They say good ideas come from need, and that certainly holds true for Sarah Hawken.
Seeking an alternative to disposable nappies and a career which would fit in with family life gave Sarah an enterprising idea.
She and her husband, Lloyd, launched babywear shop Blue Pink And Green in Pudsey in May last year. They also sell eco-disposable (biodegradable) and washable nappies online.
“When I had Jess I wanted to use real nappies,” says Sarah.
Difficulty sourcing them, coupled with the concern they would be complicated and expensive, made Sarah stick with disposable brands.
“One day I had a brainwave,” she says. “I thought nappies are such heavy things to carry, I’d do a home delivery service.”
Sarah thought about it over the weekend and by Monday had invested in a bulk buy. She sent out flyers advertising her nappy delivery service.
Before launching her own business, Sarah worked in health club management but was concerned the shift patterns wouldn’t be conducive to family life.
The nappy delivery service slotted in perfectly with caring for Jess, who was then nine months old.
While researching the various nappies they could supply, Sarah and Lloyd discovered a Swedish company supplying environmentally-friendly nappies. They put in an order and were delighted when a customer bought in bulk online.
Nappies Direct was born and the couple now sell nappies throughout Europe from home.
Sarah believes the success of their online retail outlet for biodegradable and washable nappies is evidence that more parents are becoming environmentally conscious.
She says biodegradable nappies are made from corn starch. “They are 100 per cent biodegradable, so it breaks down. In a well-maintained landfill it would take four or five years to break down.”
Sarah says it is a far greener process than disposables, which take a staggering 500 years to break down.
Having tried and tested them on her second daughter, 16-month-old Isobel, she says they perform as well as disposables and believes they prevented Isobel from having nappy rash. According to Sarah, they are cheaper too.
She worked out that from birth to being potty-trained, parents using disposable nappies for a baby will spend around £900, compared to £200 for real nappies.
Contrary to the perception that washable nappies are time-consuming to clean, Sarah says they can be washed at 40 degrees and are dry in a few hours.
Success from the couple’s online outlet, which went live three and a half years ago, prompted them to expand their range. Blue Pink And Green is an extension of their expanding empire. Sarah says the name is derived from ‘blue for boys, pink for girls and green for the planet’.
As well as nappies, the shop stocks a complete baby range, from bedding to car seats and prams. They also supply organic toiletries.
Lloyd, who previously worked in recruitment, runs the website and helps Sarah in the shop. Sarah admits they took a risk when launching the business but, after three years of running the website and their first year of trading in the shop, it has been a risk worth taking.
“We opened the shop before the recession kicked in but we thought people will always have babies!” she laughs.
“We are really glad we have done it. We can spend more time with our children.”
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