When Anjali Harjani started Malabar Baby, she was doing it for her soon-to-be-born son, who she wanted to wrap in clean, natural textiles. Now her brand supports mothers, babies, and artisans worldwide through socially conscious production and charitable giving back. Read on to find out more about Anjali and Malabar Baby.
FH: What inspired you to embrace sustainability in your brand?
AH: I started Malabar Baby when I was pregnant and on my own journey to being a Mother. It was only natural that I wanted my son to be enveloped in natural fabrics and, most of all, carefully crafted, safe products. As a new and “modern” mother, I read all the labels and knew if I was acting this way, so many others were too. Being a green brand and environmentally conscious was never a question and has been genuinely part of every decision in our business. We are true believers that small businesses can make a huge impact on the planet and on the way consumers shop today.
FH: What is your biggest concern regarding the current state of the fashion/lifestyle industries?
AH: Fast fashion, overproduction, and being trendy are huge issues facing the fashion and textile world today. We recently read that the average person wears an item of clothing only seven times before throwing it away. If brands continue to over-produce and make fast fashion so accessible, the cycle won’t break. While we sometimes are out of stock at Malabar Baby, we truly believe that a supply and demand model is a much more effective way to build brand loyalty and produce in a conscious way. Our designs are either capsule collections or seasonless, which means we’re always in style, 365 days of the year!
FH: If there was only one thing you could communicate to potential customers about your brand, what would it be?
AH: Authencity. From how we started (a Mom with a simple idea), to where our brand name comes from (my childhood neighborhood in India, Malabar Hill!), to the country that inspires our creations (India) and the people (Artisans) that make our hand-printed quilts, there is soul and passion every step of the way. We are a brand that has grown because of the quality of our products and the amazing clients that keep encouraging us to create a lifestyle brand the whole family can enjoy!
FH: What is one sustainability initiative you would like to tackle in the future?
AH: Kindness is key to us, and we are always looking for ways to give back to our local communities. It’s a key part of our sustainability mission, and our partners, clients, and community inspire us. Over the last few years, we have been honored to collaborate and share with the following organizations in a meaningful way: Mother’s Choice Hong Kong (we specifically donate bedding to the orphans living at the NGO, and we do projects from the heart, such as photoshoots for moms who are going to give their babies up for adoption. Feeding India and Feeding From Far are two organizations based in Mumbai, India, that we have collaborated with during COVID to feed over 10,000 meals to those affected by COVID and who are now unemployed. We have some new initiatives in India (in collaboration with our manufacturing partners) to focus on female hygiene and finding ways to provide more organic and safe period care to women across India. Believe it or not, this is a really real issue in many countries and something we are very passionate about. From an online perspective, we sometimes try to get our direct client involved by running a Buy One, Give One campaign and to donate directly to hospitals in need of baby essentials. Thankfully, our clients have received these campaigns well, and our latest ‘Give One’ beneficiaries have been newborns in need at Harlem Hospital and Bellevue Hospital in New York City. Our team is straddled between India, the USA, and Hong Kong, so we are constantly on the lookout for how we can give time, heart, and finances to causes close to home.
FH: Where do you see your brand in five years?
AH: Well, that’s a fun question considering we are not even five years old yet! The way the world has been the last two years, we have certainly learned to be agile, flexible, and understanding. We see ourselves evolving as a team that nurtures these values to create products that work in this “new normal”. We certainly see Malabar Baby in nurseries and hospitals worldwide and as a full lifestyle brand for all ages. A brand that people feel proud to buy, gift, and share with the people they love.
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