While Israel’s Katanchic is making groovy cotton baby clothes, and Turkey is brandishing their organic cotton in the steamy markets of Istanbul, Egypt has long been lauded as the Middle East’s king of cotton. Under the Nile, founded by Janice Masoud, takes business one-step further making baby clothes and other organic products. Not only do they produce 100% organic, handpicked Egyptian cotton products, but they also give back to the communities that sustain their business.
No stranger to clothing production and design, Janice worked for Eber and Eileen West in California, and then Canterbury in New Zealand. During this last stint, she noticed that her own children were sensitive to certain chemicals present in regular cotton garments. At a time when organic cotton products were less accessible, and with the following mission, “concern for the environment, humanity, and ethical business practices working harmoniously as one,” Janice sought to launch her own line of comfortable, responsible, and safe baby clothes.
She traveled with her husband to Egypt, where she made contact with the SEKEM Initiative Farm. Founded by Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish, SEKEM has been promoting sustainable human development and biodynamic agriculture since 1977, for which they received the Right Livelihood Award. Confident that SEKEM’s guiding principles coincided with their own, Masoud and her husband formed a partnership in 1998.
Take baby to the Sea or on a Safari
Under the Nile’s repertoire contains over 200 products that are biodegradable, certified for using organic dyes, “…approved for membership in Green America’s Green Business Network,” and certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Customers can shop by collection, which include among others “By the Sea,” “Garden Delights,” and “Safari Stripes,” or by age, from baby to kid and even adult. Under this last category, Masoud includes a range of thoughtful products for mom, such as breast pads and nursing bras.
Products can also be viewed and purchased by department. In addition to essentials and accessories, Under the Nile has a line of fruit and vegetable toys that are produced as part of a wider initiative to develop “independent and sustainable communities.”
Together, Under the Nile and SEKEM developed a program for 13 rural villages in Sharkeya, Egypt. The program involves teaching the villagers to make Under the Nile’s fruit and vegetable toys: the participants first receive money in advance for materials and for their work, and then a fair wage when the products are collected. The two organizations also provide infrastructural development, health care, and dental and health education.
Where can I buy Under the Nile products?
Unfortunately, Under the Nile only ships to US addresses at this time. However, we do think that providing quality materials at virtually no cost to the environment, and supporting the workers who make that success possible makes excellent eco-sense.
Read more on greening your baby:
Dria Peterson’s Handmade Creations, Born From a Geneology of Vegetarianism and Recycling
10 Common Misconceptions About Breastfeeding Your Baby
Mozart, A New Natural “Drug” To Help Preemies Gain Weight?