Okay ladies, you’re going to want to get comfy and nestle in to read this ‘Hey Mama’. Jannine is totally a hidden gem of Byron Bay. She is a complete innovator and an environmental warrior.
Jannine is the creator of Nature’s Child, the first EVER Australian online organic baby shop. She launched a kids business online before Big Cartel, Etsy, Facebook and yes before Instagram!! She is also incredibly adaptive, she has allowed her business to grow and adapt to all these technologies to keep up with growing online demand.
But she doesn’t just run an online shop. She runs workshops and takes pride in teaching mamas how to find the best, safest, most environmentally friendly products for their babies. Jannine does not place herself at front and center of her business, instead she lets the products speak for themselves, however I truly believe that the success of Nature’s Child is because of her unwavering dedication to mother earth and the mothers on this earth.
We are so blessed to have women like Jannine in our colourful community. She has paved the way so our generations could easily access products that are safe for our babies and kind to our environment. Well done Jannine, you are a bloody trail blazer mama!
For more information about Nature’s Child go to www.natureschild.com.au
Tell us about your little ones:
My little ones are now big ones! Nelson is almost 20 and studying computers in Melbourne and Harper is almost 18 sitting the HSC this week. I still carry photos of them in my wallet of them as babies though which they think is hilarious. They have both worked at Nature’s Child over the years and are proud to know that they were my inspiration to start the business.
Nelson was my cloth nappy model of every brand possible and Harper was the first baby ever in a hugabub when we invented it here in Byron Bay in 1998 so they think that’s pretty cool. I still feel like I’m juggling business and kids as they always need you, right into adulthood and very much so in the teenage years.What are your passions?
Right now, you can’t keep me out of the bush. I am bush walking everywhere I can, every weekend that I can. Walking is this crazy addiction right now. I’m also at the beach most days. Walking is just the most wonderful way to meditate, to be with friends, keep fit and most importantly to immerse myself in nature.
I’m also a huge fan of local music so you can often see me at a festival or album launch. I’m famous for my high tea parties and I’m a recent convert of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. Business is a huge passion for me, creating your own living from your own ethics and dreams. I coach a few local business people which is a total honor and privilege. I love watching others succeed. Its a lovely place to be after being in business myself for 20 yrs.
What do you see as your soul purpose and how are you pursuing that?
My soul purpose is to love our mother earth and to support mums and dads to make the changes needed to live at one with our environment. It is really clear for me. I have this intrinsic belief that all our souls and bodies want to live in alignment with our environment and optimum health. No one exists without our environment, so it is in all our best interests to protect it.
My favorite saying has always been “if nothing changes, nothing changes”. I watch our world in this climate change era and see young parents embracing parenthood with total joy and slight fear, wondering if they can be the role models they want to be. I love to walk beside them and show them it is easy, it is possible to challenge yourself for better health and a better relationships with each other and with our environment.
If you choose fair trade and organic, no human will suffer to provide you with products. It’s that simple. We all use products. Everyone. Every Day. Products cannot be made without natural resources – ever! So this means that you can CHANGE THE WORLD, ONE PURCHASE AT A TIME. You can be a powerful environmental activist simply by being aware of what you buy and how much you buy.
It is not about being perfect. It’s about catching yourself out and having your own awareness when eating or buying the “wrong” thing. Just recognizing it is the first step. Looking around at the products you have and asking, “Is this harming our ecosystem?” Then don’t buy it once it’s finished and start researching what you will get next. If you are not sure, ask for help. When you buy for your baby, ask a simple question, does this product support a good future environment for my child? You CAN get Cute and Pure in the same product, you just have to check out our entire range of skincare, clothes, toys and nappies to know this is true! (small plug LOL )
Nature’s Child organic brand embraces fair trade manufacturing and has independent international certification to qualify our organic claims. I’m really proud knowing that I make my living from products where no person, animal or ecosystem has been harmed in the chain of international manufacturing. That’s my job, to make it easy for parents to buy ethically made products that they need for their babies.
What do you love about helping other mums and their bubs?
After years of feeling like I’ve been pushing shit up hill trying to educate everyone about organic and fair trade, it finally feels like there is a natural flow and awareness of this generation of parents. So when answering your question today compared to 15yrs ago, its just so much more joyful. At our ‘Cloth Nappy’ and ‘Eco Parenting’ workshops I can see the relief on parents faces, as they learn that it will be easy to live eco-friendly and this gives me satisfaction beyond explanation.What do you love about Byron bay?
I am bursting with gratitude that I get to live in this amazing Byron shire. The physical beauty of Byron Bay hits me every day. Politically, its a very dynamic place where active voices are in constant pursuit of change. Culturally, we are blessed with amazing festivals, night life and spiritual events without having to travel far.
