One Simple Move Parents Can Make To Save Money, Time & The Planet

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Fourth Trimester Podcast Episode 49: One Simple Move Parents Can Make To Save Money, Time & The Planet

One of the major contributors to that feeling of overwhelm for expecting parents is the notion of having to hurry up and prepare for their little one’s arrival.

A major tickbox for that preparedness is BUYING TONS OF STUFF. That can be a fun part, and also a hugely EXPENSIVE and EXHAUSTING experience.

There’s the marketing guilt tactics that tell us if we don’t buy xyz costly item then we are bad parents; and the scare tactics saying ‘baby won’t be safe / healthy / something’ unless you buy a certain item. Then there’s the hours and hours spent researching the options and making decisions about what you will invest in on behalf of your newborn.

Baby Clothes Parenting Hack

We at the Fourth Trimester Podcast met someone who is helping parents to spend less money and save time, while at the same time giving parents the chance to affordably dress babies in high-quality, non-toxic, responsibly-sourced clothing. Plus, they’re adorable styles.

So here’s the simple thing you can do: buy a charming, best-possible-quality clothing set that you can sell-back to a community of like-minded parents.

UpChoose is a healthful and sustainable baby wardrobe service. Use the specific code FOURTHTRIMESTER to receive 20% off your first month with UpChoose. Start here!

  • Parents get a curated set of healthful and eco-friendly baby clothing at each phase of their baby’s growth. All the essentials in one easy set. When their baby outgrows a Cocoon, parents can opt to re-sell it and order the next one new or pre-loved, at a discount from another family.
  • By designing around thoughtful and smarter behaviors (getting the right amount, reselling and/or purchasing a pre-loved set), parents can get the highest quality while saving money and time 

Here are some of the adorable sets:

Saving Money On Clothes = Better Care For You, Your Family, Your Home

Let’s challenge the conventional wisdom that being a good parent means having to over-consume. Finding creative ways to recycle, re-use and simply buy less “STUFF” means having more money and resources for things like:

  • dinner delivery
  • cleaning services
  • postpartum doula care
  • lactation consultation or other medical care
  •  … the list goes on.

Organic, Eco-Friendly

Cocoon bagAli El Idrissi started UpChoose with a mission of accelerating the transition to sustainable consumption. They are looking to activate households’ role in building a healthier, safer society for all of us. Their first release is a service offering parents a curated set of healthful and eco-friendly baby clothing at each phase of their baby’s growth. When their baby outgrows a set, parents can opt to re-sell it and order the next one new or pre-loved, at a discount from another family. They keep getting beautiful and healthful clothes for their little one, while reducing clutter, avoiding unnecessary spending and helping to protect our planet at the same time.

About Ali El Idrissi

Ali is also an active early advisor to leCupboard, a startup creating a category of preventative healthcare through food. Before UpChoose he helped create and manage the impact investing team at JPMorgan where he helped develop investment structures like GHIF (the world’s first VC fund for HIV & Malaria Research), the Dementia Discovery Fund (a first-of-its kind collaborative effort to accelerate fundamental research in Dementia) and NatureVest (an investment fund focused on nature protection co-developed with The Nature Conservancy).

Read about Cocoon by UpChoose’s mission:

UpChoose new consumption model video:


Selected links

Connect with Ali El Idrissi | Instagram | Facebook

Learn more Sustainable Parenting: Why Compostable Diapers are a Game ChangerChicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons for Busy Moms | The Best Resources For New and Expecting Parents

Connect with Fourth Trimester Facebook | InstagramAbout & Contact

Episode Transcript

Download transcript (as pdf)

Sarah Trott: [00:00:45] Hi this is Sarah Trott. Welcome back to the fourth trimester podcast. We have a special guest today Ali El Idrissi who we will introduce in a moment. We have a great topic today: sustainability and preparing for a baby. 

Before we go into Ali and his background I want to just remind everyone that the fourth trimester podcast dot com website is available for everyone who wants to go and sign up and join our newsletter. Please do. You’ll receive something new which we just started doing which is a transcript download option for every episode that we have. 

