Today’s Guest Emma Bianco
Emma is the founder of multi award-winning eco children's brand Pure Earth Collection which has achieved 120% YoY growth over 5 years. Last year, alongside juggling pregnancy, a newborn and two small children she grew the business by a massive 350%. She is an advocate of non-toxic and sustainable living having experienced health issues in her early 20s which led her to research and learn a lot about environmental toxins in our everyday lives.
Before setting up Pure Earth Collection Emma had a 10 year career in finance focused on Africa. Including working in corporate finance, private equity and consultancy all focused on financing and promoting business across sub-Saharan Africa to help boost private sector markets across the continent.
Emma is a creative at heart, with a mathematical and business brain and a passion for health and wellness. She feels particularly strongly about helping to spread awareness of the dangers of micro-plastics to human health and helping families understand why children are more exposed to these toxins.
She's now combining her interests and skill sets to help bring safer, more natural products into the baby market. She's on a mission to protect the long term health of children and the planet.
- Emma started her journey towards a healthier lifestyle after experiencing health complications in her twenties. She discovered that many common, ultra-processed foods are unhealthy, and started to eat a healthier, organic diet. Later, after becoming a mother, she realized that products marketed for babies are often full of toxins, microplastics, and other harmful substances. Emma now advocates for healthier product options and encourages people to make simple swaps to reduce toxins in their homes and in their lives.
- Emma talk about the challenges and biases she faced as a woman when trying to raise funds for her startup, particularly as a mother. She shares how investors questioned her abilities to run a business and be a mother at the same time, and how she responded by being transparent and determined, eventually growing her business by 350%.
- Emma discusses the challenges of balancing work and motherhood, and shares her strategies for prioritizing her children while still succeeding in her career. She emphasizes the importance of setting boundaries around technology use to create a healthy environment for her children.
- Emma recharges her batteries by balancing alone time with time spent with family and friends. Even though she has a lot going on with her business, family, and newborn, she tries to find at least 30 minutes to an hour each day for alone time and exercise to refresh herself.
- Emma's vision for her business is to continue to grow by at least 120% year on year over the next five years by providing sustainable and organic products. She wants to inspire other brands to push towards sustainability and inspire more women to start their businesses. She also addresses the issue of greenwashing and emphasizes her company's commitment to transparency and truthfulness.
- Micro-plastics are harmful to human health, especially babies and children. The tiny particles can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion, and dermal contact, getting into the bloodstream and even breast milk. To reduce exposure, individuals can open windows, vacuum and dust, and phase out synthetic plastic-based fabrics in favor of natural materials.
Links for Emma
Links & Resources from today’s show
Sponsor for this episode
At Aurion Media, we're committed to helping you set up and run your own successful podcast to grow your business and impact.
"You know what? I have found running my own podcast to be really rewarding. It opens doors to amazing people like nothing else I have seen. I have built networks, made friends, and had a platform to champion my customers, my team and my suppliers. I think just about any entrepreneur, or business leader should have a podcast because it has had a huge impact on my own businesses." - Matt Edmundson.
Is Podcasting Right For Your Business?
This is a great question and one we think you should really think about. Podcasting is proving to be a great tool to open doors to dream clients, network and build phenomenal customer relationships. But we know that podcasting might not be right for everyone. That's why we have put together a free online workshop to help you decide if Podcasting is right for you and your business as well as to understand what is involved for you.
Is Podcasting hard?
It certainly doesn't have to be. The technology has got easier and cheaper, so the trick is making sure your strategy is right from the start. Most podcasts end because it was started on a whim or even a good that just wasn't thought through or planned. Once you've got that in place, it's then about the right guests and consistency which all comes down to the team that you have around you that can help with this. No worries if you don't have a team...Aurion has a series of done-for-you services that can help you get the right strategy and bring the consistency you need to have real impact on your business.
Want to know more?
Visit our website www.aurion.media for more info. We'd love to help!
Emma: We're eating a healthy diet and we are detoxing, but what are we detoxing from and why do we need to do detox from things? So why are these toxins getting into our diet and getting into our homes and getting into our lungs and airways and blood streams, and how? How are they doing that?
Matt: Welcome to Push to Be More with me, your host, Matt Edmundson. This is a show that talks about the stuff that makes life work and to help us do just that I am chatting with my special guest today, Emma Bianco from Pure Earth Collection about where she has had to push through, what she does to recharge her batteries and to be as well as well what Emma's doing to be more basically.
Now the show notes and transcript from our conversation will be available on our website pushtobemore.com and if you are on there, if you're on the website, make sure you sign up for our newsletter and each week we will email you, uh, the links, the notes from the conversations. They get emailed to you directly to your inbox, all automagically.
Oh yes. It's totally free as well. So make sure you sign up for that. Now, this episode is brought to you by Aurion Media, which helps entrepreneurs and business leaders set up and run their own successful business, uh, , let me start that again. Their own successful podcast is what they do. Uh, they help businesses grow by using podcasts.
You know what I have found running my own podcast to be super, super rewarding. It opens doors to amazing people like nothing. I have ever seen and as you have just noticed, you don't have to be perfect at it either. I've built networks, made friends, had a platform to champion my customers, my team, my suppliers, and I think just about any entrepreneur or business leader should seriously think about having a podcast because of the huge impact it's had on my own business, which of course sounds great in real in theory.
But in reality there is the whole problem of setup, distribution, getting the tech right, knowing what the right podcast strategy is. The list goes on. You see, I love talking to people. I genuinely am curious about their story, but I'm not a big fan of all the other stuff. So the fab people, uh, at Aurion Media, the team there, take it all off my plate.
