Meet our makers – the Piccalilly organic cotton supply chain

Hi, I’m Hannah Evans, Managing Director of organic baby and kids clothing brand Piccalilly. We make lovely little clothing for lovely little people made from the softest organic cotton and manufactured to the highest ethical standards. I’ve just come to the end of a 3 week trip visiting suppliers in India, something I’ve done every year since starting the brand in 2006 and a role I personally take responsibility for. During my current visit to India general elections have been taking place and a story close to our hearts here at Piccalilly has been covered in the news on a daily basis. The coverage of the varying plights of Indian farmers are a hot topic and reports suggest that one suicide takes place every half an hour with farmers trapped in high costs and high risks, dependent on agro chemical companies and spiralling debt. In a country where 70% of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood and where farmers are more likely to kill themselves than the rest of the population parties are tapping in to the frustrations felt by this community as 40% of farmers wish to leave the industry and try to send at least one person from their family to work in the city.

Chetna Cotton Farmer

Here at Piccalilly we take the interests of cotton farmers very seriously and have chosen to work with a 100% transparent supply chain throughout our clothing manufacturing. I personally have taken time out of day to day business to visit the entire supply chain, from field through to factory to see for myself what conditions are like and meet the makers at all stages of manufacturing. Our organic cotton is sourced through Chetna Organic, an initiative that works towards reducing the suicide rates within farming communities here in India. The Piccalilly brand has worked with Chetna Organic since 2006 and our main manufacturing partner is closely involved in the project and gave the farmers a share in the factory too!

But what’s so bad about conventional cotton farming?

Conventional cotton producers in India, especially those with ‘marginal’ farms of less than one acre, are often caught in a vicious cycle of debt to buy expensive chemical pesticides and fertilizers and global market price fluctuations. Many Indian farmers see no solution for their problems.

  • Environmental: The use of nasty chemical pesticides and fertilizers causes a wealth of damage to the local environment including a reduction in biodiversity, disrupted ecosystems, and contaminated water supplies. Worse still, pests exposed to synthetic pesticides build up a resistance to them. So each year, farmers have to buy and use more pesticides to grow the same amount of cotton – increasing the annual damage to the environment.
  • Debt: As pests build resistance to chemicals, farmers borrow money to buy more chemicals and the result is less profit from their crop. This spiral gets repeated and the debt increases. In parts of India agricultural chemicals take up 60% of the farmer’s production budget. In Maharashtra alone, the government estimates that over 1,000 farmers have committed suicide since 2001 because they were irrevocably in debt.
  • Health: Many chemicals used in cotton farming are acutely toxic. At least three of them are in the “dirty dozen” – so dangerous that 120 countries agreed at a UNEP conference in 2001 to ban them. So far this hasn’t happened. The World Trade Organisation estimates 20,000 deaths and three million chronic health problems each year are the result of the use of agricultural pesticides in developing countries.

If that wasn’t enough, conventional cotton farming also uses vast amounts of precious water.

So, what is Chetna Organic?

Chetna Cotton WorkerChetna Organic works with small and marginal farmers in India to reduce poverty and improve their livelihood options by making farming a sustainable and profitable occupation.

By working with farmers to enable them to convert from conventional farming to organic farming there brings about many benefits. By minimizing the need for chemical inputs the damage to health and the environment is limited. Organic is a more sustainable method of farming than conventional techniques and biodiversity is promoted. Intensive farming is said to destroy the fertility of the land but with organic farming and sustainable crop rotations, soil health is improved. As well as the benefits to the farmers organic cotton doesn’t contain the cocktail of chemicals present in conventional cotton and the result is a softer, healthier cotton less likely to trigger allergies.

The project works in highly underdeveloped areas of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. These districts are rated as some of the country’s most backward districts. Chetna is present in these regions and works to improve the livelihood of small farming households in India through making their farming systems more sustainable and more profitable.

The Chetna Organic project has grown from reaching 234 farmers in 2004 to a membership base of over 15,000 + farmers today. From a small project, it has developed into a large-scale independent organization and several European clothing labels, including Piccalilly, procure organic cotton from Chetna.