So that’s pretty new. And you can use a player directly from our site as well. So please sign up for the newsletter, like us on Facebook. We’d really appreciate having you join us on our social networks. We also have Instagram and we are asking everyone who’s a regular listener to please consider signing up for a 1 dollar donation when there’s a link to that sponsorship option on our Web site. We’d be hugely grateful for that. 

So without further ado I’m going to go ahead and introduce Ali.  Ali started a company called UpChoose and we met him at the birth and baby fair here in San Francisco.  Esther and I were walking around looking at lots of different things that you know that parents can can opt into: everything from clothes from food to bottles and devices and you know everything under the sun. And we were drawn to to Ali because he has a really interesting company and we invited him to be on our program. 

His company has a mission of accelerating the transition to sustainable consumption. Consumption is a really big deal for new parents and we’ll talk a lot about that. This company is looking to activate households’ role in building a healthier, safer society for all of us. Cocoon is a service offering parents a curated set of healthful and eco-friendly baby clothing, at each phase of the baby’s growth. When the baby outgrows a set parents can opt to resell it and order the next one new or gently loved at a discount from another family. They keep getting beautiful and healthful clothes for their little one while reducing clutter, avoiding unnecessary spending and helping to protect our planet at the same time.

Ali is also an active early advisor of It’s a start-up creating a category of preventative health care through food and before abuse he helped create and manage the impact investing team at JP Morgan where he helped develop investment structures like G H I F which is the world’s first VC fund for HIV and malaria research. Dementia discovery fund which is a first of its kind collaborative effort to accelerate Fundamental Research in Dementia and nature Vest which is an investment fund focused on nature protection co-developed with the Nature Conservancy. So Ali thank you so much for honoring us with your presence on our program. We welcome you to the show. Hi.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:03:42] Hi thank you, Sarah and Esther. I’m really thrilled to be here. Thank you for having me.

esther gallagher: [00:03:48] Ali, I’m not sure: I think you’re married right?

Ali El Idrissi: [00:03:52] No no no I’m not.

esther gallagher: [00:03:53] Will you marry me?.

Sarah Trott: [00:03:57] Just had our first podcast proposal.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:03:59] I kind of got caught off guard.

esther gallagher: [00:04:05] It’s mostly a joke but; no, I just wanted to chime in and say when I ran across your booth there were two things at the birth and baby fair that were particularly interesting to me product-wise. I’m not a product person. I try not to have products in my life but yours was certainly amongst the top two.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:04:38] Thank you.

esther gallagher: [00:04:39] Yeah. So and it’s wonderful to hear your business bio as well. I’m very impressed.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:04:47] Thank you very much.

Sarah Trott: [00:04:48] Ali tell me why parents and why sustainability.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:04:51] Yeah I mean so you know it’s interesting that we talked about some of the projects that I worked on before and it actually came from two perspectives. You know one was working on a number of projects that would address what I call more like symptoms rather than you know the roots of some of the challenges we have. So you know whether we talk about you know climate change or waste or really health issues and you know you know issues are related to lifestyle. In many cases we don’t necessarily and I think this is going to happen more and more, but we’ve don’t necessarily look as much into the actual root cause and the lifestyle and a lot of it has to do with consumption. 

And so after a while it was sort of a realization that you know if the lifestyle is causing a lot of these issues. And for sure it’s been something around consumption for example that’s been accelerating so so fast in the past couple of decades then you know we should look at this in the first place and then the second reason was you know really to understand that you know the way our consumption model is structured today it’s really around quantity and getting more and more stuff.  And it’s really working more for the products rather than for the users. 

And the idea here is to really take a step back and sort of revisit that and ask ourselves for a number of situations what do we actually need, and how would we also allocate our time and resources in a better way. And so that led us to think about some important moments in our lives when we ask ourselves those questions. And you know of course like becoming a parent is one of those very critical moment and you know it’s obviously very intuitive that you would care for this new person you bringing into the world. But the data also shows that you know it’s the moment in our whole adult life when we have the most flexibility around our habits especially our consumption choices. So that’s why we really start to  focus on that as both like a symbol of if we’re thinking about the future and the next generation, then we might as well start at the very beginning of that and raise the next generation with the right habits. 

