You do have a beautiful brand. If someone gives you a Nature Baby gift, that in itself says something, but you’re right, the product actually has to speak to someone, as much as the brand, otherwise they won’t be a customer for long. I’ve got a lot of Nature Baby hand-me-downs, some of which have already been through a family of three boys, and now I’ve got them. It’s great.
GEORGIA: It’s nice to hear. Out of all brands, people say Nature Baby is the one that lasts the longest.
Perhaps the one that stains wash out of easiest, more than anything!
JACOB: I don’t know how that’s possible.
Did you consciously try to create a special brand? Was that part of it?
JACOB: We did, but it was from an authentic level.
GEORGIA: That was how we saw we’d gain customers, if we had a brand to be behind the product.
You were saying that some of the early catalogues do look like distant cousins of what you do now. Has it gradually evolved over time?
GEORGIA: Yeah definitely.
JACOB: I’d say it’s stayed pretty close to what it was, it’s just been refined. The original idea; We looked at ideas like 1950s illustrations, times when you made your own things, or when there was this relationship to storytelling and we brought all those ideas into it. We’d always have illustrations with our products and then try to choose fonts which related to a typewriter or times when, looking at the print media, times when, if there ever was one, an honest message has been put out there, or there was a story to be told.
[To Jacob] Is it enough of a creative outlet for you or do you still make your own art?
JACOB: It’s consuming. I don’t have time to make my own art. With three children, two stores, a warehouse…
GEORGIA: It’ll come back.
JACOB: I have friends that are still making art and they complain that it’s now become a job for them, whereas I’m like I’ve got a job… I can’t make art. I’m still optimistic about making art. I still look at things and what the idea is and where it could go, but to be honest, I’d like to work on that more within the business. In running a business, you get so tied up in how it runs, but you do have to keep working on the ideas, what things are looking like. That is the most interesting part of it.
I don’t know how you’ve done it Georgia. In those early years did you withdraw from the business at all to look after your kids?
GEORGIA: With our first child we sort of split it. I’d do three days and Jacob would do three days so we’d alternate. Then, when our second child arrived, Jacob went full time and I was at home sourcing the products, researching and that part of it. Now I’m back two or three days at the office and the rest of the time I do work from home.
Does it come to the dinner table with you?
GEORGIA: We constantly try find things to talk about other than work and kids [laughs].
JACOB: Dinnertime, bedtime, breakfast.
It must be all-consuming.
GEORGIA: Yes, but as we’ve been doing it for 12 years it’s sort of become quite normal, even as a couple.
What are the hardest things these days? Is it managing staff? What do you kind of grapple with?
GEORGIA: I think it’s wanting to grow the business and how you evolve it, and where the spirit of the times is? Like you were saying, has the movement run dry? How do we move forward? How do we keep ourselves always current?
Do the kids get sick of you talking about it? Do they resent the business?
GEORGIA: No, I wouldn’t say they resent it.
Well it puts food on the table.
GEORGIA: I think they are quite interested in it actually.