I have news for you!
It’s a little lengthy, but worth reading through, even if you’ve been a member of the Tribe for a while.
The Smallest Tribe was born out of a need to dress my own tiny kiddo in age appropriate, comfy clothes that let him move and play. My experience as an early childhood teacher had taught me that kiddos don’t need fancy, expensive toys, apps, devices to learn. They just need to explore and play, investigate and think, watch and observe, experience and participate as much and as often as possible. The clothes available limited and hindered him while playing. He got stuck in shorts trying to crawl up a step and couldn’t get a leg over his wheelie bug or trike. And does a 7 month old baby really need denim cargo shorts with 11 pockets?
Because I WAS an early childhood teacher with no experience in fashion, design, retail or manufacturing, I chose to start manufacturing locally, where I could ring the factory and ask questions or go in in person. I chose to use GOTS certified organic cotton, even though it was harder to source and more expensive, so I knew that the people who grew, picked and processed the cotton were doing so in fair and safe working conditions. Transparency and ethical production have always been key components of The Smallest Tribe.
About 6 months after I decided to start The Smallest Tribe, I sat in horror and watched the news reports about the Rana Plaza collapse. 1129 garment and textiles workers died and more than 2500 were injured that day when the factory they were in collapsed. I was already using GOTS certified organic cotton and realised that there was opportunity for The Smallest Tribe to do more than just support the farmers in India who grew the cotton, The Smallest Tribe could support garment and textiles workers in India too. From that point, getting The Smallest Tribe offshore to an ethical, GOTS certified factory became end goal, my own personal measure of success.
Today marks 4 years since the collapse of Rana plaza and is the start of Fashion Revolution week. While mindful that today is a day that marks a great tragedy, I’m so thrilled to announce that our upcoming Summer 17 collection will be manufactured in part by a GOTS certified factory in India. Mohit and his tiny team have been working away at making the screens, dyeing and printing the fabric, and the sewing and finishing of garments is underway this week.
I never meant for The Smallest Tribe to be an Australian made label, I just wanted it to be ethically and sustainably made, and Australian made is how I managed to achieve those goals. I am so proud that Australian manufacturing is something I was able to support and utilise. So proud in fact that THAT part isn’t changing. The Smallest Tribe will continue to be manufactured here in Australia also with special limited edition pieces planned for each season.
Got questions? Email me and ask away! I’m happy to answer them. Transparency has always been an integral part of The Smallest Tribe and that will never change.
Thank YOU for being a member of the Tribe. The Smallest Tribe and I wouldn’t be where we are today without your support.
New Messy Bags!
Moulded Plastic Zippers are being added to Messy Bag line up!
The Messy Bags have always featured heavy duty, super luxe, YKK metal zippers. They last, they’re sturdy, they’re way fancy pants. But late last year, a long story involving missing zippers, car rides from Sydney to Melbourne, many phone calls and YKK not having the zippers I needed, led to experimenting with moulded plastic zippers intended for swimwear.
Sweet baby cheeses. It was love at first sight! They’re clicky (seriously, the sound they make is so satisfying!), they’re smooth, they can be opened and closed one handed and, it turns out, they’re just as sturdy and reliable as the metal ones.
The first release of Messy Bags for 2017, Berry Well Then features the new zippers. Still a fan of the metal zippers? Never fear, they’re not going anywhere. Most collections will still feature the gold or silver heavy duty metal zippers.
Comfy Clothes for kids!
The Comfiest Clothes Your Kiddo will wear.
How your little love spends their day is always top of mind when designing each collection. We think about what they eat, how they eat, where they eat, how they play, how they rest, where they go, who they see, how they learn, the developmental milestones they strive to reach…. the list is endless.
We take all of their needs into consideration at each step of the design process. We think about how the clothes will feel to wear, what colours they should be, what weight the fabric needs to be, how much or how little stretch it needs. At The Smallest Tribe, function is considered just as important as form. Being a cute shirt or pants isn’t enough to make the cut around here.
Let me share a few of my favourite design elements with you.
Our clothes have no sewn in tags. All size and care labels are silk screened directly onto each garment. Scratchy tags and labels are the enemy of tiny kiddos everywhere!
We source the softest GOTS certified organic cotton we can find so your little one can spend their day in comfortable, breathable cotton.
We select the softest elastic we can find to be gentle on tiny tummies.
Our tees are cut just a touch wider and longer than necessary. We want them to feel comfortable on and to make sure you get the most wear out of them possible.
Our shorts are designed with a shorter leg length so little knees don’t get trapped while climbing at the playground, digging in the sandpit or kicking a favourite ball.
We like busy patterns that reflect a toddler’s frenetic energy and their spirited joy.
Our clothes are all designed to be easy to put on and foster their growing independence.
What is GOTS certified organic cotton?
GOTS certified organic cotton is cotton that has been produced ethically and in an environmentally sound manner.
The certification protects the rights of the farmers who grow the cotton. Most of the world’s supply of cotton comes from regions where workers’ rights are rarely a priority. The process also protects the workers who mill, process and manufacture the cotton. They are free from indentured working conditions, entitled to collective bargaining, reasonable working hours and safe working conditions.
Fabrics certified as GOTS certified organic cotton are free of harmful chemicals and have been produced under a stringent set of guidelines designed to minimise waste.
Why does The Smallest Tribe use GOTS certified organic cotton?
When you purchase from The Smallest Tribe you can be assured you’re dressing your tiny love in clothes free from harmful chemicals, toxins and dyes. You also know they have been made by people who work in safe conditions and are paid fairly in exchange.
There have always been two main ideas at the heart of The Smallest Tribe
First, make comfy clothes for tiny kiddos so they can explore and play.
Second, do it in a way that is respectful to the workers in the supply chain and isn’t harmful to the environment.
Here at The Smallest Tribe we believe using GOTS certified organic cotton does just that. Soft, breathable cotton for your little love to spend their days in, and a certified process that protects workers’ rights.
To learn more about GOTS certified organic cotton, you can read the full set of standards HERE.
Where is the Green Sheep?
4 reasons you should add Where is the Green Sheep to your bookshelf.
(If you haven’t already!)
1. It’s just plain fun to read.
The sing song repetition of the story is delightful to little ears. It gives language a musical quality and the pattern of the sentences makes it easy for tiny kiddos to predict the language and remember what happens next. This sort of predicting and repetitive language is how your little love will learn sentence structure. A child’s receptive language is much stronger than their expressive language, that is they are able to receive the information they are hearing much earlier than they are able to use that language themselves. The more often you expose them to sentence structures and phrases, the sooner they learn to use them. (This is why it’s totally ok to read the same book over and over again!)
Where is the Green Sheep uses simple, toddler friendly language. It is vocal they are familiar with and a sentence structure you can help them practice in their every day life.
“Where is the blue block?”
“Here is the blue block!”
“Where is your drink bottle?”
“Here is your drink bottle!”
We meet the red sheep and the blue sheep straight away, and can see the purple and yellow sheep joining the red sheep for birthday cake at the end of the story. The illustrations use bold colours that make it easy for little people to identify. Can you see the red train? The yellow car? What colour is her surfboard? What colour is the star. Questions like these are a great way of letting your little person practice their talking and sentence structures. For the tiniest babes, you asking and answering the question is a wonderful way to model language for your child. (Honestly – no matter how teeny tiny they are!)
For tiny kiddos, you can explicitly tell them, “Up and down are opposites”. For older kiddos you can ask them questions like “What is the opposite of up?”, or, “Can you think of an opposite for thin?”. Broaden this conversation into opposites that aren’t in the book, too. What is the opposite of big, tall, etc.
You can find more books to add to your bookshelf and activities for kiddos HERE.