I think the trick is to realize that there’s no such thing as balance. It’s a terrible term created to try and trick us parents into thinking that some people have it all, which creates even more pressure on us to try and find this perfect ‘balance’. Each day is different, each day has a new set of challenges, flexibility is important, understanding and acceptance of yourself for not being able to ‘do it all’ is key.
Name: Peta Stinson
Kids (name + ages): Max 11, Finn 9 and Oliver 5
Where in the word do you call home?
I’ll always call Australia home, no matter where in the world I am!
As well as raising 3 gorgeous boys, you are the creator of Sapling Child – can you tell me a bit about the Sapling brand?
Primarily, we are an organic baby wear brand, but do things a little differently around here.
We really wanted to create a brand that challenged the traditional manufacturing and supply chain model. We want to prove that there IS a way to produce great looking clothing in a truly sustainable way. What we do is not just lip service, it’s not a trend. We hope to change the industry in a meaningful way by showing how it CAN be done.
We manufacture with 100% organic cotton (synthetics, elastacines and nylons that are sometimes added to organic cotton can take 40 YEARS to degrade), and dyes, using absolutely no toxic chemicals in any of our processing. We use traditional rotational methods to grow the cotton (no pesticides). Further along in the supply chain, we purchase green power at our warehouse and distribution centres. Our distribution centres also uses electric forklifts (no toxic fumes), uses recycled, recyclable and/or biodegradable packaging, and carbon offsets any remaining foot print.
We also put the baby at the centre of our design process making sure that everything is as comfortable as possible! We have painstakingly addressed the smallest of details to make sure we have no itchy sticky-outy seams, screen printed labels (no itchy tags), and extra cuff lengths so parent can get a lot of life out of a size.
Starting a business is a huge risk, what made you take that leap of faith?
I truly believed that when we started that there was a need to change the manufacturing industry, and also a need for beautiful chemical free clothes that parents could get longevity out of.
So while it was a bit of a leap of faith, it was also something I strongly felt was needed, and something I felt that parents really wanted!
Not only are all your clothes made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and your dyes are free from toxic chemicals and heavy metals, but everything you produce is Fair Trade. There has been a lot of pressure on the Australian fashion industry recently to be more transparent about their manufacturing processes to ensure garments are ethically made and recently there has been a worldwide campaign #whomademyclothes. Tell me about your passion to change the fashion industry and why you think corporate ethics and producing environmentally conscious garments is the way of the future?
Sorry, I think I went a little overboard in may last answer, and probably answered this already. I’m just so passionate about it! I definitely think it’s the way of the future, realistically I think it’s the ONLY way of the future. Our environment is so badly in need of protection, and the manufacturing industry is so responsible for a lot of the toxicity in the environment today.
I know that I, and the Sapling community in general, would rather spend money on long lasting clothing (for our babies, and ourselves) that has been produced and supplied in a sustainable and responsible way. I don’t want to contribute to the Earths problems by purchasing cheap fast fashion, and cheap plastic accessories with toxic chemicals that break or get tossed in the trash after a few months. I think we vote for the Environment with our dollar. We choose which companies we spend our money on, and by virtue of that, the companies that don’t take their responsibility to the Earth seriously will either have to change or be left behind!
So yes, companies SHOULD be transparent about their manufacturing processes, because we (the consumers) want to be able to make informed buying choices!
You always have such great collaborations in the works and have mentioned you are looking to expand the brand to things like environmentally friendly nappies and baby wipes – can you let me in on any secrets? What’s next?
We have some AMAZING collaborations coming up with some wonderful WONDERFULLY kind, honest, creative, and stylish people from around the world. We couldn’t be more thrilled to partnering with them! I can’t give you more info at the moment, but you’ll be the first to know when we’re ready!
In terms of new products, we are always working away on new things behind the scenes. The development phase always takes a long time, especially when you want to create things that are unlike what’s available in the market today. Nappies and wipes are definitely in the pipeline, as is kids wear, and maybe maternity….
I want to raise Emily to have a strong sense of social justice and I hope that her heart and home will always be open to those less fortunate. What do you think is the most important thing to teach the children of our generation?
Kindness and Respect. To each other, and to the planet.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced/face as a creative mum?
I am a hopeless romantic – can you tell me a bit about your husband and how you met?
You’re so funny! I am EXACTLY the same. I could listen to people’s love stories ALL DAY LONG.
