Fern Kelly, an international award-winning scientist, director of innovation and the side hustle I’ve recently launched (whilst on maternity leave), LOMIE (www.lomiebaby.com).
I have always been an advocate for natural fibres and sustainable processes and practises and for a number of years, as a personal project, I’d been working towards launching an athleisure brand made from 100% merino wool. I wanted to assist in changing the way wool was perceived and the way in which items were produced and consumed.
However, I never quite got there. The multi-piece collection design and production, in itself, was too complex – particularly when I was trying to bring it all together on top of a demanding full-time role – and it never got past first prototype. Things needed to be stripped right back to the essentials to become manageable. The project got parked.
Then I became pregnant, had my son and was enjoying maternity leave introducing the world to him. From around 3 months old he became a real dribble monster and the need for bibs was real. At that point we were using standard bibs which may have looked ok but, because of the type of fabric, became sodden and cold so quickly we were going through multiple per day – and often leading to the poor boy getting a terrible dribble rash.
On talking to other parents, I realised we weren’t the only ones with this issue. A problem existed……
When you have a baby, muslin cloths are an essential item for cleaning up spills. Due to their fine, open weave structure they are highly absorbent and quick drying. Given these magical qualities, I wondered why not also make bibs from the same fabric? The idea behind the LOMIE muslin scarf bibs was born. A single product, highly functional, quality-made with sustainability at its core.
Despite myself being a scientist, I was taught to sew and create from a young age. I completed all design, pattern making and prototyping at home, whilst my son was napping, and then went about finding local producers (all within 25 miles!) to assist in bulk production. On returning back to full time work, it appeared that my maternity leave had seen the birth of not only one, but two babies.
Not only are LOMIE muslin Scarf Bibs super absorbent, quick drying and soft on the skin, the design has been created to adapt for your growing baby and to have the lowest impact possible. I know that they will change many others worlds, as they have ours.