Sixteen years ago, Jannine had a vision. She absolutely knew that she could create an entire line of baby products that avoided the chemical-dependent norm. Every step was a challenge, but also opened new possibilities, greater potential and a deeper understanding of the products she was working with.
This is a culmination of sorts of a 16-year journey for Nature’s Child’s Jannine Barron, a persistent devotion to the notion that childcare and baby products not only can, but also should be one hundred per cent organic.
“What if nature has all we actually need, and all we have to do is just open our eyes and realise that these products are growing in our back yards, we just haven’t discovered them yet,” she suggests of the fundamental concept behind Nature’s Child. “What if it’s all there and we’re just blinded by this idea that we have to use chemical to make it cheaper or make it work?
“Being a responsible and ethical business was the basis of everything. It is essential to how I operate on a daily basis, it’s part of our nature, so it’s vitally important, and it’s also another reason to strive to be successful, because we want to show other businesses that you can be successful as an ethical company.”
As an all-natural businessperson in an artificial world of cheap, toxic cosmetics and products, one could imagine that Jannine would be scathing and judgemental of the current marketplace. While she may dislike and disagree with the use of chemicals, she is however incredibly open-minded and understanding, not necessarily validating or condoning the commercial cosmetics industry and its brands, yet neither does she speak ill of her competition.
“There’s a lot of compromising in the market that’s very price-based, but I wanted to come up with the purest product I possibly could.”
The intricacies of creating a natural, organic product that is effective, certified, yet still competitively priced has been a constant challenge for the Nature’s Child team. With the constant temptation of quicker and easier options, her scruples could have easily been compromised, creating ‘mostly’ organic products cheaper and ahead of time. But to her resounding credit, Jannine always remained true to her morals:
“I could have put a skincare range out five years ago, but the technology or the ingredients weren’t available for me to feel like I could put my brand name behind it,” she says of her product development. “I have taken on the personal challenge of finding a way to use nothing nasty. It took me a lot longer to get there, but because I had this vision, I just seemed to connect with the right people.”
Gaining organic certification, too, was no easy hurdle, the intricacies of the process and countless boxes to be ticked creating a huge amount of extra work and ensuing problems for the company.
“It’s such a complex process to achieve the organic certification,” she illuminates. “I don’t think people realise, when they’re just looking at products on the shelf that, if that logo is there saying that you’re one hundred per cent certified organic, it is such a big deal. There’s a lot of complexity and reporting and auditing that goes in to independently verifying the product for consumers as completely chemical-free.”
Another issue she has brought into question is the use of so-called ‘safe’ chemicals. Every product that reaches retail is meticulously scrutinised, every ingredient requiring approval on what is known in the industry as a material data safety sheet. While individually these ingredients may be deemed safe, Jannine wonders whether the combination might become a volatile cocktail:
Jannine has peered deep into the grey areas of marketing and business, determined to learn their truths so that she can avoid their pitfalls. This analysis is not confined to ingredients, but expanded to every aspect of her business, and many valuable lessons have been discovered to which all contemporary businesses could do well to listen and adhere to.
Sustainability, for example, Jannine sees as nothing more than the foundation, a starting point from which to improve business. At the rate we are consuming resources, we will need over four Planet Earths to survive – this is ‘sustainability’. To sustain is to remain the same, but what we must do, says Jannine, is go beyond sustainability to regeneration.
“When you have an organically certified process, you are making sure that, not only is the earth not being harmed, but it is actually being regenerated by what you do. That’s where we have to be – sustainability is just the starting point.”
Jannine’s aim with Nature’s Child has always been to bring natural, organic and cost-effective products to as many people as possible, sharing their benefits and educating by example. Through her retail store in Byron’s industrial estate, she had connected with many local and visiting new parents, many of whom she has remained in contact with as their children have grown into young adults. Though a tough decision to step away from this very personal and hands-on approach, she has concluded that the only way to achieve her dreams is to take Nature’s Child into the world of wholesale, expanding her reach far beyond the Shire, not just across Australia, but also globally.
Thank you to Common Ground for their longer article LOVE YOUR LITTLE ONES NATURALLY ARTICLE AT COMMON GROUND