But also from a more pragmatic perspective if we want to change things then we should try to do it at the moments where we are the most likely to effect that change. And then on sustainability what I would say sort of as an intro remark is a lot of the time it’s framed as something that we have to fix. And so you know we have all these problems and then we have to fix them. And so the way to fix them is to choose better, right? It’s to say, I’m not going to do this; I’m going to do that instead. And in consumption it translates into buying the right products versus the toxic products for example. The thinking here is to go really one step beyond that and sort of say, it’s not only about fixing what we have today it’s like realizing that we can evolve our consumption level and not just fix it. 

And we actually have a lot of margin to just design you know much better services. We know we have to be bold enough to want to start with a blank page and like re-imagine it. If we do that and you know we’ll talk about about it in more concrete terms but if we do that then you know we can end up with the high quality premium product and without necessarily being where we are today which is you know it’s significantly more expensive, only you know a happy few category can can access it. 

So that’s that’s really the mantra behind how we design our services. In the first place we’re thinking about you know in 10 – 20 years, we will have better ways of doing a lot of these things. And part of it is sustainability but you know part of it is also in our life, we want to allocate our time also to more essential things than buying stuff. But we have to design for it.

esther gallagher: [00:09:45] Ali. I wanted to back up and have you perhaps speak very briefly to the point that we Americans, in particular and our children in particular, particularly middle and upper class Americans consume, and I’m sorry I don’t have the statistic in front of me, some enormous proportion of the resources that would otherwise be allocated across maybe  more people across the world. It’s some insane percentage of resources that American children consume. 

Of course it’s their parents consuming on their behalf. So, I wanted to make that point. I don’t think that American parents know that the amount that they consume on behalf of their children; the two points you’re speaking to is, just the vast quantity that we’re consuming on behalf of our children is driving people around the world into poverty and simultaneously is driving the pollution; that sort of environmental degradation. At the same time. 

And this is on behalf of our children unwittingly and I don’t think that’s too small a point to make. You know that having to have a diaper genie which is made of plastic and requires plastic you know a plastic bag to capture capture your plastic diapers is such a toxic endeavor that your children were they have to actually live in the environment where that pollution is accruing might not survive.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:12:05] Absolutely, you know it’s an extremely important point because that actually comes before asking yourself you know what to buy. It’s really the quantitiy part. So you might spend a lot of time sort of choosing the right product versus the wrong product. But until we tackle the point that you mentioned which is, how many things we have around them. 

You know what do we do with them over time. And you know and there are some yeah mind boggling statistics like for example, there’s numbers showing that you know three point one percent of the world’s children live in America but they own 40 percent of the toys consumed globally. So there’s this certainly like vast you know overconsumption that’s concentrated in the U.S. and that’s why you know one of the really important aspects of the solution is to help consumers in the first place sort of take a step back and understand you know for this or that situation this is what you actually need. And that’s, in my view, that’s an important value to start with. 

So, even before saying, this is what’s organic, for example, you want to be able to tell people, when you’re having a baby and you need clothes: these are the essentials that you’ll end up using every day; and having two or three times this amount is actually not going to have any added value apart from creating potentially negative consequences for you in your daily life: clutter, what you do with it after overspending. And so that’s definitely something that’s really important to embed into any service that you create. But then the other part is, you mentioned that not many people know. 

