• Rowan Evans

FoundHer: Vanessa Emery, Rinky Dinky

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

Rinky Dinky London is a brave new childrenswear brand, boasting 100% Fairtrade certified, organic and ethically sourced clothing. The brand is not for profit and aims to be 'pals of the planet' by running entirely plastic-free.

And as if that doesn't tick enough of our sustainable fashion boxes, when we heard that the brand also encourages charitable giving by helping customers to reduce, reuse and recycle via a free and unique charitable redistribution platform, we fell in love.

Storytellhers caught up with founder Vanessa Emery about the genus of the business, and just how she hit upon this ethical USP.

Vanessa and her daughter Nola

I'm Vanessa, the founder of Rinky Dinky, an organic and sustainable children's lifestyle brand with a recyclable edge. Our packaging (which is free from plastic) doubles as a free donation platform that offers customers the opportunity to donate any used but good quality childrenswear that goes directly to our charity partners. Buy one to give many.

There are lots of children's clothing brands, but you have found the most amazing way to stand out, how did you come up with the idea?

I set up Rinky Dinky when I was on maternity leave as I quickly discovered the mass amounts of waste that comes with having a newborn, especially clothing. It doesn't take much research to discover that cheap cotton is devastating to the atmosphere and wildlife habitats. The offering on the market for organic clothing was something I was personally interested in as a new parent and conscious of what I was putting my child in. With the excess clothing that I was gifted or given, I didn't feel like my local charity shops were very transparent as to where my donations were going. We partnered with Solace Women's Aid because they offer immediate relief to those directly affected by abuse and we knew we could help, even in this small way. We're hoping to reach an audience that is both environmentally conscious and simultaneously looking to make a small positive impact on someone's life.

Do you think we would all be more charitable if we found it easier to do so?

I truly do. I think everyone leads very busy lives and sometimes life gets away from you. You sometimes forget the things that are important, myself included - so to have a brand that offers a little piece of that, is very important. I think deep down we have to come to a middle ground in our altruism eventually, an easy life with simple answers can invariably be unsustainable. It's time for brands and suppliers to be responsible too, not just the consumer. It's right that we feel as consumers the urge to do good where we can, but it's not right that we should feel pressure and guilt. Brands have resources to not only help others but actually help us help others, it can't be all about profit.

You are the definition of working motherhood - we know very well what it's like working with children under 1.. what does your day look like to make it work?

No day is the same. My husband and I are a team that juggle the busy schedule of a 9-month-old and literally running our small business from our kitchen table.

I feel like I have heard about you all over Instagram already, but what do you think have been your successes so far?

We are so brand new so I'd say our biggest success is getting off the ground. It's a scary social savvy world, so making any impact in it, is a huge accomplishment. We get such joy when we get a notification that someone has engaged with us, whether that be a like on our Instagram or a purchase from the shop.

What tools do you rely on to keep the show on the road?

Laptop - access to emails, Instagram and Molly Gunn from Selfish Mother's digital courses. They were integral in shaping the concept of Rinky Dinky.

Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years time?

Wherever Rinky Dinky takes me, that's where I hope to be

What would you tell your younger self at the beginning of your career?

Whatever happens, just keep moving forward

What are the biggest surprises you’ve experienced in motherhood?

How motivated you can become when you have a reason to be. I would have never previously dreamed of starting my own project or had the confidence to even open up a laptop and hit go

Do you have any tips for new founders?

I'm still a new founder myself so I'd say I'm completely in the field of winging it. One tip to take away might be to accept the fact that you are going to second guess yourself, again and again. The scariest part is talking about it, (something I'm still not confident doing) but as the days go by and the more people organically share and talk about Rinky Dinky, it gives me relief to know there are a few kind strangers out there championing what we're trying to do and it's a huge gooey heart moment

Finally, what quote do you live by?

Tough times don't last, tough people do

For more Rinky Dinky products, or to learn more about the Dinky Dinky Box recycling process visit rinkydinkylondon.com