Creating a 100% Certified Organic Luxury Kid’s Clothing Brand with Pokka Kids Founder Soo Jo
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After graduating from Parsons School of Design, Soo became a leading footwear designer creating extensive footwear collections, from ideation to production, for many retailers in the US, including Kenneth Cole, Nautica, Sam Edelman, and Target.
Soo’s children’s wear expertise, which was gained from her career by traveling and studying markets in cities in Europe, Asia, and America, did not help when her newborn baby son started suffering from severe eczema. From experiencing the frustrations and heartaches of trying to help her baby son, Soo dedicated her heart and soul to creating Pokka Kids, a 100% Toxic Free GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Baby Layette Collection which is super gentle and safe on little ones’ delicate skin.
Soo and her husband Chang took a year to travel the world before their child was born. Although the original purpose of traveling was to unwind from over a decade of hard work, Soo faced the seriousness of environmental issues while traveling. During the process of creating Pokka Kids, she learned about organic cotton certifications such as GOTS and OEKO Textiles. She learned that using Certified organic cotton not only ensures to protect our children’s skin, but it also protects the earth they will inherit.
Pokka Kids Layettes are made with 100% GOTS Certified Organic Cotton. They are lead-free, nickel-free, dye-free, chemical print-free, lint-free and frayed edge free. Soo Jo, the founder of Pokka Kids, felt helpless watching her baby son suffering from eczema because she could not find any non-toxic soft organic cotton for her baby boy despite her expertise in kids’ retail market. To create the safest layettes for little ones, the founder made zero compromises in creating the organic line. Every single element that goes onto these tiny layettes are locally made in USA, except the organic cotton which is specially ordered from Japan, and cotton labels which were custom ordered from Italy.
Even the shipping boxes are made locally in the US. To ensure the authenticity of cotton being 100% organic and to protect the environment, Pokka Kids uses only GOTS certified organic cotton for all of their products. Pokka Kids’ mission is to stand firm against the influx of mass-produced fast fashion, as an ambassador for the health of not only our children but also of our planet.
In this episode you’ll learn about:
- The trouble with children’s clothing – many clothing lines use toxic chemicals during the manufacturing process of children’s and babies’ clothes.
- The difference between “organic” cotton and certified organic cotton – how to know the difference, and why it matters.
- Going from large retailers to creating your own brand – The struggle with finding suppliers and manufacturers that could produce on a smaller scale.
- Creating an organic and delicate product for babies – How Soo has created her brand to be super soft, 100% certified organic, and completely toxin and chemical free.
- The struggle of how to find customers – leveraging the power of your story to find like-minded customers who understand the value of your product, and the importance of good customer service when working with a 3rd party seller.
- How organic cotton is helping the environment – after traveling the world with her husband, Soo realized changes had to be made.
- The pros and cons of partnering with a larger company – having a larger marketing and advertising budget, but lacking the connection to the consumer.
- How to source local, organic products.
- The importance of your brand story – how focusing on your “why” will attract more customers, even when you’re selling at a higher cost.
- Educating families and parents on the importance of knowing how and where your babies’ clothes were made – many people do not know the number of toxins and chemicals that are used when manufacturing clothes, to protect babies, Soo has created a product, not just to sell, but to educate.
Connecting with Soo Jo:
Connecting with the host:
- Rebecca Babicz on LinkedIn
- 4:37 “Your brand name is very important for SEO purposes.”
- 6:02 “If I have my own brand, my own business, I feel I wouldn’t have any problems because I have all these connections, domestically and internationally.”
- 8:05 “First thing that was very important for me, is that I have to find fabric that’s super soft, and is 100% organic.”
- 8:39 “All these so-called organic fabrics out there, nobody knows what that means unless they are certified.”
- 11:34 “We’ll protect the earth and the planet they will inherit.”
- 27:14 “I think most of our customers who buy our product, are because they know our story.”
- 30:50 “There are a lot of regulations on baby products that need to be changed domestically, compared to Europe and Asia.”