Bailey Meredith co-founder of General Sleep & BAINA
A Sustainable Life with Bailey Meredith of General Sleep & BAINA
Bailey Meredith is the co-founder of BAINA and General Sleep, two beautiful conscious labels we are so pleased to have on our site. In this editorial we chat with Bailey about what motivated her to create the two sustainable lines, what drives her to live a sustainable life and what sustainability means to her in these unprecedented times.
Where is home for you?
I live in a beautiful part of Auckland surrounded by bush and close to the west coast beaches of New Zealand.
What drives you to live a sustainable life?
I consider the impact my choices will have on future generations. We only have one earth and its resources are limited. It is up to the individual to reduce their impact, ensuring its survival.
Have you always been sustainably minded in the way you live your life or is this something that has evolved for you?
This has definitely evolved as I have grown. My influences and surroundings have certainly changed along the way, and I have actively educated myself on the impacts certain lifestyle choices have on the environment.
Tell us a bit about the reason you started General Sleep – why sleep wear?
Greta and I realised we couldn’t find great sleepwear. We wanted PJ’s we would happily wear to the beach or to grab coffee on a Sunday morning.
Over many nights in front of the fire, sipping on red wine, we dreamed up General Sleep. A small and considered collection that reflected our personal aesthetics. In truth we set out to design for our friends and ourselves, however we happened upon a gap in the market, and expanded our reach.
How did you formulate the sustainable ethos of the brand and production?
Both Greta and I knew that if we were going to start a business together, it could only be in this way. We had both worked within the fashion industry and knew sustainability and transparent manufacturing would be at critical to our business ethos.
You have started another ethical line that we are thrilled to have on site, BAINA Towels – how did the idea for this line come about?
BAINA was born from a desire to elevate an everyday object. We knew we wanted to create a business that blended our love of fashion and its ability to celebrate individuality – with our drive to create a functional product. We also both felt deeply connected to the act of bathing and its importance from a self-care perspective.
“My biggest concern has been the prevalent ‘throw away’ mentality that has been evolving in recent years. We need to reprogram our way of shopping and make purchases that last.”
Why is “organic” an important aspect of manufacturing for you?
In the initial stages of developing the fabrics for General Sleep, we realised that the only option for us would be to work with Organic Cotton. We researched the topic heavily and found the science to support our decision was definitive. The crops aren’t treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides or genetically modified organisms which means the farmers aren’t exposed to any harmful toxins.
Organic cotton also has lower environmental impacts as it uses far less water than regular cotton production and ultimately is safer for the consumer as it is hypoallergenic.
What are the environmental issues that concern you the most and how do you personally go about tackling them?
Landfill, waste, overproduction. My biggest concern has been the prevalent ‘throw away’ mentality that has been evolving in recent years. We need to reprogram our way of shopping and make purchases that last. I personally try to make considered purchases and follow a philosophy of buy less, buy well.
What are life’s small pleasures for you right now?
A big walk first thing in the morning to clear my head. Road trips out to the beach with my husband and our dog to play fetch in the dunes. Drawing a bath at the end of the day if time allows it.
Do you have any health or wellness tips that you are following?
Maintaining balance and routine. With all this upheaval we have experienced this year, it’s important for me to maintain some structure in my day to day life. Routine = equilibrium for me. A good night’s sleep is priceless for self-preservation.
Most importantly, a strong support network that you can turn to when you need a sounding board or someone to share your thoughts with.
How do you inform yourself throughout the day? What are you listening to, watching, reading?
I enjoy a good podcast. The High Low, Guilty Feminist and Everything is the Best. I also get a thrill out of listening to How I Built This, Lady Start Ups & Innovations. I love hearing about the people behind successful businesses – especially women.
I’m not a big TV or movie buff – we don’t own a tv and instead will watch a series online if we’ve been given a recommendation. For some reason I can only get into a book when I’m on holiday – a habit I need to break.
What has been your favourite thing to cook / eat that you would say is sustainably minded?
While my husband and I aren’t vegetarian, we mainly eat a vegetarian diet. I must confess I am not the cook in our house so I cannot take credit for our meals however one of our favourites is Shakshuka – even better when made using leftover chilli from earlier in the week.
“In the age where consumerism is ingrained in society, we need to maintain objects for use beyond tomorrow and the next day.”
How are you winding down at the end of the day?
Lately I have found it challenging to wind down at night as this period of lockdown has meant my productivity and creativity comes at all hours. I find a bath helps with decompressing and also stretching or a calming yoga series helps me transition for bed.
What is making you feel optimistic at this time?
Seeing a change is people’s willingness to learn about the different social and environmental matters that are affecting the globe today and how we can make change to protect future generations. I also feel optimistic living in New Zealand with such a strong leader – Jacinda Ardern. She has shown the world that a country can be led successfully with compassion and empathy.
Finally, what does sustainability mean to you in these unprecedented times?
Meeting the needs of the present without compromise to the needs of future generations. In the age where consumerism is ingrained in society, we need to maintain objects for use beyond tomorrow and the next day, and consider every action/purchase and its impact on the environment.
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