And it’s true and it’s really important that we work towards that knowledge and awareness. But at the same time it’s also you know I even want to say sometimes more important that there is a practical solution that is designed for convenience and for being cost effective where people can choose that because it’s better for their daily life. And then they can learn and know as they go through that journey because oftentimes what happens is you will put the knowledge out there but still to act on that knowledge, it’s it’s extremely difficult. And so that’s where sometimes you have that gap between knowing. And now I think we’re at the point in time where you know a lot of people have a sense that there’s something not quite right. There’s not a clear roadmap.

esther gallagher: [00:15:14] You know you mentioned the word convenience and how by creating a model that just sort of steps in front of in a good way, i might add, all of these sorts of decisions that parents imagine they have to be making about things like baby clothes, how your model addresses those two layers. You know both the decision making process that parents could be involved in but also sort of the education of those parents in terms of a sustainability model and ecological awareness.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:15:51] Yeah absolutely so, I mean it’s something you know that I’ve seen a lot you know having like you know my sister has three kids very close in age and they’re all young 8, 6 and 4. And that’s one of the experiences through which I’ve seen that at some point, for example, it becomes really hard even to find the gift. Or even the parent would ask, please don’t buy anything, I really don’t have space anymore. And that’s one of the things next to all the research we’ve done that shows that there’s an issue in the first place where moms are really overwhelmed with the products they have around.  

Yeah it’s too much stuff and it happens so fast that you don’t have time to master all that. And I think it’s really unfair to sort of think that if you’re a pregnant woman or a mom you’ll be able to master all these things and so it  seems like the general rule that moms need to figure out everything. And even with all the support system, with all  the blogs and forums an expecting mommy is still somehow supposed to become an expert, navigate all the facts, the trends the ads, the marketing and still end up picking the right thing all the time. 

And that’s a very unrealistic expectation. And even if you look only up at clothing and how clothing has evolved in the past few decades, you end up with a very long list of categories. And it seems like every time a mom would have to recreate that knowledge from scratch. And ask, What do I need?  What do I need, at what stage? Like  how many onesies are enough? How many sleep suits are enough? Have you used burp cloths or have you used washcloths and on and on and on! Stuff like that gets recreated all the time. That ends up in confusion. 

You know you might ask your friends obviously or your family but they too have had to go through the same process. So you know you have that sort of bias there, and in many if not most cases it ends up in overspending, getting things that you’ll not end up using, really optimizing for one thing alone and not being able to look at everything at the same time. And so when we really started diving into our first services called Cocoon by UpChoose. Really the idea was to say, instead of only helping a mom choose the right product, why don’t we actually go for it and design the whole experience? 

And that would be much more valuable. So what what you what you have now with Cocoon is a service where you receive a set of baby clothing and accessories and we like to say that it’s at least 80 percent of what you actually end up using and wearing. And that you all received that in one in one set. It’s delivered to your door. It’s all created for the healthiest fabrics for you baby’s skin. 

So it’s all organic fabric; no toxic chemicals, ethically sourced and so forth. and then you’re part of a network where at each phase when your baby’s ready to go to the next size you can resell that to another family through our network. And so we organize that and you know you gets money back from that. So that reduces the cost for you. It means that you’ll have the right amount which is already a way to reduce the cost in the first place. And then you know you don’t have to keep something that your baby has outgrown. And so it saves space and mental space as well. 

And then other families can benefit from that as well. And it becomes more accessible and more convenient for everyone involved. And so it’s really that idea of making sure that you have the right products and to be honest, the vision here is really to say having something organic should not be something that’s premium; that you should pay more for because what that really means is that you will have to pay two or three times the amount for something that doesn’t have harmful chemicals. And I don’t think that’s something that we can be content with. 

That should be a minimum standard. We should not be paying more. It’s not a premium feature not to have bad chemicals in our products. But then really what we organized for is that we have more thoughtful behaviors. So things like you know getting the right amount in the first place, or  passing on and reselling at the end of the cycle. 

And if we can do that, and by the way, why wouldn’t you do that (?) because you don’t need those things anymore, then we can have a much much better outcome, which is reduce clutter, reduced waste, better spending, and also, obviously, better quality but also better allocation of time. And so that’s really the value proposition here.

esther gallagher: [00:22:07]  I want to add the possibility that not only is this just a nice simple straightforward organizing principle for parents, just go online and click on Cocoon at UpChoose and say OK, now we’ve dialed in our our baby clothes service. It’s all set up for us. When that time comes we’ll ship stuff back and get a nice new set. But it occurs to me that not only the convenience but frankly potentially, the more reasonable cost of all of this, inasmuch as you’re not going out in the car wasting gas looking for products. 

