Tonic & Cloth

'Monday Clothes that Feel Like Sunday'

It's a Healing Thang

Jodie WoodsComment
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I lost a good friend this week. The grief is so huge it feels as though my heart is dragging down into the ground. I miss her and her lightness, her comic genius, her beautiful smile. And her ‘unbaking’. I really miss her ‘unbaking’.

We were the founding and only members of the ‘Hot Stay At Home Mumma’s Who Also Kick Ass in Business’ club, HSAHMWAKAIB if you will. I must credit my friend for the catchy acronym. 

Born out of ‘what if’ conversations our little club begat our businesses too. It was from one of our convos that I first floated the business idea that would eventually become Tonic & Cloth. AND it was during one of these conversations that she excitedly showed me a glimpse of what would become her Organic Coconut Butter business which she hoped would in turn become the foundation of a healthy yet delicious eating empire.

She’d start with Organic Coconut Butter, then a Café packed with raw vegan sweet delights, and my most favourite of her ideas the TTOTM (Pronoun: Totem) Packs. Delicious raw goodness delivered to your door at “That Time of The Month” – just as your cravings hit. A beautiful life affirming idea that so floated the boat of my beautiful life affirming friend.

Though we did intend to have many a club meeting to discuss important business type things. Of course, life got in the way - and cancer got in the way. Cancer and all its therapies are so bloody time consuming. A blinkin’ full time job, with way too much overtime, rubbish pay and zero benefits.

Anyway – indulge me if you will with my little list of what I learnt from my beautiful friend

Be positive!

Whenever I asked this gorgeous lady if she’d like to do ‘this and that’ she would say ‘If it’s in the future I’m saying yes to it!’. That lightness and positivity drew people to her and, I’m sure, made her life a happy place to be.

Turn up!

She always turned up, mostly late bless her cotton socks, but she always got there in the end, and because she did I have a tonne of brilliant ‘laugh so hard I wet my pants’ memories of her that are making this week just a little bit easier.

Take time for yourself!

My friend would prioritise ‘self care’ time. And I tell ya I’ve been signing up to this idea since she shared it with me. What a precious thing to value ourselves and our bodies enough to carve out time for them and nourish them.

Enjoy good food!

Oooo Baby this girl could ‘unbake’ – And eat! Somehow I must get my hands on her incredible raw recipe creations that honoured ones taste buds as well as one’s body– genius!

I’ve also learnt a little something about myself over the past weeks and days. Sewing for me is a therapeutic ‘thang’. It nourishes my soul.

As the needle passes through the fabric it pulls from me splinters of grief, leaving my heart just a little lighter. Each stitch created reminds me that good, beautiful, big things can be created from the almost visible.

The gentle rhythm of creating restores cadence to my heartbeat. First draw, now cut, then pin, now stitch, press and check. Now breathe.

It’s beautiful, medicinal, healing. It’s a way through the un-signposted byways of grief.

It is a blessing to get lost in a ’thang’. We all have our own thang and we must practice it - so that we can tend to our souls at wretched times such as these. When we are reminded of the fragility and preciousness of life and when we lose beloved members of our little clubs.

‘HSAHMWAKAIB Forever!’

Thanks for listening …..

A Wonder Woman Wardrobe

Jodie WoodsComment
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Blessings upon blessings we are travelling back to the UK over the next few weeks to see family and friends for the first time in many many years. But before we reach our snowy white Christmas we're having a sneaky few days in Thailand. An unbelievable and unexpected treat which we are soaking up with reckless abandon.

 

I don't know what it's like at your house but I'm telling you, the beautiful simplicity of an uninterrupted conversation with my husband is a rare treat, and we've had at least three since we arrived.

Three glorious uninterrupted conversations.

Yes.

Three.

And I dare say it may happen a few more times before we leave. That's the beauty of being in the same place, both awake, neither stressed, while the kids are happily entertained by general happy holiday-ness. Hallelujah.

