Welcome to Our Featured Maker where we talk to one half of the inspiring team Naomi Wells from Cooee Kids as she explains CiMA cotton is and talks about their new A/W Collection.

Behind the scenes family picture of Founders of Cooee, Naomi Well & Anna Hesemann on their Autumn/Winter photo shoot

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

Naomi: Anna and I met in Kampala through our kids, and we quickly discovered that we had a mutual passion for ethical and sustainable children’s fashion. That, combined with the abundance of beautiful raw cotton we found in Uganda, led to the idea of creating Cooee. Furthermore, we both had time at hand and wanted to engage in something fulfilling for our minds and the country we were living in and bring the wonderful cotton that was grown in Uganda to Europe. Hence the kid’s fashion brand with a social conscious.

Naomi Wells & Anna Hesemann Founders of Cooee Kids in the cotton factory in Uganda

So your clothes are made from CiMA cotton for those who have not heard of this explain a little more about what this means and why you chose this particular cotton?

We firmly believe in the need to protect the world that we live in and to treat every person in their supply chain with the fairness and respect they deserve.  We only use Cotton Made in Africa (CmiA) certified cotton. Meaning that the cotton used in our clothes is grown with rainwater irrigation only and handpicked in Uganda. This drastically reduces the carbon footprint and in turn, ensures environmental protection.

CmiA benefits more than 1 million smallholder farmers and their families in Subs-Saharan Africa.

Supporting women: 17% of all CmiA farmers are women.

Support for women cooperatives strengthens their role within the community.

More than 2,000 litres of water are saved per kilogram of CmiA cotton fibre. This amounts to more than 500 litres of water per T-shirt. Up to 40%, less greenhouse gas emissions are produced per kilogram of CmiA cotton fibre

We absolutely love your new A/W collection, what was your inspiration behind the collection?

Naomi: Our latest collection was inspired by a winter wonderland of woodland creatures. It includes colourful Reindeers, soaring owls, polar bears and the ‘Fabulous Mr Fox’ print, which we hope will inspire and expand kid’s imagination.

As super Mama Team have you got any funny stories you share in your time working together?

It always gets pretty hectic when we all come together – especially when it’s photo shoot time. Between us we have 4 kids under 6 so between getting them (and the rest of the models) to look presentable, trying to get them to sit still, look at the camera (and not hit each other over the head (bonus) – we usually end up looking like we have just run a marathon – but nothing a large glass of wine cannot fix!

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

Natural: We love working with the natural material and feel that it is best for the environment and our kid’s delicate skin. Cotton has had a bad reputation for taking a lot of water to grow but being able to irrigate our cotton with only rain water (Uganda has a perfect climate for growing cotton as it is sunny with plenty of rain) we can be sure that this is a natural and sustainable product. Not only that, cotton is natural, breathable, soft, durable and absorbent.

Fantastic Mr Fox Organic Unisex Sweatshirt in Navy blue by Cooee

Transparent: By living in Uganda we can ensure the integrity of our field to fashion production line first hand and can assure our customers that all the people along the route have been treated fairly and the garments are of the highest quality.”

Third Party Certified: CMIA certified – Cotton made in Africa is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) which helps smallholder cotton farmers in Africa to improve their living

What are the next steps for Cooee Kids?  

Conquering the rest of the world. We have established ourselves in the UK market and to some extent Germany as well, but we would love to grow in these markets as well as the many countries we yet have to reach.

Favourite Inspirational Quotes:

Being a tennis fanatic, I always get inspiration from this Andre Agassi quote:

‘What makes something special is not just what you have to gain but what you feel you have to lose.’

Favourite Material:  

Cotton…..  Obviously!

What’s your Bestseller?

Without a doubt, it’s the fabulous ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ sweatshirt

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