You’re not asking five different Amazon prime venues to be shipping you two items each and waisting shipping, in that sense. And those are the sorts of things that accrue without actually watching it accrue right. The credit card bill comes and we pay it. But it occurs to me that if we were to be looking at that cost, and then of course you may have done this Ali but I have no idea, but the difference in savings could mean a day of  postpartum care for that mom who’s given birth. 

You know, a visit to a lactation consultant when she’s having difficulty breastfeeding. So to me part of the value here is actually then having a better margin for the actual care that you will need as new parents. Now I know Ali you’ve never been a new parent and you have a sister who is a new parent and while she was navigating putting diapers on and off her baby, she was also going through a physiological emotional and social transformation that was huge, and challenging when she might have needed family and professional support for that. And so, I’m just putting a plug in here. Sarah knows I always find a way to do so.

Sarah Trott: [00:24:36] Yes I know, that’s why we do this.

esther gallagher: [00:24:39] Yeah I mean frankly, in the fourth trimester, what’s going to be way more important to new parents even though they don’t know it right now is that they’re going to need support and help of a social-emotional and physiological nature and all the fancy baby clothes in the world aren’t going to make a difference and having you know a brand new diaper genie, that’s not going to be the thing that gets them through that. And so I’m sitting here listening to you and talking about your business model and thinking about all the side benefits, which to me are directly related to a service such as this. So I want to appreciate you for that as well.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:25:34] Yeah. You know I’m really glad that you bring this point because something that drives us very very strongly is to reclaim or to redirect resources. And you talk about monetary resources; that’s extremely important. There’s also a time, right? And then once we free up time, because it’s important to recognize that as a species there are things we like to do, we’ve always liked to do. And so the point here is not to say, we should not be spending time buying things- you know it’s something perfectly normal and enjoyable. It’s the access of it. That becomes a problem. 

And so if we can provide a simple way where people can look and enjoy choosing very cute different styles of clothing for their little ones, but then they don’t have to spend the very disproportionate amount of resources, time and money, that we spent to date, that frees up both time and money and even mental space. It’s a little bit different from time, but to do those things that are much more essential. It’s exactly like you said, right, like no amount of very cute clothes would replace that. And that’s really where we think there’s not just a side benefit but j a deeper effect that needs to happen first by sort of unlocking those time and money and of mental space resources.

[00:27:26] Well it’s a direct benefit if parents actually have more time to sleep when their baby sleeps.

Sarah Trott: [00:27:34] Esther and Ali, I want to share with you a little bit of my experience having recently become a new parent.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:27:40] Congratulations.

Sarah Trott: [00:27:41] Thank you. I have had a toddler now– relatively recently. Yeah. So when I became pregnant I was very excited for an abundance of reasons and one of the things I felt excited about was setting up a nursery and buying things. so I’m going to put it out there, that’s probably not too uncommon for new moms to think, I get to decorate and I get to prepare and in the lack of of having thoughtful conversations about stuff in general ahead of the experience of becoming pregnant and becoming expecting parents, what fills the gap I think mentally and what creates the framework is marketing. 

And now I’ll step back and be a little more general, step back away from myself, but in general what I’ve seen and I did experience this was an absolute onslaught of e-mails and invitations to events that are designed to sell me stuff, special store events or special online invitations for buying. Once cookies start picking up that you’re looking at things like cribs online, parents just get bombarded. And I think what’s unfortunate is that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent creating the idea that unless you go buy all of this stuff, you’re not a good parent. And it is so much pressure on people. it puts a lot of pressure on people thinking, oh, if I don’t do this then my baby’s not going to have what they need. 

