• Hannah Ettrick

Business as unusual

Unbelievably I’m writing this in complete silence. For the first time in over 4 weeks I am alone, and I feel so guilty that the silence I crave is the noise that another person desperately needs.

Wednesday (April 22nd, 2020) is Global Earth Day and to an eco-friendly business like Fresh Baby it’s always been a really important way to spread awareness of environmental protection. This year is very different, sombre and definitely not an excuse for business promotion. This time last year this blog would have included my enthusiastic ‘Top 10 tips for a greener home’ or ‘Raising green children’ or something equally as ‘jazz hands’ but this year all I feel is guilt. There have been a few posts doing the rounds on social media over the past few weeks. You’ve probably seen them. The ones about animals making their merry way to reclaim deserted towns and cities, fish making their fishy little way back into (now cleaner) streams that are no longer used and pictures supposedly from Nasa depicting a lack of visible pollution over leading manufacturing countries such as China & India. One post reads ‘Mother Earth is breathing again’ and I really, really want to believe that this is true but I fear I can’t confess to it. Maybe she is breathing again, but at what cost? My desires for a cleaner earth pale in comparison to the tragedy around us – the devastating loss of life, the huge impact on mental health, the complete isolation that some people are now living with or returning to, the massive impact on the economy and the destruction of millions of small businesses around the world.

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say. I’m one of the more fortunate small business owners that has been able to safely continue trading and the popularity of cloth nappies over the past month has risen to levels that I could only dream of. My entire family, as near or as scattered across the world as they may be are all healthy and muddling through. I’ve been able to spend wonderful time with my furloughed husband (who even knew that furlough was a thing?) and my incredible little people. I’ve drank wine on zoom with my wonderful friends and played online Bongo’s Bingo with the best of them. I’ve absolutely NOT participated in any manner of Joe Wicks. Cosmic Yoga kills me off. Cake making was a disaster and my house looks like I’ve been burgled. And, alas, our family single use plastic consumption is off the charts. I was never that mother who made her own yoghurt and vegetable crisps before and I sure as anything will not be that girl when we return to some assemblance of normal. We’re a half vegetarian/half meat eating family who need 3 squares WITH pudding (why?) plus snacks every day and I’m in survival mode. I’ve been shopping in Aldi (or The Aldee if you’re a Scouser) only once a week for 5 weeks and to this day the only things I’ve managed to purchase that I feel zero guilt about are loose bananas, sweet potatoes, avocados, tins of beans & soup and wine. I’m a walking, talking first world problem. But here is my reasoning: I’ve always always, always suggested that people pick their battles in life and this time I’m picking mine. I’m Hannah, it’s Earth Day and for 5 weeks I’ve been using lots of single-use plastics, nappies & sanitary-wear of course excluded.

Fresh Baby has always stocked products from brands with the highest of ethics – whether it be their use of GOTS certified cotton, organic bamboo or the way they invest some profits into eco-friendly causes and projects across the globe. Baba+Boo recently donated 3000 nappies to NHS trusts to be shared among their incredibly hard-working staff and Close donated thousands of products to nappy libraries such as mine to help meet this new demand. This wasn’t a business thing, it wasn’t a request for publicity, it was a ‘we simply must do this’ moment. My community rallies every single day. Fellow WAHM’s making face masks & little headbands that secure them, scrubs and bags for the scrubs to be safely transported. Businesses donating hot meals to the elderly & vulnerable, home bakers donating hundreds of tray bakes to front line staff and lovely stories of ‘elves’ leaving uplifting gifts on doorsteps. This I love. This I wouldn’t change. When we return to ‘normal’ if there ever was such a thing before and if there is ever going to be such a thing again we’re going to need to love and support each other more than we ever have before. And if you decide not to be one of these people then I hope you and your toilet roll collection will be very happy together.

I’ve rambled as usual but at least I didn’t swear.

Much love,

Hannah x

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