A dairy allergy prompted Emma Bianco to question the chemicals and synthetic materials in everyday products.

This summer, Emma created Little Earth Baby, a site selling natural, non-toxic and biodegradable baby products. The brand is best known for its hero item, their pioneering bamboo wadding sleeping bag. Designed for rooms from 13-27 °C, there's no need worry about tog ratings with this clever fabric helping your babies to maintain a comfortable temperature all night long.

Emma is responsible for the day-to-day running of the company and leads their design, product development and marketing. Here she looks back at her business journey and the lessons she learnt.

I came up with the idea when… my son was about three months old. Once the initial newborn fog had lifted, I started to realise that the baby market is full of synthetic and often toxic products, which are not good for the health of our little ones or that of the planet. I wanted to create a wider range of natural options as well inspire parents to think more about what's actually in the products they buy. It's so easy to get tricked by clever marketing and a false sense of security in our regulations - it's certainly happened to me.

The biggest challenge is… thinking of new ways of making products without the synthetic materials. It's very challenging at times and takes a lot of research, development and testing until we get things perfect.

The average day is spent… doing 500 different things! From designing new products, sourcing natural and organic fabrics, searching for ethical and like-minded suppliers, legal, accounts, safety testing, insurance, web development, marketing, networking… The list goes on!

The team consists of... other than our Advisory Board, who meet quarterly, it's just me at the moment hence the broad workload above. But we're looking to add to that in the coming months.

My favourite quote… "There is no greater luxury than sustainability."

I am where I am today because of… my dairy allergy. It prompted me to question why so many more of us suffer from allergies and other more major health issues today. Over a decade of research has led me to believe that there is a strong link between the increased chemical exposure in our daily lives and our overall and future health. And no one's more susceptible to this than babies.

I am who I am because of.... my mother. She's always taught me never to be defeated! There's a solution to everything if you put your mind to it.

The best advice I've been given... is from my husband. He's a fantastic sounding board.

In five years I’d like to be… running THE go-to brand for natural and non-toxic baby products. Alongside being the best mother I can be.

The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business online... quite a lot actually! I've had so much advice from retailers and amazing brand entrepreneurs, but because online businesses are still in their infancy, it's hard to get advice from people who are experts in that field.

The websites I most frequently use are... Facebook Ads Manager, Quickfile for accounting, Squarespace for web hosting and Youtube for free expert advice.

Our biggest mistake and what it taught us… rushing into finding a manufacturer. We had issues with our first factory which set us back by months and we took a large financial hit too. It's taught us to take much more time in ensuring all our suppliers are right for us. The manufacturers we work with now are wonderful and we're so pleased to have found them.

What apps do you use to be more productive... We use PostVu and Unfold for our Instagram planning and content. And iMovie is great for creating slideshows.

October 2018