We have created 2 separate help sections which consist of frequently asked questions (FAQs). If you have a question which is not listed, then please send us an email and we'll do our best to answer it.
1. What is organic?
The word 'organic' is used to describe fibres (like cotton) or food crops that are grown without the use of artificial fertilisers, pesticides or genetically modified organisms (gmo).
2. What are pesticides, artificial fertilisers and gmo?
Pests are found on all farms and pesticides are simply chemicals used to kill pests on farms. Insect (insecticides), mould and fungi (fungicides) and weed (herbicides) killers are different forms of pesticides and artificial fertilisers (also known as synthetic fertilisers) make plants and crops grow quickly.
A gmo (genetically modified organism) is a man-made organism created in a laboratory and altered from its natural state. It's also known as genetic engineering.
3. What's wrong with using pesticides, artificial fertilisers and gmo?
Pesticides and artificial fertilisers damage healthy soil (needed to grow natural plants and crops) which has a very delicate natural balance. They also cause air, water and food pollution and have been associated with health problems from asthma to cancer. Some highly toxic pesticides that have been banned by organisations such as WHO (World Health Organisation) are still being used in some developing countries.
GMOs are very bad for our environment and are not proven to be safe for our health - it's really like playing with nature and it's highly unpredictable. GM crops and plants are engineered to contain properties (genes) to fight off pests but nature has a way of fighting back by adapting. Some pests can build up immunity and even more chemicals are needed in the long run. For more info on gmo, please visit http://www.saynotogmos.org/.
4. Do farmers use pesticides to grow normal cotton?
Yes. Cotton is the most chemically-sprayed crop in the world. Over 25% of the world's insecticides and 12% of all pesticides are used to grow cotton (PAN UK).
5. How do organic farmers grow crops and plants without these chemicals?
Organic farmers work with nature to control pests and grow healthy crops. They use crop rotation, which means that they vary what they grow on their farms. Most farmers work more than one field, so one year it could be cotton and cereal the next. This helps to keep the soil's vital minerals and nutrients very healthy.
To keep pests at bay, organic farmers encourage natural predators. Species of birds, bees and ladybirds are encouraged to move in and help keep pests under control naturally. By planting certain plants and flowers like chilli and marigold around the field edges, it helps attracting these birds, bees and ladybirds. Organic farms have 44 per cent more birds in fields and more than five times as many wild plants.
6. How do I know if something is organic?
Some clothing or food may well be labelled as organic, but the safest way to tell if something is genuinely organic is to make sure it's certified. International organic certification organisations make sure suppliers comply to very strict regulations and standards. Here are the main certifying bodies to look out for: SKAL (Control Union World Group), Soil Association (UK), USDA organic (USA), Ecocert International (Europe), JOCA (Japan), KRAV (Sweden), NASAA (Australia), BIO-GRO (New Zealand) and COCC (Canada).
7. What do organic certification organisations actually do?
Certification is a long process and often takes over 1 year for approval. Firstly, the farmers have to wait for 2 years without using any chemicals on their farm to even be considered for certification. The farmer is required to meet strict criteria and standards such as being a specified distance from non-organic farms, pay an annual fee whilst meeting strict criteria and standards based on organic principles. Farmers are also required to undergo random inspection which frequently involves laboratory tests, to test for pesticide traces. All of this ensures that the certified product you buy really is organic.
8. Who is Belle & Dean's organic cotton certified by?
SKAL now known as Control Union (Netherland's).
9. I eat organic, but why should I wear it?
Check out our 10 reasons to wear organic here.
10. Is organic softer?
Yes. Many people agree that organic cotton is much softer than conventional cotton. The best thing is to try it out for yourself. Do a blind test to compare conventional and organic cotton. Many people say that the "chemical" feeling is not there with organic clothing.
11. Are Belle & Dean's dyes organic?
We try hard to be as environmentally friendly as possible by not colour dyeing our clothing. Our clothes are natural - no dyes or heavy bleaches.
12. Is organic cotton suitable for my newborn?
Yes. Organic cotton clothing is best for babies. A baby's skin is 5 times thinner than an adult's skin - this means that they can absorb chemicals much more easily. Being softer too, it's a great choice for delicate skin.
13. Why does organic cost more?
It's true that organic goods usuallly cost about 30% more to buy than conventional products. That's because organic farmers are driven by quality and ethics rather than speed and quantity. Crop yields are often slightly lower than on conventional farms, harvesting is usually done by hand, and crop rotation (e.g. one year cotton, the following could be wheat and so on) is practised in line with organic certification. As it is initially difficult (practically and economically) to switch to organic methods, there are far fewer organic farms than conventional ones. It makes finding organic produce all the more difficult.