What are the main benefits provided through the Chetna programme?

  • A premium price – Organic cotton receives a premium over and above the market price. This premium is very important for a small farmer whose income is just sufficient to feed his/her family with one meal.
  • Low investment – Organic farming does not require a high capital investment, therefore in cases of natural disasters, pest or disease attack, and irregular rainfall, when there is a crop failure, small farmers practicing organic farming have to suffer less as their investments are lower.
  • A higher return – Compared to conventional cotton there is a higher return on investment for farmers.
  • Creating assets – The money which is received as a premium is used for creating assets for the farmer groups thereby fulfilling the “Gandhian concept of local Self-Sustainability”. The farmers of our various cooperatives have built storage warehouses, water treatment plants, bio fertilizer units, tractors, rice processing units and much more.

Piccalilly Managing Director, Hannah EvansHere at Piccalilly we’re very proud of our supply chain and created our own photographic exhibition ‘Fair Trade in the Frame – Meet the Makers’. We took photographer Mark Ingram on a road trip right the way back to the start of our supply chain working our way back to the factory. Here’s the result and some incredible people who work so hard to make our organic cotton clothing ranges.

COPYRIGHT 2014 – All images used in this article are owned by Piccalilly Limited

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Piccalilly nominated Best Ethical Brand in the Loved By Parents Awards 2013

We’re delighted that our fabulous ethics have been recognised with a nomination for Best Ethical Brand & Best Toddler Fashion in the Loved By Parents 2013 awards – tested and loved by real parents! What’s so great about being nominated in both these categories, ‘Best Ethical Brand’ & ‘Best Toddler Fashion’ is that it underlines the core principles behind the Piccalilly brand which marries great looking clothing with the highest ethical standards. We were the first organic baby brand to bridge the gap between organic clothing and bright colourful designs. We still work with the same supply base we started with in 2006 believing that strong partnerships and transparent supply chains are the key to creating stable work environments and the highest ethical standards for the many people who farm our organic cotton and create our fair trade clothing.

Please give Piccalilly the thumbs up and vote for us http://lovedbyparents.com/lbpawardsvote/

Best Ethical Brand / Piccalilly

Best Toddler Fashion / Piccalilly

A massive thanks for your support and if you’d like to read up on our fabulous supply chain check here http://www.piccalilly.co.uk/pages/product-stories

TRADE CUSTOMERS: Autumn Sneak Preview and Trade Show Dates

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Here’s a sneaky peek at our woodland inspired organic cotton ranges for Autumn/Winter 2013 – go wild for spider, snail, bear and bat appliques! There’s also new printed babywear, super snug knitted tights, playsuits and jumpers all featuring fab new designs! You can come along and visit the Piccalillies at the following trade events in the UK OC-469and Germany – where you’ll also get a first look at Piccalilly SS14!

Bubble London (Stand B8) UK, 16 & 17 June 2013

Independent Kids, Solihull UK,  7 & 8 July 2013

Innatex, Hofheim Germany, August 3-5 2013

Interested in becoming a Piccalilly stockist or to forward order Autumn-13 as well as top on best sellers visit the new wholesale website – http://www.piccalillywholesale.com

Saturday 11th May 2013 – An international celebration of fair trade!

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ImageSaturday 11th May is World Fair Trade Day, the event is both an global celebration of fair-trade, and endeavours to raise global awareness of fair trading of products, from chocolate to clothing! Endorsed by the global authority on fair trade, The World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), the event will connect over 450 member organisations in over 76 countries. This comprises of fair trade producers, suppliers and customers to name but a few. Celebrations in various countries on the day will include tree planting in Kenya, in Europe there will be live music and campaigning not to mention a world record attempt in Norway to collect as many people as possible in a humongous fair of fair-trade pants! Read more about World Fair Trade Day here:

http://www.wfto.com

In light of the event, as a caring bunch here at Piccalilly felt it a good time to celebrate too, and shout about our remarkable commitment to ethical business practice. Our organic cotton baby and toddler clothing is of the highest ethical standards, in that it is more important to us as a brand to ensure fair treatment and a sustainable livelihood to all the small suppliers involved within our transparent supply chain in order to provide the highest quality products that are kind to children’s skin. This is opposed to a compromise on quality through lower commodity prices unfair treatment of garment workers and inclusion of chemicals and irritants, which is commonly seen within typical mass market clothing supply chains. So what goes on behind the scenes at Piccalilly?

