California Baby founder and developer Jessica Iclisoy talks about the inspiration behind her business.
P&N: How did California Baby come to be?
JI: California Baby was born out of necessity almost 20 years ago when I set out to find a safe shampoo to use on my newborn son. Frustrated I couldn’t find a shampoo that didn’t contain a litany of undecipherable components, I decided to create my own. After researching ingredients, I began mixing up natural and safe formulas right in my own kitchen. The result was the organic, nontoxic shampoo that is still the cornerstone of our now 50-piece collection of pediatrician recommended, natural personal care products.
P&N: In what ways are you practicing sustainability in your workplace?
JI: I am committed to living a sustainable lifestyle and part of the joy in that comes from sharing my passion with the people around me, including the employees of California Baby. With their help and commitment to living green, we have planted a company herbal garden, instituted recycling and composting programs, installed a water collection system, and found plants that clean the air of the gasses put off by our electronic equipment. We have also formed partnerships with schools and educational programs in our community to help us use the “trash” from our manufacturing process so it doesn’t end up in a landfill.
Co-founder Lauren McCullough offers insight into NurturMe’s baby food innovations.
P&N: Tell us about NurturMe’s history.
LM: NurturMe was the brainchild of my co-founder and longtime friend Caroline Freedman, who had the idea for a dried baby food (fruits and veggies prepared similarly to rice cereal) while she was pregnant with her first child. When she shared her idea with me, I immediately jumped on board for what I considered a very worthwhile pursuit: creating healthier, yummier, more earth-friendly food for babies.
P&N: What makes your product green?
LM: NurturMe requires minimal packaging and is therefore lightweight to ship, leaving a small carbon footprint on our planet. Additionally, NurturMe’s cartons are recyclable and made with wind energy.
Laurie Zoob Hyman, co-founder of Green Toys Inc., spills the beans on what sets their style apart.
P&N: What inspired you to create Green Toys Inc.?
LZH: Robert von Goeben and I founded Green Toys Inc. in 2007 with the simple idea that parents want to feel good about the products they give their children. Robert’s experience as a toy designer highlighted an opportunity to manufacture better, cleaner and longer-lasting toys. As a marketing executive and mother of two, I had been struggling to find high-quality, USA-made, safe products for my family. Green Toys Inc. was born with the vision of providing well-designed, safe, earth-friendly, made-in-the-USA children’s products.
P&N: Why did you decide to become an earth-conscious company?
LZH: From inception, Green Toys Inc. has been an eco-friendly company—it’s part of our DNA. We hope to raise awareness about sustainability and believe that the best way to make environmental change is to start with products people buy every day. Parents are now treating toys like they treat food—they want to know what materials are used and where they come from. We do our best to disclose any information a consumer might care about.
Robert Kwak, president of furniture company MUU, dishes about his unique philosophy.
P&N: In what aspects is Muu eco-friendly?
RK: The first and foremost way is that we make our high-quality products here in the United States. By making our furniture here, we consume less energy getting products to our customers than if we made them half a world away.Making high-quality products means that we are building things to last—and that means less unnecessary consumption, which is good for your wallet and good for the environment.We use sustainably harvested wood and highly durable finishes and also try to reduce excess packaging materials.
P&N: How important is it to make green products?
RK: The name Muu is inspired by the Zen concept of Mu, which teaches that all of the distinctions we see in life are artificial.We’ve interpreted this to mean that there is a real interconnectedness between our products and our customers, from the beginning of the manufacturing process right through the final product. How the products are made and who makes them matters, from the materials to the people in the factory.
Creative director Kate Quinn raves about her passion for bringing green apparel options to the masses.
P&N: What inspired you to design a line of organic clothing for babies and children?
KQ: I saw a hole in the market for organic options that could compete esthetically with conventional cotton garments, and I wanted to provide healthier options for baby. I base my life and livelihood around green products. It is important to have choices, and I am excited to provide these options to our customers.
P&N: What is your company doing to up its eco-factor?
KQ: We are looking to go one step further with our dye process by implementing herbal dyes with a new boho chic baby and children’s line launching in 2013.