for boys and girls. Their range goes from birth through to 10 years of age with pants, tops, hoodies, skirts, dresses together with bodysuits and babygros presented in fun, modern colours and shapes!
Are you a mum with a business? Tell us a bit about yourself
Yes I am! I have a daughter called Anya who is 14 years old.
I am a ‘one-man’ band so I do pretty much everything. I look at it as a ‘creative director’ role, designing, overseeing production, liaising with agents, customers, doing all the PR and managing the website. The core baobab team is just me… but I have a few wonderful people who help me out. There’s Clint in the warehouse who is responsible for sending out all our orders. We have Gina, an illustrator who draws our patterns and styles each season. There’s Sarah, our incredible print designer who designs all our yardage prints, and there’s Ruby, our production manager in India, who is fierce and fabulous and who I get to hang out with every time I go over to check the production and sampling. There’s Camille, our photographer who has been creating beautiful images for us for many years. There’s Jo who helps with admin and there’s our GOTS certified factory in India who are an integral part of our journey building the baobab label and getting the quality better and better each season…
When did you start you business?
What was the main reason why you started your business?
I know it’s an old cliché but I couldn’t find lovely, soft, organic clothes that were both simple and stylish for my little girl, so I set about to make them myself. This was over 10 years ago when there was a lot less choice.
Any major obstacles you had to overcome to get your business up and going?
Everything has been challenging. I find time a huge issue (I juggle working as a photographer’s producer as well) and ‘cash-flow’ can be challenging. Quality issues have plagued me in the past as it’s always been my first priority for the label so it can be very disheartening… Fortunately I am much happier with where we are today regarding all levels of production and quality
Why do you like having your own business?
No one to tell you what you can or cannot do…!! Plus I love the creative side of the business such as designing the ranges, playing with colours, shapes, prints and styles… but I also really enjoy the business side of managing a label and the ‘human relationships’ one makes. I love the collaborative process of brand creation – whether it’s standing in a printing factory in India watching a bunch of people working on my designs… knowing too that we contribute to their livelihoods… I love working on the photoshoots with our photographer, stylist, hair & makeup artist to create beautiful imagery. And I love liaising with our retailers who sell the product and often provide invaluable feedback. Without a doubt the overall reward is seeing lots of lovely, little people wearing my designs… that’s a great feeling and through Instagram we get to see kids all over the world in baobab…
How does your business stand out from the competition?
There are some wonderful labels out there now and I love the idea of baobab being mixed and matched with some of the other Australian and International labels… Our label is very modern and stylish and there is quite a contemporary design focus. We try to create a balance between clothing that is comfy and fun for the kids to wear while fitting in with an adult aesthetic as well. Parents tend to like our clothing for their kids – not only because of the way they look but because all our garments are machine washable and they tend to last.
Other points of difference are our signature printed fabrics, which are exclusively designed for us by another one of our collaborators Sarah Perry who is very talented and with whom we have a wonderful symbiosis.
And about 6 years ago we started to use GOTS certified organic yarn for our knits, which has been an important step for us. Our current factory in India is GOTS certified, with 100% ethical production, using sustainable fabrics. They are fair trade certified and support TEARS (Train, Educate And Rehabilitate Socially) by donating off-cuts of fabric and excess garments meaning zero waste. They also support the living wage and have a transparent supply chain. It is a pleasure to work with people who have such a progressive set-up in India.
And, finally our other point of difference is that we try to give truly exceptional customer service.
Any major plans for the future?
We have recently secured an agent for LA and we are looking to secure agents in NYC, London and other capital cities. We seen Baobab as being a ‘global brand’ and we’d like to see our garments on kids all over the world.
To everyone else out there who may be thinking of wanting to start a business, what advice to you have?
Think hard before you take the plunge… It’s a lot of hard work and it takes years to see any financial reward. You also need to have a strong ‘point of difference’ from other labels and you really need to secure good production and sort out your supply chain. It’s a momentous undertaking – and not for the faint hearted
To check out the incredible range of products available from Baobab, make sure you visit their website and social media pages below. Plus they’re part of our EXCLUSIVE OFFERS project – so if you’re looking for a discount code to use at their store, check out our exclusive offers tab to find theirs! You’re going to fall in love with what you discover!