I get to do what I'm good at, and they brilliantly take care of the rest. So if you are wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, Do connect with them at aurionmedia.com. That's A U R I O N media dot com and of course we will link to them in the show notes. Yes, we will. Now let's talk about today's guest.
Emma is the founder of the multi award-winning Eco Children's brand, pure Earth Collection, which has achieved 120% year on year growth over the last five years. It's pretty good. Pretty good? Oh, yes. Uh, last year alongside juggling pregnancy, a newborn and two small children. You know, that's not enough.
She also grew the business by a massive 350%. She's an advocate of non-toxic and sustainable living, having experienced health issues in her early twenties, which led to her research, uh, and learned a lot about environmental toxins in everyday life. Now, before setting up Pure Earth collection, Emma had a 10 year career in finance focused on Africa, including working in corporate finance, private equity and consulting, all focused on financing and promoting business across Sub-Saharan Africa, which if I'm honest with you, sounds phenomenal.
Yes, it really does. Now, Emma is a creative at heart with a mathematical and business brain. Which I appreciate sounds like an oxymoron, but we're gonna get into that. She has a passion for health and wellness. She feels particularly strong about helping to spread awareness of the dangers of microplastics to help human health, uh, and families understand why children are more exposed to these toxins.
She's now combining her interest and skill sets to help bring safer, more natural products into the baby market. She's on a mission to protect the long-term health of the children and of the planet. So I am super excited, Emma, to have you on the show. Thank you for joining us. Great to have you. How are we doing?
Emma: Yes. Very good. Thank you, Matt. Uh, thanks for that intro and yeah, really excited to be here and to be chatting to you today.
Matt: Yeah. Now I've been looking forward to this one because, um, you've obviously got, uh, your company, um, and you are, you are doing some great stuff, uh, with that, but, I'm kind of curious what kickstarted the whole, you, we said in the bio that it was a health issue, but what kickstarted the whole thing for you? Um, this sort of whole journey down, down a road that, um, that you're on now.
Emma: So yeah. In my early twenties I had, um, some health complications and was sent from doctor to doctor and nobody really knew what was going on. And then, And then finally realized, actually needed to clean it. Not that I had a, what I thought was an unhealthy diet, but turns out, you know, most, most people without knowing it, eat ultra processed food and processed food day in, day out.
And me in my late teens and early twenties was definitely doing that. Um, you know, just convenience foods. Yeah. And so started just cleaning up my diet and that made a big difference. Then started eating more organic foods after. So first comes healthy, then comes organic, and then suddenly you've got your diet under, under wraps.
And then learning more and more about environmental toxins and what they're doing to our health as well. Um, so, you know, how, what are, yes, we're eating a healthy diet and we are detoxing, but what are we detoxing from and why do we need to do detox from things? So why are these toxins getting into our diet and getting into our homes and getting into our lungs and airways and blood streams?
And how, how are they doing that? and I mean, it's a big, long discovery road looking into all of those things. Um, but essentially, um, once you understand what all these things are, it's quite easy to realize, to make some simple swaps around the home and in your daily life, um, to remove the worst offenders.
Um, So, yeah, things like, um, formaldehyde, formamide, lead, phthalates, um, they're, they're all over our homes and why are they all over, over our homes and, and how can we reduce that? So I went on a sort of long learning journey about these things, and then I rather when I was, I think around 31, um, so 10 years later, um,
and I realized that all the things that I'm, I had learned to avoid because of for health reason were often the things that are pumped into baby products. Um, and when you become a mother or a parent, um, you, I, I definitely, and I think it's a lot of people feel as well, are very overwhelmed by firstly, you know, having a tiny human that depends on you to, to live. Sure. But also the, the choice that's available.
You know, there's so many things. Right. I'm gonna go and buy a buggy. Wow. I don't know which buggy to choose. There's like 400 on the market and I need a plate, and I need this and I need that. And how do you even begin to narrow down what you need? So I had a friend who was six weeks further down the line.
and I would just message her and say, right, right, which play mat did you buy? Which buggy did you buy? Which, which of these? And she would just send me a link and I would just say, bye bye. Bye bye bye.
Matt: Sounds like straightforward strategy.
Emma: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Um, cuz I just didn't have the time or the head space to look at all. It takes, you know, days of research, weeks. Um, and I just naively thought that things on the baby market are gonna be regulated so I don't need to worry about phthalates being in my baby products or microplastics, microplastics, shedding off of everything or, um, formaldehyde in their clothes. Like of course no one would put those in baby things. And then shock horror, they do, and in quite large quantities.
So I guess it was when my firstborn was around sort of three or four months old when the fog starts to lift a bit. And I just looked around for all these products I bought and I thought, wow, if I can be tricked by the baby market and I know about these things. You know, I know in detail about these things and I have been tricked by the baby market.
Then it's so easy for people to just sort of blindly assume that it's all gonna be regulated and safe. Mm-hmm. when it isn't. Um, a lot of products don't even have to be, have any kind of regulations or safety at all. Um, where there are regulations are often not strict enough, particularly on product ingredients. Um, and I think that could be quite a weird thing to hear product ingredients, cuz usually people associate ingredients with food.
Yeah. Because they're gonna eat it. Whereas, um, you know, babies tend to think that everything's food. So they'll have a teddy and they have it in their mouth. Yeah. All throughout the day. They're just chewing on it. So yes, that is going straight into their body and straight. It's, you know, going into their lungs.
