Emi and Ken Jones, founders and co-owners of Kishu Baby, believe that every small good deed adds up to making the world a better place, and their family-run baby clothes and accessories business is one way they live out that vision. They recently sat down with Fairtrade America to talk about their business and the ways they are prioritizing people every step of the way.
Tell us a little bit about Kishu Baby.
Kishu Baby is our main line of baby bibs, pacifier blankets and bows, and we have an extension line called Indi by Kishu Baby. That’s our Fairtrade-certified, also soon to be GOTs organic. It’s made in a Fairtrade factory in India.
How did Kishu Baby come to be?
Emi: When my currently 9-year-old son was 10 months old, I decided to make a bib for him myself, but I didn’t even know how to sew. There were only traditional bibs available at the time, and when he was wearing cute clothes, they’d easily be ruined because of the shape of the bib. So, I decided to make my own for my son to wear. One day I went to a children’s clothes boutique, and when the owner saw my son in his custom-made bib, she asked about it and said she wanted to buy and carry it in her store. She saw the potential for the product that I had made for my son, and she told me “You’re going to fly, fly away.” She became a great mentor to us.
How do you use your business for social & environmental impact? How do you give back?
Ken: We’re a small family business. It’s Emi, myself, one part-time employee and some contractors. As a small family business, we’re just trying to give back in small ways. We do the best that we can with the resources we have. One of the ways we’re giving back is through a monthly donation to 4ocean. They remove trash from the ocean. For every bracelet that’s bought, they remove a pound of trash out of the ocean. We’ve also found a great partner in our sewing company in Southern India. We support them in planting trees. They started out planting a hundred trees annually every year in India, they’ve grown to planting 250 trees annually to fight global warming. Some people might laugh at that because global warming is obviously a big issue, but we don’t. We feel that every little action is important, no matter what you’re doing. The other thing that they’re doing, which we love is that they hire a hundred percent women for picking and packing.
And indirectly one of the biggest things for us in 2021 is talking to you right now, because we are now Fairtrade-certified cotton, which we’re incredibly excited about.
Why did you choose Fairtrade?
Ken: We were looking into India, and we wanted to make sure that we avoided any kind of child labor or anything like that going on not just in India, but all parts of the world. It was really important to us to find a Fairtrade-certified factory. We want to do the right thing, and we want to make sure that the farmers are being paid a fair wage in addition to ensuring there are not any human rights abuses.
What’s next for Kishu Baby?
One of our main goals was to become Fairtrade-certified and GOTs-certified. And we’re in the process now of expanding to other marketplaces beyond Amazon. We’re in Canada, and just about a month ago, we expanded to the UK. We’re also in the process of expanding to the EU.
What makes your products unique?
Emi: I designed the bib to be a perfect square: it folds in half diagonally and snaps. And when you have a stain, you just need to flip it the other side. So you always have a clean bib. When I started the muslin fabric wasn’t popular, but people were just impressed by the softness of the fabric. It’s so cute. That’s how I started.
Ken: The bib is made of fabric that is super absorbent, it’s breathable, it’s lightweight and it’s durable. It’s just a really great fabric. It’s also multi-use. They can use it as a burp cloth and a wipe cloth, because moms are always on the go. That’s what makes it really unique, the design of the whole thing. Its artisan-made, which makes us special. Our partner in India says it’s a challenging item to make because it’s a perfect square, so any kind of little mistake shows very easily. We’re doing the best that we can to differentiate ourselves with quality and with Fairtrade.
“We believe there’s good in the world…Any small, good deed we can do to help make the world a better place is an extension of who we are as people.”
What inspires you to work toward good?
Emi: I’m a mom, so I do this for my children, for the next generation. I think it’s very important, to even put a small effort to make this earth better for the next generation.
Ken: We believe there’s good in the world. We use that as our tagline. Any small, good deed we can do to help make the world a better place is an extension of who we are as people. We want to put people over profit. We’re going to protect you and protect your baby, and we’re going to strive to make the world a better place. Another thing we say is, “feel great about the story behind what your baby is wearing.”
What’s one takeaway for customers?
Ken: When you’re doing business with Kishu Baby, every small deed makes a difference. It’s what I teach my children. I say, you know, when they go to take a piece of plastic and put it in the garbage, I’ll tell my son, I’ll say “Caden, what if a billion people said, ‘it’s just one piece of plastic?’”
If everybody does these small deeds, the world’s going to be a much better place. That’s how we’re looking at this stuff. You know, when we say we’re planting 250 trees annually to fight global warming, people will laugh at that, but if everybody did those small things, we’d make a tremendous difference together. We just need to keep doing the best that we can do and try to make the world a better place.
How can a customer get involved with your brand?
We’re in this together
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