Welcome to Septembers ‘Maker of the month’.

This month we have been chatting to our lovely Jo Salter founder of Where Does it Come From telling us all about her wonderful story behind her brand.

Jo Salter Where Does it Come From Maker of the Month Interview for Nurture Collective Ethical Baby Clothing

Tell us about your story behind the brand and how and when it first started?

The actual truth is that I woke up in the middle of the night with the idea AND the name!  My husband was not quite so impressed when I woke him to tell him….

Lots of things had been leading up to this – I’d been working as an ethical business consultant since leaving a corporate career and I’d set up an ethical school uniform business too.

However I became increasingly concerned with the lack of transparency and traceability when sourcing clothing for my own little ones. The ‘Eureka’ moment came when I thought that if I was trying to find out the answers to the question ‘Where Does It Come From?’ then surely others must be too!  I’d only recently become a Mum too which caused me to ask countless questions relating to what was in product in terms of chemicals and also who had made them.  Was it a child at the other side of the world making clothes for my child? A horrific thought.

What inspires you when you design your clothes?

The basic design principles are around traceability, ethics and sustainability.  This means that the core materials and production processes need to need to be as eco as possible – we have moved over totally to organic cotton and use traditional techniques such as hand weaving and printing where possible.

The clothing designs are focussed on being gorgeous obviously (☺) with prints that appeal to children and parents, but also versatility and durability.  We focussed on comfort, with soft handwoven denims and cottons and fits that would look great but not have annoying seams that hamper fun. I also knew (from experience…) that children come in all shapes and sizes and grow at different rates.  So our clothes are designed to last through a growth spurt – jeans have longer length legs so they can be rolled up, all trousers have button elastic, dresses can be dresses and then tunic tops.

So each item of has a barcode in where you type it in and you can trace the garment journey tell us a bit more about that?

All our clothes come with an alphanumeric code that can be entered to unlock the story behind its creation, right back to the farm.  We found that tracing beyond the fabric was really tricky – most people and businesses buy fabric but hardly ever get to find out where the actually core fibre was grown.  

So we tell customers about the farms where their cotton grew, the traditional processes that are used to turn it to fabric (hand spinning and hand weaving), how the fabrics become beautiful garments and how the colours and prints are added.  We also share the stories of the people who actually make our clothes, and how the fair trade ethics we work to really make a difference in their lives.

You have won some awards recently including the Suffolk Business Environment and sustainability award tell us a bit more about that and what that means?

Skater Girl look Where Does it Come From by Nurture Collective Ethical Baby Clothing

Where Does It Come From has been fortunate enough to win and be finalist in lots of awards, which we are delighted about.  The Suffolk Business Award was really exciting as we were selected as finalist in a mainstream set of awards.  

You’ve probably noticed how ethical and sustainable businesses are being talked about a lot more in the media and how big brands are publicising their own ethical credentials. This is because the ethical market has grown significantly and is now getting mainstream attention.  When business awards are setting up categories for sustainable businesses then we know that the message is getting through. It is fantastic news both for Where Does it Come From and ethical business in general.

Find out more about our ethical credentials at https://www.wheredoesitcomefrom.co.uk/ethical-credentials/

Let’s talk about your chosen Nurture Collective icons, why you chose them and which ones mean the most to you?

 

Where Does it Come From Icons: Natural, Stainable, Ethical, Recycled, Charity, HM, Organic, Earth-friendly packing, Vegan, Transparent, Gives back to the Community Artisan Craft & Eco-Conscious

Transparent: Transparency is our core value.  We have a totally transparent supply chain and share the stories behind our products, all the way back to the farm. Our garments come with a code on the label so that customers can explore their garment story, discovering the eco-friendly processes we use and getting to know the people involved.

Artisan Craft: We use traditional skills where possible. Our cotton fabric is created in khadi co-operatives set up by Mahatma Gandhi to create livelihoods for rural workers, primarily women. The hand spinning and weaving are skills that go back generations. We also use hand dyeing and printing techniques such as hand block printing and screen printing.

Eco-Conscious: We strive to have as low an impact as possible – we don’t want our clothes to cost the earth! Our cotton fabric is produced using virtually no carbon – all the processes are done by hand. Our cotton dying is done in vats, a process which uses a fifth of the water than in standard dyeing processes and our hand printing is also carbon free. We only use non-toxic dyes and we are moving over to 100% organic cotton. Our packaging is eco-friendly (plastic free) and we re-use it wherever we can. Our website is even hosted on a wind-powered server farm!

What are the next steps for Where Does It Come From?

Our big exciting news is that we are about to launch a new supply chain, working with social enterprises in Africa to create organic tunics and accessories.  Initially the tunics will be for adults but I really hope that we can create some for children too. The project is so exciting – we’re using cotton that is fed by the rain and the Fairtrade workshop that are tailoring the garments provide work and skills for vulnerable women.

We’re launching a crowdfund on September 11th to pay for the production – customers get the chance to pre-order their garment at a discount price.  Doing this means you are ensuring pay for the workers and that the production can go ahead. Please find out more at www.wheredoesitcomefrom.co.uk/crowdfunding.  If you sign up to the mailing list then you’ll get the chance of early bird offers on the crowdfund!

Favourite Inspirational Quotes:

‘Be the Change you want to see in the World’ is my favourite!  It was said by Gandhi and every time I feel my courage ebb away I just say it to myself!

My other one is:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference’. I have this on my desk. The reason I find it important is that sometimes you have to be pragmatic and accept that you cannot change something.  But if you can – get on and do it!

Favourite Material: organic cotton/khadi

What’s your Bestseller? Kids jeans and organic shirts.

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