 

Also, it's been  five days since I've cooked. Longer since I've done any washing. And every time I return after the cleaner has 'made up my room' I dance a little jig in the doorway before I enter. Thanking the hotel gods for the blessing of a clean room. It's like being a kid again. Leaving for school In the morning with your room a disaster zone, your floor covered in washing, half drunk cups of water at your bedside table. Then returning in the afternoon, post mothers touch to a thing of beauty, your room straightened into order with well practiced hands.

 

Anyway before I make you all thoroughly sick with talk of my cooking/cleaning fast, and my spousal conversations let me share with you this strange nawing anxiety I've been experiencing. It's taken me a while to work out where it's come from. But I'll try and explain without sounding like I've completely taken leave of my senses.

 

It's to do with my holiday wardrobe. We all do it, right? And probably with good reason. I'm sure pop psychology backs up our practice of donning our parallel universe wardrobe. All those bright colours and flirty cuts probably release endorphins of epic proportions to help get us into the holiday mood. I'm wearing mine right now. Fruity floral tropical prints. Bright colours jutted up against bright colours with great swathes of missing fabric revealing unprepared and awkwardly surprised skin.

 

But rather than experiencing a rush of endorphins I feel lost and uncomfortable. Without my linen dresses, my organic cotton jeans, and my slightly geeky a little edgy oversized 'this and that' I feel as though I can't breathe. Flitting about in flirty tropical onesies and attempting to relax as I suck in my bare tummy poolside is simply not fun or endorphin inducing. Frankly, it's stressing me out.

 

I didn't realise how awkward and strange I was feeling in my holiday wardrobe until today when I spotted this rather fabulous looking lady, with not a sarong or a fluro floral sheath thrown over her togs, but an oversized white and blue striped shirt with crisp collar and cuff and shaped hem that finished graciously at mid thigh.

 

How had she known to do such a thing! Not only was she looking effortlessly sassy poolside- she wouldn't be caught unprepared post flight home to a European winter with that 'I fell asleep in the sun' shade of red at her shoulders and ludicrously inappropriate tropical sundress. No, part way through said flight she could zip to the loo, shimmy on some dark skinny denim to really make that crisp striped shirt pop. Oooo la la, a piece of chunky hand knit at her neck and boom - she'd be ready for landing - not looking like the rest of us sunburnt knobs returning from our trip to Thailand.

 

I actually let out a sigh of approval as I watched her sashay past. And a lightbulb went on in my head. Yes, that's what I needed to restore equilibrium and quell my anxious tummy. I needed my actual wardrobe, not holiday Jodie wardrobe. I needed my oversized linen smock dress in ochre hues, my forest green linen trousers with the serious waistband and uncompromising pleats, oh goodness gracious me how I wished I had packed my geeky brogue sandals.

 

And then it dawned on me. I had packed something that would do the 'it's okay, you're still you, and you're the bee's bloody knees' trick. For the next decidedly colder stage of our journey I had packed my truly awesome Tonic & Cloth oversized white mens shirt. A Holi Boli masterpiece I had planned to wear in the U.K. -merino and denim under, jacket and mustard hand knitted cowl over. But 'O' joy of joys it would be perfect for Thailand. Thrown over togs, or worn at breakfast as I piled my bowl high with tropical fruit. I could be poolside appropriate, and yet still me. And I could do as I imagined that fabulous lady by the pool doing. Boarding the flight from Bangkok to London with a wisp of crisp white shirt - then achieving a Wonder Woman transformation before descent into snowy London. Now that's what I call a holiday wardrobe! And that's what I call style without compromise. 

Polishing People and Prose

Jodie WoodsComment
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This is my ode to Kara - the lady who makes words look pretty. She is an artist with them. Crafting them out of the paper, as a statue from stone. It really floats my boat this business of graphic design. Mostly because I. CANNOT. DO. IT. But also because there is a rags to riches, wheat from the chaff, beauty for ashes element to it -

I send her my lump of word-clay and she articulates it, smooths it, adds form and beauty to the function. I fumble my instructions 'make it look pretty' and she masterfully interprets detail from my fumbling into colours, font, shape, alignments. It's genius, nothing less.