It's in the air that they breathe right here. Being sucked on and chewed on, and all those bits are going. Um, you know, I had my, my four month old in the sling the other day and I had a black wool jumper on and he was sleeping, you know, right on my chest here, breathing in the wool, probably eating a bit of the wool.
Um, I only wear natural fabric fabric because of this now. Mm-hmm. And then I went to change him later. And sure enough, there was some black wool in his nappy. Oh wow. That had gone all the way through him and out the other side. Yeah, no, it just goes to show if that was a polyester jumper that I'd been wearing, that would've been microplastics in his body and not all coming out, you know, not all of them would probably come straight out.
It would've got stuck in various parts of his body. So, you know, babies are eating these things quite constantly. Plus it ends up in the household dust and babies are much more susceptible to dust because they're, when they're on the move, they're crawling around and they're dropping their toys on the floor and there's dust on the floor, and then they put toys in the mouth.
And if, if your, if your house is full of microplastics and flame retardants from furniture, all of those flame retardant and microplastics, that's what makes up the dust in your house. So dust can actually be very toxic and it's what babies are kind of breathing in and ingesting all day often.
Matt: So, well, Emma, there's a lot there.
Um, and it's, I can see Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can see the, the sort of the route that you've taken as you are talking and, and obviously for your own health then for your baby's health passion. It, it seems sort of grows in you to, to know about this and understand this. Just so I'm clear, um, what is a phthalate.
Because I, I'm, you, you mentioned these sort of ingredients and I'm, I think this is probably our first problem is actually a lot of us are gonna be ignorant on, on what it, what are things like a phthalate is and, and why I should care about, say, a microplastic.
Emma: So phthalates are, um, a, a group of chemicals which are added to a lot of different household things.
So they're added to PVC to make it soft. So you've got plastic. Plastics hard, how'd you make plastics soft? They add phthalates or other kind of chemical plasticizers? Um, so that, so phthalates are, are really dangerous to babies and children. And there was a overnight government decision in, I think it was around 1998 when the government realized that they were so damaging to health that there was an overnight ruling to remove all phthalates from toys.
Um, so shops the very next day quite literally had to take all toys containing phthalates off of their shelves. Mm-hmm. And so, I mean, you might think, well, that's fine. They're gone from toys, but they're not gone from baby products. PVC blackout blinds. So blackout blinds, the ones that you stick up in the windows.
Mm-hmm. with the suction cups, they are made PVC. So those phthalates are being released every time, you know, you have them up or in the, in the baby's room, especially when they're heated in a, in a hot, sunny room. Um, so they're, they're, they're being released into the air. Um, phthalates are also used a lot in cosmetics.
So anything that has strong perfumes, so perfume, for example, deodorant. Um, household candle, you know, nice smelling candle. Anything that smells lovely is probably full of phthalates cuz it's what they put in to make the smell hang around and make the smell a bit stronger. So I now only use natural perfumes and while they can smell lovely and you put them on and you think, oh this is lovely.
Half an hour later they're gone cuz they, you don't smell like anything at all anymore because they don't have the phthalate to stick around.
Matt: But you feel better.
Emma: They're, they're very useful for, you know, yeah. Yeah. Feel good not having them.
Matt: Okay. So Emma, when we did our, uh, our pre-call, uh, as I, I love to do with all, I guess, um, uh, I, I, I remember a story you said, uh, about an investor who once told you he wouldn't invest in your business because he didn't believe it was possible to run a business and be a mother at the same time.
Right. So, um, I'm listening to you talk about, you know, phthalates and, and all this sort of stuff, protecting your kids, but I, I do wanna circle back to the fact that you, you, you ran your business whilst pregnant and had a whole bunch of young kids. Um, and yet there's this investor who told you that it wasn't possible to do that.
Um, let's talk about that a a little minute. How have you found it then being, uh, a mum of young kids trying to run a business, um, which is very sort of purpose driven. Um, and yet you, you seem to have investors telling you that it's not possible.
Emma: Yeah, it's, I think it's something that needs a lot of work from, uh, Everybody, well, men and women across the UK and the world right now.
Um, founders at the moment get less than. Female founders get less than 1% of startup funding, yet female run businesses are on average, 65% more successful than male run businesses, startup businesses. That is mm-hmm. Um, that are fairly crazy and there is still very strong male bias. I don't know if the male bias that I found while fundraising has been specific to me having children or, you know, being pregnant or if it's just to females on the whole, I'm not sure.
Um, but it's very, very hard to raise funds as a female founder. So I launched this business when my first son was four months old, and then I was doing my first round of fundraising when my, my second child, my daughter was, she was around eight months when I started to fundraise. Um, a few investors asked if I was planning to have more children, what my family, you know, family plan was, how I would juggle the kids and the business.
Um, and one of them very, very pointedly told me that he wouldn't invest on that ground on a basis that I was a mother. And he didn't think that doing a business and motherhood, um, was possible, and that in his experience with his family, his wife wouldn't have had the capacity to do that.
Matt: Wow. How did you feel when he said that?
Emma: Very frustrated and, uh, very let down and a bit torn between being honest with future people and not being honest, you know, not, not telling lies obviously, but should I actually say, oh, I'm a mother of three, would you like to give me some funding? Um, or shall I just keep quiet about being a mother. With the business that I do being a mother is very helpful and it builds trust with, with our customers and with our audience. Mm-hmm. . Um, and, you know, children, my children are an asset to the business and to the brand. Um, but to investors, they do seem to put them off quite, quite a lot.
Um, we were doing another fundraise. I started another fundraise last February/March. Um, and then I found out in March that I was pregnant with my third child. So we were in advanced discussion.
