06 September 2016
B&S meets...Bebe Bombom
Last season, Bebe Bombom showcased its debut collection at Bubble London - and now, we can confirm that the sustainable babywear brand will be returning in January 2017! We asked founder Johanna Sanchez de Mawkin what it takes to launch a truly ethical label...
Hi Johanna! Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
I am mum to a beautiful two year old baby girl, Sophia. Originally from Latin America, I moved to London 6 years ago when I married my husband.
I have a background in international trade, and have always been concerned about the impact business can have on the lives of people and communities. This has been really helpful in the process of establishing Bebe Bombom, and finding the right suppliers and partners for the label.
I have always loved fashion and the arts, and enjoy activities that involve any of these. I think I must have got the artistic gene from somewhere!
How, when and why was Bebe Bombom founded?
A few years ago, when my friends and family started having babies, I noticed that I really enjoyed putting outfits together for them. I used to spend hours shopping for the right outfit and combining the right accessories, sometimes from different brands and shops, in order to achieve the style and look I was aiming for. Then, of course, came my daughter Sophia, who has been a blessing. She has been my inspiration, and has also given me the opportunity to become my own client and get first hand knowledge of what mums like me are looking for.
I am a strong believer in the need for sustainability in business - and, in particular, in the clothing business. I always try to go for the sustainable brands, but struggle to find the styles I like - in particular within the high end and luxury sector.
This is how Bebe Bombom was born. I wanted to found a company that provided high end and luxury baby clothing, for people keen to support sustainable practices while dressing their babies in beautiful, classic styles.
I took my time working on branding and looking for the right manufacturers, and hired an experienced children's fashion designer to help me develop the style and brand identity.
After some research, I decided to use Peruvian Pima cotton in the collections because of its quality, and the fact that it is harvested in an eco-friendly way. I finally went to Peru myself to meet and interview like-minded suppliers, who share our interest in sustainability.
Once we met the right people, everything moved so fast - and we were ready to launch our collections for A/W16 and S/S17 at Bubble London in June.
How do you ensure that your collections are ethical and sustainable?
We make sure that our whole supply chain has sustainability at its core. Our partners are socially responsible companies which follow environmentally friendly practices, as well as fair trade regulations that ensure lawful and ethical working conditions.
Peruvian Pima cotton is harvested entirely by hand in an artisanal way, which means less environmental impact - and, at the same time, guarantees that the cotton is free of the scratchy impurities that industrial harvesting generally leaves. This ensures the quality and pureness of the product.
We have chosen fabric manufacturers that have all the relevant certifications (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production, GOTS and ISO 9001) to ensure that they comply with sustainability standards.
Our garments are also free of toxic chemicals and heavy metals. We ensure this by using low impact dyes colours, making sure that all our textile printing is done in an artisanal way using water based ink, and by using press bottoms that are free of lead and nickel.
The organic line is made with 100% organic certified Peruvian Pima Cotton. It has been developed with the newborn's sensitive skin in mind. Our suppliers count with USDA Organic as well as GOTS certification, which means that the cotton is organically grown and also organically processed into fabrics this ensure the pureness and hypoallergenic qualities of the garment. Even our labels and packaging are manufactured with sustainability in mind.
And what about the people involved in making your clothes?
We like to visit our manufacturers’ ateliers from time to time, to see for ourselves the working environment, and make sure their teams are happy with their job.
Our embroidery is mostly done by Peruvian mothers in their own homes. This is so they have the opportunity to work at their own pace, and can also take care of their children. It's part of our commitment to supporting female-empowerment initiatives.
Is there a growing demand for ethical, sutainable childrenswear? What do you think the future holds for this market?
There is definitely a growing demand for ethical and sustainable products in the childrenswear sector - and in general. The more people get to know about how their clothes are made - the impact they have on the environment, on the people who make them, and on their babies and children's health - the more they look for sustainable options. It is a market that will continue to grow, particularly with respect to designer baby clothes and sustainable luxury.
Catch Johanna and Bebe Bombom at the A/W17 edition of Bubble London...