Chloe Hoole from Sheffield (aged 30) has just launched Darlo, a new babywear brand with a serious ethical conscience. Every purchase from the babywear range provides a week’s worth of meals for a child in India.
Darlo’s core is the belief that a little giving changes lives. Chloe dreamt up the business whilst travelling in India, where she was overwhelmed by the lack of opportunities available to children. Back in the UK, Chloe and her partner James Little, from Southampton, set out on their start-up journey from the living room of their East London flat, determined to turn Darlo into a reality.
“From the very start of our journey our social aim was at the heart of our business,” explains Chloe. “We registered with Social Enterprise UK to use the power of business for good! We felt this had advantages to operating as a traditional charity dependent on fundraising and donations. We wanted to create a self-sustaining framework that saw our social contributions grow as our business did.’’
Indian charity partner
They partnered with Neishaa Gharat, voluntary director of the Mumbai-based charity Project Crayons that provides education, shelter, food, love and support for children in marginalised communities.
“It was important to us that we worked with like-minded individuals who are continually motivated by the work they deliver. We instantly hit it off and we both got very excited about the prospect ahead,” says Chloe.
Darlo and Project Crayons together decided to create a food programme. “With so many children under Project Crayon’s care the food bill is not insignificant. We aim to cover all food costs for the charity but eventually set up further projects to help others living in the slums of Mumbai.’’
Chloe secured initial funding through Start Up Loans and joined a UK government backed initiative to support budding entrepreneurs.
“We met some amazingly talented individuals through the scheme who have been willing to help at every stage,” she says. “We owe a great deal to our mentor for her support and guidance because if we are being honest, at the start it was all a bit overwhelming. You need all the help and advice you can get!”
After a year of hard work and careful planning, Chloe and Jim’s vision is about to become a reality: “When you buy from Darlo, not only do you get a beautiful item of baby clothing, but you also know you are bringing a smile to a child’s face far away in India. That’s a special feeling! We simply want to make it as easy as possible for us all to participate in a little giving.”
Now available online and in boutiques
The Darlo range is available online at www.alittlegiving.com and by searching for Darlo on notonthehighstreet.com. It is also available in boutiques around London.
From newborns to 12 months, their super soft, organic cotton comfies range comes in bright, positive colours inspired by the children Choe and Jim met in India. The Darlo range is produced from Indian organic cotton to the Global Organic Textile Standard.
“The Project Crayons home is not sad, it’s bright and cheerful,” says Chloe. “It’s filled with amazing characters who haven’t had the easiest start to life but yet they all have such a warming aura. We hope our range represents positivity and brings happiness to all.”