Matt: Well, congratulations.
Emma: With some of the investors and I want. Thank you. Um, and I want to be totally honest with them. Um, so I said, you know, total honesty, cuz we, a lot of them were Zoom calls, so they couldn't see that I was pregnant. and I said, you know, just full transparency. I am pregnant with my third child. I hope that doesn't affect anything. And they were all very, uh, poker faced on, on the phone calls and said, no, no, that's not a problem at all.
But then, then they all dropped out after that. So whether they dropped out because of that, I don't know. But they all dropped out as soon as I told them I was pregnant. Wow. So, wow. It's very frustrating. Very, very frustrating. Since then, since becoming pregnant, last year. Um, that's when I became extremely determined to prove everybody wrong.. And I thought, right, it's fine. Well, I'm not gonna bother chasing investment when I'm pregnant, walking into meetings with an enormous tummy.
Hmm. Um, and sort of being silently laughed out the room. So I thought I'll just, I'll just build my business for now by myself. So I really, um, really kind of took action. And grew the business from. So from becoming pregnant till now, I've grown the business by 350%. Um, and yeah, my baby was born in Nov beginning of November, and since November we reached, uh, breakeven and then profitability. So it's been going from strength to strength despite, despite me having lots of children, three children.
Matt: Yeah, I'm, I mean, this, I'm, I'm intrigued by this because, um, I'm listening to you talk now. I mean, I have three kids. Uh, my kids are a very different sort of life stage. Emma, I'm not gonna lie. My, my two boys are at university and my daughter's just about to do a GCSE.
So I, I'm struggling more with the empty nester syndrome, but I can still remember, obviously very clearly when my kids were young and I was trying to get the business up and running. Um, at the time, I think a, a business I sort of was, I started my business in effect when my first born was born. Um, and I remember, uh, just the sheer tension of trying to juggle being a dad.
And, you know, getting the, the business up and running and it, I don't think I've always got it right. Uh, but I think on the whole, I, I think I've done a pretty okay job. My kids still talk to me, which is an important thing I, I suppose out of this. Um, yeah. Yeah. It's a very good start. So, but how have you found it?
I mean, you, you say you became very determined. I mean, what's your, what's, how have you, I guess, how have you found that determination. How did you find that motivation? Because you sound to me like you're also gonna be very determined to make sure the work life balance is good and obviously that, and you're a mum to the, to your kids first and foremost.
So I'm, I'm really curious in that whole story, how you've managed to sort of spin all these plates and, and make it all work?
Emma: Yeah. Well I think it's the sort of million dollar question for all mothers globally right now, isn't it? With, um, national Women's Day was last week and there was a lot of talk about, you know, the progress that's been happening for women and that there's a lot more equality now and a lot more equality in jobs, but there's still a really long way to go.
Um, I think obviously with women working more and more over the last, you know, however many many decades now. More women are in in work than, than were then, which is a really positive movement. However, it gives our generation a challenge that future generations didn't really have and it that is the juggle. So how can I be, make sure that I am the best mother possible, but also working really hard and succeeding in business.
Um, and I hope I'm getting it right, but who knows? I'll, I'll see if my children all still talk to me when I'm through.
Matt: Proofs in the pudding. Yeah.
Emma: Proofs in the pudding. But what I try to do is I also try to, you know, I have a daughter and I want to make her realize that it's possible to work and be a mother. Um, and I want to show my sons that it's possible for women to be successful mm-hmm. and to have jobs. Um, so what I try to do is I try and be with them totally before work, you know, before school, and then typically after school. So I pick 'em up to be after school with them. I try not to work in that shift until they're in bed, and if I need to do more work, I'll work when they're in bed.
Um, I'll do work at weekends sometimes when my husband is around. Um, so my husband works in London and he leaves at 5:00 AM and he comes back usually around 8:00 PM so he misses the, you know, he misses the kids most mostly all week. So it's very much up to me. So I don't want to be the, the parent sitting at, at suppertime on my phone, catching up on emails, doing, doing work while they're around.
So I try really hard to not do that when they're, when they're watching. Yeah. If they go play in the playground after school, then fine. I can catch up on emails. But if they're, they're there and needing me and wanting me to engage, then that's what I'll do. So we do have a strict no phones at the table rule. Um, so I'm not tempted to sit there and, and check email when they're telling me about their day.
Um, and I, yeah, i think. When my first child was a baby, it was very easy to check emails when he was around because he wasn't, he had no idea what I was doing. you know? Yeah. But I remember getting to a point where he was about 14 months old and I was checking my emails and my sister-in-law was over and my brother-in-law was over, and we were all sitting around the table staring at our phones, and it was a moment of realization for me, and I just thought, whoa, this is seriously weird for my son.
What does he think we're doing? Why are we all staring at our phones? Mm-hmm. and is it going to be his normal? Is this what he thinks is normal? And I thought, no, I, I create his normal and this isn't going to be his normal. I I'm not gonna allow people to stare at their phones when there are children around.
You know, I'm not, its not no phones policy obviously. And my son is now six and he loves, he loves to Google stuff on my phone and find out. What noise do owls make in nighttime? And, you know, random questions that he likes to ask Google. And I like that he knows that we can ask my phone that. But what I don't like is, is that all the adults are staring at a phone while the child has nothing to do. Yeah. That's very odd for them..
Matt: Yeah, no, I totally agree. Um, I like we have the, the no phones policy, which yeah, it happens most of the time and we still have it with the, the old kids. Um, and one of the things actually we've discovered is just the, uh, the magic of sitting around the dinner table, either before or after, and just having a game of cards, um, and just catching up and chatting.
