Former fashion student develops organic clothing line for babies


Photo Courtesy of Cutie Bees

Morgan Jupina

Baby clothes have officially joined the “going green movement.” Kent State alumnus Pooja Songar has teamed up with a faculty member and a current student of the fashion school to create Cutie Bees, a 100 percent organic baby-clothing brand.

The brand offers infant clothing that is completely free of harmful chemicals used in conventional cottons and manufactured without any carcinogens, which can cause cancer after prolonged or excessive exposure.

Songar, founder and CEO of Cutie Bees, gave life to the brand as a personal project in Sept. 2011.

“My daughter Sarah was born in 2010, and I began to notice she had body rashes,” Songar said. “After a few months, I realized it was the harmful chemicals in her clothes reacting with her skin. I knew other mothers could be struggling with this too.”

Songar said well-known brands don’t produce organic baby clothes, so it was difficult to find good quality products at an affordable price. She said she wanted to create a safe and eco-friendly line of outfits, so she reached out to Trista Grieder, Kent State fashion design and merchandising lecturer.

Grieder said she helped Songar with what she should look for in a vendor and how to find good-quality samples.

“I was more of a mentor to Pooja,” Grieder said. “When she first thought of developing this brand, she didn’t know where to start. I gave her guidance on the basis of how to get started.”

Grieder said she then contacted Leah Linderman, senior fashion design major and head designer and product developer of Cutie Bees.

“Trista knew I was interested in children’s wear and looking for an internship,” Linderman said. “She gave me Pooja’s information, I interviewed with her and got the position.”

Linderman said she began designing Jan. 2012 for the following year’s fall and winter line.

“I filled about 20 pages of my sketchbook with ideas for bodysuits, pants, shorts, skirts, bibs,” Linderman said. “You name it I probably designed it.”

Songar said the line was parent tested for a year before presenting itself on the market.

Kayte Sherman, of Medina and mother to three-month-old son Kolt, said she is very interested in organic baby clothes.

“Sometimes he gets a rash around his neck from his shirts so I would definitely purchase them,” Sherman said. “Because Kolt’s skin is so sensitive, I would prefer something that does not have any harsh chemicals.”

Sherman said she hasn’t purchased any organic clothes for her son yet because she has a hard time finding cute outfits. She said a regular outfit for her child costs about $15, but she wouldn’t mind spending extra at Cutie Bees.

“Being safe and environmentally friendly doesn’t mean I can’t dress my child in cute clothes,” Songar said. “Cutie Bees has really redefined the organic baby clothing market.”

Jessica Gallagher, director of marketing and public relations for Cutie Bees, said the clothing is “wrapped in social goodness.”

“All of the packaging is eco-friendly, including the tags, which can be planted to grow flowers,” Gallagher said. “With every purchase, Cutie Bees is giving back by donating money, products and time towards social and health issues affecting children.”

Gallagher said Cutie Bees most recently participated in helping Nellie’s Catwalk For Kids, a nonprofit working with families that have been faced with pediatric cancer.

Songar said she hopes to introduce a line in toddler sizes soon.

Cutie Bees outfits can be purchased at the Fashion School Store in downtown Kent.

Contact Morgan Jupina at [email protected].