14. What is Fairtrade?
Fairtrade is a UK organisation which certifies independent producers in the developing world, making sure they getter a better deal. This means that they get fair wages, decent working conditions and a fair price for their goods.
15. Are Belle & Dean's products Fairtrade?
Altough our products are not certified by Fairtrade itself, our producer provides ethical working conditions for his workers including decent wages and fair working hours. Our producer is based in Singapore and employs a small team of loyal, fairly treated and well respected workers. We like to work closely with our producer and we're proud to have a close relationship together.
The farm workers who grow our organic cotton also have a much better quality of life thanks to the health benefits of farming organically.
16. Do you mass produce?
No. We do very small runs compared to the industry standard. By doing small runs our products stay unique and special. It also allows us to keep an eye on the quality, and lets our workers lead a normal life.
Customer service help?
1. How do I make an order with Belle & Dean?
It's easy to order with us. We offer three alternatives - online, postal order or by telephone. Click how to order for more info.
2. Do you accept international orders?
Yes we do. We use Singpost which is a first rate and world class postal service. We offer very competitive rates for international orders and all of our packages are sent by registered air parcel service. Orders take 5-9 days on average to reach you or your chosen recipient.
3. How do I know that my item will arrive?
Singapore-based orders are usually safe under normal postage, however, for extra security we suggest you opt for registered delivery at checkout. All international orders are sent via registered post which will require a signature at the receiving end.
4. What happens if no one is available to accept delivery?
If you item is despatched using normal post it will simply be posted into your mailbox or through your door. If your order is bulky and someone is not available, the postal worker will either try at a later time or leave a note for you to collect it from your local post office. If you have a special delivery request (e.g. leave with neighbour), please leave a comment in the box provided at checkout.
5. Is buying online secure?
Using your credit card to make purchases to pay at Belle & Dean is secure. Your payment will be processed through Worldpay (owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland - part of the fifth biggest banking group in the world) which is a leading online payment system and employs the highest level of security for your protection. Please click security for more info.
6. What payment types do you accept?
We accept Visa, Visa Debit, Mastercard and Paypal. We also accept cheque payment (Singapore only). If you card is not available we can easily arrange debit card payment via Paypal on request. Please email beforehand to check stock availability, if paying by Singapore Dollar cheque.
7. Why don't you accept my country's currency?
We are limited to 4 display currencies - Singapore dollars, US dollars, UK pounds and Euro. If you currency is not listed, please contact us and we wlll determine if it's possible to arrange payment in your chosen currency.
8. Do i need to sign-up to make a purchase?
Yes, we require you to sign-up for an account. Its very easy and doesn't take more than a few minutes. It helps us to process your order (e.g. your name, delivery address, email, phone no. etc) for when your checkout. Once you've signed up, you can login anytime and make orders immediately. Please click here.
9. What happens after I make an order?
You will receive an email with your order details and status. We will update you when your order is despatched.
10. Where is my order?
Singapore orders typically take 2-3 working days after you receive a confirmation 'despatched status' email from us. If it does not arrive in this time, please email us. International orders take between 5-11 days and if it doesn't arrive, please contact us so that we can run a 'track and trace' as all international orders are sent via registered post.
11. Can I visit?
Our office at 10 Anson Road is an administrative office and unfortunately we do not hold any stock there. If you would like to see our items we suggest that you visit one of our stockists.
12. What is your quality like?
We offer high quality 100% organic cotton clothing which is designed in-house and made in Singapore. We have a solid reputation for high quality.
13. What is your sizing like?
We try and give as much information about sizing as possible as well as instructions on how to measure yourself, your child or baby. Please refer to our sizing guide.
14. Do you offer any other colours other than natural or off-white?
We like to keep our clothing natural as possible and prefer to keep our organic cotton in its natural state called 'ecru'.
15. Is your clothing good for sensitive skin types?
Yes, it's absolutely perfect for sensitive skin.
16. Can I return my order?
Yes, you can for an exchange. Please see returns.
17. How do I change my password?
Go to http://www.belleanddean.com/account.php
Click on "My Account" at the top right side of the page. Enter your user name and current password. In "My Account" click "change your account password"
18. How do I change my account details?
Go to http://www.belleanddean.com/account.php
Click on "My Account" at the top right side of the page. Enter your user name and current password. In "My Account" click "View or change entries in your address book".