Emma Bunton on motherhood, the environment and her advice for women in business

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by Lorna White |
Updated on

Emma Bunton is best known to most of us as 1/5 of the Spice Girls, but in 2017, TV and radio presenter Emma also co-founded Kit & Kin, offering families a range of safe, eco-friendly and affordable baby products.

Since then, Kit & Kin has become a favourite amongst mums, winning a range of awards including a Mother&Baby Award. We caught up with Emma to chat about being a mum to her two children, why being eco-friendly is so important and her top tips for mum entrepreneurs.

It’s important to be eco-friendly

"Making the right choices when it comes to the products we buy is a really effective and easy way of helping to reduce your impact on the planet. Nappies are probably the main one that parents sometimes feel guilty about, as we get through such a huge number in the UK alone every day. The good news is that there are fantastic eco-friendly alternatives, giving parents one less thing to worry about. At Kit & Kin, we’re renowned for our award-winning eco nappies, which use gentle and sustainable materials to be kind on baby’s bottom and our planet - as well as being super absorbent, which is the main criteria for any parent!

"Kit & Kin's giving back programme with the World Land Trust (WLT) also means that every time you do something as simple as changing a nappy, you’re helping to protect the future resources of your baby’s world. Every nappy subscription personally protects five rainforest trees through WLT, a fantastic organisation that protects rainforest forever and safeguards threatened habitats across the globe. Most of us are very busy all the time so it makes sense to be able to make a difference just through everyday things like buying nappies!"

Ways to be sustainable in a cost of living crisis

"Being eco-conscious can be about making small changes which all add up but don’t mean that you have to drastically change your lifestyle or your budget. Recycling is a really important one which the whole family, including the kids, can get involved in and helps to massively reduce our waste, and we also make sure that we walk and cycle to places whenever possible instead of driving.

"Another switch would be to bring a reusable nappy into the mix. We’re very proud at Kit & Kin being the only brand offering both eco-disposables and reusables, as we know that lots of parents like to use a mix of the two options.

"We wanted ours to be the most eco-friendly reusable cloth nappy out there, so we made its outer layer from recycled polyester, meaning each nappy saves two plastic bottles from landfill. Its absorbent core is completely naturally derived so that only plant-based materials will touch baby’s bottom and keep them dry for up to 12 hours. The great thing is that one size fits all, and it will ‘grow’ with baby, thanks to handy poppers and adjustable waist."

Family means everything

"I think many parents have the same struggles with balancing work and family life – it’s not easy, but you have to try and find a routine that works for you. I’m really lucky that I have a very supportive partner in Jade, which allows me to continue working – I love what I do and I’ve always had a strong work ethic, but family comes first. I think it’s important for us to keep weekends free so that we can all relax and spend quality time together.

"Kit & Kin is very much a family brand at heart, which is why we’re so passionate about creating products to help make those everyday decisions that bit easier for other families. Our ethos is all about protecting your world naturally - we understand that as parents, your number one priority is making sure your little ones are safe, healthy and happy, which is why our products are super gentle and kind on baby’s skin. Family is one of the most precious things in life, so we wanted that message as a key part of our brand."

I adored being pregnant

"My partner, Jade, and I have always wanted children, so the thought of being pregnant was always very exciting for us. I fell pregnant when I was probably at my fittest, while competing in Strictly Come Dancing. I know being pregnant isn’t for everyone, but I loved it! Carrying my children and being spoilt rotten was my idea of heaven. Lots of women can have difficult pregnancies, so I was very grateful to be able to enjoy the time – it really is amazing how you adapt to all the changes your body is going through."

Parenting is a whirlwind

"My children are very different from each other, and both have taught me so much. Being a parent can be very challenging, and it’s all a learning curve, but I’ve never known love like it. We laugh and share everything with each other, and my children make me so happy. I really do believe parenthood is the most rewarding job in the world! The highs far outweigh the lows, and you learn so much along the way about what’s important in life."

Teaching children about the environment

"I think most of us are aware that climate change is happening, but there is always more work to be done to raise awareness. Education from a young age is key, both at school and at home, which is why I’ve always made an effort to speak to my kids about how we can help protect our planet and make those small changes. If the young generations can grow up with the knowledge that their decisions and actions do have an impact, then I think there’s a lot of hope for the future.

"I involve my children with things like recycling at home and I think it’s great to have these habits instilled from a young age. I also want them to understand the reasons behind our mission as a brand and why my work at Kit & Kin means so much to me. The kids have always been interested which helps a lot!"

I worry a lot as a mum

"Motherhood definitely isn’t easy, and I think one of the main ways in which I’ve changed since having children is that I worry a lot more about things now, and I feel such a huge responsibility in keeping my babies happy. As any parent understands, all you want is for your kids to be safe and healthy and content, but not everything is always under our control, and that’s something you learn particularly as they grow older. We have to remember not to be too hard on ourselves – there’s no one way to be a good parent."

It's possible to be a mum and an entrepreneur

"My advice would be to find your inspiration and your mission for creating your own company, as that really is the driving light that keeps you going during the tougher times. Running your own business is not for the faint-hearted, but I find it so rewarding knowing that we’re helping to protect our planet while making amazing products that parents and little ones love!

"My inspiration for starting the business was the fact that I had struggled to find products for my kids which didn’t irritate their skin, so to be able to create my own ranges which I know contain only gentle, natural ingredients and materials is so important to me and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved!

"The juggle of a career and family life is something that so many of us can relate to. As parents, we’re always busy and it can be quite overwhelming trying to fit everything in! It’s all about finding the right balance that works for you. Work is very important to me and I love what I do but we always make sure to prioritise family, especially on the weekends, when we can just chill out and spend quality time all together."

What's next for Kit & Kin?

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"We are so proud that our eco nappies have made the move into paper packaging and to be the first UK brand within retail to make this change. It’s a development the brand has been working on for a long time and something our customers have been asking for. We’re thrilled that it's finally here!

"At Kit & Kin, everything we do is based on creating products that are better for baby, better for our world, and give back. We’re honoured that our customers trust us to provide gentle, sustainable products that are as kind to the planet, as they are to their little ones' skin. We are committed to protecting our world as best we can and are always looking for ways that we can do better and reduce our environmental impact further. Last year we became B Corp certified, which we are immensely proud of but for us, the journey doesn’t stop there, and we’ll keep striving to do the best we can for our world.

"We’re soon to be six years old! I can’t believe it! We’ve already launched in 30 different countries, and we have an incredible range of our eco nappies, reusable nappies and of course our gorgeous natural skincare range, and organic clothing.

"But my children aren’t in nappies anymore, and it feels natural that we’re soon to be launching an entirely new range that feels a little more grown-up. Watch this space."

You can shop the Kit & Kin products at kitandkin.com, Mama & Papas and boots.com

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