With the inspiring ethos of being part of the solution, sustainable underwear brand, Nat’v Basics, is giving the power back to consumers when it comes to choosing our most intimate clothing choices. Working to be part of the sustainability solution, Founding Director Sandy Ronalds and the Nat’v Basics team have crafted a company that is the home of quality basics wear that works for both people and the planet.
Gold Coast based sustainable underwear brand, Nat’v Basics exists with the promise ‘to make everyday basics better,’ and when exploring the gorgeous range of sustainable underwear that this homegrown organisation has on offer, it is clear to see that this is more than just a simple tagline. With a range of bralettes, crop tops and panties, Nat’v Basics has comfortable, sustainable intimate wear, whether you are wanting a simple classic style or something a little cheekier. Using recycled and sustainable materials, working with certified sustainable partners and championing transparency, Nat’v Basics is the ultimate place to find stylish basics that are good for both you and the planet.
We recently loved having the opportunity to have a chat with Nat’v Basics Founding Director, Sandy Ronalds, to discuss the commendable outlook of Nat’v Basics, what sustainable business means to Sandy, and how you too can form part of the solution.
Being Part of the Solution
Nat’v Basics is built on a solid foundation of sustainability and ethical business and has now grown to include stockists around Australia. So, finding out some more about Sandy’s journey to starting this fantastic organisation seemed like the perfect place to begin our chat.
“I’ve always loved ‘the hustle’ of business. There’s always something ‘next’ to achieve and you often have to think on your feet to get it done – it’s hectic but I kind of thrive on it!
It’s also really important for me to feel good about the way I operate in business. I need to feel like I’m adding value and giving back in some way, so I guess it makes sense I ended up starting a sustainable business! – I just didn’t always know it would be basics.”
As well as loving the business environment and drive to make the world a better place, Sandy spoke of a more personal inspiration to join the sustainability movement and encourage the next generation to be part of the solution.
“Becoming a mum and raising my daughter was the catalyst for me to want to build something for my family from the ground up. I wanted to show her that she can be part of the solution, and to do that I knew I would have to design every aspect of the business from a sustainability mindset – you can’t just tack it on as an afterthought.
Over the years I’d seen so much waste generated by businesses, especially in the everyday products space. We all know fashion and apparel are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to unethical and unsustainable practices, so I knew this was a space I could make a real impact – we all wear undies most days, and it’s one area of clothing we shouldn’t be buying from the op shop.”
Comfort, Social Responsibility and Sustainability
Nat’v Basics has clothing that considers a variety of factors from comfort to social responsibility to sustainability. Operating in a way that views garment production from such a wide variety of perspectives, Sandy shared that there are core criteria that every beautiful, sustainable underwear basic must be built on.
“Every product in our range begins its life because it can answer yes to these two questions:
- Is this better for the end-user in terms of comfort and cut?
- Is this better for our planet in terms of manufacturing processes, materials used, carbon and water footprint?
I also consider the wellbeing of every person in our supply chain as a non-negotiable, core criteria of creating our range; that’s why it was critical that we found the supply chain partners that we did. Firstly, we had to narrow the search to someone who could handle our specially engineered, sustainable fabric, but just as importantly, we then had to ensure they met our high standards of working conditions and complied with our social responsibility principles.
So, there are a few ‘core criteria’ boxes to tick before anything gets made at Nat’v – but it means we stand behind every product in our range.”
Growing from a small organisation to an established business creating Australian designed, ethically made, beautiful sustainable underwear basics for conscious consumers, there is a lot for Sandy and the Nat’v team to be proud of.
“I’m really proud of the growth we’ve had so far, and the fact that although we’ve moved fast, we haven’t cut any corners to get here. In a relatively short time, we’ve gone from stacking boxes in my brother’s garage, to now being able to employ him and my sister-in-law full time on the team. An idea that started because I wanted to set a positive example for my daughter has blossomed into a true family business, which is a total dream.”
A Company with Purpose – sustainable underwear basics
When talking to Sandy and exploring the inspiring story of Nat’v Basics, one thing that stands out is that it is a company that acts with purpose. Nat’v even states itself that ‘we are a company with purpose’. More than just a catchphrase, Nat’v stands behind its purpose, continually working to create a more sustainable, ethical and comfortable basics underwear market.
“Our purpose is to make basics that are better for people and the planet, so having that simple sounding goal at the centre of every decision we make is how we stay on track.
In terms of sustainability, it comes into every aspect of the business. From the initial idea to start Nat’v basics, it was an incredibly gruelling process to get to the point where we had chosen our fabric and supply chain partners.”
