I was delighted to have the opportunity to chat with the ultimate lux mumma and accomplished businesswoman, Tamara Ecclestone about her new organic baby care range, Fifi & Friends and to also discuss women in business, entrepreneurship, juggling motherhood and work and the importance of running an organisation with a clear eco-conscious focus.
For those who don’t already know, Fifi & Friends was initially launched as an online parenting hub in April 2017. Shorty thereafter, a collection of natural yet effective bath & body products were released in October 2017.
The point of difference with this children’s bath and body range are the sustainably sourced plant-based ingredients which include organic almond, coconut oil, aloe vera and sunflower seed oil. As the range is all natural, they obviously don’t contain any nasties such as parabens, sulphates, silicones or synthetic colours.
This is particularly important for newborns and babies, as their skin is much thinner then adult skin* which means it is very permeable, absorbing products applied to the skin much more readily. Therefore, it is vital that these products are natural and non-toxic to ensure babies aren’t unknowingly ingesting chemicals or toxins which could build up over time and lead to illness or toxicity poisoning later in life**.
This socially responsible ethos filters down to their recyclable packaging. Actively seeking to eliminate and mitigate plastic production is important for a myriad of reasons. Hard plastic takes over 450 years to compose† and most of the earth’s gargantuan amount of plastic pollution ends up in landfill or sadly in our oceans‡ posing a massive threat to marine life.
And the products are not tested on animals either which means that there is a good understanding of increasing moral sentiment in which customers are considering the impact of their purchases have on the world around them, more consumers are making conscious buying decisions and avoid certain products due to un-ethical animal testing.
With this in mind, I was naturally curious to find out more about Fifi & Friends and the talented mother behind the eco and natural based skincare range…
What was the inspiration behind creating Fifi & Friends?
When Fifi was born, I struggled to find a selection of products that I really, really loved and I especially struggled to find everything I was after from one brand, which I would really consider using on her. There were also certain things that I thought were missing or lacking. So, I would say, Fifi was definitely my inspiration and reason for creating the brand.
Does Fifi also like to get involved with the brand?
Yes, she has participated in plenty of photo shoots and she loves testing the products and making her own potions with them. She also really loves using the products. Fifi has super straight hair and we have a specific shampoo for straight hair. On the other hand, her cousin and my niece, Lavinia, has really curly hair, so I decided to also make a shampoo specifically for curly hair. It was important to make everyone feel like there was something for them as not too many brands differentiate between the two hair types.
Does she help test products and give her own critique?
Yes, she does. Fifi always lets me know how much she loves the packaging. She gets excited and says, ‘Oh, it’s me. It’s Fifi!’. Therefore, on the whole it’s all been a positive experience for her.
Fifi and Friends has a strong CSR – corporate social responsibility ethos, and I love that all the products are either vegan or vegetarian, have plant-based ingredients and recyclable packaging – why do you think it’s important to be eco-conscious?
I do believe that being eco-conscious is our future and that’s the example we have to set for our children and other young people. And so, this was very much at the forefront of my mind, when creating this brand. The packaging is recyclable and the wipes are biodegradable. This was something that was a big deal to me and I wanted a dedicated team to look into it, to ensure we were doing everything we could.
What is your and Fifi’s favourite product from the range?
She loves the conditioning detangling spray and so do I. It does make the morning before school so much easier and generally less stressful, and I actually use it on my hair as well. So I would have to say the detangling spray is our favourite.
What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs, particularly those who are mothers, looking to start their own business?
I believe it is important for them to undertake market research and to really know and understand the market and also have a clear idea of the brand. I think many of us can come up with these great ideas, however we then have to really think and analyse them before jumping in with both feet.
At times it is difficult for working mums to juggle their time, particularly at home and in the office. What lessons have you learnt along the way?
I’m quite lucky that by my nature I’m super organised and also in today’s day and age you don’t necessarily have to be bound to an office, you can work remotely which I think is also great in giving greater flexibility.
I also believe it’s really important to set an example for kids in order to teach them that being both is possible; for example now when Fifi goes to school she asks me ‘Are you going to work on Fifi & Friends today?’ and I think it’s really nice to show her that I am her mum first and foremost, however there are also other things I do that are important to me and she understands this and acknowledges that I can do both.
What is next on the horizon for Fifi & Friends?
We have a sunscreen in development at the moment and we have just launched a new product which is a pouch you can attach to your stroller so you can always find your wipes. I was forever searching in my nappy bag for wipes and I could never find them. If for example, someone spills something, you can easily access the baby wipes as they are never at the top of the baby bag. The pouch was a product I was excited to launch.
The sunscreen sounds interesting, will it also be organic and vegan?
Yes, that is why it has taken a little bit longer because it is quite difficult to create a sunscreen with both factor 50 strength and meet all the other criteria.
When do you think the sunscreen will launch and where can we find this very handy pram pouch?
The sunscreen is in the development stages right now and will most likely be ready next year I believe. The pouch can be found at Fifi & Friends’ online shop.
Thank you to Tamara for taking the time to chat to LuxMumma.com and we are excited to see what this amazing children’s bath and body brand has planned for the future. The Fifi & Friends range is available online here or in-store and online from Harvey Nichols and Harrods, Trotters and Cricket Childrenswear.
Kerstin // Lux Mumma
*Stamatas GN, Nikolovski J, Luedtke MA, Kollias N, Wiegand BC, Infant skin microstructure assessed in vivo differs from adult skin in organization and at the cellular level, Pediatr Dermatol, 2010;27(2):125-131.
**Revelant, J, 5 toxic chemicals you should avoid in baby care products, Healthy Mama, Fox news, published 07 February 2016
†Creighton, J, Infographic: Here’s How Long your Trash will be around, Futurism, Plastic Decomposition, Published 8 February 2014
‡Parker, L, A Whopping 91% of Plastic Isn’t Recycled, National Geographic, Published 19 July 2017