Let me introduce you to the wonderful Punitha from Niovi Organics! The first Christmas present I bought for my son Ashton was a Niovi Organics bodysuit and a keepsake box. The brand popped up in my Instagram feed and I was instantly attracted to the simple colours (and of course the word organic which made me feel like I was getting my baby something extra special). So, when I was selecting brands to partner with, they were the first one I approached! I love that Niovi Organics is a family business based in Australia and the amazing lady behind this brand, Punitha, was kind enough to give me some of her precious time and satisfy the very nosy side of me that wants to know everything about everyone I deal with.
Punitha is the incredibly talented co-founder behind this brand. She lives in Melbourne’s Western Suburbs with her husband and two gorgeous children.
What do you love most about having your business?
I very much love the creative aspect of the business. It is fun and offers a beautiful outlet to let imagination take shape. In addition to that, I love the freedom I enjoy as a small business owner to implement my ideas, philosophies and ethics.
Was there a fear factor in starting your business and how did you get over this?
The greatest fear factor is what if doesn’t do well as expected? That is why a strong business plan and fall back option is recommended highly for all start-ups. When you are entering brand new in the retail world without any prior experience, it does feel a bit overwhelming in the initial stages. The constant ‘SALE’ by other brands you see every day in the retail industry feeds that fear factor. To be honest, I still have that fear factor. We are less than a year in business and I presume it is quite normal. At least, I would like to think it is. 🙂
What does a regular day look like for you?
I hope I don’t scare any of the potential start-ups by sharing this. My first year has been just work, work and work. Literally. We car pool with my friend’s family for school drop-off’s. Once the kids are out, I start my work with breakfast and coffee on my table. Up until pickup I am mostly working in my computer and try to tie-in my post office run with pickup time. I recently started outsourcing a lot of backend work and am hoping to improve my work-life balance considerably.
How did you go about finding your manufacturer / fabrics?
I just wrote down what I am looking for from my supplier:
- Exclusively Organic
- No child labour
- Ethical Work conditions
- Meets or pays above the local minimum wage requirements
- Social Contributions
I was primarily looking for suppliers from India who fit these criteria. The reason being, I have personally seen how agriculture industry has been negatively impacted in India due to fast fashion industry. Setting these criteria, helped me narrow down my search. I picked 4 suppliers who are quite responsive to emails and queries. Then I went on a trip to India and finalised the supplier that suited our brand ethics.
Go-to outfit for kids when you are in a rush?
They usually choose their own clothes these days. My son has a very casual dressing style and not fussed either way. He loves his trackies and shorts. My daughter can be pretty hard, as she prefers dresses with a softer feel. She likes to choose her own clothes now and has very good taste. I haven’t bought a fancy party dress for her since she was a year old!
Any sort of philosophy for children’s clothes?
Styles that are comfortable, practical, safe and fun. In addition to this, we focus on leaving minimum environmental footprint as possible. I have first-hand witnessed the impact of dyes in the fashion industry and try to use less of them in our prints. Our intention is to design prints that are simple, colourful, safe with a bit of cute factor added in. Natural fibres are a must for us. No synthetic blends such as elastane, spandex, even laces are used in any of our products. I want to offer parents the choice of choosing from a brand that exclusively uses pure safe organic cotton.
Anything else you would like the customer to know about you/your brand/your business?
I want customers to be aware of fact that our sourcing cost is double that of what some fast fashion brands can offer you at retail. To give you an example, the minimum wage for a textile worker in India is around Rs 300(~8 AUD). If a clothing is made under ethical and legal terms, you won’t be able to find a t-shirt for less than $10 dollars anywhere in the developed world. Please bear this in mind while doing your shopping. If we are not paying the price, somebody else in the world is and that could be a child just like yours. Sad, but true. I am also proud to share about our small but positive social contribution to our customers. It means a lot to us when customers understand the value of supporting small ethical brands. It has a butterfly effect on the fashion supply chain and also this planet.
Any little pearl of wisdom/quote or parenting hack you would like to share?
- Do what you love. Aim to make a positive impact on the lives of the few people in this world if you can.
- For parenting, just repeat this in your mind whenever guilt takes over, “I love my kids and that is what matters”.