My husband and I actually met while we were studying at Melbourne University, next time I see you I’ll have to tell you all the hilarious and sordid details…
What’s a day/week in your family like? What kind of care arrangements do you have & do you have any tips that help things run smoothly for you?
Our days are pretty hectic. With 3 boys, we’re constantly running around. I feel bad that I don’t have any tips! Every week seems to bring a new set of challenges! I do live down the street (literally a few doors away) from my Dad, so that’s a help…just being able to drop by for dinner, or ask him to pick up the kids if I’m running late. We use a family share online calendar so we all now what’s going on that day for everyone else, that helps a bit….but gee, life is just pretty hectic around here!
Your youngest child, Oliver, had meningitis as a newborn and you almost lost him. This must have been an extremely emotional and scary time for you. Can you tell me a bit about this experience in the NICU and how did you got through it?
It was awful. Truly, truly awful. We were living in Fiji at the time and were lucky enough to be medi-vaced home to Australia.
The experience of having a sick child in a developing country is the most heart breaking thing I’ve ever been through.
We spent a week with Oliver in intensive care (NICU) and there were literally babies dying right next to us from entirely preventable illnesses and injuries.
If those babies had been lucky enough to have been born in Australia, there is no doubt that they would have survived. They would have had access to CT scans, to heart surgeons, to life saving medical equipment, and to basic medications.
It was shocking SHOCKING to see babies dying from things that would have been easily treatable, operable or preventable in Australia.
This year, we are expanding our Giving Back program to include infant health and maternal health in developing countries. Although it will be such a tiny drop, we hope our community can make just a small difference in the lives of these vulnerable babies.
A little while ago you made the decision to leave Australia and head to Canada – can you tell me about this “sea change” and why it was the right choice for your family?
We primarily made the decision as a business choice. We have opened a warehouse and distribution centre in the USA, and decided to move close enough to be able to oversee the expansion, and also be able to visit our stockists in the USA and attend some of the trade shows. When designing for a brand new market, it also helps to be living in that environment. It’s been a creative challenge, especially as the US market has SO MANY seasons!!!
The newborn phase is such an intense and shocking time, but as your child grows the demands on you as a mother change. Your boys are older now and all in school. What do you think is the most challenging thing at this parenting stage and how do you manage this?
It’s probably the same challenges as always. Making sure they respect each other, respect us, the rules, the environment, use their manners, work hard, lead a balanced life, eat well. It’s all part and parcel of the same demands as when they were littler when I think about it! I guess the technology discussion will start soon….they haven’t asked for social media accounts yet, but I’m sure they will! Not looking fwd to that one!
We connected on Instagram and I know this platform is extremely important to you, not just personally but for your business as well. Why do you think Instagram is so important for connection and what do you think are the pros and cons to being so active on social media?
And, it has been so lovely getting to know you, and so many other inspiring people from around the world!
- Meeting people from all over the world, doing all sorts of amazing things
- Connecting with and creating friendships with the MOST amazing Mummas
- Seeing snippets from peoples travels in countries that ever never been too
- Being able to ask people for feed back on products which shapes what we do as a company
- Being able to give back to our amazing community by surprising them with free pressies
- Envy or jealousy
- Bitchy cliques
- Design rip-offs
What piece of advice do you wish you had been told before you had kids?
That kids are resilient. It’s not the end of the world if they eat some dirt, or fall off the bed.
I am constantly trying to find balance and am always grappling with mum guilt. How do you take care of yourself amongst the busy demands of daily life?
I don’t! I think the trick is to realize that there’s no such thing as balance. It’s a terrible term created to try and trick us parents into thinking that some people have it all, which creates even more pressure on us to try and find this perfect ‘balance’. Each day is different, each day has a new set of challenges, flexibility is important, understanding and acceptance of yourself for not being able to ‘do it all’ is key. Also, not listening to me, because what do I know? It’s all about doing what’s right for YOU. I do try and work out every day….other wise I drive everyone crazy with me energy.
If you could fly anywhere and do anything in the world for 24 hours, where would you go and who would you take with you?
My whole family to the Cinque Terra in Italy.
What are a couple of your favourite brands and shopping websites?
I don’t shop online….like EVER (well not for clothes anyway). I’m such a tactile person, I need to touch and feel clothes before I buy them. I also have a very weird body…super long arms, and really huge feet, so I really do need to try things on!
And finally, who should we follow on Instagram – tell us what accounts inspire you and why?
@amanda.tyler.j – because she’s just such a spunk
@bonjourmoon – because she writes the sweetest words
@herschelsupply – because they constantly add fuel to my wanderlust ways