Wednesday, February 25, 2009

We are going to production!

Yes, that's right - how exciting! We have placed our bulk fabric order and it will arrive at our Sydney based manufacturer on Friday- they will be making up our tees and tops.

I am also waiting on a delivery of fabric too - as I will be making all the pants, skirts and accessories!

So, all going to plan, we will re-open our Web Store within the next four weeks!

Until then, sign up to Club Chickie to receive our monthly e-newsletter, and access to exclusive member specials and give aways!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Presenting to the industry

So, after no less than 5, or was it 6? photo shoots, I have finally come to a place of contemtment. Yes, I am happy with the launch range for autumn/winter 2009!!

I have fixed up the webstore, with all the new pics and individual product descriptions, and have started working on some marketing/advertising material.

And most exciting of all..... I am getting interest from retailers! Yes, I am on this online community for baby/kids stuff designers and retailers and magazine editors, agents etc etc. I have only just posted all the pics and already have two requests for a price list! I won't count my chickens before they hatch, but it is a massive compliment that they like the look of my range enough to ask for a price list! And, I won't give away the name yet, but one of the requests came from a well know aussie kids clothing label, who said they would love to stock my clothing in their new retail store!! How fantastic would that be!!

Anyway, just waiting for delivery of our fabric, and production will get underway. I expect to have the first lot ready mid-late March! If you haven't already, sign up with Club Chickie (to the left of this post) and you will receive our e-newsletter "The Googy News" which will let you know when product is in store, and will also give you exclusive access to members only specials, competitions and give aways!!

Our Launch Collections

Our Funky Star range is a collection of co-ordinates with an edgy street wear appeal. Featuring a star applique in contrasting fabric colour - the range is designed to mix and match with a variety of choices from our bright bold colour palette, and looks very funky when styles are layered when there is a bit of a chill in the air.

Many of the pieces are of a unisex nature, though we have added the skirt and a-line sleeveless top to provide some additional options for our little chickie babes.
Watch this collection grow as new colours and styles are added and your little chickes wardrobe will be complete!

We originally started working on Funky Star with our colleagues from Barefoot Kids. For those of you new to Cheeky Chickies, Barefoot Kids was one of our first labels when we commenced operating as an online retail store in August 2006. Their distinctive designs naturally captured attention, using cotton chenille fabric and bright bold prints. When we decided last year that we wanted to develop our own clothing range, we spoke at length with the gals from BFK about basic cotton coordinates that they could also use. The girls had always matched their chenille bottoms with a coordinating Bonds chesty singlet. The problem with Bonds was that their minimum orders were enormous, and their colour range was not spread over the sizes. You were able to get a great variety of colours in sizes 000-2 but then very few in the large sizes. We also had numerous discussions about how there were no good quality and stylish aussie made blank tee shirts in the size range that they covered (being 000-6).

So with this in mind, I started to gather samples for tees from all over the world, looking at the varieties in cotton fabric (jersey, interloc, cotton lycra), and the differences in style, from loose to slim fit, round neck, envelope neck etc etc. I am very happy with the styles and fabrics of our range, and the kids seem to find them very comfortable too!

Alas, at the end of last year, the gals at Barefoot Kids decided to call it a day. Due to different family circumstances, they felt they were unable to continue with the label in the direction it needed to head, and have been in search of a new mumpreneur to take over and continue to grow the business. We have been very fortunate to have developed such a warm and friendly working relationship with BFK, and are thankful for the mentoring and support they continue to provide. As such, we dedicate our Funky Star collection to them, as a thank you for all the inspiration they have provided Cheeky Chickies!

Our Sunny Side Up collection is a simple yet stylish range of co-ordinating girly pieces. I have a lot of fun with this collection - it was such a buzz to learn how to make the little rosette brooches - thank you to the wonderful mums on the internet who post tutorials on "how to"!

Consisting of relaxed, easy breezy dresses and tops, ruffle pants and skirts, and featuring our little rosette brooches, that have been loving hand made by Mrs Chicken, and are finished with vintage and recycled buttons.

This is the range that keeps me awake for countless hours during the night, as I dream up more and more styles to add - can't wait to get on to the next spring/summer collection with ruffle bloomers and matching sleeveless top with brooch, and how about some little 3/4 length leggings with little rosettes!!

and I am sure there will be more collections to come - just got to find the time between looking after two children under 3, and not to mention the job I am returning to two days a week (yes, have to pay the mortgage).....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Our Organic Cotton Fabric

We have chosen to use 100% certified organic cotton fabric produced by Cerrton. The range and quality of the fabric is superb and it is Made in Australia! We have received permission by Cerrton to post the following information regarding the manufacture of their fabric.

The cotton in our ‘Certton’ range of fabrics is certified organic. We source raw certified organic cotton and certified organic cotton yarns from Australia, India & Turkey. All our fabrics are made in Australia. Certified organic cotton is farmed without the use of pesticides, genetically modified seed or synthetic fertilizers. The soil is built up over the years to retain moisture and fungus enabling in our case the organic cotton to prosper on a dry land (non-irrigated) farm.

Once the cotton is picked, the cotton is passed through a gin where the seeds and leaves from the plants are separated from the cotton fibre. The gin is cleaned out of conventional cotton fibre prior to our organic cotton being processed. The ginned organic cotton is then packed into bales and each bale is tested by an independent body for its quality. Our Australian organic cotton is tested and classed by Australian Classing Services based in Narrabri, NSW, Australia.

