Hello Fred was inspired by the birth of my daughter, Lyla. From the day she was born her nickname has been 'Fred', hence the name of our business. We started Hello Fred (my mum, Tracy and I, Amy) when Lyla was just 2 months old. Starting a business with a newborn baby was not something we had planned to do, but from the very beginning it developed very quickly and organically.
Growing up in South Africa, my mum had 2 children's clothing businesses that she had started from scratch. I remember drawing the logo for the first one at the age of 7, and designing clothes for the second one when I was about 10. Both businesses were very successful, but it all came to an abrupt stop when we immigrated to Australia in 2006. Fast forward 11 years, and here we are! Only this time I'm a partner in the business with my mum, and the internet is allowing us to reach people worldwide.
Finding an ethical, unique place to source our fabrics was literally the first thing we did. The designs we've chosen for our range are each done by an independent artist from somewhere around the world, while the printing of the fabric is done using water-based pigment inks and dyes, with very little waste - eco-friendly, biodegradable and safe for babies.
We have also sourced combinations of hemp, bamboo and organic cotton. These fabrics have low environmental impact; hemp being one of the most ecologically friendly fabrics, and bamboo being soft, and naturally anti-bacterial, meaning there is no need for pesticides when it is being grown.
We use PUL for the underneath of the playmats, inside of the change mats, inside the snack bags and for the back of the bibs. It is a waterproof fabric usually used for reusable cloth nappies, and is soft, very durable, and breathable. It helps to make our products practical and user-friendly.
The most exciting part of our whole process is the soft fibre we use to line the change mat and fill the playmats. This fibre is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, that would otherwise end up in landfill. Each playmat or change mat we make means less plastic in landfill. We also UPCYCLE unwanted sheets and duvet covers to make the inner of our playmats. By doing this we are preventing waste issues and also getting to use some amazing quality fabrics that could also possibly end up in landfill.
Every single item you receive from us is handmade by either my mum (Tracy) or my grandmother (Myrna, pictured above). Our fabric is printed and sent to order to prevent waste in every step of the process. For Australian deliveries we use Sendle as it is a carbon neutral shipping company, and even our business cards are made from recycled cotton. A lot of thought and love has gone into every item made by us.
We are not limiting ourselves to anything in this business. We realise that the possibilities are endless. We will aim to stay authentic to who we are, while continuously raising awareness about ethical consumerism and environmental issues. We are constantly dreaming up new products, projects and directions to grow. We hope for Hello Fred to leave a legacy which encompasses awareness, kindness and compassion.
Thank you for reading our story if you have made it this far! We look forward to the future and to adding another chapter.
Amy & Tracy xx