Sometimes I send her my 'mock ups', my feeble attempts at a spot of graphic design, and I imagine her chuckling quietly to herself - 'oh Jodie, ye of little Graphic design talent' as she deftly waves her mouse across the screen, clicking on a touch of 'annabelle' or 'blackjack' (those are font names, don't you know), a little antique gold here, a resize and fade there, knowing when to leave room for 'bleed', and when to add crop marks....

Kara is a leader, a guider, a restorer, she takes that which does not exist - and makes it so it does - or makes it better than it was. Those superpowers make her great at graphic design but they also make her a great human. She sees the gold through all that mud and detritus and she makes a beeline for it. When away from the screen, and sometimes with screen in tow she is a youth leader, and a sort of inspirational guide for woman who are not as far along the path as she. She takes them as she takes my word-clay,  she calls their gold out from the mud and mire - and then she sloughs away the unneeded hindrances and 'not quite there yets' and reveals to them their beauty.

As she does with my words, so she does with these young woman - and it's powerful stuff.

You'll see Kara's work everywhere the more you get to know Tonic & Cloth. The most obvious for now is the logo, that's all Kara. Those of you who buy from the website over the coming months, or from boutiques next year will catch sight of the postcard she designed and brought to life - it is stunning. Soon I hope there will be a lookbook, and Kara's talent and vision will be plastered all over it. But in less overt ways Kara's hand is on and in this business. Because like those young women under her wing - I am inspired and enticed onward by the way she uses her superpowers for good to elevate and polish those people (and prose) around her. And as you take in the Kara's graphic design lovingly bestowed upon Tonic & Cloth I hope you'll be inspired too.

 

From Peddle Power to Superpower.....

Jodie WoodsComment
 Ana on a fabric sampling trip for Tonic & Cloth

Ana on a fabric sampling trip for Tonic & Cloth

When I first met Ana, I was on a mission to find a sustainable factory in India with empowering women at it's heart. Through a friend of a friend and an acquaintance of an acquaintance - and several months of emails we finally sat together in a sun drenched Hawkes Bay cafe. She was on a two month visit back in her Aotearoa - having moved to India 8 years earlier with her hubby and three kids. With smiling face she tells me, "it was the food, we've always loved Indian food". But this comment, peppered with a warm giggle belies the bigness of her heart, and the deep seated yearning she had had to immerse herself and her family into Indian culture - so that she could watch and learn from those around her.

It is with deep reverence that she shares with me her India stories.  Her heart both heavy and full in the same breath. She tells stories of peppy female ingenuity muscle-ling bravely against need.  She talks of hardships and victories.  She talks of growth and change - the bigness and slowness of it in a country often bound together by tricky paper trails, a mail system that only sometimes works, and a pedantic power grid with a mind of its own.

She and her family had found themselves in the small community of Bhalupali.  As the family settled into daily routines she ached to give back to the people she had so much humble respect for - and so she did. Giving back for Ana meant using what she knew. She calls it her passion, I call it her superpower.

Ana trained in pattern making and design at The Design and Arts College of New Zealand in the 1990's - although her love of sewing hadn't started then, but years earlier in a powerless rain forest with a peddle machine. She couldn't have asked for better training in that rain forest. The training centre and workroom she now runs in Bhalupali is also often without power - peddle machines are status quo -

With these skills, passion, experience and a BIG heart Ana saw and met a need for local women, who so often do not have a separate identity from that of their husbands and fathers. That means no identity card, no opportunity to even have a power account in their name, and no authority in pivotal decisions for their children. Being trained in a marketable skill, and even better, being employed using that skill is a game changer for Ana's local women. They wear their 'employed' status with pride. They have a say in how their money is used in family finances - being able to feed their children how they choose to, to buy shoes for them and send them to school. Gradually they develop a sense that they are valued, that it matters what happens to them, they discover a voice they didn't know they were allowed to have.

