Olen Organic is a baby apparel company that offers organic cotton clothing and accessories. Owners Lindsay and Chelsea have a four-part mission: beautiful design, mindful manufacturing, sustainable product, and more knowledge, less stuff. The company has been featured in Vogue, Pregnancy & Newborn, and Lauren Conrad.com, and I was so psyched to be able to feature Olen Organic for Necessitees.co! Read on to learn more about Olen Organics, their process and advice for other shop owners.
Tell us a bit about you and your family.
My name is Lindsay and I have been married for six years to my high school sweetheart! We have one son, Hudson, who just turned six months old. Chelsea, my business partner (and BFF), has been married for seven years, and has one daughter, Piper, who is 3 years old!
What inspired you to start Olen Organic? Give us details on your journey from idea to shop owner.
Chelsea and I have worked in the fashion industry for a combined two decades. We realized we started to know more about the food we ate than the clothes we wore, and we were industry insiders! We became determined to create a clothing company that prioritized knowledge over stuff and was safer, softer, better in every way.
You use organic cotton that is GOTS certified for your apparel. Tell us about the importance of using ethically responsible and sustainable fabrics.
The fashion industry is one of the dirtiest in the world, in fact only the oil industry is worse! Traditional cotton is grown with pesticides and other chemicals, and treated with even more. This is unacceptable to us. Not only do we want to preserve our beautiful Mother Earth for our children, we don't want any of our production partners to suffer as a result of making our clothes, which sadly is an all too common reality in this industry. Therefore it is critically important to us that we eliminate as many chemicals from our production as possible, which means using GOTS-certified organic cotton and water-based inks, and not using artificial silicone softeners, flame retardants, formaldehyde, or plastisol prints.
Your fabric mill and garment manufacturer partners are an essential part of your business. Tell us about how you found partners that were a good fit for Olen Organics.
Making clothing is a labor-intensive, hands-on process. It takes many many people to make a single t-shirt, from farmers to weavers to designers to printers to cutters to sewers to packers to shippers! Those who make our clothes are as important to us as those who wear them. We did extensive research and went on a lot of "blind dates" with potential partners. After we found Ira and Brian and Liz and felt our values were aligned, we visited all of their facilities and met their employees. We reviewed their materials, work spaces, machinery, and finished products to ensure their quality met our high expectations. It did and we then proceeded to extensive development and testing and eventually production!
What is your ultimate favorite design?
I'm obsessed with our Milk Drunk Drool bibs right now because my son is teething and we go through like ten a day. I wash them constantly and even though I made them, I constantly amazed at how well they hold up. Also, our Baby Burrito Bodysuit is a lifesaver for my son. He has a rather large head and hates things being pulled over it and I love how easy it is to just wrap him up in the bodysuit and be on our way.
Lot of items on your website are (understandably!) currently sold out. When do you expect to have more items available for sale online?
We were so honored to be named one of Vogue's Best Organic Baby Clothes this past Spring, which definitely led to us being sold out faster than we'd planned! But! Exciting news-we are currently in production on a brand new print that will be available in three gorgeous colors. Ira is knitting our fabric as we speak. We hope to have this collection available for sale at the end of the summer! We also hope to re-offer styles from our original collection at the same time. We suggest signing up for our newsletter for more details. Or, as we like to say, for "more knowledge and less stuff!"
What advice would you offer to other small business owners?
Whatever you want to do, just go for it! And if you can, do it with your best friend :) There is so much help and advice available on the internet (for free!) and it's easier than ever to build an online shop and your community. Be true to your values and goals and be prepared to learn more new things than you have since college. Owning your own small business will be one of the most challenging things you've ever done, but also one of the most rewarding. It's like expanding your family to include the whole world!
Want to shop Olen Organic now? You can find a selection of items at Spearmint Love here.