The Success of Grey Lynn Business Nature Baby

Jacob Faull, co-owner with wife Georgia, of Nature Baby, describes himself as “the change he wishes to see in the world.”

Jacob has never sought the limelight. He is modest and unassuming, but highly principled and with a strong commitment to sustainable business and strong local communities.

Jacob and Georgia started their business as so many others do, out of their flat in Ponsonby, 20 years ago.

They wanted quality sleepwear, skincare and play toys for their own children. Jacob explained the importance of breathable bedding materials, especially mattresses.

Nature Baby has grown steadily just like Jacob’s children - Eliza now 20, Nat 16 and Thea 10.

They use a considerable amount of local merino wool, but source their organic cotton from India. An excellent business relationship has developed with a couple in Gujarat who make their garments. The Indian business has grown as Nature Baby has. The team visits India each season to coordinate the manufacture of their products and continue this relationship with Georgia and Jacob both visiting regularly too.

“Our business is a commercial version of activism, and we have created a business model that supports organic agriculture, supports social accountability in the work place, and expands parents’ empathy for a better world and the best for their baby to wear, eat and play with.”

Nature Baby is both idealistic and capitalistic at the same time, Jacob explains. They support a strong, but fair version of the world, along with a successful business model. They put money back into the community, supporting schools, play groups, local organic gardens, environmental organisations, groups for the disabled. They go to local boards to encourage them and other businesses to think the same way.

This is a business that is very connected to the local community and its ideals.

Some people come to Nature Baby because they are organic, some come for the quality and some because of their design ethic. All are determined to do the best for their children.

The Grey Lynn-centric business attempts to replicate the atmosphere of Grey Lynn as they expand overseas. Jacob and his team are looking for the ‘Grey Lynn suburb’ in the ‘Grey Lynn city’ in different parts of the world.

Nature Baby now has three New Zealand concept stores and they sell on-line around the world. They cater for new born, infant, toddler and ‘kids’, all under five.

Jacob feels the time is right for him to give back to the community which has embraced his business, so he has taken up the role of co-chair of the Grey Lynn Business Association.

Jacob explains, “We have lived in the area as students, young parents and business owners for the last 24 years. I originally discovered Grey Lynn when I walked from Mt Albert to Mamata and Harvest Wholefoods for a litre of Rice Dream and some un-yeasted Findhorn bread.”

The new involvement of Jacob in the Business Association has quickly raised his local profile and he is making a huge impact. Jacob has the kind of quiet but amusing personality that wins people over. In a time of local division, particularly over cycle lanes and road makeovers, with criticism of Auckland Transport and the Waitemata Local Board, Jacob always rises above the vitriol spewed out by a few locals. He wants serious collaboration and consultation and everyone inside the tent. He invites politicians, business people and residents to tell his association what it wants for its community, and to
seek consensus.

With strong but quiet determination, Jacob Faull will soon be well known throughout our local suburbs, and his inclusiveness and sincerity will become obvious.

Grey Lynn and the wider Greater Ponsonby News region will be all the richer for having Jacob Faull on board, to help lead the business community forward in a positive and constructive way towards a brighter era.

I sincerely hope the whole community will get behind Jacob whose vision is positive, inclusive and selfless. (JOHN ELLIOTT)