Our Cotton – Chetna Organic, India

Piccalilly’s 100% organic cotton is sourced through Chetna Organic, a pioneering organic Imagecotton project spread throughout India. Chetna encourages entrepreneurship among workers; the project is 100% farmer owned, and they are 20% shareholders within our manufacturing business. Cotton crops are not treated with pesticides but instead use organic methods of farming. This alternative is advantageous to all involved within the product cycle. Firstly, to cotton worker’s health and wellbeing as they aren’t at risk of inhaling dangerous chemicals, or getting in a cycle of debt purchasing these unnecessary expensive materials. Organic cotton farming also benefits our end users, babies and toddlers who enjoy super soft cotton that is durable, and free from harmful chemical residues that can cause nasty irritations and trigger allergies.

Check out Chetna Organic for yourself: http://www.chetnaorganic.org.in

Our Manufacturers 

ImageOur manufacturers in India are committed to maintaining a safe working environment that pays fair wages, and is free of child labour – audited through FLO Cert, SA80000. Employees enjoy free meals and healthcare for themselves and their families, as well as strong opportunities for progression and development within the organisation.

In summary, Piccalilly’s brand values genuinely and openly concern themselves with where our products are sourced, consider all involved along the supply chain, with an underpinning commitment to the highest quality products for our consumer.

You can meet our makers and listen to their stories by checking out ‘Fairtrade in the Frame’

Don’t forget to visit us at www.piccalilly.co.uk to browse our eco- fabulous organic cotton ranges for Spring/Summer 2013 as always manufactured to the highest ethical standards.

The most pracical playsuit on the planet by Piccalilly

Here at Piccalilly we love offering that little bit more to our customers, so great looking clothes are not only fabulous, they’re also functional too! A ‘mum’s eye’ for the practical is a special process we go through when developing our ranges and the result is clothing that tick all the boxes.
Because babies come in all shapes and sizes, so our products do too. Based on customer feedback our playsuits are designed for wearing over both cloth nappies and disposable nappies and designed with longevity in mind. But it doesn’t stop there, customer feedback suggested that parents were divided between footed and non footed playsuits – both of which have their place. We thought long and hard about it and the result was our very own design of playsuit which turns a footed into a footless playsuit – offering parents the best of both worlds! Fold-over cuffs mean that as arms and legs grow, the clothes do too – this in turn offers great value clothing and a longer lasting fit.
The result is our very own best selling organic cotton playsuit which comes in fabulous colours and designs putting the fun into functional! Currently available in London Bus & Grey Polka Dot and we’ve eight fabulous new longer lasting fit playsuit designs launching this Autumn – Launching July 2013!

OC-342B-LONDON-BUS-PLAYSUIT MODEL LONDON BUS 3 MODEL 3 MODEL_RAINBOW_PLAYSUIT_2

Come work for Piccalilly

We’re recruiting a Sales Coordinator
Piccalilly design, manufacture and sell organic baby and kids wear and are the clothing of choice for smart independent boutiques and department stores worldwide. We’re based in the market town of Settle and sell direct to over 300 stockists in over 35 countries. Due to impressive growth throughout 2012 we’re looking for a very special person to join our team.
The Job
This is an office based role with some travel anticipated attending trade shows and meeting existing and prospective customers. The aim of the role is to proactively grow trade sales within the UK and overseas combined with managing existing customer accounts.
The role involves;
• Managing existing customer accounts and growing these sales
• Actively developing new sales leads both in the UK and overseas
• Processing orders
• Dealing with customer enquiries and queries
The ideal person will have;
• Previous sales experience both over the phone and face to face
• Excellent customer service skills
• Brilliant verbal, written and listening abilities
• Computer literacy
• As Piccalilly’s customer service is second to none a ‘can do’ attitude is vital
• The ability to speak another language including French, German, Italian would be great (but not essential)

If this job sounds like it’s for you please send your CV and covering letter to The Sales Manager, Piccalilly Limited, Unit 8 The Sidings Industrial Estate, Settle, North Yorkshire BD24 9RP or email enquiries@piccalilly.co.uk

Application deadline: Friday 12th October

Piccalilly nominated ‘Best Organic Brand’ in The Nursery Industry Awards

We’re delighted to be recognised as one of the UK’s leading organic baby & kidswear brands by being nominated ‘Best organic brand’ in The Nursery Industry Awards.

