Thank you and goodbye from Jannine Barron, stalwart of the cloth nappy industry, former president of the ANA, and owner (until very recently) of pioneering organic baby store, Natures Child.
In the last week, I put my youngest 21 year old child on a plane with a one way ticket to the UK and signed a contract of sale to say goodbye to my beautiful business Natures Child. Needless to say, my big sensitive heart is pounding and I have shed tears of transformation that could fill the beautiful rivers of this earth. I also smile with wrinkles of pride and wisdom that the business journey has offered me. I am filled with gratitude and so I write to every one of you today to say THANK YOU.
- Thank you – if you have purchased from us
- Thank you – if you voted for us
- Thank you – for starting the Australian Nappy Association (ANA)
- Thank you – for starting your business
- Thank you – for building this industry
- Thank you for your courage, your spirit and your support.
Natures Child turned 18 this year so like all 18 year olds, I knew it was time to leave home. Like my kids, I had a few attempts at this in recent years, but came back home to my business every time. But this year I chose to step forward not back. I love Natures Child. I love all the successes & failures. I love our products, I love our standards that set the bar. I love the pioneering we have done, the unique place we found in a sea of sameness, the milestones, the setbacks, the profit (and at times lack of profit), the awards, the spirit, the team, the products, the customers, the suppliers, the ANA, the incredible business owners in this industry that love all kids and our planet, the growth, the loss, the personal and political struggle, the beginning and the ending.
Today I start a new chapter in my life, one where I take the Natures Child company, all of you in this industry team, the memories, the customers, the incredible journey with me in my heart and stand back and position myself in the proud spectator’s box and watch the business flourish and grow independently.
Without you – the very first customers (you all know who you are!) Cloth Nappies & Organic Baby Products could never have grown into a thing! Back in 2000, people literally asked us how to spell sustainability and what did it mean? It is now a standard word in our vocabulary. When I talked about Organic Baby Products in 2000, people screwed up their faces and said but cotton is organic isn’t it? Explaining that the average standard cotton T-shirt used more than 20 carcinogenic chemicals in production shocked people. It started a movement of great change. Cloth nappies were laughed at but those of you who fell in love with them, also helped this new industry thrive. Designs got better and better and your feedback drove the development of better designs and fabrics. Pat yourself on the back if you are a customer reading this because this movement and tribe of cloth nappy lovers is YOU! A business could not exist without you! Business was created by mums like me; it is still 98% mums that run the cloth nappy business worldwide!
And now, to you, the business owner:
Every single one of you is running an extraordinary business against the odds. You lead by example, you nurture and protect what is good and right in the world of children. You sacrifice so much and your customers think you make lots of money – but you know you make just enough to get by and you know the hours and the love that goes into making your business possible. Your heart sinks every time people buy cheap products on eBay when those cheap products are copies of your designs, your investment, your time. But you keep going because your business is here to make to make a positive impact on our planet. So when you feel busy and overwhelmed, I hope you also feel proud.
Each and every one of you run your business because of your family and your values. This is not the most profitable industry but your business can be profitable if you dream creatively. You don’t need to the biggest, you need to create leverage, a strong brand, a unique position in the market and have great personality so that people talk about you. You can do this – small or big – and this is what will make you profitable.
If you are still thinking, “I just need to sell more and then things will be different”, let me shout – not whisper – to you now that is not the way; in fact it can be an endless train with no return. Be Bold, have a unique identity, collaborate, leverage and work smarter not harder.
Lead, don’t follow: Keep making a difference. To your family. To this world. Celebrate your individuality. Don’t copy others. Be true to your own personality and brand. Opportunity finds you when you go looking for it.
If you aim for middle of the road then if you succeed that’s exactly where you will be. Always aim higher and higher and that’s where you will go.
Exceed your own expectations. Add thoughtful touch for your customers, something unexpected. It can be the tiniest of gestures or details. You will be amazed how far the little extra bit gets you, no matter how massive an undertaking you might have delivered.
You started your business with little more than your passion. You desired a blessed life and deserve to be rewarded me with an extraordinary sense of accomplishment and a confidence that you can break rules and make things work for the better.
No matter where each of you are at right now in your business journey, this day will come for you as well. You will close or sell or hand the reigns to your children. It is inevitable, it is the cycle of life.
This year my heart is calling me to a new life chapter and I must follow that calling. Oprah says “Listen to the Whispers, Life Whispers to you all the time.”
In gratitude & thanks for being part of an incredible industry
- 1997 – 1999 – Creator and Owner of Hugabub
- 2001 – 2004 – Creator and Owner of Byron Bay Pregnancy Retreats
- 2000 – 2018 – Creator and Owner of Nature’s Child
- 2019 > Business Coaching with 20/20 Vision ( That is the year 2020 Folks, its only 12 months away – where do you want to be?
I will also be moving to the UK in the coming months and will be selecting key Products for Distribution there (yes, get in touch if you are interested! )