Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mothers of the Revolution

Can two people make a difference in the world? Alanna Mallon and Kate Browning believe so. These two mothers decided to start a company selling only clothing made of organic products. Because they have children of their own, they wanted to see the impact they had and have focused primarily on children's clothing. Here is an interview with the two budding entrepreneurs that was conducted by Boston Globe.

Mothers of the Revolution

When Alanna Mallon and Kate Browning decided to launch Toby + Rei, a line of eco-friendly baby clothing and accessories, they wanted people to pick it up because the design is great, not just because it's green. But eco-sensitivity was the overriding goal. The two moms - Mallon, 37, lives in Cambridge, while Browning, 40, is in Marblehead - had years of experience in the clothing industry and knew they wanted to use organic cottons and formaldehyde-free dyes.

They also wanted a unique look. Inspired by naive, childlike drawings, Toby + Rei offers super-soft T-shirts, onesies, even lunch bags printed with robots, elephants, sharks, and flowers, as well as cotton/bamboo fleece baby blankets and accessories to cradle tiny new additions. Looking for a little softness yourself? They now offer robes for adults, too. We spoke with Mallon and Browning about going green and how to get started.

How did you decide to go into the organic baby clothes biz?

Mallon: We had been talking a long time about how the organic movement in food was really important to us, and the next big move was into clothes for kids. We were working for a conglomerate that makes clothes, and we'd seen how detrimental for the environment conventionally grown cotton is. It takes around half-a-pound of pesticides to make one cotton T-shirt. Ultimately the pesticides never wash out of your clothes.

Browning: I'd been in fashion for 20 some years; I went to school in New York at Parsons. With my knowledge, I just wanted to do something to make an impact in a small way. I was into organic food, and we started reading about bamboo as a fabric, and that opened some doors, and we started doing a lot of research. Also being a mom and wanting the best for my child.

Read the entire story here.

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