Meet Emma of Pure Earth Collection
Emma Bianco, is the Founder of eco kids brand Pure Earth Collection. She has spent the last four years researching the materials used to make conventional baby products and designing a range of natural, non-toxic alternative. Emma has a background in private equity and corporate finance and has a love of nature and all things organic.
1. Can you explain to us how the idea for your business came to you and how the whole process kicked off?
My own personal search for baby products made from natural and non-toxic materials was what inspired me to start the business. I realised very quickly after having my first child that most products in the baby market are synthetic, plastic and often toxic. There were a small number of lovely brands providing alternatives to some things, but there were huge gaps in the market and items that I just couldn’t find in a natural, safe and environmentally friendly form. This is not only hugely important for our planet, but also for the health of babies and kids.
The first product I designed was our unique, natural fabric organic baby sleeping bag. We had been given so many hand-me-down sleeping bags from family and friends, and while they all claimed to be cotton and natural, they all had polyester inside. My son was a really bad sleeper, he found it so hard to settle, and so hard to stay asleep.
The polyester-fill sleeping bags were not helping at all, they are only suitable for a 2-3 degree temperature change, which is impossible to predict when the heating goes off in the night and the temperature drops. I’d so often check on him and his hands would be freezing cold but his chest would be slightly sweaty. Personally, I find it very had to sleep in polyester duvets, even if they have a cotton cover – I spend the whole night feeling cold even though they also make me sweaty. So it’s crazy that we wrap our babies in this fabric and then wonder why they may not be sleeping so well! The only totally natural options on the market were made from merino wool, which is not great for babies with sensitive skin or eczema, and it also smells so horrid when it gets wet from milk spillages or nappy leaks.
After a lot of research, sampling and testing I eventually developed our own unique bamboo wadding to go inside the sleeping bags. Bamboo is one of the leading fabrics for temperature regulation so it’s great for keeping little ones comfy, and it’s meant that our sleeping bags allowed for the biggest temperature range on the market, from 13-27 degrees C. But it wasn’t easy developing a wadding which was durable and stable enough for washing and also one which would pass the flammability tests (without having to add any flame retardants, which are so harmful for babies). We got there in the end and we’re so happy with the results – our customers love them and my kids now won’t sleep in anything else.
2. What were the biggest challenges you faced when bringing the idea to market?
Suppliers were our biggest challenge. Finding fabric mills and factories who were willing to be as stringent as we were about natural and non-toxic materials and who could make really high quality products was really hard.
3. Where do you think good ideas come from and what inspires you?
I think good ideas come from real life. Often, the best ideas are solutions to people’s problems that have been thought of by other people trying to overcome those same problems. The need to create a greener and more sustainable future for our children is what inspires most of my decisions and keeps me going when things get hard!
4. What are your company’s values and why are these things important to the business?
Pure Earth Collection’s core value is keeping children safe and protecting their future by looking after both their health and that of our planet. This core value is the driving force behind all our design, and subsequently all our products are created using natural, sustainable and biodegradable materials, with no nasty chemicals. Furthermore, for every item sold we pledge to remove plastics from our shores and oceans.
5. What is next for your brand?
We’re constantly designing and sampling new and exciting products, which aim to provide alternative choices to otherwise plastic and synthetic options currently on the market. We’re a bit behind on our product launch plans because of Covid, it has really affected our supply chains with factory closures and the price of natural fabrics skyrocketing. We’re so excited to see where this year takes us though and to launch the new things we have in the pipeline.
6. What one piece of advice would you have for someone just starting out on their business journey or currently going through a setback?
Map out your business plan with clear financials to ensure all the decisions you make are viable, and that your initial investment will get you to where you need to be. Also remember that huge set backs never seem as bad the following day, so try not to get disheartened or make big decisions on the spot – sleep on it and you will usually wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the challenge tomorrow. Sorry that’s two bits of advice, but I think they’re both super important!
7. What resources and tools do you use to remain productive or up-to-date on industry trends etc?
Instagram is really important for us, it’s a great tool for staying connected with our community and keeping up to date on industry trends.
We also have an amazing Advisory Panel – a group of seven mothers who each bring different perspectives and skills to the table – we meet regularly and they are a fantastic sounding board on product designs, marketing and so many other aspects of the business. I would be lost without them!
More info on Pure Earth
Facebook handle: @pureearthcollection
Instagram handle: @pureearthcollection
Twitter handle: @pureearthcollection