Breaking the mould
With her new brand, My Childe, the entrepreneur Georgina Carberry hopes to make childhood a plastic-free zone. Words Tom Lazarus
As every parent knows, children are magnets for plastic. Peak-plastic years are birth to age three, with an estimated 2,500 disposable nappies and countless wipes in the first 12 months alone adding to the mountain of sippy cups, teething rings and toys destined for landfill. When branding and user experience (UX) consultant Georgina Carberry had young kids, she saw a need for relatively affordable children’s products that “designed out” plastic with plant-based substitutes, radically reducing a child’s ecological footprint. With partner Damien West, a product designer, she launched the plastic-free brand My Childe and product range Zero, with the principles of smart design, honesty and optimism.
You’re determined to “democratise eco-consumerism”. Can you explain?
The products of the future must be three things: high quality, truly sustainable and affordable. You can’t skip the last one if you’re going to make the change needed. We need all people, in all populations, to have access to sustainable options for the products we really rely on for modern life, not just the lucky few who can afford to choose eco. It’s not easy to get a quality product to market at a low pricepoint, but that’s the superpower of design.
Tell us about your partnership with Damien West.
It’s the driving force behind this business. Damien and I joke that one plus one equals 11. His mind and my mind come together with a multiplier effect. We perfectly complement each other, but we couldn’t have gotten this far without our product team. We have handpicked experts across the globe to get these products made. Every single day I have to pinch myself. We’re a small team, but we’ve innovated far beyond the multinationals in our category.
How did you go from a kitchen table sketch to securing $1.5 million in seed funding?
We left nothing to chance in the product development and research side of things, and I think investors can see that. It’s also the right product at the right time. We’ve been blessed with some incredible investors who can really see the business’s potential.
In what ways does your experience in UX and being a parent influence your mission?
Both have benefitted me, in different ways. Designers are essentially extremely well-trained problem-solvers. My UX background allows us to design products that solve complex technical problems, but we always bring it back to the things that matter most to our customers. Human-centred design is about empathising with the needs of your customer and I’m better placed to do that because I’ve been there. I get it. I’m also a better leader because of my kids — they really are our greatest teachers.
Tell us about the material that makes My Childe possible.
Our products are made from plants, and compost at the end of life. The wipes are made with bio-based materials that are not toxic and far superior in terms of their carbon impact. Our wipes and refill packaging is compostable. Our wipes hard cases are made out of a unique PLA/hemp blend. The hard cases are designed to last, but if a customer wants to dispose of them we take them back and either reuse the material or compost them. It’s a zero plastic, zero waste, zero impact solution.
What’s next for the brand and what will feel like quantifiable “success”?
We have a 12-month product roadmap that starts with our dry wipes, followed by our wipes hard cases, our wet wipes and then we release the product everyone’s waiting for: our high- performance, plastic-free disposable nappy. Also in development is an in-home composting solution that closes the loop for our customers. In terms of success, the real success here is the environmental impact we’re making and the relief our customers can feel when they know that by using our products, there’s no guilt.
This is an extract from an article that appears in print in our fifth edition, Page 160 of Winning Magazine with the headline: “Breaking the mould”. Subscribe to Winning Magazine today.