And so it’s not really seen as what’s best for the environment or best for my family or best for my house or my baby, it’s more like, well I guess it is: It’s like what is best for my baby is stuff– that’s the main message that comes through.   And I really want to counter that for anyone who is listening. Stuff is not necessary for your baby. Some things are helpful for you and your family, and essential. But. Most of the things that get advertised and marketed, and I would say are designed to just be the moneymaking enterprises and they don’t really care if you have 25 duplicates of things or if they’re not sustainably sourced. 

It’s just stuff and I want moms to not feel guilty. Please hear me if you’re an expecting parent don’t feel guilty if you don’t have all the stuff. Sure put your registry together for your baby shower. Like our traditions involve buying stuff.  Have a party and everyone buys you stuff that’s cool, well put things on your baby list that, I would just ask, are thoughtful and question whether or not you really need it just because like your three friends had one.

esther gallagher: [00:30:26] Well not only that Sarah, but i would add, think outside the box of the baby,  the shower.   In plenty of cultures this idea of a shower which probably gets called a lot of different things in a lot of different places, isn’t about the baby, it’s about the parents. It’s about: you are going through a transformation. We are here for you. Here’s how we’re going to help you. 

And sadly, in our culture it’s: here’s here’s what we’re going to do to fill up your suburban house, which is already an unsustainable model. So, you know if I could get to every woman in her first trimester at the end of her first trimester, every parent, couple or trio or whatever number of parents are looking to expand their family through adoption et cetera, et cetera, I would be saying, look into what your social-emotional and physiological needs are going to be in the first three months of having a new little human being in your home. 

Look to those and ask for that. It’s just as valid of a shower gift to give somebody you know a Cocoon subscription and offer to pay for a breastfeeding consultant/ consultation and throw some money in the direction of a postpartum doula and throw some money in the direction of a complete nutritious meals service. Those are the things that people are going to benefit from.

Sarah Trott: [00:32:24] I’m going to add a cleaning service!

esther gallagher: [00:32:26] Oh absolutely. Somebody to clean your bathroom. Right. Absolutely. Like all of those things. Some of those things are something you can offer to do yourself. You can come over to your friends’ house and clean their house for them. You know, you can come over to your friends’ house and cook a big pot of stew for them. 

And some of those things are just going to be better done by somebody who really has thoughtfully gone through and organized that. And certainly this little Cocoon option is, it’s very sweet. Very sweet and thoughtful. I mean just very dear. And I just have to say and I’m just so pleased that it’s an uncle who got it together. That’s culture change right there.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:33:24] Yeah I think you know, I agree 200 percent with everything you said and it’s the culture of marketing that I also think we’re sort of getting at the end of the cycle of that. We’re still in a way stuck into it. But I think there’s people who are ready to embrace other solutions but they need to be real solutions and I get a little bit frustrated. I think it’s very unfair sometimes: you know moms who go out into the world and it would be an extremely difficult thing to implement. And sometimes they were implemented at the peak of the motivation. 

And that’s something we’ve seen a lot: you’re expecting your baby and then you make all these better decisions and choices and then, three, six months down the road, reality kicks in. And we are located because of budget or because of other reasons, you go back to some of the previous habits. There’s really two things we spend an enormous amount of time to try to put at the center of our model. One is what I call this world of nutrition-led approach which is: if you’re eating empty calories your body and your mind will keep asking for more. You know please give me more sodas, please give me more of this. But if you’re eating the right nutrient dense food and you do that from the start then you have a much higher likelihood to be content. 

And that’s what we try to do is to say, if from the start you have that first layer of what you actually need then you know by all means, go out there and buy all kinds of things, enjoy them. but you will most likely be already content. You already know you have most of what you need. And so that nice outfit that you’re adding you can be fully joyful about that. And you don’t have to go overboard being concerned that maybe you don’t have enough because you already know you start them on the right path. And then the second thing is this idea that the goal is not so much to make the right choice one moment but it’s to have a solution that can sustain over time and that’s why it’s important to trust programs, not simply products. 

To have ways to say, this will make it easier for you to commit and not necessarily depend on your peak motivation. But by design it’s something easy to follow through versus having that peak motivation and decision and then falling back a few months after, which we’ve seen a lot.