I’m proud to live in a town where our relationship with our local indigenous elders and families is healthier than most Australian towns. The Bundjalung Arakwal Aboriginal Corporation was established one year after we arrive in Byron bay, in 1996 and the 2001 land use agreement was a landmark agreement in Australia. It won an international award acknowledging the agreement and the conservation and protection of country. This makes me proud.
I love that every single one of our local primary and secondary schools has some form of permaculture or garden program. Our kids are growing up knowing this is a normal part of life, to grow food and connect with our community. We all swim and eat next to some of the most creative and intelligent minds of our country as we all get used to brushing shoulders with celebrities and academics. Our local markets are the best in the country, our business community is innovative and the birthing support in this shire is superior in quality and quantity.
Tell us a little about how you first started nature’s child 15 years ago.
I cut my teeth in business when I created the ‘Hugabub’ baby carrier in 1998 with Suzanne Shahar, but my desire for more products was too strong so I walked away from Hugabub to start Nature’s Child on 1 July, 2000.
I had one broken shelf in my lounge room with a few products on it (its all I could afford) and would invite parents around for tea parties. I wasn’t ready to be on my own in business with 2 young children under 3 at home so I got together with a friend and we set up a mail order catalog. (Queue laughter…) Yes, pre-internet people! It was purple and white and was 12 pages. We had 14 products. Only one was organic. Only I would start an organic baby store with the belief that the products would come one day! They just did not exist then.Somehow we had a mailing list of 300 people. We had about $120 between us which I think paid for the printing and some stamps to post it out. We still owed money to the graphic designer but we made enough sales to cover our costs, pay for the products we purchased and kept a small profit.
Michelle my business partner had to leave the shire soon after that so I had to embrace the notion that this was just me. It was 2001 and my husband was a full time student. I was on parenting allowance and I was young enough and believed enough crazy business books that I could start something from nothing. So I did. But it was a long road to success. We moved around 3 rental properties in 3 yrs and the business came with me every time. We went from a small shelf in one house. To a big shelf in a second house. To a whole room in the third house and I opened 2 days a week to the public. It was such an exciting time. I’m still friends or acquaintances to this day with some of my very first customers who still love to bump into me and remind me of my garage shop!
I made a commitment that I would not work full time until my youngest was 5 so that’s what I did. In 2001 we started working on our first website. A friend up from Sydney would visit my house and build the site in my home office for us. I remember having the odd $20 or $50 sometimes (woo hoo!) to pay him so it was built at the pace of cash that I made from small sales every week. I still remember that very first internet sale. It was the most exciting moment in the world. It was a pair of hemp sheets and the customer was from WA and I was jumping around the room.
It would be 4 yrs from the day I started before I brought home an income but during that time, from humble beginnings, we built up a product range, a successful website in the very early days of the internet shopping and established a full time shop, wholesale business and warehouse in the Byron bay industrial estate.
Time of course is the big one. You have to get really good at picking 3 things off a list of 20 things that all seem important. Do those 3 things first. It may be all you get to do that day. The whole list will never get done so just accept that really early on. Otherwise you will burn out.
How do you define success?
- Creating a sustainable income that ensures no harm comes to others and only provides benefits to my customers
- Being fit and healthy
- Having a great holiday twice or more a year
- Living in alignment to my soul purpose
- Having a happy, healthy family
- Having other business owners approach me for advice and teaching
Every single mum that starts a business inspires me because I know what they are risking. It takes such courage and sacrifice to be an entrepreneur but it is the most satisfying path to take. The mamapreneur life is the best personal development course you can ever take. Just don’t try it alone, get a mentor or team of fellow journeyers around you for support.
Where did your entrepreneurial spirit come from?
Oh gosh knows! I guess I have always been so independent, even as a young child. I never dealt well with authority or could never comfortably do anything I did not believe in. I think these qualities alone made me destined to be my own boss. I spent a lot of years as an activist and volunteering in my early twenties so I always joked that this prepared me well for the low income when you first start your own business.
What advice do you have for other mamapreneurs?
Watch your adrenals! No matter how busy you get, that morning walk and weekly yoga class is literally keeping you in balance so don’t compromise it. Stress is the biggest problem for a mamapreneur so get a good naturopath and masseur who will get to know you and your limits.
Apart from that, get into batch cooking so you can pull meals out of the freezer, have regular family picnic nights at the beach, park or bush. Go with the flow of your kids while still having some strict boundaries. Make Good Friends and share the load with each other. Go camping with your family twice a year – Immersing yourself in nature is the quickest way to reduce stress.
A good bath and an early night. It will all be different tomorrow.
Head to the Nature’s Child website here, the Facebook here and the Instagram here. Also, if you are a Byron local all you have to do is put your postal address in at check out and your shipping cost will be automatically discounted to only $5.95.
Stay tuned for another sweet discount coming your way thanks to Nature’s Child and Mama + Me!