Raised in a family of entrepreneurs, I was always destined to have my own business, but it wasn’t until I headed on a trip to Shanghai/Hong Kong, that I’d found my calling. Reluctantly leaving my husband Marius, and two young children behind, Max (4 years) and India (18 months), I knew my trip to China would lead me to great places.
As I sat back on the plane and enjoyed a well-earned glass of red – off into the unknown- I shaped out my business plan. As a lover of all things organic and healthy, I was driven to a clean living lifestyle and had a burning desire to make a living from it. As I flicked through my touristy guide on the pandas in Hong Kong, I was surprised to read bamboo is one of the world’s fastest growing plants – sometimes up to a metre per day. Bamboo is a naturally prolific and resilient plant, which doesn’t need fertilisers to boost its growth, or pesticides since bamboo is naturally pest-resistant (wow!). For many centuries, bamboo has been utilised in Asia in a range of uses, including in cooking, construction, transport, textiles and medicine. TEXTILES!
I’d always loved natural, organic clothing, especially as my daughter was born 10 weeks premature, and so I understood the importance of toxic-free fibres on precious baby skin – toxins that regular cotton or synthetic clothing contained. When India was in the NICU, I hadn’t quite found a ‘go-to’ bamboo clothing label, so I settled for mainstream basic brands, that ultimate fell apart or lost their shape. That gap in the market was always in the very back of my mind.
As I entertained the thought of getting beautiful bamboo clothes made but not having a clue where to start, I wondered whether Shane – my friend and head of a reputable Shanghai clothing manufacturer – could furfil my needs, and ultimately support my new venture.
Enjoying the childless serenity soon came to a halt as I weaved the streets in a crazy taxi, dodging other cars as the city lit up in a stream of high-end designer boutiques and sky rises. But it wasn’t until Shane transported me to his Shanghai office, driving slowly through the quaint cobblestone villages and glorious affluent areas, that Shanghai really came alive. And what happened next was a real turning point in my bamboo journey – being escorted through this clothing houses’ lines of designer samples, from Witchery to Saba, mens fashion to childrens wear, I knew the universe had led me here for a reason. As Shane showcased his range of very impressive bamboo fabric choices, I was excited, inspired and found myself nodding and smiling at everything.
Over the next few months, I was suddenly enraptured by designing bamboo baby sleeping bags, cute unisex baby pants, funky European-feel cardigans and of course, bamboo baby wraps. I was in love. In love by the driving force of creating baby clothing out of a durable, antibacterial fibre, and felt so excited little old me could design something so amazing for baby’s skin. Could I really make a difference to the lives of little ones all while helping the environment? It all still felt like a dream, but I just had something inside me push me in this direction, knowing it was the right one.
Founder and Designer, Hayley xo