Heidi Crawford and Claudine Sinnett of Organic Monkey in Brighton
"I love formulating and creating products that really benefit babies' skin, knowing that all the ingredients are beneficial and the best quality they can be."
Organic Monkey is a new range of organic, Fairtrade skincare created specifically for babies' delicate and sensitive skin. All of Organic Monkey's products are certified organic by the Soil Association, and it is the first and only baby skincare company to receive certification from the Fairtrade Foundation. As well as receiving positive feedback from their customers, Organic Monkey have won the Green Familia annual award for 'Best Products' in their Baby and Kids category.
Can you give a short history of how you got to where you are now, including why and when you 'went organic'?
We set Organic Monkey up a year ago after identifying a gap in the market for a truly organic range of baby skin care products. It was important to us from the start that we sourced both organic and Fairtrade ingredients to guarantee the purest, best quality products for the newest and most sensitive of skins, whilst also having a respect for nature and respectful partnerships with the farmers that produce the raw ingredients and throughout the supply chain.
Organic principles - why do they matter?
We know that parents want the best for their babies. Research has shown that we can absorb up to 60% of what we put onto our skin into our bloodstream and we have been incredibly shocked and surprised to see the amount of chemicals and potentially harmful ingredients that are used in baby skin care products, especially those from trusted brands that we naively believed to be safe and pure. Thoroughly checking and reading the labels really opened our eyes and inspired us to produce a range of baby skin care products that would only have beneficial, natural properties so we are committed to sourcing the purest, organic ingredients that we can find.
What does the Soil Association mean to you?
We have recognised the importance of certifying our products to assure our customers that we are serious about producing truly organic baby skincare. All of our products are certified by the Soil Association which means that they comply with strict rules set at UK, European and international levels. These rules assure our consumers that they are buying genuinely organic products that can be fully traceable back to the farm.
Can you describe a typical day at work?
There is no such thing as a typical day for us. We are both working mums with three small boys between us so the main issue is trying to fit a full working week into three days and evenings, juggling childcare, company deadlines and planning your diary weeks ahead whilst also running a home. We can be making a batch of products in the morning or working our way through a sales call list and then being pirates looking for treasure on the beach in the afternoon.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love formulating and creating products that really benefit babies' skin, knowing that all the ingredients are beneficial and the best quality they can be. The great feedback and reviews we have received from customers and testers too makes all the hard work worth it. We are also able to adapt our working day around our children so although it frequently means we are still at our computers at 10pm it means that we are able to be there to watch our children grow up and have the flexibility to work during hours that suit our families. Being your own boss and working from the dining room table is also very liberating.
How do you plan to progress in the future? What is your vision?
Our vision is to educate more parents about the benefits of using organic skincare for their babies as well as making our products more accessible to more people. We are focused on increasing our number of stockists this year both in the UK and overseas as well as looking to secure a contract with a major retailer. We are also launching an organic body wash and skin balm this autumn to add to our existing range.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
To believe in yourself. We both have come from different backgrounds and different work experiences but when we came together to create Organic Monkey we both knew in our hearts that there was a market for a truly organic baby skincare range and we could make it work. That belief in ourselves and our products really made it all happen and we haven’t looked back. As Anatole France said, "To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe".
When were you happiest?
Spending quality with our families. Grabbing a good coffee and running about on the beach in Brighton with our children and husbands is the perfect way to spend a morning. Family is very important to both of us so that quality time together is very special.
Business wise, getting fantastic feedback from the judging panel of the Metro's Venture Candy new business competition was a real highlight. Jo Malone was the head judge and hearing someone so inspirational and successful say that she liked our products was a wonderful feeling. We were on a high for days afterwards.
What would be your 'Desert Island' luxury?
It would definitely be our Bumfluff Nappy balm, even if the kids weren't with us. We use our nappy balm as a skin balm for us too for dry bits, sore bits, as a lip balm and even as an alternative to our face cream on an overnight flight! A perfect lifesaver for us mums.
What keeps you awake at night?
Worrying about how to manage our time as there are not enough days in the week... Juggling our family and work commitments is not easy in the first few years of setting up your own business, especially as we both have young children. Every day is a work-life balancing act. We also both keep a pad of paper and a pen by the side of our beds so that if we think of a good idea or remember something that we need to do, we can write it down and know that it won't be forgotten by the morning.
I'd like to be remembered for...
Organic Monkey of course! We'd like to be remembered for being leaders in our field and as well as being the first baby skincare company to be awarded certification from the Fairtrade Foundation we want to continue to push boundaries in the organic and Fairtrade baby skincare market. We would also like to be remembered for our contribution towards educating parents about the importance and benefits of organic skincare.
To find out more about Organic Monkey visit www.organicmonkey.co.uk