And I like that, uh, this is not gonna be his normal. So, Emma, and listen, I'm curious. Um, you've got this incredible story of sort of pushing through, um, uh, forgive the pun in more ways than one. Um, but you've, you've got your business, you've got a family, you've got, um, your husband who's working in London.
There's a lot going on, right? It seems quite full on. So how do you. How do you recharge your batteries? You know, this whole area of, of being, you know, to, to be that we like to say on the show, how do you do that in, in the midst of all of this, right? Because you seem to have more going on than the average Joe for want of a better expression.
Emma: Yeah. So I mean, I'll probably talk about how I recharge my batteries when I don't have a newborn because when you have a newborn, it's ,
Matt: rules just go out the window. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I totally get that.
Emma: At the moment, a shower is a luxury, but, uh, on normal life when I don't have a newborn, that depends on me all the time. Um, I, I'm actually, I think I have sort of two, two sort of slightly different personalities inside me. One is I'm a people person and I love my family and friends, and hanging out with my family and friends just makes me feel happy and makes me feel fresh.
The other person is a total loner, and I love being on my own. Mm-hmm. and I need alone time. I, I need it. I crave it. So, um, I love just an hour a day, half an hour a day, whatever you can get, just going outside, being totally on my own with my music. I love music and I love being on my edge and doing exercise.
That is my dream. So, um, a bike ride or a run, or you know, if you've got a bit more time surfing or something, you know, just being outside in nature and being on your own and not being spoken to. Hmm. Um, so that's, that's great. But I do love, I love the hustle and bustle of family. I'm the youngest of six children in my family.
Um, I've obviously got three kids myself. Weekends here are usually spent having friends with their kids around to our house for, you know, either for a meal or to stay the night. Um, so it's very busy. We all, we love having our friends around. We love it and, and our family around. Um, so I think there's those two different things and I need to fill up both buckets each week. I need a hit of friends and family, and I need a hit of alone time.
Matt: It's almost like the magic duo, isn't it? It's like, uh, I, I I get what you mean. It's, I do like to be around people, but I do crave my own company sometimes as well. And, and, and finding the space to do that, uh, is super, super important. And so, um, so somehow you manage to do that regularly. You manage to carve out all of that. I say all of that time, half an hour doesn't sound like a lot of time, but, um, you, you manage to carve that time out fairly regularly for yourself?
Emma: I do, yes. Not, not in the last four months. Um, so at Saturday that we've just had was the first, first day. I took some alone time since my baby was born. So, um, went for a nice long bike ride and yeah, just had some alone time, which was lovely.
Um, but as a general rule, I try and do at least sort of three or four times during the week, even if it's after the kids have gone to bed. Mm, I'll just got a gym in our garage outside. So I'll just go out there, open the garage door so it's all sort of light and airy and, um, listen to my music and just have a bit of time alone on the exercise bike.
Um, and then at weekends, my husband is a bit the same with ex he needs to have exercise. So we quite often, you know, he'll take his hour, I'll take my hour, and we just share it like that. Um, but I think it's really important to do whatever makes you feel refreshed. And I come back in feeling like a way better mother.
Like on a Saturday morning, I go out to do an hour of exercise. I come back in ready to, you know, ready to be a great parent, rather than being woken up at 5:00 AM and which I still am, but you know, and then you just feel a bit grumpy by 10:00 AM and you just feel a bit, you have some questions and you haven't had any time for yourself.
So I find that just a little bit of time to myself, I can come back and I'm ready for the questions and I'm ready to do everything else All day.
Matt: Yeah. I love that. I love that. And like you say, sometimes a shower is a luxury, uh, and uh, you know, not overcomplicated. I think it's quite nice. Um, and it's interesting you mentioned surfing, cuz I remember when we did the, the pre-call, um, You, you, you like surfing, but you like surfing with your kids as well?
I mean, obviously not the newborn. Um, I'm, I'm assuming the newborn can't surf yet. I don't know. Uh, but, but the other kids are, are, are quite, uh, quite surfers as well. Is that right?
Emma: So they've never done real surfing, but they love to mess about on our boards in the shallows. Okay. So what we'll quite often do is we'll go down and we'll go to the beach and one of us will stay on the beach with the kids while the other surfs and then we'll swap. And then the kids love to like practice standing up on the shallow, shallow bits in the, in the sea at the end.
Um, I also have really great in-laws, so my husband's parents are amazing at coming with us to things like that and helping out with the kids. So that means me and my husband can go surfing together and they'll, they'll stay on the beach with the kids, which is very, very handy.
Matt: Fantastic fan. It's something I've never been able to do. Surf. I tried it a few times, nearly killed myself a few times as well, and I'm just like, I'm out. I'm, I'm body boarding. And that's, that's me. I'm done. Um, . So where do you see growth coming from over the next sort of three to five years? Where, where do you want to grow into and, and, and, and sort of be more, I suppose?
Emma: So again, I think there's two different angles to that answer. One is the business. So I see the business continuing to grow by at least 120% year on year over the next five years. Um, and there are, there are a lot of consumers wanting more natural products, both for the, for their own health because people are becoming more aware of these things, but also for sustainability reasons.
Um, so there's a lot of consumer demand for very kind of sustainable and eco products and, and healthy products, which is great, but I would also like business to sort of push others to become more, more mindful of these things as well. So, um, yes, the consumers are pushing brands to be more sustainable, but they need other brands to be pushing as well.