Ana has so far trained 200 women and employed seven. And I want to see that number grow.

That's why for Summer 18 Ana and I are teaming up to make 'tailored comfort and style without compromise'. Ana is already working on the patterns for the project, and soon her savvy team on their suite of peddle powered machines will be knocking out samples to their signature high standard - and I can't wait to see the result - not just in beautiful clothes you will love to wear - but in lives changed for our locals on the other side of the world.

Find out more about HoliBoli here - https://www.holiboli.com/pages/about-us

 

 

 

Constraint and Creative Solutions

Jodie WoodsComment
 Artist's impression of our kiwi Marie Kondo - thanks Emily Rostran

Artist's impression of our kiwi Marie Kondo - thanks Emily Rostran

You may disagree with me, but I think we do better when we have less to work with. Sounds a little depressing and utilitarian, but let me try and explain myself.

For me, my most major of constraints has been chronic illness. It can really put a dampener on doing things with finesse. When you're thinking about what to wear in the morning - you're thinking track pant level - not corporate wear. The thought of slapping more than a little moisturizer on your mug is vertigo inducing, foundation and lippie seem like heights insurmountable. Chronic illness can seem a reason not to do things at all - but I like to think of it as an invitation to do things a little differently.

I realized pretty quickly that if I was going to build my business while my wonky body had other ideas, something had to give. And what better thing to give up than cleaning (I hear an army of housewives and househusbands rejoice with me!). So now on a regular basis a beautiful friend of mine comes to clean. It lifts an enormous load from me, and as she says she 'gets a break from her kids' and er, cleaning her house?

This friend of mine is a genius when it comes to cleaning and organizing. She is our kiwi Marie Kondo. Cleaning is one of her many strengths and therefore a breeze. Her house is immaculate. The wooden floors swept clean and toy-less, dust and spilled orange juice are are evicted before they have a chance to meet the neighbors, her cushions sit neatly on her sofa in Pinterest level arrangements. She has a weekly date with her lounge for furniture re-arrangement, the date treated as sacred 'me' time akin to a fitness session at a swanky Pilates studio. She gets all 'zen' on it. Feng shui'ing that furniture until her man comes home from looking after the cows. Genuinely, her house is something to behold.

Then hallelujah of hallelujahs once a fortnight that sweet sweet friend brings her high level, high impact, cleaning energy to me. On that day she is my Berocca, my Organic Spiralina Powder, my 6 Gluten Free Weetbix.  She is my energy, and it changes me. It brings me back my potential.

She operates from her genius zone - so that I have the energy to find mine.

And I gotta say,  in this and in many other areas of my life the unexpected outcome of constraints is that by finding a creative way through the 'I can't do this' the outcome is so much more beautiful and symbiotic than if the constraint had not been there in the first place.

It's true in business too. The constraint of chronic illness keeping me from doing it all myself - has led me to 'meet the masters' - pattern makers, machinists, graphic designers and many more - who are inspiring balls of energy, skill and experience in their own little kingdoms. Over the next few weeks I hope to share with you a little about these incredible people whose superpowers are as varied as they are impressive. Prepare to be inspired!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Decisions...Imperfectly

Jodie Woods

My five year old loves to dance. She does it absolutely imperfectly but with enough joy and faith in herself it fills the kitchen to overflowing. When she makes a mistake she makes it part of the dance, acts like it was meant to be there, fully owns it. Her believing that the dance was meant to be that way, makes her adoring audience believe it too.

There's a life lesson in there somewhere.

I'm a bit of a perfectionist, which is tough for someone so far from perfection. Little things annoy me. The creams and potions of my medicine cabinet are all without lids. I'm not sure how this happens or where they go. But they're not there and it makes my skin crawl.

