Finnish company Beibamboo creates baby outfits with a difference. They have patented hidden seams, use environmentally friendly materials and have a line especially for hospitals looking after preemie babies. Now the company, born from a mother’s love for her premature daughter, is ready to take on international markets.
— When she was treated in the hospital, I was surprised how unpractical the baby clothes were. Especially since preemie babies are attached to all sorts of tubes and wires. Parents can’t even dress their own child, says Ignatius.
— I started to think about designing clothes from the point of view of what a baby needs.
It took Ignatius a few more years to come up with the first Beibamboo baby clothes in the summer of 2010. Since then she has been developing the clothing line in conjunction with neonatal ward staff in Finland and released two clothing collections. One targeted at hospitals and one for all babies up to 2.5 years old.
Beibamboo’s hospital range has been designed neonatal intensive care units in mind and all the clothes can be fully opened. This enables parents to dress their babies themselves as no tubes or cannulas need to be removed. The design has brought some surprising benefits.
— Since none of the tubes need to be detached, it reduces the risk of infection. Dressing and undressing is also painless for the baby, Ignatius says.
All the clothes are practically seamless, using the company’s own patented cover seams, labels are placed outside the garments to prevent scratching and the sizes are adjustable as babies grow. The designs are also aimed to be classic, rather than following any trend or seasonal fashion, to further extend their lifespan.
It is this combination of carefully designed features that makes the clothes unique says Ignatius, who also stresses that their production is environmentally friendly.
— The environmental aspect is also very important to me. We use organic cotton and bamboo in our clothes. Bamboo is soft for the skin and can be grown without fertilizers and pesticides.
Kick-start to internationalisation
Currently Beibamboo baby clothes are used in six hospitals in Finland and sold through the company’s own website and resellers in the Nordics. Ignatius also has international plans.
One step on that road has been cooperating with General Electric’s Health Innovation Village in Helsinki, where the company’s office and team of five are now located. According to Ignatius, US-based GE is the worlds biggest supplier of incubators also giving Beibamboo access to hospitals globally.
— The US is an attractive market for us due to its size and the contacts we have. And in Europe, our clothes have been recently been picked up by Germany’s biggest online children’s clothing store, says Ignatius.
Beibamboo has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to speed its internationalisation. As a part of the campaign, the company will donate their baby clothes to neonatal intensive care units in different countries.
— Of course the Nordics are a natural market for us, but our clothes can be used everywhere. We have even received some enquiries from China.
Beibamboo’s expansion plans are supported by a newly launched Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. The aim is to get visibility for the brand and to raise funding for further product development and marketing. As a part of the campaign, the company will donate their baby clothes to neonatal intensive care units in different countries in exchange for donations.
The campaign has a familiar face. Il Divo singer Sebastian Izambard, father of prematurely born twins, is promoting Beibamboo in the company’s video.
Prior to starting Beibamboo, Ignatius had a 15 year career as a graphic designer. She admits changing careers was daunting but is driven by the desire to help new parents. Recognition for her work is growing and last year Ignatius was chosen on the international ‘40 Women to Watch Over 40’ list, popularised by Forbes.
— Even though building a clothing brand without any previous experience has been tough at times, I have mostly slept well at night because I believe I’m helping to make people’s lives better, Ignatius says.
— If I can also create a commercial success that employs lots of people in good working conditions [around the world], I will be proud of my legacy.Eeva Haaramo www.beibamboo.com Good News from Tue, 09 December, 2014: