Getting Greener with Belinda Jane (BJ) Keehn




March 17, 2023

Keehn by name and keen by nature to grow the Green Economy and (slow) fashion that’s better for the planet. We chatted to Belinda Jane Keehn ( aka BJ) about what motivates her…

Inspired by the beautiful NSW east coast and motivated to ensure its beauty remains for her nephews and the many generations to come, BJ founded BJs PJs and Baby Origami to give Australians a more sustainable alternative.

We spoke to BJ recently to learn more about what drives her. See what she had to say…

What does sustainability mean to you? What motivated you to be a sustainable business?

Sustainability and ethical business practices are core in my commitment to making clothing that is organic, premium quality for longevity, designs that are versatile and can be used in many various circumstances.

I’m also dedicated to improving awareness and positive change in a world that has been conditioned to believe fast fashion is a ‘bargain’ and over consumption is OK - neither of these are true in my viewpoint.

We are totally committed to meeting the highest standards of ethical, environmental, and sustainability standards in every aspect of our business.

We have painstakingly gained all the necessary certifications and use only certified manufacturers who also prove their dedication to this commitment.

I live my life by these rules so to do anything other than this with my businesses would not be being true to who I am and what I believe in - that is very important in all aspects of my life, so building a brand based on these commitments and ethos is easier when you 'live it’ and want to share it.

You can see more on our Mission Statement here

What trends are you seeing when it comes to climate action and sustainable fashion?

Climate change is now at the forefront of a lot of positive changes happening in the world, and it is exciting to see these changes occurring in the fashion arena, in Australia, and globally.

Educating and informing our audience with reliable and trustworthy information, positively and authentically, has created a wonderful community on our socials, in personal emails, and an active large subscription base.

I believe we are all better and stronger when we work together, supporting and collaborating with like-minded businesses, eco-ethical directories, apps and marketplaces to gain momentum, and growing together to obtain higher goals and better outcomes - strength in numbers.

Offering our products and more positive alternative options in our online world means more people will be able to make better and more informed decisions by purchasing wisely.  Every person who makes a small but positive change makes a difference.

I am dedicated to 'giving back' as much as possible, karma springs to mind, and I like to feel good about what I do, which is also about doing good for others. Our branding is my gateway to 'doing my bit' for a better world and I really enjoy it, albeit with many tears and heartache. The rewards far outweigh the pitfalls.

What has been the most rewarding thing you’ve encountered on your journey to becoming more sustainable?

It has been a wonderful learning curve filled with so many amazing people and self-growth. I feel blessed to have had all the love, support, kindness, and generosity from family and friends. I am completely aware that achieving my dreams would not be possible without the support of the incredible people around me.  

At BJ's PJs and Baby Origami DoubleWrap™, we only use and support local suppliers and manufacturers. Our finest premium organic cotton is manufactured in Melbourne, our garments are all made in Sydney, and all of my packaging, swing tags and incidentals are purchased from local producers and suppliers.

I have chosen to have my garments manufactured locally, not only to support local business and the Australian economy but also to oversee that the premium quality and standard of my products are upheld and that the ethical, environmental and sustainability practices are also of the highest standards, as these are all incredibly important to me.  And are also beginning to become the ‘norm’ - slowly but surely.

Keeping jobs and money here where my heart is, doing our bit to save the economy in Australia, and preserving the planet even if it's only minor in some respects, it all matters and counts, that is rewarding.

We donate to local community events, and fundraisers, and work with local ladies who support young mums in need. We also work closely with "Thread Together" through the #WeWearAustralian initiative and the Australian Fashion Council collaboration donating excess stock and promoting their wonderful work.  

We can all help one another and be kinder to each other and everyone benefits.

So many wonderful rewards on my small business journey, mostly seeing positive change :)

How have your customers responded?

Our customer service is also key and of the highest priority, our orders are dispatched the same day or within 1-2 working days. We offer free shipping for over $100 spent, and express shipping for $12, all in plastic-free recycled and recyclable packaging and shipped in compostable bags, all in keeping with our ethos.

I believe we should only purchase what we need, and that it should offer longevity, versatility, and practicality - we have tried our best to fulfil all of these requirements while also keeping ethical and sustainable standards at heart.

It is a much smaller profit margin but worth it to me and I would prefer they return the garment than end up in the back of a cupboard or in a landfill.

Our customers are key to improving and growing, it is important to pay attention to what they have to contribute. So far we’ve had wonderful feedback with almost 100% 5-star ratings and incredible reviews.

I believe that a happy customer is your best advertisement and great for repeat business. It seems to be working for us!

What is the biggest challenge, and how have you tackled this?

Transforming our social conditioning is no easy task, it is incredibly difficult to change the mindset of global advertising and marketing that the larger chain stores have created over the years.

Many people are completely naive as to what goes on behind the scenes of the glamorous fashion world.  I aim to put a positive spin when informing the benefits of slow fashion.  

Informing our audience about ethical manufacturing practices, to create better, decent workplaces and treatment of the garment makers who have suffered for many years at the hands of big greedy corporations.

Also, the environmental benefits for the planet, animals, humans, and waterways, a reduction in landfill, fewer chemicals, less air pollution, minimum toxins, poisons, etc. when making wiser choices

It's something not talked about often so we want to open the conversation and be honest about what really goes on

We need action and more people to understand the reality of what is going on behind the scenes to create change.

Once more people realise the truth and regulatory bodies are put in place to rectify the issues fast fashion has built, it will be much easier for brands like myself to have better access to ethical and sustainable manufacturers and hopefully it will become ‘the norm’ rather than the exception.

Who else do you think is doing sustainability well and why?

So many….. I have collaborated with many brands, great people, awesome marketplaces and directories that are like-minded in offering a solution to the problem of fast fashion and improving the fashion industry (and the planet), all with a desire to build and promote ethical, sustainable eco-brands.

Focusing on positive changes, and making better choices is slow but steady and we are starting to steer away from the wasteful and nasty fast fashion ‘throw-away' society that we have become. Stronger together!

Why is being a founding partner of the Green Economy important to you?

Working together with as many other like minded people gives us strength and support for each other and provides a larger community to spread the word and educate more than if we attempted such a massive task individually.

It's not easy to foresee the future in these uncertain times, I try to stay positive, which, let's be honest, can be difficult at times. I certainly had many 'moments' during COVID and it seems the plummeting economy isn't heading upward anytime soon. Luxury, higher-priced items are not a priority during these tough times so I need to be particularly careful - support is essential for a positive outlook and keeping up beat.

On a more positive spin, and with more feedback and research, it is prevalent that more consumers are choosing to purchase more ethically and sustainably made garments, and more support for Australian businesses are becoming more apparent also.

Also on the rise, are tighter regulations, more stringent guidelines, and tougher laws regarding the manufacturing and marketing of fashion, not only in Australia but globally.

We are part of this fashion revolution offering garments that tick all the boxes for a better, healthier, cleaner planet and improved working conditions and human rights for so many working in the garment manufacturing industry. I believe this IS the future.

Being on board with the Green economy means we have a larger audience to share and promote our mutual goals - to make the world a better place for all.

We loved chatting to BJ and couldn't agree more... We are all stronger working together.

If you're looking for a more conscious alternative, why not check out BJs PJs here and Baby Origami here

Or if you're a business that's interested in finding out more about joining the Green Economy, get in touch today.