I clean in fits and starts, wanting for my house to be pulled up to perfection so badly I tear through my Eco sprays with reckless abandon, but it never quite gets there. I like my white t-shirts white - so I soak them in laundry soaker, returning days later to a forgotten bucket of grimy liquid and fabric that has not withstood the 5 day soak in super harsh chemicals.

My handbag is another battlefield for perfection. I aim for neatly organized individual bags within. One for make up, another for helpful kiddie things like wet wipes and tissues, then pens and a notepad in a separate pocket. Yesterday I put my hand in hoping to pull out the 'kiddie bag' and instead plunged my finger into a rotting mandarin. Yes, a rotting mandarin - in my handbag.

My attempts at perfection end in a series of epic fails.

This love affair with 'the idea' of perfection froze me when I first started the business. I lost months atrophied by my fear of making an imperfect decision.

It started with the name. There's so much in a name I wanted it to be, well, perfect. (For more on this see Girlboss Season 1 Episode 3!). I drove my family crazy with the to and fro. I doodled in my journal endlessly, trying out the rhythm of names as they fell off my tongue and on to the page. There were family inspired names like 'Keijser & Co.', there was 'Restyle' - get it? No? Fair enough. There was 'Tonic Textiles', 'BodyBalm', 'Panacea'. Nothing seemed quite right, quite 'perfect' enough. Subsequent attempts at perfection were thwarted by others who had got there first. I was desperate to use 'Bodytonic', but the Companies Office informed me it was unavailable. On and on I went. Weeks past.

This quest for perfection is like chasing a mirage in a desert. It's seductive and alluring, calling you to her, drawing you in. But it's allusive, it's not real - and chasing it will leave you exhausted and lost, wasting energy on its pointless pursuit. Or at least that's what it did to me.

Eventually I realized I had to make a decision, any decision, a perfect one was not necessary. Just one that unlocked my atrophied limbs and moved me toward the goal of building a business. And if I made a mistake, if the name like my attempts at house cleaning, was an epic fail then nevermind. I'd just take a leaf out of the book of my precious girl, and keep dancing, acting like that was just the way I intended it to be.

Funnily enough, while I didn't get my 'perfect' name. I think 'Tonic & Cloth' is an excellent fit - it's a name that has set the tone and direction for the brand, and one that somehow is growing with us. And therein is the lesson for me. To stop seeking perfection and instead aim for excellence. Excellence as opposed to perfection nullifies expectation, it's deliciously attainable and rewarding, it doesn't admonish or criticize or tear down as perfection's quest does - instead its hopeful attitude keeps you dancing.

Just a Little Bit Gammy

Jodie WoodsComment

There's something to be said for a moderate level of gaminess. It has an endearing quality. Think Cindy Crawford's mole, or David Beckham's gnarly recognizable vocals. Me? I knit gammy (or so I have been informed). Admittedly that's not my only gammy trait, but one that connects me to my heritage - so I'll wear it proud.

Apparently my gammy knitting has all to do with the kack-handed way I hold the yarn and then twist it around the needle. To the graceful knitter watching me clickety clack is terribly unappealing. But, I have it on good authority that I produce a beautiful stitch uncannily like that of my great grandmother (Oma). And that my friends, is the highest of compliments. She, was the master.

The where and when and why of her knitting were so very different from mine. She knitted through the icy European winters of World Wars and depressions. I imagine her scrounging for wool, undoing old jumpers to make new. Her skill increasing not by watching Youtube tutorials or downloading the latest patterns from 'Wool and the Gang' - but by knitting in the near dark of candlelit blackouts. She blocked out hunger pains of postwar famines by learning new stitches - her needles dancing in complicated rhythms - smashing out near perfect lacework before the wick ran out of wax.  There was no leisure or fun about it, it was survival. The family needed warmth. She knitted. She got them through. 