Sarah Trott: [00:37:02] Ali I’m going to ask you a question not because I want it to be a scare tactic but I’m just so curious. So why are some baby clothes so cheap? I mean that’s a temptation right? The marketing says OK, you have to buy all this stuff and then you buy all the stuff but you don’t have very much cash because now you have to buy all these things. 

So you have to make your money stretch. So the temptation to buy cheap stuff increases and then you have access to all these cheap, you can get really cheap baby clothes –double flash sale 50 percent off –and then they give you coupons and they hound you all the time. How could those clothes be so cheap, when you say toxic like what’s the awful toxic stuff that’s in there? I’m just you know curious.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:37:48] Sure. I mean so you know on the first part it’s not necessarily specific to baby clothing; it’s a general trend over the past 25 -30 years. There’s been an explosion in the volume of clothes produced globally. So you know there’s 400 percent more clothes have been produced in the last two decades. And even if you account for there’s more people on earth it’s still like an enormous increase in how many clothes were produced and that’s a shift in the model of producing clothes and buying clothes. 

You know fast fashion and so forth. And so what happens there is that something has to give. If we have a system where you know everything becomes disposable and we have an enormous amount of clothes around and they cost very little, you know they cost very little money for two reasons: One is that production has been moved to developing countries. And we know a lot about you know the terrible working conditions, the very low wages and so forth. But you know it relies a lot on cheap labor and also on toxic chemicals and we’ll talk about that.

esther gallagher: [00:39:20] Ali can we just back up for a second. And say it relies not only on cheap labor. That’s one way to put it. It relies on human rights violations.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:39:30] Absolutely.

esther gallagher: [00:39:32] OK. So there was a saying for a certain amount of time and I won’t name the company but everyone knows who it is that their products are made for kids, by kids. OK. Nobody just made that up as a slogan. That’s what was happening and still is happening. So I do think that it’s no small thing for parents to actually spend a minute and think about where your children’s clothing will be coming from.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:40:07] And it happens in fashion more actually, than in other sectors. So it’s an extremely labor intensive industry and extremely fragmented. So any retailer has hundreds or thousands of suppliers and there’s been for a very long time this narrative of hiding behind the suppliers and not knowing exactly and shifting the responsibility and frankly it’s one thing I think that’s really important to recognize is as much as we put knowledge and information out there and there’s a lot of really great documentaries to watch on on this, it’s important to understand how human psychology and decision making works. 

And you know it happens that this is not enough to convert a big number of people to people who would stop shopping here or who would start really like affecting their daily lives on the basis of that knowledge.

Sarah Trott: [00:41:25] Like why would I buy one, I don’t know baby sleep sack, that’s like 50 dollars, when I could get three for that same price. And I think that’s what’s hard about it. So if we could create the three baby sleep sacks that are high quality and organic and sustainably sourced and not made by people who are being abused then well, great. I think that would make it a lot easier. But it’s really hard to shift away from the just feeling cash-strapped aspect of it.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:41:53] Exactly. Like at the moment what happens is there are some of the solutions out there but they’re a small part of the market so you know I’ll give you a number. For example you know most baby clothes are made of cotton. Ninety nine percent of cotton is produced in an industrial sort of chemically intensive way and only, less than 1 percent is organic. And companies where you know and that answers a little bit your question around toxicity. 

Cotton is where most of the biggest portion of pesticides globally are used. So you know cotton is a crop that uses only 3 to 4 percent of land globally, yet it accounts for 25 percent of the use of pesticides so it’s extremely intensive in pesticides, it’s extremely intensive in the water, as well. Yet organics still represent a really small portion. And when you’re a consumer, you’re mom, obviously you have you know as we said tons of things to get your head around. 

But even if you wanted to you would you would be challenged to find at the same time the right price at the same time the style that you like and to just  know where to go. I’ll give you a little example; a few months ago I went to a big retailer here, and I ask for baby clothing and so they give me a hundred percent cotton clothing and then I asked, do you have organic cotton clothing. And then they say yeah this is it. Like a hundred percent cotton is what they call organic. And so that shows you how difficult it is for a consumer because even if this sales person at the biggest shop or biggest retailer here would tell you that 100% cotton is organic.

