For Noël Kumar, giving up on routine and listening to her inner voice was the best thing she ever did. After studying and practising law, she took a leap of faith, changing careers and launching babywear brand Little Pawpaw. Conscious in only sourcing and using ethical fabrics, Little Pawpaw products are all made in Australia whilst drawing inspiration from Noël’s Indian and Australian heritage.
Luxuriously soft Merino wool products are a huge part of Little Pawpaw, with bodysuits, onesies and beanies also gaining the Woolmark stamp of approval. Merino wool wraps, blankets and booties make up the Merino wool collection, with other products made from other organic, natural fibres.
“Just as I have adopted the wonderful aspects of my Indian and Australian culture, Little Pawpaw is an attempt to do the same,” says Noël. “I have used vibrant colours with intricate patterns to create ethically sourced children's products that are made in Australia. I am inspired by all things organic, products that don’t hurt the earth, practices that are sustainable and providing support to our local communities.
“Merino wool conjures images of fluffy candyfloss, soft clouds and delicate, fine pearls. But other than being gorgeously soft and gentle on the skin, Merino has so many good qualities that make it my fibre of choice, especially for baby wear. Merino is a natural fibre that is renewable, biodegradable and flame retardant. It is also very easy care, which makes a huge difference for busy - and sleep deprived - mothers to be able to just pop it in the washing machine, unlike other delicate fabrics. The other great thing with Merino is that it is a thermo-regulator, which is ideal for babies. Merino works to keep babies at their optimal temperature by either absorbing or expelling moisture, keeping them dry and comfortable.”
Changing careers can be a daunting task – let alone when one has recently become a new mother. But Noël took it in her stride and knew that doing something creative was what she was born to do. Despite not having a background in fashion or textile, it was Noël’s creative streak coupled with her business acumen which saw the birth of Little Pawpaw.
“I have used my personal fashion mantra of simplicity and comfort and applied it to the designs at Little Pawpaw to create beautifully versatile unisex pieces that withstand the test of time.
“When I was quite young, I was nicknamed the ‘tree hugger’. I fussed about the environment and plastic bags, greenhouse gases and landfill before it was a ‘thing’ that everyone talked about. I was a philosophical little kid and I thought and read a lot about these things. They shaped the person I am. I have personally been promoting natural products for so long that it is no surprise that I focussed on the same for my business. I am proud to be able to say that Little Pawpaw products are not harming the earth, they are created naturally, they are sourced correctly and nothing and no one is negatively impacted with our work. With this certainty, I can sleep well each night.”
It’s the peace of mind that has a trickle down effect with the customers of Little Pawpaw. “Consumers are willing to pay the higher price for Merino wool and organic cotton as they care more about the environment and their health,” says Noël. “They want to know where their products come from and what is in it. The trend to buy high quality non-synthetic products is increasing, and this is especially the case for baby products. The feedback I hear most from my customers is just how soft and gentle on the skin my fabrics are, which is exactly what they want for their babies.”
Norwegian brand Lillelam has built a successful business crafting youth clothing from Merino wool
Beckham favourite Bugaboo visits the source of wool accessories