Mm-hmm., so they have kind of competition pushing. Yeah, pushing for them to be more, um, more sustainable because a lot of these big brands often don't take, take any sort of accountability for that, that, and they just think, well, we're a big brand, so we'll always sell our products. Um, I'd really like to start inspiring other brands to make them realize that yes, it is, it is a viable business to be more sustainable and you can do it and it is possible.
Um, and then the other angle to the answer I would say is to inspire more women to start your own business or just work, go, go back to work and mm-hmm. and, and to show investors that women can start successful businesses and run successful businesses alongside having families. Um, and I think the more of us that do that, the better the narrative becomes.
Matt: No, I totally agree. I totally agree. It's, um, it's, uh, it is fascinating to me how, how people have sort of thought for so long that that was not really possible yet in 95% of the world, most businesses are run by, by women. Uh, in it is just in the UK and maybe in western nations where we've had this bizarre mindset for such a long time.
So, um, it's good to hear about you know, what you are, what you are doing, and the, the sustainability side, which I'd love. How do you get, I guess one of my questions here, Emma, I just told total sidetrack. I'm just kind of curious, um, how do you avoid the, with your business? Because you got a very strong eco messages and I love that.
Um, but being an e-commerce entrepreneur myself, I'm, I'm very aware that there is a slight push against what's being labeled greenwashing. And so when we do, um, when we promote sustainability on our website, I'm aware that I don't want to come across as greenwashing, but I do want to promote sustainability. I'm kind of curious how you've dealt with that.
Emma: So I, in my understanding of greenwashing, greenwashing is pretending to be something you're not. Mm-hmm. . So it's pretending to be more sustainable and more eco. So we would never make false claims about being eco or clean or, you know, we, we only say what we are.
Hmm. Um, I think the problem comes when, uh, particularly cosmetics brands say, you know, they use wording like, um, totally natural ingredients or plant-based fragrance. Hmm. Plant based fragrance, you know, the fragrance could be only 20% of their entire product. Yeah. And. And then the 80% of their product could be chemical based.
Yeah. So I think it's, you know, it's, it's about the marketing wording that you use and being misleading or making purposeful false claims about being sustainable or green or healthier. Mm-hmm. . Um, so for our brand, I don't think that's an issue that we need to worry about because we would never make a claim that wasn't true.
Matt: Mm. Yeah, no, very. It's, it is interesting, isn't it? Um, I think if it drives your, because it is such a big part of your brand. Um, I imagine you've built quite a, um, what's the word I'm looking for? Quite a loyal tribe. Um, you know, you've sort of gathered around you, I would imagine, quite a loyal tribe or based around that.
So, so how have you found it? Um, This is another interesting question for me and I appreciate its totally sidetracked. But, um, how do you find sourcing the products? Because again, a lot of people make claims, um, about their products, but when you dig deep as they sort of fall apart a little bit, so how have you found it sourcing the products to sell on your site?
Emma: So, originally we had everything made in the UK. We thought that that's the most sustainable way to do it. Whereas in reality when you're getting all the fabrics and the materials and you know, the raw materials are all coming from abroad anyway. So the carbon footprint is already there because you have to ship these.
Yeah. So often it's a toss up between, um, yes, there's a carbon footprint, getting natural rubber from Asia because it has to get here. Mm. But is making baby play mats out of natural rubber, which is biodegradable and safer for the baby. Is that better than getting plastic play mats made more locally, so less footprint, but they're never gonna break down.
And you're using petroleum for the plastic. And they're toxic for the babies and they're toxic for the environment and they're very toxic when they're thrown away. Um, so some people say, oh, but your carbon footprint, yes. But the alternative is worse. Mm-hmm. So there's no perfect solution to anything. There's no, yeah.
There is no consumer product. Well, I, that's a big claim. There might be. I don't, I'm not aware of any consumer product that has zero impact on the environment. Mm-hmm. So it's finding the ones that have the most minimal impact on the environment. But also being a viable business model because there's no point in finding a great product, which has no impact on the environment, but you can't build a business around it, so therefore it's never gonna take off. And you're only gonna sell 10. Yeah. And then they're gonna go back to the classic alternative. It's trying to find better solutions. Yeah. That's what that.
Matt: Yeah. It's interesting, um, because I, you know, it's, It's one of the big banes of life, I think is trying to find these sort of, is is, like you say, is balancing the cost, isn't it?
It's the sort of cost benefit ratio that you have to think about. Listen, Emma, I, I feel like I could just get started with this conversation. I've got questions around fair trade. I mean, there's all kinds of stuff that we could get into, um, but alas, time is against us. So I'm gonna turn now to the dreaded question box.
Dun, dun, dun, dun dun. So this is where I'm gonna pull out, uh, the question and you're gonna say, stop. Wherever you say stop. That's gonna be the question that I read out. Stop. Okay.
Emma: Are all the good questions at the beginning, coz you don't allow people to stop at the beginning?
Matt: You can have another go if you like and stop. No, what tends to happen is, uh, because your question is now on the front of my deck, and so next time I'll pull it out. Uh, you see when so and so? Yeah. We're, we're. Okay. So the question is. Uh, and I just want you to know that this is the question that you pulled out, right? So, uh, this has nothing to do with me. Um, when do you feel shy?
Emma: Uh, with new people? Is that an obvious? I'm not sure. Um, I, yeah, I'm not, I am not an extrovert. Definitely not an extrovert, so I don't like being watched. I don't like being the center of attention. Um, so actually our, our wedding day, my husband, my husband and I, we got married with just parents and siblings and no one else because Oh, really?