Sarah Trott: [00:44:19] Analysts say that’s not true.

esther gallagher: [00:44:20] But it’s the opposite of organic. It is one of the worst things we do on the planet. It’s a really terrible terrible; pesticides herbicides soil sterilants. I can go on and on and on.

Sarah Trott: [00:44:41] And also I want to just put it out there that I’m guilty of this too. Like listeners please don’t feel like we’re judging you; don’t feel bad if you’ve kind of fallen into the same trap as everyone else but I mean I guess what we’re trying to share is that there is an opportunity to make that shift.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:44:56] Yeah. And something i want to add to that. And I think it’s again going back to understanding why we behave the way we behave. It’s extremely important not to make people feel guilty and to understand that you know it’s by design made extremely difficult, if not impossible, in most cases. And so if we can design those solutions where we make it easier for people and more enjoyable and we solve for this and really the message here is those are things that we like to take seriously.  

But it’s important to understand that what we are talking about is an effect that happens across products that we have, and over time, and these chemicals  combine with themselves and they create over time and they cross products. When you start to compound that with other things you have around how and when you do it over a long period of time it does have a very serious effect. There’s been a lot of really robust studies around that. So it’s really important that we set up ourselves to detoxify our environment. It’s no small matter, but at the same time  we have to design those really simple really easy and very enjoyable experiences that you know take care of that.

esther gallagher: [00:46:36] And the phrase baby steps comes to mind.

Sarah Trott: [00:46:41] Very appropriate.

esther gallagher: [00:46:44] Ali. I would just like to have you walk us through how to access your product.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:46:52] Sure. So you can you can find us on on our website. So it’s  And so this is the website where you’ll find the service. It’s Cocoon at UpChoose. We have a community on Instagram as well. You’ll find us @Cocoonmoms. And so that’s our community of moms and everyone around moms who are working to make this a reality and to build the community around that. And then we’ve launched a service actually so we’re getting people in, on-boarding new people into this program. 

And it’s all designed so that  it takes a couple of minutes on the Web site and you have a number of options: so you can decide that you want this for yourself or you can decide that you want to give that to someone or you can also have your family, your friends, come together and contribute towards  on-boarding you into the program so you can be for the first time. 

But you can do it. When you’re expecting you can do it. You know it’s something really interesting that we’ve seen as well, sometimes if you’re expecting or you just gave birth you have a lot of these things around. You know we make it easy for someone to on-board–after three months or after six months they can really catch the train at any point in time and then we grow with them. So yes you can visit us at 

Sarah Trott: [00:48:45]  And thank you for so generously providing our listeners with a promotions so they can use fourthtrimestercocoon as a coupon word, all one word.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:48:56] Yes. That’s great. They have twenty five dollars off.

Sarah Trott: [00:48:59] Great. Well thank you so much! Listeners, go check that out and share that with any new and expecting parents in your life. And we’ll share that on our Facebook page and social as well. Ali thank you so much for being a wonderful guest on our program today.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:49:11] My pleasure. I’m thrilled. Thank you for inviting me. It went really fast so I really enjoyed it. And please, you know yourself and obviously everyone who’s listening, We’d love to be able to get to know you. You can please contact us on our Web site for know any questions. we would be happy to share more about all the research that we’ve done. 

This is obviously you know beyond the solution we provide  we want to be helpful to people to think about that transition and to think joyfully and you know practically about it. So we were here for that. So please do you reach out even if only for questions. We’d be happy to share our thoughts and knowledge on that.

esther gallagher: [00:50:00] Wonderful. Thanks so much Ali.

Ali El Idrissi: [00:50:03] Thank you very much. Have a wonderful day.



The content provided in this article(s) is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Neither Sarah Trott nor Buckeye Media LLC (DBA Fourth Trimester) are liable for claims arising from the use of or reliance on information contained in this article.