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Safe Kids’ Clothing

Sep 26, 2012

Never give up. That’s the most important lesson that Kyle Smitley, founder of the organic kids’ clothing company Barley & Birch, learned when she was only 22 and trying to get her new business off the ground.

Kyle, who studied environmental science in college, wanted to create a line of kids’ clothes using 100 percent cotton and nonpolluting water-based inks. She needed about $10,000 to develop logos and a website for her business, so she sought small-business loans. But banker after banker told her that she was too young and sent her away.

“When I would be laughed out of the third bank or even the fourth bank, giving up never even occurred to me,” Kyle says. “I believed in my idea.”

Eventually she found others who believed, and today her San Francisco–based company is a successful reality. So much so that Kyle donates some of her profits to charity organizations.

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