How a Mum of Two’s Search for Organic Cotton Baby Clothes to Ease Her Children’s Eczema Led to the Globally Recognised Brand Aster & Oak
As any parent of a child with allergies or an irritating skin condition will tell you, they’d do anything to relieve their child’s discomfort. But one Aussie mum’s struggle to find allergy- friendly, non-toxic baby clothes to help ease her son’s eczema-prone skin led her to create her own children’s clothing label.
Why Organic Cotton is Better for Babies and Children
“My firstborn suffered severe allergies and eczema as a baby,” explains Melissa, founder of Aster & Oak.“When his sister was born, she started showing the same symptoms and skin rashes. I decided that I needed to do everything I could to limit their contact with anything that contained chemicals or any other type of nasties. As parents, we carefully consider the types of shampoos or body wash to use on our baby’s sensitive skin, and we are meticulous about the food we let them eat, but many of us don’t realise how many chemicals are in the clothes we dress our kids in.”
Indeed, parents might be startled to know exactly how many chemicals are residing in their child’s clothing and bedding. Whilst globally, cotton covers just 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land, it uses 16-25% of the world’s insecticides – more than any other crop! Five of the top nine pesticides used on conventional cotton in the US alone, are known to be cancer-causing chemicals. So not only are clothes made from conventional cotton, nylon or polyester laced with chemicals, they are designed to remain in the textiles for the life of the garment regardless of how often they are washed.
“Babies and children have incredibly sensitive skin,” explains Melissa. “It’s more porous and absorbent than adult skin. It’s for this reason that I wanted to create a collection of baby and children’s clothing and bedding that was organic, non-toxic, practically designed and affordable. Because organic cotton is pure and isn’t treated with anti-static, anti-wrinkle pesticides and all those other toxic chemicals that ordinarily go into making fabric, it’s highly absorbent and breathes beautifully, making it the perfect ,soft and gentle fabric for delicate skin. I’m passionate about using only the best materials, that are ethically made and not only gentle on babies, but on Mother Earth too. We are incredible proud of our high ethics and low footprint.”
Why GOTS Certified Organic Cotton is Important
Each individual Aster & Oak product is made from GOTS certified cotton. This means that it has been certified as organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard, the governing body that oversees the certification of organic cotton right around the world. This ensures that right from the moment the seeds are sewn into the soil, right through to the finished product, every process is a natural one.
The Growing Popularity of Aster & Oak Organic Cotton Baby Clothes
“When I established Aster & Oak back in 2014, I sketched and designed the first few seasons at home on my lounge floor. It’s amazing to think that now, 8 years later, my husband and I work alongside a small team of local artists and designers who hand-illustrate each enchanting collection that are now worn by families across the world.”
“Our stringent quality standards and product testing ensure that every Aster & Oak piece your baby wears is beautifully organic, practical and designed to last generations.”
“Whilst my passion for providing parents with high quality organic garments that are gentle on their babies and children skin, but also on the environment has been the driving force behind the brand, it hasn’t always been easy,” admits Melissa. “There have been many ups and downs over the years, times when I’ve second guessed if this was the right path, and periods when it has taken a toll on both my physical and mental health. Running your own business means having to sacrifice things like playdates with other parents, missing out on taking your child to friends’ birthday parties, or even simple things like getting an early night. It’s not unusual for me to still be working late at night, or catching up on emails at 11pm. But it’s still totally worth it!”
6 More Reasons to Buy Organic Cotton Baby Clothes
Need more reasons to switch to organic baby clothes? Other benefits of organic cotton include;
- Organic cotton is hypoallergenic making it especially beneficial for babies and children with allergies and eczema.
- Organic cotton is highly durable – lasting approximately five times longer than conventional cotton. This also means that garments made from organic cotton represent real value for money as they can be passed from one sibling to another, and even down through generations.
- As chemicals are added to conventional cotton, it deconstructs some of the natural fibres making it more prone to pilling and trapping odours. In contrast, organic cotton does not pill easily or hold odours in its fibres allowing it to maintain both appearance and longevity.
- Certified organic cotton feels amazingly luxurious, and is dramatically softer than chemically-saturated conventional cotton.
- It’s better for the health of your child, the farmers who grow it and the environment at large.
- Organic cotton baby clothing is great for any climate.
Loved by families across the world who adore their ethically created, deliciously soft clothing and bedding, it’s easy to see why Aster & Oak is now one of Australia’s leading organic baby and children’s wear labels.