Children’s Clothing From Nature, Designed to Nurture
Meet Sarah and JP, co-founders of Chasing Windmills, a Denver-based company that makes children’s clothing and nursery bedding from merino wool — a lightweight, quick-drying, odor resistant and impossibly soft fabric. Sarah and JP first met in their freshman dorm just a few days into their undergraduate years at Bowdoin College in Maine. Their journey then took them to Washington D.C., where JP attended law school, and Sarah worked as an actuary. After working as an actuary in the corporate world for eight years, Sarah began building a photography business on the side and making a move to do something she was truly in love with as a career. Her willingness to re-evaluate and pursue something she cared about inspired JP to rethink his own law career.
It took a sick day to give JP the final push he needed. Home for the day from the office, JP ended up researching merino wool and where it came from (at this point, he already had a favorite merino shirt of his own, which he wore almost every day he wasn’t at work). In his research, he stumbled upon ZQ Merino, the same company Smartwool and Icebreaker use to source their merino wool. The company spent an hour on the phone with JP talking shop and their willingness to begin a relationship with him, as well as their passion for merino, inspired JP to pull the trigger. He decided to leave behind his law career for good and work with Sarah to build the company they had both been dreaming of.
Sarah and JP designed Chasing Windmills with the goals of embracing the adventurous spirit of childhood and connecting families to a sense of environmental appreciation and wonder. Their most recent clothing lines include “short johns” and “long johns,” pajamas for both summer and winter that double as the perfect outdoor adventure outfits and base layers. With merino’s temperature-regulating qualities and cozy texture, Chasing Windmills’ long johns and short johns are a great first step to a good night’s sleep, but the versatile nature of merino wool combined with JP and Sarah’s classic design sense also means that these “pajamas” can accompany kids throughout the day in whatever adventures they pursue. Whether splashing around in a creek in a pair of short johns or wearing long johns as a base layer while rolling around in the snow, these clothing lines are truly sustainable in that they adapt to many different uses.
Chasing Windmills’ products are all designed with the couples’ deeply held environmental values at the forefront. The wool Sarah and JP use in their products come from merino sheep living in free-range, pasture-based systems in New Zealand and Australia, where the sheep are free to be sheep! All of the ranchers JP and Sarah work with are ZQ-certified, meaning they meet stringent environmental and animal welfare regulations which include avoiding harm to the land that may be caused by ranching and, if necessary, mitigating any impact they have. Also, merino wool itself is 100% biodegradable, meaning that after your merino clothing has lived a long, fulfilling life, it will ultimately return to where it came from — Mother Nature.
Closer to home, JP and Sarah are constantly trying to find new ways to make their Colorado business more sustainable. Their home office is wind-powered, and Chasing Windmills is carbon-neutral, as Sarah and JP purchase carbon offsets for the carbon they do use through TerraPass. Additionally, Chasing Windmills uses recycled materials to print everything they mail, and JP and Sarah also partner with Opportunity Threads, a worker-owned textile facility based in North Carolina, that is working to make the textile industry in the Carolinas thriving and sustainable for both the industry as a whole and its employees.
The simple and flexible design of Chasing Windmills’ products also contributes to the company’s sustainability. JP and Sarah’s bedding line can transition easily from infanthood to toddlerhood, and their timeless clothing designs can be passed from one child to the next. As the company grows, Sarah and JP have kept their focus on “quality over quantity” at the forefront of their business decisions.
“We don’t want to be one of those companies that releases a new collection every month,” says Sarah.
Instead, they are carefully working to curate their Fall/ Winter 2018 collections, which will include updated versions of their thermal long johns as well as their essential, all-season hoodies.