Baby clothes for rent - Jamaican moms refuse to support business initiative
"No 'poop inna' for my kids!," was the general sentiments expressed by many mothers and expectant mothers in regards to an environmentally friendly business initiative which encourages parents to rent baby clothes as a means of helping to save the environment.
Keretha Francis, a 38 year-old mother of six, who is expecting her on her seventh child told THE STAR that she would not support the innovative idea of Denmark environmentalist, Vigga Svensson.
"A nuh house, so me nah rent out no baby clothes. That's embarrassing to see your baby in pretty clothes then you have to give it back and see somebody else in it," she said.
"Me nuh borrow clothes. Me mother nuh grow me so. If dah one deh wear it, the other one nah wear it. That is hand me down and poop inna. You cannot grow them like that."
Francis was commenting on Vigga's baby clothes rental company, which was launched in Denmark in 2014, and has been gaining popularity recently, having secured some 3,000 subscribers.
Vigga been in the ethical kids fashion industry for 10 years, where she makes environmentally friendly clothes for children. However, she said she realised it was still creating a strain on the environment, as only two per cent of clothes are recycled globally. In addition, children grow fast and change clothes frequently.
She decided to rent the clothes instead, where clients pay a monthly membership fee of €$55 (approximately J$9,000) and get a bag of 16 articles of eco-friendly clothing made by the company, which are updated as the child grows from baby to toddler. Each clothing item is used up to 150 times by different subscribers.
However, the benefits of being environmentally and possibly economically friendly was not enough to allure Jamaican mothers.
"I wouldn't rent them because other babies wore them before, and babies easily catch disease, so you don't know what form of disease the previous baby had that had rent them before. I don't think it's right," said 26-year-old Natasia Walker, who is expecting her second child next month.
Another mother, Nadine McLean, who is nine months pregnant, said the renting system would not work for her.
"When you buy it, you know a our own. But when you rent it, you know you have to go bring it back. What if it get damage? And, you know sometimes you have to put bleach on baby clothes, and so on, so renting wouldn't work for me," she said.
Environmentalist Dr Alicia Hayman, who is a consultant with Enhancing Capacity for Low Emission Development Strategies (EC-LEDs), said in general, she believes it is a very good and economic idea to rent baby clothes to aid the environment, but Jamaica's culture is resistant to such moves.
"We don't have a culture to do that kind of thing. People will say, 'I'm not wearing clothes that somebody else wore', so I don't think it would take off so easily here. I don't think we are as environmentally conscious as we need to be," she said.