I, I hate being watched. I hate, I can't stand, it makes me feel very shy. So we had a big party the next day, but the actual wedding was just very low key in a garden with barely anyone there.
Matt: That's really interesting. See, I would, I, I dunno if I would have uh, put those two things together because you, most entrepreneurs tend to be a little bit, sort of gregarious. I mean, I suppose it's not always true, is it? But they, they tend to be a little bit outgoing. Um, and yet you, so would you say you are, you are definitely on the introvert side of things.
Emma: Until I get to know people. And then I'm definitely an extrovert.
Matt: That's okay. So there has to be this element of trust then? Uh, first. Okay. Uh, that, that, uh, that's fascinating. And have you always been like that?
Emma: I think so, yeah.
Matt: I wonder if your kids will, will, um, will inherit that. Um, or whether the. See my kids, it's funny. Each kid is different. Isn't there? And you, um, Zach when he was younger decide cuz we never, we had this policy in our house that we would never pay our kids pocket money, but we would always give them opportunity to make money, if that makes sense.
I wanted him to, to sort of understand value. Rightly or wrong, this is what we did. And so Zach, when he was six years old, um, grew some tomato plants, you know, from seeds and he grew these plants and he would, he put a desk outside the front of the house. And, um, he, his, his mum made him a little sign saying, tomato plants.
I think they were like a pound. And they put on, we put on the, the sign one pound 60 in B&Q or something, I can't remember the exact figures. I've got a photo of it somewhere Emma. And Zach, at that point in his life would quite happily just go up to anybody that was walking past and go, would you like a tomato plant?
And he sold out and people would give him money just cuz he was a cute six year old kid. He made a fortune that day. I'm like, If I wanted to exploit this, I probably could. Now, if I fast forward 12 years, um, I would say that he is a lot like how you've just described yourself, right? I, he, he, if he knows somebody, he can be quite outgoing, but actually put him in a room full of new people.
It's not his most comfortable place. And so it's intriguing to see how that's sort of been developed in him over time. Do you know what I mean?
Emma: Yeah. Well, it sounds great. Tomato plant. Because I'm in the market for tomato plants now.
Matt: Yeah, everyone's gonna be planting them. Everyone's be plant.
Emma: But uh, you know, with work and kids and newborn this year I haven't grown them from seed and now it's too late. So I was thinking this morning, I need to grow. I need to go and buy some, some seeded tomato plants.
Matt: I'll just give you Zach's number. Maybe he's still doing that, uh, as a little side hustle. Who knows? Listen, Emma, as you know, right? This show is, uh, sponsored by Aurion Media, which specializes in helping folks like your good self set up and run their own podcast.
So, I want you to imagine that you have got, uh, your own podcast up and running. Out of the people that have impacted your life, who would be on your guest list and why?
Emma: Um, Nelson Mandela. Okay. Uh, because I think he just did such a great service to the world with, you know, all the sacrifices that he made.
Um, what an incredible guy. Uh, I actually watched Long Walk to Freedom on an airplane. Never watch a sad film on an airplane because you can't get yourself. I spent the next 12 hours in floods of tears. Yeah. . What, what an amazing guy and an inspiration to just keep going. Just even if everybody tells you it's the wrong thing to do, if you believe it's right, just keep going.
Keep fighting for what you believe in. Yeah. So yes, he would definitely be my number one. Um, other people would probably be, you know, um, people in the kind of health space, people in the biohacking space, uh, people who are leading the way and understanding what these microplastics and toxins doing to, to human bodies.
Matt: It's um, it. Yeah. I see. It's interesting, isn't it? Because I wonder if in, you know, like how Nelson Mandela, it kind of just rolls off the tongue and everyone goes, yeah, I'd love to talk. I mean, if I had the opportunity to interview him, I, I would take it in a heartbeat, right? Because why would you not? And then you talk about some people who are operating in the health space, bringing, you know, awareness to these areas like microplastics and the dangers of microplastics.
As I sit here, um, I don't, I can't. I can't name somebody who I think is strong in that field, but I wonder if in 20 years time we will be able to, because of work that's being done now, Do you know what I mean and if in 20 years time someone, uh, is asked this question, they would, they would name somebody from that, from that sort of area. Just like it's easy for us to mention Nelson Mandela. I dunno. I'm kind of curious to see where it all goes. Really.
Emma: Well, it could be me.
Matt: It could, wow. If it is, I want you to know I'm gonna, I'm gonna be grateful for this con, I mean, I'm grateful for this conversation anyway, but I, I will be like, yes she came on my show 20 years ago. Uh, but no, so that's awesome. And I, I know that, um, sort of microplastics is, is one of those things that's really close to your heart, isn't it? And the, the effect that it, it has on, um, health at the moment?
Emma: Right.. Yeah, definitely. So there have been a lot more studies done in the last two years on microplastics and what they're doing to human health, and the results are really not good at all.
But what the most worrying thing is, is that they've found that babies and children are up to 20 times more exposed to microplastics than adults. Um, and that is because of the products that they are coming into contact with every day. Mm. So Polyester everything in children's lives, polyester blankets, polyester soft toys, polyester dressing gowns, polyester pram suits.
And that polyester is literally, if you go and get a piece of polyester right now and shake it in front of a light or in front of the sunlight coming in a window, you'll see thousands of particles coming off it. So every time a child is around that polyester, they're, that's what they're breathing in.
