An interview with our mumpreneurs of the week, Heidi & Claudine from organic baby skincare company, Organic Monkey.
1) How did the two of you meet, and tell us what inspired you both to set up Organic Monkey?
We were introduced to each other by our midwife as were both expecting our first children at the same time. We share a similar outlook on life so immediately became friends and had a shared desire to do something worthwhile
When Dylan was born he had bad eczema, so finding a baby skincare product that didn’t irritate his skin was very important right from the beginning. After reading many of the labels on the everyday brands on the high street I was both worried and disappointed at how hard it was to find both organic and ‘free from’ products for babies. Surely it should be easier to look after your baby’s skin? So together with Heidi we created a very special range of products for babies with sensitive skin like Dylan’s.
(Claudine Sinnett, Creative Director).
My son Forrest was very sick when he was born, suffering from birth asphyxia. He spent the first 8 days of his life in a special care baby unit and whilst he defied all the odds and made remarkable progress, his development needed to be carefully monitored to ensure that he reached all of his important milestones. When my request to return to work on a part time basis was rejected, I decided this would be my opportunity to set up my own company whilst also spending quality time with my son.
(Heidi Crawford, Managing Director).
2) What sets Organic Monkey apart from other baby skincare ranges out there?
We set up Organic Monkey after identifying a gap in the market for a truly organic range of baby skin care products. As mums you want the best for your baby and so we started looking at the ingredients being used by some of the big brands and didn’t like what we found so decided to produce an effective range using natural and organic ingredients that would only have beneficial qualities. All of our products are made from food grade, organic and Fairtrade ingredients with no nasties like parabens, sulphates, petrochemicals, artificial colours or fragrance.
3) What does a typical working day involve, and how do you juggle being a mum and a successful entrepreneur?
There is no such thing as a typical day for us. We are both working mums with 3 small boys between us so the main issue is trying to fit a full working week into 3 days and evenings, juggling childcare, company deadlines and planning your diary weeks ahead whilst also running a home. We can be making a batch of products in the morning or working our way through a sales call list and then being pirates looking for treasure on the beach in the afternoon.
4) What’s the best selling Organic Monkey product, and why?
Our Cheeky Monkey Cheek Rub for Teething is our best seller. Teething is a difficult time for parents as well as babies so being able to use a natural alternative to the gels and granules to help soothe your little one is always beneficial. Our soothing blend is made from 100% organic ingredients combining Arnica, Sweet Almond, olive and Sunflower oils with organic Roman Chamomile, Lavender and Spearmint essential oils to help calm and relieve.
We regularly receive great feedback from our customers saying how much it helped which always put a smile on our faces.
5) What does the future hold for Organic Monkey?
Our vision is to educate more parents about the benefits of using organic skincare for their babies as well as making our products more accessible to more people. We are focused on increasing our number of stockists this year both in the UK and overseas as well as looking to secure a contract with a major retailer. We also plan to launch a couple more products this year to complement our existing range.
6) What’s the one adult skincare product you cannot live without, and why?
Claudine – Pukka Nourishing Face Oil – great for nourishing and revitalising my skin.
Heidi – My Mac Concealer – to hide the dark circles under my eyes when I have been up working late and then been woken up at 5am by my children.
In addition we both carry a pot of our Bumfluff nappy balm in our handbags, even if the kids aren’t with us. We use it as a skin balm for us too for dry bits, sore bits, as a lip balm and even as an alternative to our face cream. A great all-rounder for us mums.
7) What’s your favourite clothing range for kids?
We both love Bamboo Baby and Frugi clothes for our boys.
Bamboo Baby make great jumpers and jeans made with bamboo and organic cotton. Gorgeous designs and the fabric is so soft and flexible, it also washes really well too which is of utmost importance with active boys that seem to attract mud! We love Frugi clothes for their bright colours and fun designs.
8) Do you have time to cook a daily family meal, and what’s the favourite on the menu in your household?
Claudine- Our family favourite is Honeyed Chicken Stir fry:
For the marinade:
6 tbsp clear honey
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
For the stir-fry:
1lb organic, free range chicken
1 tbsp oil
8oz broccoli florets
4oz mange tout
4oz baby corn cobs
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
4oz bean sprouts
Mix the honey, garlic and ginger in a bowl
Add chicken strips and mix well
Leave to marinate for 20 mins
Heat the oil in a pan, add the marinated chicken mixture and stir fry for 5 mins until chicken is golden
Add the broccoli and cook for 1 minute
Add all remaining vegetables and stir fry.
Heidi: Our favourite treat is a Chocolate Raisin Bar, it’s so quick and simple to make and the boys love it.
6oz rich tea biscuits
1oz Demerara sugar
2 rounded tbsp golden syrup
1oz cocoa powder
300g good quality chocolate
Melt margarine, sugar, syrup and cocoa powder
Stir in biscuits and raisins
Cover with melted chocolate
9) What do you enjoy doing as a family on the weekend?
Family is very important to both of us so quality time together at the weekend is very special. We both live in Brighton which is a fantastic place to bring up children., there is always so much going on. We love nothing better than heading down to the beach early in the morning with a breakfast picnic, the boys love running around in the fresh air and throwing stones in the sea.
10) What’s your top tip for working mums?
Write lists. You can never be too organised and always need a contingency plan in place. (Heidi)
My top tip would be to never be afraid to ask for help and remember that you are not super woman. (Claudine)