We are Ellen and Jess, a Mother and daughter living together on our rural property in Gunning NSW. We are first and foremost creatives, with a background in illustration and printmaking. We have two studios on the property and it’s a constant hive of creativity – we have given just about everything a go, from hand-dyeing, to block printing, screen printing and a whole range of printmaking, painting and drawing techniques.
We are big nature and animal lovers, and we absolutely love living in the country. We love the open space, being able to grow our own food and plant as many trees as we like, the wildlife, the amazing sunsets and being amongst the most friendly and generous people you will ever find. We have a menagerie of animals here between our dogs, pet galah, chickens, sheep and miniature cows.
Bandicute started partially from a creative itch we needed to scratch and a gap in the market that we discovered after Jess’ two daughters (Lilly and Hannah) were born. We noticed so many baby and kids clothing with foxes, rabbits, deers, raccoons, bears and safari animals! Why is this when we have the most amazing animals in Australia that deserve to be celebrated and worn with pride?! We specialise in unisex, modern, colourful designs featuring many of your favourite Aussie icons.
As fellow mums, we are here to help you celebrate your life with creativity, colour and meaning by providing quality, Australian made clothing and homewares in original modern and colourful designs. We make kids fashion with purpose. Functionality and style is at the core of every decision we make. Our garments are designed to be long lasting, and versatile, so you can get as much wear out of it as possible and hand it down to future siblings and beyond.
Our Sustainability Practices
Often sustainable clothing is associated with plain, muted fabrics that will “never go out of style”. We’re here to change your mind. If you’re true to your own style and make thoughtful purchases, it will never go out of style! Not to mention that blank piece of fabric is so full of potential, why waste it on something beige and boring?
The market is now flooded with kids brands claiming ethical practices and minimalist designs, somehow alluding that they’re not going to end up as landfill. But how can this be when these products all look so similar? In an already saturated market how can there possibly be enough consumers to warrant clothing that all looks the same? We believe that this kind of design is not only untrue to your personality, it is also not a sustainable use of that piece of fabric.
So we look at sustainability in a different light. We make careful decisions to extend the lifespan of the garment:
- Our prints are thoughtfully considered and if we don’t think it’s beautiful, colourful and fun, then we don’t put it out there! The aim is to make something your child is going to love, so that it doesn’t sit unworn in the bottom of their drawer.
- We don’t follow trends; Trends come and go, but if you just choose items you love and don’t pay attention to trends, they will last the distance.
- The functionality of the garment is always in mind, so that our pieces are easy to dress or change a wriggly baby in.
- Our pieces are trans-seasonal, designed to be layered when extra warmth is needed or worn on their own in the warmer months.
- Where possible we make our items adjustable, with elastic waistbands and adjustable straps.
- We design our digital prints to be multi-directional, so pattern pieces can be cut from the fabric in any direction. This minimises wastage!
- Our hand printed garments are mostly cut from the blank fabric before we print on them. This means we can print on the smaller scraps to make other items – for example patchwork zip-pouches. Nothing is wasted!
- We also donate scraps to a local quiltmaker who makes them into quilts for Anglicare, for women escaping from domestic violence.
- We choose digital fabric printing for our digital designs (the Little Aussie, Christmas and Bee collections) because it uses less water and is better for the planet.
- For our hand printed items we use water based, non-toxic, eco-friendly, Australian made inks.
- We package sustainably, using compostable mailers, no-issue tissue paper and re-usable gift wrapping.
- All of our garments are handmade in Australia so there’s no mass manufacturing and far less wastage.
Sustainability is a work in progress, something we’re constantly educating ourselves on and striving to improve.
Women Empowering Women
It is our preference to work with female business owners to support our business wherever possible. All of the business functions that we outsource including our contract seamstresses, to our web developer, trademarking lawyer, stockists and marketing advisors, are all lead by women! We also love to collaborate with other female business women on special projects and meet up with local women in business networks to support each other on our business endeavours.
One of our proudest achievements is our charity partnership with not-for-profit, Tandum. This amazing charity organisation partners with communities in Kenya to empower women to learn new skills and support their families. To date we have financially assisted Tandum in providing re-usable sanitary kits to over 240 school girls in Kenya, giving them the gift of education! To read more about our girls deserve dignity program, head to our Charity Partnerships page.
The fabrics in our range are either digitally designed and printed, or printed by hand by us in our studio. We choose block printing for a lot of our hand printed designs.This process involves designing a stamp, hand carving it from rubber and using special fabric ink to imprint the image from the stamp onto the fabric. We create repeat patterns using the stamp meaning we have to print each individual motif onto the fabric. We can hear you thinking “That would take ages!”, which is true! And we could choose a quicker method, such as screen printing, but block printing is our method of choice. Here’s why:
- Block printing is so versatile – we can arrange the print in any way we want, we can use different stamps together, we can print on fabric or paper and we can make a repeat pattern for our garments or print a single motif, like on our gift bags
- Block printing has an extra special handmade quality – the print is beautifully imperfect, and every item we make has its own little differences
- Block printing is spontaneous – we can draw a design, carve a stamp and have a completely new garment made all within the space of a few hours.
- With plenty of people out there screen printing, block printing is one of the things that makes us so unique!