Archive | August, 2014

New Designs for Our Crowdfunding Stretch Goal

If you have not seen muka kids crowdfunding project by now do go check it out on spark my potential, simply to see how overwhelmingly positive people are about a business that has big goals to do things a DIFFERENT and better way for people & planet.

Our original target was to raise $5000 to document the ‘good’ journey of muka kids clothes and make our samples. We reached this goal in 24 hours of launching and are now at 170%!


So we have put in place a ‘stretch goal’.  A stretch goal is a reward we can give if we reach a level ABOVE our original target. Which is a pretty cool place to be for a small start-up.

So we set a stretch goal of $10,000 by the end of the project (September 7th) and if we reach that target then we can add two more of our lovely fair trade organic cotton kids designs to our sampling line up.  Regooders (our crowdfunding cheerleaders & backers) get to choose these designs at the close of the project. So without further ado here are the four designs (well actually 6 if you count the colour options!)  that Regooders will get to select from.

Do let us know what you think.

And if you are not yet a Regooder, but you want to have a vote, even a $5 pledge will get you in on the game!

Fossicking Trousers

140826 long sleeved top

rockpooling top

140826 Singlet dress

sundae singlet dress for all seasons!

140826 Cardigan

collecting cardy

Is organic clothing better for babies and kids? What the science says.

140826 is organic cotton better pinterest

I must to admit to feeling a sense of total panic before the birth of our first child when I could not find organic cot sheets that did not cost the earth. I was going to be responsible for some terrible calamity that might befall her in her sleep! (I admit pregnancy may have meant I had totally lost all sense of proportion).

In the end we made a set  from some organic jersey cotton I found, we still have them and currently use them for number 2. As time passed I did find myself considering what the evidence was for organic fabrics being better for kids or indeed non organic being harmful. So of course I was unable to help myself; I did some research.


cotton workers get a raw deal


Turns out there is a lot of very robust science to back up the negative health impacts of conventional cotton farming on farm workers, their children, cotton processing workers, garment makers and on the environment. From pesticide poisoning, inhalation during processing, through to large scale river pollution. The types of chemical involved include heavy metals like lead & nickle, cancer causing Azo dyes,  formaldehyde and phthalates. There is a good summary of this evidence here.


Continue Reading →

Ten Reflections on Crowdfunding

The squirrel is resting (or perhaps comatose)

The squirrel is resting (or perhaps comatose)

So a week into muka kids crowdfunding campaign here are ten reflections on the experience.

  1. Newborn induced sleep deprivation is hard. Putting together a crowdfunding campaign in 10 days may be on a par with this, and certainly involves less oxytocin.
  2. Camera people/ filmmakers/ documentarians you are artists. I am not.
  3. Sound people you must hate Wellington & our wind.
  4. Editors you must curse unprofessional camera people and the Wellington wind (see above).
  5. It feels a bit weird to ask people so seed fund your social enterprise even when you absolutely want to change the world and other people are on board with that kaupapa too. But possibly no more strange and no less worthy than asking people to support you to cross four polar ice-caps or do an apprenticeship with the NZ dance company. Though certainly less weird than crowdfunding to make a potato salad.
  6. It is hard at times to just be cool with the support others joyfully give (I suspect this may be a woman thing… see my post on start-ups and women).
  7. I cry at the drop of a hat when people write & say super supportive things (something to do perhaps with point 1)
  8. My mum, my partner and my sister are my number one fans in very different ways. My kids though,  they are kind of ho hum about me right now.
  9. Being called ‘a mum who makes organic clothes’ feels like a gross misrepresentation of both me & muka kids, but is probably something I am just going to have to live with at times, reductionist as it is.
  10. Lots of people I do not know (and lots I do) really get this thing and want to see it fly. And that is cool indeed.

The Story of Grinling

Grinling, is a wee seagull who makes an appearance all over the show in muka kids first designs. Here is his story.

Grinling started life with no name at all, just as some amateur doodles by me.

Before he had a name

Before he had a name

I have always love our native seabirds, perhaps because the coasts & beaches of New Zealand are so fundamental in our childhood experiences as kiwis.  Over the years I have much admired the colour palette of our Red Billed Gull. Grey & Red & White. Classic.

 Summer days on the idyllic Coromandel

Summer days on the idyllic Coromandel

Then the talented Genevieve Packer took my doodles, my vague and waffly talk about hand drawn images, the rocky shore and seagulls and he was born… Continue Reading →

Filming Muka Kids: Part 3

By now most of you will have seen the crowdfunding video which came out of the process I’ve documented in the last few blogs ‘filming muka kids’. This is the last post in the series. The editing.

Chris & I talk editing

Chris & I talk editing

This is a picture of my friend Chris & me,  talking editing while we were filming. I think if he had known what lay ahead his expression would have been different. Like scared.

I had intended that this series be a photo blog, but alas when you lose the will to live part way through editing you unsurprisingly have no desire to take photos either.

Chris saved me. He worked thoroughly and sensibly and took breaks. He worked when I was not there and NEVER, not once, mentioned that he might be regretting this just a little.  There was a wee awkward patch though when we discussed the use of z in revolutionizing I will admit…

The first night we made the mistake of aiding our efforts with a wee shot each of caffeine from my beloved La Peppina. For those of you who do not know La Peppina is my partner in muka kids (and also our antique hand pulled home espresso machine). This did not so much make us alert as just damned anxious. So after we left at 11pm we both, I suspect, lay awake till 2am with too much caffeine coursing through our systems, wondering whether this thing would ever end. I also wondered  if in fact the sound of me saying “Hi I am Jess” would be permanently burnt into my aural memory…

But worry not! The next night (Tuesday, the night before the video was due to be submitted to the Spark My Potential team), Chris was calm, we ate only colour free lollies (sorry Chris, I broke your sugar free patch) and we even had a few laughs. And the thing was done. Chris was brilliant. He fine tuned, and twiddled and matched up audio tracks so my lips moved in time with the words (always useful).  He cut and matched pick up tracks I had done that day,  and he made me truly grateful that I have a friend who does brilliant work keeping New Zealand Music and Art alive & kicking  (check out more of his stuff here).

So if you have not seen it, check out the video with the child stars. And my ever and grateful thanks to all those who helped me make the video and supported me through the process. The adventures continue…

muka kids: revolutionzing how kids clothes are made & used


Filming Muka Kids: Part 2

Yesterday we shot the second part of our film about muka kids (for our super exciting secret crowdfunding project). This was the hard one. Thanks, however, to some amazingly supportive friends & family and their very obliging children, it was a relatively smooth process. I think the kids even had some fun!

We filmed in a super space, with beautiful art by Ngatai Taepa taking pride of place. Ngatai’s work is so fantastically aligned to the ethos of muka kids it was just perfect.  If you are in Wellington you should check out his exhibition in fact.

Now we have been selected as one of the nine projects for the secret launch, the pressure is really on to do a great job of this video, here is a peak…


entertainment provided

entertainment provided


lovely space


entertainment required


the real director


a few tips


so this one?


no I think you will find it is this one..


could you just ..?

balloon fun

balloon fun


yep there is at least THREE jelly beans in here


still smiling


fun times

kiddy wrangler a must

kiddy wrangler a must


Filming Muka Kids. Part 1

Today we filmed the first section of our new video all about muka kids.  Mostly me talking….phew. Part 2 on Sunday.

and again ....

and again ….


camera & sound & lighting

camera & sound & lighting

it is all high tech stuff in a start up

it is all high tech stuff in a start up