For me it's this connection to the past and to family that makes crafts so beguiling. While spending Saturday afternoons perusing 'Miss Maude Sewing', or considering the attributes of yet another box of 'Merchant and Mills' pins holds oodles of pleasure in and of itself. What is even more wonderful is feeling the closeness of my Oma as I knit, imagining her knobbly hands, hearing the gutteral tones of her Dutch - knit one purl one - the smell of dark chocolate, strong coffee, almonds and 4711...

When I sew it's different. That's my time with Oma's daughter, Nana. The smell of coffee replaced with cigarette smoke, and sweet strong black tea.  As knitting was survival for Oma, so was sewing for Nana. It gave her the wherewithal to immigrate from Holland to New Zealand in 1957. Armed with the skill of it she knew she could make it here. It insulated her somehow. Acted as padding between her and the bumpy unknown of a new life in a foreign country. Bolstered with the familiar language of darts, pin tucks and blind hems the foreign Kiwi tongue wouldn't set her asunder. Her and Grandad arrived with nothing. They built their own house from scratch while living in powerless army huts. Grandad powered a generator by peddling a stationary bike, so that Nana could sew. He, peddling madly - she, with perculiar pursed lips full of determination. Together they powered that sewing machine forward into a future they hoped would be easier for their children and grandchildren. 

And it is. This generation of our family has the privilege and joy of knitting and sewing for pleasure. Free from the constraints of keeping a family alive, or starting a new life in parts unknown, we enjoy what we have been taught - pleasure for pleasures sake. A privilege that would have astounded Oma.

Nana passed her sewing skills, her determination and those perculiar pursed lips first to my mother and then to me. That's how I sew now. Though I don't require the wherewithal my Nana did - I still must purse my lips. There is no sewing otherwise. It was a combo deal. The skill part and parcel with those pursed lips - that some might call just a little bit gammy.

 

Lipstick and a Brave Face

Jodie WoodsComment

People frequently describe a fledgling business venture like a new born baby. The delight and terror and uncharted territory all rolled into one sleepless thrill ride.  For me it is the terror that rings most true.

I started my business in February of this year. Since then three days a week I have donned work attire, lipstick, heels and a brave face - and walked from my kitchen to my home office (about 5 or 6 steps). There is no tricky commute or bully boss - there is nothing stress inducing to speak of. And yet each time I reach the office door my heart squeezes against my rib-cage and the ringing in my ears reaches fever pitch.  Every past, close or real call with failure swirls around me in a cacophony of  'you're not good enough', 'you're too young', 'too old', 'too sick', 'too stupid', 'YOU. WILL. FAIL'. A chorus so loud and so fervent it disorientates and exhausts me.

Ridiculous really. In the beginning no-one, bar a select few, even knew of my plans to launch gingerly into the entrepreneurial world. These defeatist feelings have nothing to do with others expectations - and everything to do with my own. Until I stepped out of my comfort zone, I had no idea they were even there.

As part of my degree I did this wonderful creative writing paper. In one of the modules the guest speaker and published author took us through the most commonly used story line in novels and movies - and it struck me the story line she spoke of drew strong parallels with life itself. She talked about the protagonist reaching out toward an ultimate goal, one we are all gunning for her to reach, but alas, between her and this goal are 'gatekeepers' to throw her off course. Why? well it makes for an excellent story, doesn't it? But in real life, it just sucks.

I've  kept on with the lipstick and heels in the office thing for months. Working at a snails pace, focusing most of my energy on fighting off negative self talk, dodging gatekeeper bullets as I researched, played hide and seek with them as I found suppliers, then most satisfyingly I gave those gateway keepers 'the middle finger' when I finally secured start up cash. 

It's funny what happens when you just keep turning up. Doing the hard thing. The uncomfortable thing. The stare all my weaknesses in the face everyday thing. It. Gets. Easier.

