A mother, who grew up in Northamptonshire, started a new sustainable baby clothing business earlier this year has now been recognized at a nationwide celebration of small businesses.
Rhian Thompson founded the baby clothing company ‘Bibevie’ in June and – just three months later – was shortlisted to feature in the prestigious UK ‘Small Business Saturday’ campaign.
Small Business Saturday – originally created by American Express in the United States in 2010 – takes place the first weekend in December of each year and, in the process, highlights 100 small businesses every day across the country.
The campaign devoted Saturday, September 18 to special recognition of Rhian’s business, which has flourished in such a short time.
Rhian said: “It was amazing. We’ve only been going for a few months, but we have received orders from people we have never met before and, the first time this has happened with a small owner. business, it’s just really overwhelming enough because someone who doesn’t know you trusts you and your ideas with their money.
“We’ve had that, we’ve had a lot of media coverage and various elements, but this one was a real recognition that we as a company oppose other small businesses in the small business space and to the fact that we are only a few months old and we were selected for that – that’s great! “
Rhian grew up in Northamptonshire, attending Roade School, then Northampton School for Boys. She currently lives in Northwood as her husband has a job in the military, forcing the family to relocate to various locations.
She was first inspired to start her baby clothing business in 2019 by her then newborn baby girl, Evie, who suffered from a condition commonly known as “Tongue-Tie” (ankyloglossia). This is where the strip of skin connecting a baby’s tongue to the back of their mouth is shorter than usual. This can restrict the movement of the tongue, so babies may have difficulty moving their tongue and opening their mouths wide enough to breastfeed.
Evie’s condition required her to spend her first year in dribbling bibs. Rhian became frustrated as she often struggled to find a bib to match Evie’s clothes and often had to settle for the “less flashy bib” she could find.
She said: “It just pissed me off. I would have a filmstrip full of pictures of her wearing these beautiful outfits, then that ugly bib on top of it. It just amazed me that people spend hundreds of pounds. and really got down to dressing their baby and I could never find something the bib actually coordinated with.
“Another of my bugs about the bibs was that they would swing around anyway so the babies would wear it like a cape or it would be over a shoulder so in the end I just created something where the bib would be an important part of the outfit and add to the design rather than being somehow stuck with it and it stays put so that when your baby is sick or drooling the bib catches it rather than being thrown in the back. “
Thus was born ‘Bibevie’.
What sets this baby clothing brand apart from all the rest? First, there are clips in place on the baby’s bibs, which allows them to stay in place even on the most restless babies. All of the bibs coordinate with the overalls, which are also sold on the website so parents don’t have to worry about finding a bib to match their baby’s outfit.
However, the biggest factor in everything that sets ‘Bibevie’ apart from other companies is its sustainability initiatives, which have gained the attention of other media, including Metro.
The main fabric of Bibevie baby clothes is a blend of bamboo and organic cotton; Bamboo fibers are hypoallergenic and much thinner than other materials, which means they are softer on a baby’s delicate skin and are less likely to irritate sensitive skin.
Other benefits of using bamboo fibers include only rainwater to grow, compared to around 7,500 liters for a single pair of jeans, according to the UN – it can be grown sustainably because the roots are left intact during harvest, thus promoting regrowth and leaving the surrounding ecosystem intact, emitting 35% more oxygen into the atmosphere while retaining four times more carbon dioxide than other plants of similar size and almost all parts of a bamboo plant can be used, which means no waste.
Bibevie has voluntarily verified that the farmers who produce their bamboo fibers do not use pesticides and that the treatment takes place in a closed loop process, which means that all waste is accounted for and disposed of responsibly.
Rhian applied to the Small Business Saturday campaign and was thrilled when Bibevie was one of 100 independent UK businesses to be featured in the official countdown to Saturday, December 4th.
Small Business Saturday UK Director Michelle Ovens CBE said: “We are delighted to launch this year’s Small Business Saturday campaign with the launch of SmallBiz100.
“It’s wonderful to have companies like Bibevie in this year’s program. Rhian’s passion and pride for her business and community really shines through and we have also been impressed with the steps she has taken to become environmentally responsible. “
When asked how Rhian was going to mark his dedicated special day (Saturday, September 18), she said this journal that with each order containing overalls and a bib, she will add another bib for free and a percentage of all profits will be donated to the Little Village charity. This charity is similar to a food bank, but provides clothes, toys and equipment for babies and children up to the age of five in families in need of help.