This is an industry based award but trade and consumers are welcome to vote and all voters will be automatically entered into a prize draw to win a FREE case of fine wine!

Please, please, please vote for us in the ‘Best organic brand’ category – CLICK HERE

What’s really in your children’s clothing?

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Mainstream retailers within the childrenswear industry have recently come under fire from the media due to the use of harsh chemicals within fabrics, for example a fortnight ago a shipment of children’s shoes from China was pulled up in the US port of Seattle – it was found to contain three times the acceptable level of lead. Poland’s official Euro 2012 shirt was also pulled up for containing excessive levels of organotin compounds which aid breathability, preventing sweating. When Greenpeace tested for the top six chemical nasties in clothing in 2011, including phthalates (or plastic softeners), and formaldehyde (used to treat clothing to ward off mould during transit), it found 14 out of 17 retailers had been selling products that were considerably above “safe” levels. (Telegraph, July 2012)

Some of these chemicals are so potent that they can be absorbed into the child’s bloodstream and triggers allergies such as eczema, which is distressing for a child as skin becomes red and itchy. There are various knock on effects with conditions of this nature such as disturbed family life and sleep and playtime disruption for the child. Should children and their families really have to suffer just through negligence of mass market retailers?

Since we began the Piccalilly story in 2006 we have remained committed to producing 100% organic cotton free from harmful chemicals and irritants.

All our clothing is manufactured using environmentally friendly dyes through a responsible and transparent supply chain which is beneficial for parents, children and the planet:

Some of the benefits of Piccalilly’s organic cotton clothing:

  • Free from chemicals that could be absorbed into the bloodstream such as lead, for example.
  • Free from dangerous chemicals that can trigger allergies e.g. formaldehyde
  • Products are hard wearing, and can be passed to the next generation of little ones!
  • Fabric is soft as a baby’s bum and stays that way with each wash!
  • All clothing is dyed with GOTS certified dye – environmentally friendly dye through EcoCert
  • Child labour free manufacture of clothing audited through FLO Cert, SA 80000
  • Our cotton farmers avoid use of pesticides when growing the cotton which is much kinder to the environment, and can be detrimental to workers and wellbeing.
  • By caring for the people along our supply chains, we create clothes you can trust that are produced to the highest standards.

Visit www.piccalilly.co.uk to see our eco- fabulous organic cotton ranges for Autumn/Winter 12.

You can read more about GOTS certification and what it means here: http://www.global-standard.org/certification.html

Tradeshow Roundup: Piccalilly’s best Bubble yet!

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Last week Piccalilly visited the Islington Design Centre for fantastic Kid’s Trade Show  – Bubble London. This time to unveil our superb AW12 & SS13 ranges! The brilliantly organised show reported an visitor figures increase of 1.4% and it definitely made a difference over at the Piccalilly stand! We networked with some great new contacts and our sales were up a whopping 100% on January’s exhibition. Wow! Thanks for all who came to see us!

NEWS FOR TRADE CUSTOMERS – Piccalilly exhibiting at various overseas Trade Shows

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A quick update for our existing/potential overseas trade customers:

Our agents will be presenting A/W ranges in Holland & Germany at the following trade shows over the next couple of months. Come along and see our organic cotton collections at the following events:

Kleine Fabriek in Amsterdam, 8-9 July 2012 (Holland)

Innatex in Wallau 4-6 August 2012 (Germany)

CDH Kindermoden in Hamburg 4-6 August 2012 (Germany)

We’d love to see you there!