From sweet, vintage organic duck rattles and handmade love gnomes to organic messenger bags and nap mats for toddlers, and most recently an adorable Advent calendar, SewnNatural always delights us with their sustainably made wares for green babies and kids. Each is a true original and work of art, fashioned by a savvy mom who cares about the health and safety of children and the future of the planet. We caught up with Jen C., the heart behind SewnNatural, and asked her our five favorite questions. Click through to read more about this talented and personable designer!
1. Where did you come up with the idea to start SewnNatural?
When I was pregnant with my first child we had a difficult time finding sweatshop-free organic bedding, toys and clothing. So we started to design and make our own, determined to offer our child safe and beautiful things to play and live with. Slowly it evolved at the very end of 2008 to opening an ETSY shop, and expanding our collection of eco-friendly, sustainable alternatives for home and baby. Soon it became a small family business run by my mom and I, with my husband and daughter as advisers and product testers. We believe it’s possible to create something beautiful while making the world a little better at the same time.
2. What does ‘green’ mean to you?
Being green is a state of mind more than anything. It’s a filter through which we view what we eat, what we buy, how we live and what we make. It’s a commitment to thinking about how our decisions and actions will impact those that will live after us. Every day we figure out how to do this better, and more wisely. We try to source as much as we can locally, and use no-waste design and cutting for our pieces. Whatever scraps are created we use to make small toys and ornaments in our shop. We use upcycled vintage and organic materials as much as possible, and we design sustainably so that pieces last. And with so much of the apparel, toys, and bedding for children produced with sweatshop labor, we seek to infuse each piece with an ethical, positive impact.
3. What (toy /possession/thing) did you most cherish when you were a kid?
I loved my books, more than anything. I devoured books, and those were the first things I took with me on trips. But as soon as I tried out clay, and later spent time after school at a local potter’s studio, my favorite possessions were my pottery pieces, my clay tools and my bags of clay. Now as an adult, I’m not very attached to most of my stuff and will happily donate it. I declutter with glee. But I have some boxes of pottery tools and an old piece that I can’t seem to part with. Probably because the gazillion hours I’ve spent in a pottery studio have been some of the calmest, most centered and happiest times of all. I have to thank my mom (and SewnNatural partner) for helping to ignite the spark of creativity that is such an important part of who I am. (Photo above: Jen C., as a little girl, with her mother)
4. What three adjectives would you use to describe yourself as a tot…/as a grown-up?
As a tot: passionate, playful, smartypants… and I’d have to say they probably still all apply now that I’m a grown-up.
5. What did you want to be when you grew up? Is there a connection to what you are doing now?
According to the “My Book about Me” journal I started filling out when I was 4, I wanted to be a writer, teacher and singer. And TV star, for a brief time I suppose, because it was crossed out. I do a lot of writing these days, and it certainly helps with the social media part of the business. I also do some time writing for a local newspaper, mostly about issues relating to kids and the environment. And most of my time these days is spent on mothering, and helping my daughter discover the world, and herself. So I’m not specifically using the high school teacher training I picked up shortly before I became a mom, but I like to think we use the whole world as our classroom, and do a whole lot of singing and dancing along the way.