When Kate Hutchinson fell pregnant with her first child, Mahli, she excitedly began looking for stylish baby bedding with her best friend Brooke Wilkinson. Both design enthusiasts, Kate and Brooke discovered that there wasn't much on offer that excited them - it was teddy bears, bunny rabbits and butterflies in pink or blue, or not much at all.
"I wanted to have a stylish nuresery but didn't want to conform to the typical baby prints," Kate explains.
As their search continued, Kate and Brook realised that there was a gap in the market for contemporary baby bedding in Australia. That search led to the establishment of their baby bedding business, Mahli and Me, using 100% certified organic cotton in bold, modern prints.
"If your home is modern, you don't want the nursery looking like something out of the 1950s," adds Kate. "Our reversible prints mean that your baby's room can blend seamlessly with the rest of your home."
Brooke says the decision to use only organic cotton was also a key one for Mahli and Me.
"The majority of parents spend their time ensuring that the cot is free of toys and stuffed animals, contain breathable bumpers and well-secured cot mobiles. But many don’t consider that the sheets and cot bedding that contain an overwhelming amount of toxins and chemicals."
Brooke says that many children also pick-up skin rashes from their bedding.
"This is because the bedding is often made from cotton blends, and the cotton crops are treated with a large amount of chemicals and pesticides. These toxins leech into the air and babies’ skin while they are sleeping."
According to Kate and Brooke, the answer is simple: organic cot sheets.
"Organic cot sheets come from organic cotton that is grown in crops free of pesticides and contaminants, which means there are no harmful agents," says Brooke.
The pair say that there are other organic materials that cot sheets can be made of, including wool, bamboo or flannel.
"These materials are naturally warm and soft, perfect for a newborn’s sleeping space. And, since these organic materials have no irritating chemicals added, they don’t cause allergic skin reactions or difficulty breathing."
Brooke says that another bonus is that natural fabrics are absorbent and moisture-wicking, which means they keep the body cool during warm weather and warm during cold weather and as organic cot sheets don’t produce excess dust, they are safer for children who have asthma symptoms or are at risk for SIDS.
"When buying organic products, make sure that they are 100 percent certified organic. This ensures that the baby bedding is made entirely of organic fabrics instead of just some. Unfortunately, there are many baby products on the market that slip by as 'organic', when really they only contain a small portion of natural materials," says Brooke.
Just like the 100% organic cotton they use, Kate and Brooke intend expanding organically also.
Kate says that they plan to expand the Mahli and Me product range with more colours and patterns, as well as diversify into wraps, sleeping bags, wall art, lampshades and other items that make baby and toddler bedding beautiful.