That's going straight into their lungs. Uh, we spoke earlier about them chewing on everything, you know, then it's going straight into their digestive. So there are three main routes into the body. It's, um, inhalation, ingestion, and the third one is dermal contact. So skin contact. So when we are in contact with polyester, the teeny, teeny, teeny tiny bits cuz our skin is absorbent, actually goes into our bloodstream straight through our skin.
So we get teeny tiny polyester in our bloodstream. Um, 75% of breast milk samples re in a recent study were found to contain microplastics. Wow. So that's pretty, pretty worrying. So even getting into our milk supply.
Matt: Wow. I, it's a, it's in some respects, Emma, what I'm about to ask is a stupid question, but what can we do? I mean, the, you know, people listening to the podcast. Um, who haven't had maybe the education that you've had in this whole area, um, but are intrigued by it, I guess, what would be a good next step? What is something that they could do?
Emma: So, what you can do at home is, is actually really simple. Number one thing is open windows and hoover and dust, because that's gonna get rid of all the particles that are around your home. Hmm. Um, number two is start phasing out anything that's polyester or acrylic or nylon. Anything that's synthetic in plastic based fabrics, start phasing them out.
So, I mean, if you can go and just replace 'em now, then do, but if you can't sort of financially or, or whatever reasons, then next time you buy them, make sure you're choosing something that's natural. For example, a good, a good example of that is a carpet. So many carpets these days are polyester instead of wool. Um, if you are stuck at a rental with a polyester carpet and you're worried that your baby's crawling around on it all the time and dropping its toys and eating, you know, chewing on toys from the polyester carpet, you can just buy a rug.
Just put a big rug down on, you know, in the kid's bedroom, in the playroom, in the corridor, the corridors that are usually used. Um, just find a, a jute, you know, you can get quite cheap jute rugs or, um, natural fabric rugs. Just put it down in the main areas. Soft toys, that's a big one to phase out. Get rid of all the polyester soft toys.
Don't let your child have, you know, loads of polyester in their bed from soft toys and blankets and everything. Mm-hmm. , because they spend, you know, 12, 14 hours every day in their beds. That's what they're breathing in and sucking on. Um, so cost can be something that people say, but it's more expensive. So my answer to that is instead of buying two or three soft toys, just buy one.
Yeah. So most kids will have sort of 10 to 20 soft toys. They don't need 10 to 20. Give them five or six and make them natural. Mm-hmm. . Um, also go charity. Go to the charity shop, go on vintage online, find secondhand things. Uh, almost all my children's things are secondhand, all their clothing is secondhand, either from charity shops or hand me down from siblings and cousins. Um, so you don't need to break the bank doing this. You know, find alternative ways to, to choose natural fabrics.
Matt: Very good. All good top tips. And if people, Emma, wanna reach out to you, if they want to connect with you, if they wanna find out more about your website, where's what? Where are the best places to do that?
Emma: So our website is Pure Earth Collection, so it's pureearthcollection.com. Uh, and on there there's information about, we have a blog. So on the blog there's a lot of information about reducing your plastic exposure, reducing toxins for your children, um, you know, safer sleep, all, all sorts of different things for babies and kids on there.
But also the products that we make, which are, um, plastic free. So, um, there's sort of good alternative products. Um, if you sign up to our mailing list, we quite often do sample sales. So if you think these are great, but you know, slightly out of the price range, sign up for our mailing lists and we do sample sales and sort of flash sales so you can grab a bargain.
Um, also on LinkedIn, connect with me on LinkedIn. I love, I love chatting about all things natural and plastic free. Mm-hmm.. So if you send me a message on LinkedIn, it's Emma Bianco. Um, so you can find me on LinkedIn.
Matt: Fantastic. Uh, so yeah, get chatting to Emma on LinkedIn, uh, and uh, yeah, we will link to Emma's info in the show notes and to her website as well.
Um, which you can get along for free along with the transcript at pushtobemore.com or if you sign up to the email, that'll be coming straight to your inbox. Listen, Emma, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for having, uh, the conversation. Really intrigued. I'm really intrigued by, um, some of the stuff that you're talking about.
I'm gonna talk to my wife about maybe some of the products that we use and have a few more of these conversations. Um, but no, genuinely really appreciate it really. Really appreciate you coming on and well done, um, for ignoring the, uh, the, the crazy investors telling you you can't do it. I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm inspired by that. So, um, yeah. Thanks for being with us.
Emma: Oh, thank you so much, Matt. It's been great, and I've really enjoyed chatting, so thank you for the opportunity.
Matt: No, no, it's been brilliant. Brilliant. Huge, huge thanks again to Emma for joining me today and of course, a big shout out to today's show sponsor. Aurion Media.
If you're wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them at aurionmedia.com. That's A U R I O N media dot com. And of course there will be linked on our website, pushtobemore.com as well. Now be sure to follow the Push to be more podcasts wherever you get your podcast from because we've got some more great conversations lined up and I don't want you to miss any of them.
And in case no one's told you yet today, You are awesome. Yes, you are created awesome. It's just a burden you have to bear. Emma's gotta bear it. I have to bear it. You have to bear it as well. Now Push to Be More is produced by Aurion Media. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favorite podcast app.
The team that makes this show possible is Sadaf Beynon, Estella Robin and Tanya Hutsuliak. Our theme song was written by Josh Edmundson, and as I mentioned, if you would like to read the transcript or show notes from today's conversation with Emma, head over to the website, pushtobemore.com. They will also be available on whatever podcast app you are listening to this show on, or if you're on YouTube, it'll be in the description as well hopefully with all the links.
So, that's it from me. That's it from Emma. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week wherever you are. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.