Then this week, I had a light bulb moment. Actually, not true. I reached down into my beat up old bag of light bulb moments and I pulled out an old one - dusted it off and took a good hard look at it. I realized that to do this, and not just do it, but enjoy it, I needed something that shouted louder than that negative cacophony - a vision bigger and more compelling. A vision not about me and my success or failure  - but one about lives being changed. I want women here in New Zealand and Australia to feel beautiful and confident no matter what they face each day. And I want women in a tiny town in India to be able to to go to work today, be part of a team, use their hands to create something good and lasting and incredible - and play a part in putting a smile on the face of a woman in pain over here. There's something beautifully symbiotic about that vision. It's lasting. And more importantly it's loud. 

I'm arming myself with that today - lipstick on, vision on. Let's do this.

(Organic) Seeds of Change

Jodie WoodsComment

I’m no Eco warrior. I’m open and interested, but I’ve failed more times than I’ve succeeded. My compost bin got off to a flourishing start until hubby moved it to mow the lawns – it’s been in pieces since then. I can’t work out how to click it back together. And then there was the worm farm/massacre of 2015, need I say more. I learn at a snails pace. The seeds of change grow slow in me; at times dying off in harsh, drought-like conditions before they even sprout.

The first time I came across organic cotton I was in London on my big OE – drawn into an exhibition up a tiny side street. Some hopeful looking punters were trying to spread the word about the merits of organic cotton. Their enthusiasm was somewhat lost on me. Why, I wondered, would I invest in an organic cotton t-shirt, I mean – it wasn’t like I was going to eat it. In my twenties and on a nanny's wage I could barely get my head around paying significantly more for organic produce. The thought of spending hard earned cash on organic clothing was a hard sell.

The organic cotton seed had unfortunately fallen on stony ground with me.

Later I moved back to NZ. This time settling in a small town where I met an incredible bunch of people who grew their own veges, made their own skincare products and drank raw milk. I was fascinated. Watching and learning from them got my brain ticking again about that organic lot in London.

I too started growing my own veges. The process began to speak to me. If I was going to put this stuff in my mouth at the end of the growing season I wanted to make sure it was safe. If I was going to go to all this effort I wanted to make sure I was growing the best. So I started with organic soil and organic seeds – I added sunshine, water and time – next thing I knew I was eating what I’d grown a few steps from my front door, from soil and seeds I trusted.

When I became pregnant with my first child, niggly periphery concerns took centre stage. I’d read a study talking about the chemicals found in breast milk. It made me recall once again that day in London, and the enthusiasm of the organic cotton proponents. Maybe they were making a fair point, maybe there was something to this organic cotton malarkey after all. Maybe it did indeed matter what we put close to our skin. And more than that, certainly it mattered what the cotton farmers were touching, inhaling, and bringing home with them on their skin at night.

It wasn’t until last year that I switched once and for all to organic cotton underwear. I mean, if you’re going to start somewhere it might as well be around the important bits! And this week I bought my first piece of organic denim, the jeans are halfway finished and I’m excited. My theory is - switch high use items first, and surely there is nothing higher use than underwear and jeans!

While it’s taken me time to get my head around this organic thing in my personal life. In business it will be much faster. It needs to be. The stakes are high. The flow on effects of each decision far reaching. What that little London exhibition was trying to say is true - cotton growing is chemically intensive. These enormously toxic chemicals have an undeniable impact on air, water, soil, and the health of people.

The impact is real, it’s personal.

This is not about creating an 'eco-brand'. This is about, wherever possible, making good decisions for my family and my business that will flow on to the planet. I don’t want Tonic & Cloth to simply add to the frenetic milieu of fast fashion. I want to listen, and be fertile soil for seeds of positive change - if there is a way to do things better, then I want to know how.

So that’s why this week I have an organic bee in my bonnet - I’m hunting out organic cotton manufacturers for Tonic & Cloth’s Summer collection. And I hope I find what I am looking for. Wish. Me. Luck!

 

 

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