In the first of our Mumma Makers installments, today we want to introduce you to a brand that we love. Meet mumma-maker-designer Ester, from Dinki Human.
Dinki Human was established in 2016 and the range is designed on the UK’s beautiful South Coast and manufactured in the UK.
Please give us your elevator pitch for Dinki Human
Dinki Human is gender-neutral, organic and ethically manufactured kidswear brand. Garments are designed to last. We believe we have a responsibility to take care of our planet for the future of our children. We use organic cotton, non-toxic inks and dyes, recycled and plastic-free packaging, and our Pre-Loved Initiative is designed to ensure our products avoid landfill. The brand’s supply chain is transparent and our ethical standards policies ensure everyone involved in making a Dinki Human product has been treated fairly.
We create comfort-conscious, sustainable style for kids and babies
Tell us what your inspiration was for starting Dinki Human?
After having my daughter in 2016 I craved flexibility and a better work/life balance. The career I had worked so hard to build for myself didn’t fit in with my new role as a mother. I went back to work after maternity leave and tried to balance my new way of life but it no longer suited me. I left my job to design a new life for myself as a mother, designer and business owner.
I always felt a sense of frustration at the gender stereotyping that is so prevalent in kids wear on the high-street. And having had so much experience in the fashion industry I know what goes into making a garment. I didn’t want to be a part of an exploitative industry, I wanted control over every part of my own brand to ensure everyone in the supply chain was treated fairly and that my products were manufactured responsibly.
If you had to describe Dinki Human in three words, what would they be?
Organic, ethical & unisex
What was your background before Dinki Human?
I worked in fashion. I’m a designer by trade but spent the last few years of my pre-motherhood career as a Design Manager, heading up a team of designers, illustrators, developers, and buyers. I experienced life as a designer in a huge corporation as well as other smaller brands. I thoroughly enjoyed travelling the world looking for design inspiration, visiting factories and sourcing materials, but as soon as I became a mother I could no longer see a future in that career, I didn’t want to be away from my family for weeks at a time.
We love that all your products are made with organic materials and with the environment in mind. Why do you think this is so important?
I think it is essential that we as consumers change our mindset, we MUST stop treating our environment as we are doing and we need to open our eyes to what is going on in the fashion industry. We all need to start shifting to a ‘less is best’ attitude. We must buy less, buy great quality, ethically made products and we must make them last. This is something I’m very passionate about, and I’m so pleased brands like Dinki Human and Sleep Thief are utilising organic cotton - it’s a no brainer, more brands should be doing it!
But obviously it doesn’t stop there, my dream is to have an entirely circular system of production. In the new range (launches September) I am stopping my waste fabrics from ending up in landfill and using them to make new products. The Dinki Human Pre-Loved Initiative enables customers to return their Dinki Human products to Dinki HQ in exchange for a discount - that product will be donated, repaired or re-purposed.
What’s the best piece of advice you have been given, business-related or otherwise?
Stay in your own lane. It’s so so so hard as a small business owner to not compare yourself to others. There’s always plenty of other brands growing their Instagram following faster, selling more, appearing at various events, and appearing to be absolutely ‘bossing’ it - however these things are not a measure of success. ‘Success’ is all relative. I need to remind myself of this nearly every day!
We know you have a young daughter, what’s it been like starting a business with a child?
The juggle is real! I never ever feel like there are enough hours in the day for my business. I would love more time but it’s also essential to me I get to spend as much time as possible with my daughter. My job as mama comes first, it's the hardest and yet most rewarding job I’ve ever had. However my career is very important to me, I need to be creative for the sake of my sanity and I really want to make my family proud of me by being able to provide for them doing something I love.
Do you have a bedtime routine for your daughter and, if so, what does it look like?
Oh I love a routine! It took a long time - my daughter didn’t nap until she was a year old. The sleep deprivation was so so tough. Now she’s nearly three and although she’s always an early riser she has learned to like her sleep - PHEW! Between 6pm-7pm we have bath time followed by quite a bit of combing through the curls, ‘the jama dance’ (my husbands invention!), milk and as many stories and she can get! I try to limit her to a maximum of three stories from her book box but some have be read more than once! Most nights she’s in bed and asleep by 7.15pm. And always up by 6.30am at the very latest.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Oh wow, I think I’m doing it!
I remember wanting to be a teacher, I loved school, I always had a passion for learning. My poor siblings had to endure my lessons on the weekends, I’d mark their drawings with red pen.
Then it was to be a designer. I loved drawing and art and as I got older enjoyed the conceptual thinking area of design. I was a mini eco-warrior, a vegetarian in a time when no-one was a vegetarian, and I was an activist kid. I remember protesting in my school's canteen when they got a Nestle vending machine - I was and still am an avid Nestle boycotter!
I got my design degree at Goldsmiths and ‘fell’ in to fashion. Ten years went by and I realised I had suppressed my inner activist, I was fed up with the ‘icky’ feeling. I dreamt of having my own brand with my ethics at the forefront.
Finally, if you were an animal, what would you be and why?
A dog. Specifically a French Bulldog because my Beetlejuice Biggie Ricky Bow Wow lives a good life!
You can find Ester and Dinki Human at www.dinkihuman.com and @dinki_human