Featuring an exclusive interview
with founder, Lucy Jewson
Cornish label, Frugi is fast becoming a favourite across the kidswear community thanks to its dedication to sustainable production and tireless involvement with charity work. Since starting, Frugi has donated over half a million pounds to a number of amazing causes… Oh and the designs are just adorable too! Combining quality composition with playful pops of colour and coastal inspired charm, the brand was magically thought up during a ‘eureka’ moment in which founders, Lucy and Kurt struggled to find clothing that fit over their son’s cloth-nappied bum! This was way back in 2003 and they’ve been setting the standard ever since. Read our exclusive interview with creator, Lucy Jewson below…
Hi Lucy! You refer to yourself as ‘The most trusted childrenswear brand on the planet’ and are paving the way for sustainable fashion. You’re clearly very passionate about organic and ethical production but how did the concept and brand itself first come to life?
Kurt (my husband) and I first came up with the idea of Frugi in 2003. We both had a marine biology/science background and so have always felt passionately about the environment and green issues. It was a no brainer therefore that we used washable cloth nappies, instead of disposables. They were great, so easy to use, but they were bulkier and as such, gave Tom quite a big bottom! We couldn’t find clothing that would stretch over it. We had found our niche, clothing to fit over cloth nappies – hence Cut4Cloth (our original name) was born.
How did you come up with the name and what is the idea behind it?
As our first son grew so did our range of clothing so we were no longer simply Cut4Cloth. We could do so much more, so in 2008 we rebranded and became “Frugi,” which is Latin for ‘fruits of the earth’. We felt that this name reflected our ethos as an ethical business.
If you were to describe the brand’s overall essence in just four words, what would they be?
Fun, ethical, brave and honest.
Frugi is heavily involved with charity work – can you tell us a bit more about this?
Initially we joined “1 percent for the planet”, the global environmental network. Through this scheme we supported the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the Woodland Trust and PAN UK (pesticide action network).
However, as a childrenswear business we all felt that we should be supporting causes that also directly affected children or parents, so in 2016 we launched our own charity initiative “Little Clothes BIG Change”.
This year we are supporting a great little charity called Little Life Savers who provide lifesaving CPR training to school children in the UK. We’re also funding a children’s nursery in a slum area of Ghana through the charity, Chance for Childhood. The Kinbu nursery provides a place for street children whose parents are working in the dirty marketplaces of the capital city to learn, have fun and actually enjoy being children, something we feel very passionately about. In addition to this, we have also been supporting an orphanage in India; for over 10 years this has funding school fees and bought a tuk-tuk to help the children travel to and from school. We’re currently in the process of building a new orphanage for the kids.
What would you say is the most important thing to teach the little ones of today?
To put people and the planet first in everything you do and to always question the norm, don’t stop asking “why?”
We’ve noticed that some seaside themed prints and appliqués feature a lot in your designs, where does the inspiration for this come from?
As a Cornwall based business we’re surrounded by beautiful beaches and coastline! There’s quite literally inspiration everywhere. It’s also a theme that every child can associate with and you can have so much fun with seaside characters! Over the years we’ve managed to attract incredible talent into our team, being in the most beautiful part of the country is a huge draw!
What does your workspace look like?
I think all my colleagues would have one word for my office…. MESSY!!! But the Frugi offices themselves are a riot of colour, energy and creativity. You can’t help but smile when you come into work, it’s really energising.
What do you listen to when you’re working?
I do quite a lot of work from home now, and so it tends to be my 15 year old in his room next door to my office – he writes songs and plays his guitar for hours every day! Luckily, he’s quite good! If it’s not him, it’s Kurt singing, or slightly more trickily my youngest, Sam (12yrs) playing the drums!!! Music is a big thing in our house!
What in particular sets your collection of ethically produced garments apart from other brands who are also focused on sustainable fashion?
I think ensuring that we are always the brand that our customers want us to be. We are really unusual I think in our level of customer engagement. We are constantly asking our customers for feedback. For instance, we have smocked dresses that become skirts when children grow, to extend their use. Fold over rib waist bands and leg cuffs are very popular as well as a coloured guide popper onto baby grows, to help marry up poppers in those bleary middle of the night changes. It’s often the little touches of detail that make all the difference and our customers challenge us all the time to improve, not only through design but our involvement with charity work and our efforts to be sustainable.
We are so lucky that our Frugi family are incredibly intelligent and well informed. They want us to be a brand they feel proud to dress their children in, that encapsulates the values that they hold dear for their future generation. I think with the world going so bonkers at the moment, we can be a little respite, and a way to reflect that their choices make a difference, in a very real way.
Don’t ever be afraid of what other people think!
And finally, do you have any words you live by?
Absolutely! It’s an oldie but a goodie, and my gran was the first to say it to me when I was about 10 years old… “Live every day like it’s your last, as one day you’ll be right”! Life is too short for regrets; take the risk, travel the world, eat the chocolate, go and belly laugh with your friends! Don’t ever be afraid of what other people think!
Best of Frugi