Victoria Thompson of Green Nippers in Barnsley
"We wanted to make a difference to the world, so the use of organic fabrics was extremely important. Using organic cotton is not only better for the whole supply chain, but for the wearer too."
Green Nippers specialise in ethically made baby and children’s clothes (0 to 5 years). Their collections are made from 100% organic cotton and certified by the Soil Association to the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS). The company currently have over 60 stockists throughout the UK, Tokyo, Italy, Finland and Estonia.
Can you give a short history of how you got to where you are now, including why and when you 'went organic'?
I graduated from university with a BA (Hons) Fashion Design with Manufacture, Marketing and Promotion degree. Following extensive research, at the age of 23, I launched Green Nippers in 2009.
Organic clothing can be perceived as quite plain, dull and lacking excitement, and we wanted to prove that you don’t have to compromise when using organic cotton and natural dyes. We have created a wonderful and lively colour palette by using 100% natural dyes, which have a low impact on the environment and are certified under GOTS.
They were many decisions which inspired me set up Green Nippers. At university I understood the importance of organic fabrics, and ethical manufacturing. I used organic and hemp fabrics, and natural dyes for my final collection in children’s wear. My first niece, Isla, is a great inspiration to me. She was born in March 2008, just before I graduated from university. She suffers from eczema, so it has been great to design fun and colourful ranges that are eczema friendly for her to wear.
What's the main benefit of being organic for you?
We wanted to make a difference to the world, so the use of organic fabrics was extremely important. Using organic cotton is not only better for the whole supply chain, but for the wearer too. For us at Green Nippers, there was no other option but to use organic cotton, knowing that conventional cotton accounts for one quarter of global pesticide use; with alarming environmental and social consequences.
Each year there are 20,000 deaths in developing countries from poisoning by agricultural pesticides used on crops. It is better for our carbon footprint to use organic cotton as organic cotton production emits around half the CO2 produced by conventional cotton production using modern methods.
Also, eczema is very common, affecting around 1 in 5 children. As organic cotton is free from nasty chemicals and pesticides, it makes it eczema friendly too.
What does the Soil Association mean to you?
Guaranteed certification that what you are buying is organic. There are so many companies who label products and label them as organic. But when you look at the label it can be as little as 2% organic! I think this is extremely misleading to customers. Having the Green Nippers products certified by the Soil Association gives our customers peace of mind that what they are buying is 100% organic.
Can you describe a typical day at work?
Responding to emails, fulfilling orders and making and receiving telephone calls. I also make sure our website is up to date and connect with our fans through social media on a regular basis.
How can we get more people to buy organic?
Making more people aware of the benefits. Online or magazine promotion can work, although I don’t think it's as effective as showing the consumer products which they can see and feel. I think retail and trade shows are great way of promoting organic, as consumers are able to feel the quality. They can tell the difference if a garment is organic or not.
How do you plan to progress in the future? What is your vision?
I will continue listening to our customers needs, and to design and develop garments which they have suggested. I would also like Green Nippers to become a more internationally known brand and gain more worldwide stockists.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
My parents, who have been in business themselves for over 35 years.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Always think positive and work hard, as hard work will pay off in the end.
What is your favourite meal?
Pizza. It’s quick and easy but not the healthiest!
What keeps you awake at night?
Wondering what excitement tomorrow will bring!
I'd like to be remembered for...
Establishing a well known baby and children’s clothing brand.
To find out more about Green Nippers, visit www.greennippers.co.uk