The organic cotton lint is then transported to a spinning mill in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The spinning mill is cleaned out of conventional cotton and our organic cotton is spun into yarn. Our imported ring spun and combed cotton certified organic cotton yarns are shipped directly to our Australian fabric factory partner.

Opening, Blending and Cleaning
Opening, blending and cleaning are the first operations at the spinning mill. A row of bales is opened and blended to ensure a consistent and homogeneous blend. The fibres are also cleaned to remove contaminants/ extraneous matter, such as leaf and bark.

Carding individualises and aligns the fibres, and then condenses the fibres into a single continuous strand of overlapping fibres called “sliver”. Short fibres and fibre entanglements (referred to as neps) are removed during carding.

Drawing is the process where the fibres are blended and straightened. The drawing process also improves the uniformity of the sliver. The number of drawing passages utilized depends on the spinning system used and the end product.

In preparation for ring spinning, the sliver needs to be condensed into a finer strand, known as a roving, before it can be spun into a yarn. The roving frame draws out the sliver to a thickness of a few millimetres and inserts a small amount of twist to keep the fibres together

Open end spinning technology was introduced in the mid 1960 ‘s and there are currently 8 million spindles installed world wide and together with ring spinning account for over 95 % of short staple yarn produced world wide. Sliver is fed into the machine and combed and individualized by the opening roller. The fibres are then deposited into the rotor where air current and centrifugal force deposits them along the groove of the rotor where they are evenly distributed. The fibres are twisted together by the spinning action of the rotor, and the yarn is continuously drawn from the centre of the rotor. The resultant yarn is cleared of any defects and wound onto packages. Rotor yarns are used in numerous products such as denim, towels, blankets socks, t-shirts and pants.

The certified organic cotton yarn we import has been ring spun. Ring spinning technology is not available in Australia.

Our single jersey fabric is knitted on a cylinder machine in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The cylinder machine is a single latch machine with a higher running speed and is capable of knitting a wider range of structures.

We bleach our fabric through an oxidization process to remove impurities from the fabric. We use the J-Box continuous bleaching system which uses sodium chlorite applied to the fabric at 3.9PH and temperature of 95-98%. This system of bleaching is the most environmentally friendly bleaching method available and provides a stronger, softer and whiter fabric.

We use the Jet & wash exhaust dyeing method whereby the fabric is treated with a diluted solution of dye, gradually transferred to the material. This creates a colourfast fabric that lasts. It is necessary to control the rate of dyeing by progressively adding dye to the dyebath. By circulating the fabric through the dyebath, the fabric can be evenly penetrated. Our Natural fabric is not penetrated with any dyes. The dyes in our fabric's all conform to the environmental standards of the Oeko - Tex standard.

Our organic cotton fabric is finished in open width form, sut open on a fabric sutting machine and then passed through a stenter. The stenter dries and heats the fabric at 185 degrees C in a series of heating chambers. The overfeed action of the stenter removes the processing tensions and produces a non shrink fabric.
This information has been provided by Cerrton - Australian Made certified organic cotton fabric.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Our Free Range Clothing

Cheeky Chickies Free Range ClothingTM has been designed to transcend the seasons, to accommodate the changing climate we seem to experience on a daily basis. The styles are breezy in the summer heat whilst still providing protection against the sun, and when the southerly hits and the temperature cools, pieces can be layered, for additional warmth.

Cheeky Chickies uses colour to make a statement. Mrs Chicken says, “the true test is how quickly you can find your little chickies when out at a busy gathering. At Cheeky Chickies, we don’t do subtle – we do loud, so that they stand out from the crowd!”. The range is designed to be versatile, to mix and match, so the colours compliment each other when worn as a coordinated outfit. The designs stand out by themselves, or mixed with some of Cheeky Chickies special limited edition print pieces, the range is simple, yet sophisticated, as at home on the beach as they are at the yacht club.

Of all the decisions Mrs Chicken has had to make through the process of designing her own range of children’s clothing, the decision to use organic cotton was by far the most simple. Certified organic cotton is farmed without the use of pesticides, genetically modified seed or synthetic fertilisers. The soil is built up over the years to retain moisture and fungus enabling in our case the organic cotton to prosper on a dry land (non-irrigated) farm. With new research investigating the effects of chemicals and pesticides on our babies physiological and neurological development, buying organic means you are helping to sustain eco-friendly farming practices, whilst promoting the health and wellbeing of our environment and all of our cheeky chickies.

But aside from being super friendly to the earth and lifestyle we strive to maintain for our precious little chickies, the organic cotton fabric that Mrs Chicken has selected, is by far the most superior quality, luxuriously soft to touch, breathable and VERY comfortable to wear. To read more about our Australian Made certified organic cotton fabric, see our post “Our Organic Cotton Fabric” (with thanks to our suppliers Cerrton).

Being 100% cotton, the clothing is easy care, fully machine washable. Mrs Chicken has chosen to have all her clothes and accessories made in Australia, this way, she can ensure that her garments are produced in fair and equitable conditions, and that only the most superior quality garments are produced under the Cheeky Chickies label. Cheeky Chickies clothing stands up to the rigorous conditions of rough and tumble play, whilst maintaining its funky and stylish design appeal.

Mrs Chicken has lovingly created this range of eco-friendly children’s garments, and her imagination spends countless nights conjuring up new designs to coordinate and compliment the collection. Proud to promote her motto “Let your light shine LOUD”, Mrs Chicken’s Free Range Clothing empowers all Australia’s cheeky chickies to stand out from the crowd!