To work towards this purpose, the Nat’v philosophy takes an integrated and considered approach to environmental responsibility.
“People often associate organic cotton, or bamboo with sustainability when they think about fabric, and they both have positives. But they can also be problematic when it comes to things like water use or other aspects of their production. I wanted to create the most sustainable basics possible with the technology available right now. There are some amazingly smart humans in this world doing incredible things with closed-loop manufacturing and finding innovative ways to reduce waste and remove traditional chemicals from the manufacturing process. Sustainability isn’t just one thing or one material, it’s a holistic approach that is more than just the sum of its parts.”
Knowing that sustainability is a marathon, not a sprint, the Nat’v Basics team are constantly looking for new ways to further improve their already impressive sustainable operations.
“We don’t just stop at the material, we incorporate sustainability into everything we do, from the packaging to the stickers, to the electric forklift in the warehouse. It’s definitely a journey – you’re never going to be perfect, so you just have to keep trying. I’m always looking for the next opportunity to make a more sustainable choice for the stage that my business is at.”
Sustainable underwear that’s Good for you and the Planet
Nat’v Basics has a commendable level of information available to consumers regarding materials and production processes. We were curious to get Sandy’s take on whether from a sustainability, social responsibility, and health perspective, it is important for women to know more about the materials that are going into the basics they wear everyday.
“YES! It is incredibly important, and for all the reasons you mentioned.
We can easily obsess over the list of ingredients on our food packets before we ingest something into our body. We should pay the same attention to what we’re putting on our bodies all day. Especially the fabrics that are touching our most intimate and delicate areas. It’s easy to understand the benefits of why the fabrics we put closest to our bodies, wear all day, wear to the gym, should be breathable and antibacterial, but we should also think about the chemicals, the dyes, the microplastics, and other nasties that we are walking around in all day every day.
From a sustainability viewpoint, Sandy spoke of the importance of consumer power in ushering in a new environmentally friendly future.
“I hope people are becoming more conscious of how they vote with their dollar. We all know how damaging and exploitative the fashion industry is, so choosing to support brands that are finding innovative solutions and trying to do better is a way to say you won’t stand for bad practices anymore.”
In the past few years, we have seen sustainable clothing become increasingly in the spotlight and growing numbers of organisations embracing more sustainable approaches. Discussing this concept, highlighted how the basics and intimate underwear industry overall has responded to this growing level of conscious consumerism and the damaging impacts of greenwashing on the sustainable clothing market.
“Basics certainly have the potential to be one of, if not the most, sustainable sections of the clothing/apparel industry – simple designs can mean less waste on the cutting room floor, plain, simple colours work for basics – no need for crazy complicated overworked prints. Natural fibres have health benefits that are arguably more important than say, for outerwear.
But the issue across all areas of fashion is the big uptake in greenwashing. It seems like there is a lot more awareness around conscious consumerism, but it is being exploited by bigger companies as a marketing opportunity, which only makes it harder to make better choices as a consumer. When a big-name store or brand sells a ‘sustainable cotton’ t-shirt for $5, we have a real issue of greenwashing going on. There is a level of education that is required for consumers to really understand if what they’re buying is in fact sustainable. Which (when lacking and companies greenwash) only hurts the sustainable brands and doesn’t serve the good intentions of the consumer.”
Transparency and Local Production
Transparency is a core part of any sustainable company, and from the perspective of Sandy, one of the most important parts. As such, Nat’v Basics operates in a way that consumers know the where, why, who and what of every beautiful piece.
“We’ve made the who/what/how questions around our materials and manufacturing very clear on our website. You can trust that you’re making an informed decision when you buy with us so you know if we align with your values. If every clothing organisation did that, they would put real power in the hands of their customers.”
Operating in the Queensland clothing market, Sandy and the Nat’v Basics team are working to make a real difference in the industry. When asked if there was one thing Sandy could change about the Queensland clothing market, her answer was local manufacturing.
“More highly skilled local manufacturing – we did look into manufacturing in Australia but we struggled to find the expertise and machinery to manufacture my designs using the sustainable fabric we use. If we could support local industry and reduce our carbon emissions at the same time it would be a huge win-win!”
Crafting beautiful products that are kind to people and the planet, Sandy and the Nat’v Basics team is truly a company that stands by its promise to ‘make everyday basics better.’ As Sandy says, with everyday changes, we all can be part of the solution:
“Where you buy your undies might seem like an insignificant thing in the grand scheme of global shopping, but if everyone started making small swaps for some of their everyday products, it would make a world of difference.”
Headquarters: 2/40 Pacific Avenue, Miami Qld 4220
Stockists in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales.