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A beautiful friendship: The launch of baby fashion label Moon Jelly

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Moonjelly - Skye & Alicia

Friends for almost 25 years, Skye Higgs and Alycia Nash.

The saying goes “Hold a friend with both hands…” but what if those very hands of friendship lead to the launch of a baby fashion label? For school friends Alicia Nash and Skye Higgs that’s exactly what happened…and tonight they’ll launch their label, Moon Jelly, at the capital’s inaugural Night Market.

After almost 20 years, the two school friends have reunited to create a unique and stylish children’s lifestyle and fashion label, Moon Jelly. Having both studied fashion and textiles at school, collaborating on projects and spending their spare time making patterns and dying fabrics, Alicia and Skye have decided the timing couldn’t be more perfect to launch their label.

Each with two young children, (Alicia has two girls, Macy, 6 and Lyla, 1 while Skye has daughter Willow, 2, and baby boy Lucas who is just 4 months), the pair have worked hard remotely, collaborating via late night FaceTime sessions and nap-time phone calls to create the label’s launch.

Both with qualifications and experience needed to start such a venture, Skye background has seen her graduate from an Arts (Fashion) degree at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) before working in London for many years and then returning to Australia. Couple this with an extensive experience in both the retail and fashion industry including Product Manager and Senior Designer, she’s also worked for a number of high-profile labels including Rip Curl, Victoria Secrets, Russell Athletic and most recently Target.

Moonjelly hugs n kisses

Skye’s partner-in-crime, Alicia has a Diploma in Arts Fashion (Commercial Design) from the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) and is skilled in pattern and garment creation for children’s wear, bridal and soft furnishings. Some six years ago in 2008, she created her own local and online children’s label, Billy ‘n Moo making custom quilts, clothing and children’s costumes for clients.

But despite being each blessed with successful careers the creative pair wanted more…of less, with the demanding nature of their work no match for raising a young family.

After a visit to Melbourne to catch up with Skye, Alicia (now based in Newcastle) says it didn’t take long for them to work out that they shared the same vision and were both inspired to create a particular style of children’s products not yet on the market.

Ahead of tonight’s market, I caught up with Alicia and Skye to chat all things BFFs, embracing individuality and balancing a business launch while raising a young family.

Q&A with Alicia and Skye

Why Moon Jelly? Where did the name come from?

Our love of dyeing and painting fabrics inspired the name Moon Jelly – we liked the water association with the moon jelly jellyfish. And it also fitted perfectly with ‘sleep’ and ‘kids’, and being playful and fun.

How did you both reconnect and find each other after 25 years? 

Social media meant that we always knew the other was there. Having kids gave us a common theme and whenever we have caught up in the past it’s been like no time or distance has gone by.

Were you BFFs, frenemies, or classmates in school?

In textiles/art and photography subjects we were were definitely BFFs always creating, experimenting and coming up with new ideas—perhaps even a little competitive at times. 

Looking back to your younger years in school, what would you each tell your 12 year old self?

Alicia: Be confident in everything you do. Work hard and dream big.

Skye: It’s OK to move to the beat of your own drum, not everyone is going to always like you but there will be some awesome people in your life that will think you are pretty awesome too.

Why is using sustainable and ethically-made products important to you?

We believe its important for everyone to live more sustainably and contribute to positive steps for the future for our children. So it was a no-brainer for us when given a choice to go the sustainable and ethical option. We are really proud of the fact that we are all Australian, ethically made and use 100% Certified Organic cotton. 

Moonjelly nursery

What environmental foot do your products have?

We have tried to minimise our environmental footprint in every possible way. We are using organic cotton which means that cotton is grown in a balanced farming ecosystem using carefully selected varieties of cotton that has adapted to local conditions in terms of climate, soil and robustness to pests and diseases. It also means that there are no synthetic pesticides used in the process and the amount of water is reduced. On top of that we have minimised our emissions including fuel and energy use by using local Australian suppliers and manufactures. 

What greater ambitions do you have for Moon Jelly? Where would you like to see it come this time next year?

We are hoping to grow to ‘bigger kids’ to extend our bedding range to include single size bedding. Also broadening the age and size range of our existing products, we are keen to develop and expand our clothing range to incorporate unique fabric choices.

…But even when you do the thing you love for a living, it’s always nice for a little downtime. For Alicia that means travelling, coffee dates with friends and hitting the beach for a surf. As for Skye, it’s exactly the same, only in Melbourne where she is now based.  Just add to this scouring second hand markets and people watching, and the pair are set.

These two are definitely kindred spirits. 

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