Everyday Pioneers... Catherine Crossley
Our online pop up shop with Dear Jude launches 11am on Saturday 10th April, featuring some amazing brands (think Indikidual, Fresh Dinosaurs and Jelly Alligator!) at some even better prices. Don't miss out, sign up to our newsletter today to be kept in the loop... and for that all important sneak preview!
What made you launch Dear Jude and how did you get started?
I had been dreaming of starting my own children’s clothing website since I was pregnant with my first child Jude. I have always been obsessed with fashion and when I found out I was having a baby that obsession just moved to kid's clothing. I started discovering some amazing brands that just ticked all the boxes when it came to style, comfort and sustainability and kept thinking how it would be great if they were all on the same website! It wasn’t until the pandemic hit in 2020 that the dream turned into a reality. I had been a freelance make-up artist and all the work I had booked in for that year got cancelled so…..Dear Jude was born! The first thing I did was establish the name and secure the domains. My 2 children India (who calls herself Dear) and Jude were my inspiration, hence the name! I then started building relationships with the brands I loved and trusted and gradually I started to secure some of these brands for the website. It took months and months of hard work but I have learnt so many new skills over the last year and also learnt from many mistakes. However, I am so glad I finally did it and now I have my dream job.
Sustainability is of clear importance to Dear Jude. Do you have a selection process for the brands you work with and how important has this been for you from day one?
Sustainability is very important to me and has been from day one. I wanted to ensure Dear Jude as a whole was as sustainable as possible not just the brands. The brands I choose to work with all share a similar ethos and I wouldn’t stock a brand that didn’t share this. I made sure I knew about the fabrics being used and the manufacturing processes. Not only is it important that garments being made are sustainable but I wanted to ensure that the people who were making them were on a fair wage and had good working conditions. Another idea I had when setting up the website was to have a preloved section as I fully believe quality clothes have lots of life in them and should be loved and passed on. It's these small steps we can all take which will help us move away from the buy it and bin it attitude. I came across dotte last year and fell in love with their website and concept and knew I would like to work with them later down the line so contacted Sam and here we are today!
From your own experience, how can children’s brands embrace sustainability more wholeheartedly in the future?
There are a few things companies can do. I love the brands that are forward thinkers and want to genuinely make a difference but every company can make small changes to become more environmentally friendly. Move to organic materials, ok the cost is higher but non-organic cotton relies on herbicides and insecticides which not only produce more CO2 but also cause harm to the farmers and wildlife ecosystems around them. Use biodegradable packaging or recyclable packaging. Maybe even brands could offer a buy back scheme or recycling scheme? Or use their fabric waste for other things like accessories. Theres a quote by Anne-Marie Bonneau that I always think of when it comes to building a more sustainable world which is, ‘We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly’ and I think that sums it up. If every brand and every person just made a few small changes then we would all reap the benefits from it.