With the rise in awareness regarding climate change, a lot of parents today are questioning clothing choices available for children, looking for sustainable options that are eco-friendly. Greendigo is one such Mumbai based kids’ clothing brand with its ethos rooted in a sustainable approach. The co-founders, Meghna Kishore and Barkha Bhatnagar Das have a strong sense of purposeful living and environmental consciousness. and it is this sense that they have channeled into their venture.
An experienced professional of over 20 years, Meghna has gained multi-functional expertise spanning across Business Management, Operations, Sales, Risk, Product Development in key markets across Asia and UK. Having spent most of her adult life in Singapore, the Netherlands and London, on moving back to Mumbai, she was shocked with the lack of awareness regarding the harmful effects of synthetic clothing widely available in India. Having relied on friends and family travelling overseas to bring back bags of organic clothing for her little one for many years, she took it upon herself to start a home-grown organic kidswear brand that offers international designs that are practical and perfect for the active lifestyle of kids today.
To make a significant positive impact on the environment, it is not just the occasional designer wear which needs to be sustainable, but actually daily wear which has to be responsibly produced.
On the other hand, Barkha, armed with an experience of over 13 years in retail banking, gained a wide perspective in mining consumer insights, product development, brand management and advertising. Being mindful of living consciously herself, she believes that living sustainably has to start early. Since children are one of the largest consumers of apparel, to make a significant positive impact on the environment, it is not just the occasional designer wear which needs to be sustainable, but the daily wear has to also be responsibly produced.
When they started out with their initial groundwork, to set up the brand, the first and the biggest challenge they encountered was to set up a clean, sustainable, tight loop and reliable supply chain. Manufacturers often do not entertain start-ups since they fail to meet the MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity). Also, given that organic clothing for kids is still a relatively nascent category in India, there are only a handful of manufacturers whose supply chain is end-to-end compliant with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The first setback they faced was with a manufacturer who believed in greenwashing and wanted us to follow suit. Greenwashing is a form of marketing used to persuade the audience that an organisation’s products and processes are environmentally friendly and therefore ‘better’ while not being so in actuality. It basically means that companies attempt to make themselves “seem” environmentally friendly, rather than taking the initiative to “be” so. Since our ideologies were not in line with him, we took a business call to delay our go to the market date.
Many parents of today are getting increasingly aware of the ill-effects that garments laden with harmful chemicals can have on the health of their children.
They identified a white space in the market after realizing that there is a dearth of good quality, comfortable and sustainable clothing for children. As they progressed, they learned that many ‘organic’ brands are misleading consumers by indulging in greenwashing. This turned out to be a big challenge. They had to quickly pivot and focus on educating the audience on what organic clothing truly means and how their product is different from the rest, devoid of artificial fertilizers, synthetic pesticides and toxic colours. Every garment has the authentic seal of organic certification from GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard). Understanding the consumer’s need for transparency, they even went a step ahead to publish real-time environmental impact of the supply chain and products, on their website.
Furthermore, they felt that there is a cloud of misconceptions around organic clothing being dull, not stylish, difficult to maintain and meant only for occasional wear. By constantly having to reinforce that organic clothes can be fun, affordable, low maintenance and for everyday wear, they are in the space of category creation rather than vying for a share in an existing category.
Many parents of today are getting increasingly aware of the ill-effects that garments laden with harmful chemicals can have on the health of their children. They are also interested in the environmental and social impact of the product that they are consuming. Consumers understand the perils of genetic modification of crops and the use of toxic chemicals. In light of this gradually changing mindset, Meghna and Barkha feel that ‘organic’ will become the new normal eventually. It is a slow and tedious process but the wheels have already been set in motion.
The views expressed are the author’s own.