*This content was provided by Jellystone Designs, a Playgroup NSW partner.
Is it true you started Jellystone Designs with a 16 month old and 8 months pregnant? Why would you do that?
Good question! Jellystone was actually being sold as a business in my husband's home town of Port Macquarie. Friends told us about this potential opportunity and after a meeting over coffee we jumped in and said yes! It just felt so right. I think I thought it would be a great creative outlet for me and help to bring balance to mum's life. It certainly did and so much more - I quickly realized I’d bitten off way more than I expected.
What would you say was the biggest hurdle starting back at work as a mum?
Initially the biggest hurdle was creating boundaries. I’d have projects, new product ideas, packaging samples, colour charts, designs laid out across the dining table and timetables and projections pinned to the wall. I generally thrive on chaos but I quickly realized my little family did not need my mess in their face every day and I certainly didn’t either.
Do you ever wish you had taken more time off?
It’s hard to know because that’s the path I took and the only one I know. I think creating space from being “on” as a mum made me a better mum overall. Jellystone continues to give me great satisfaction and fulfilment and I think my kids are the first to benefit from that. I did have a wake up call one day when I was reflecting on how the business was performing financially and considering a trip overseas to attend a trade show. If I was going to be away from my kids I better love what I do and I better make something from it and of it.
You have 3 children?
Yes, or 4 if you include my husband! No, I’m joking there, he’s brilliant and a great supporter. I have a 7 year old boy Noah, 6 year old Benji and 18month old Coco.
What’s the overall vision for Jellystone Designs?
Our vision is to foster a love of play and discovery that will last through the years!
We create our teethers, toys and chew pendants to safely support babies and children who are using all their senses to explore and make sense of our incredible world. Made from toxic-free silicone, each of our products is carefully designed to promote play that is full of colour, movement and tactile delight!
What are your Top 5 most loved items in the range?
Rainbow Stacker: It was the first major product that we became recognised for and it continues to be one of our bestsellers. We love it because it’s fun and functional - it’s the kind of toy that babies and older kids will enjoy. It’s been a favourite in my household for years and each of my little ones has chewed on, played with and loved their stacker.
DIY Calm Down Bottle: The Calm Down Bottle is a fun and easy DIY craft activity that encourages kids to use their own creativity to create a useful and functional sensory tool.
Moon Teether: A beautiful classic design that offers two different textures to relieve sore gums.
Sensory Ball: One of the best things about the Sensory Ball is that it works as a teether for young babies and a sensory toy for older children, and it’s free from any nasty chemicals!
Change Mat: This is a handy change mat and clutch in one, great for mums on the go! It has a little pocket for all the nappies and wipes you are inevitably going to need and can fold in when you’re finished with changing time. It’s made from neoprene so its machine washable and water resistant to protect it from life’s little spills.
Anything special coming up that our Playgroup community can look out for?
Yes! There’s lots of amazing things going on behind the scenes. We’ve got some new product launches very soon and we can’t wait to show you guys what we’ve been working on. It’s been quite a while in the marketing so there’s a lot of hype at Jellystone HQ! Plus we are working on some great partnerships and collaborations with some beautiful brands so stay tuned for those too!
You consult with Occupational therapists when designing your products – why is this and what are the benefits?
We love working with OTs and child psychologists - their expertise is invaluable and there is always something more to learn which we love! All the OTs we work with are extremely knowledgeable in the different ways in which children can use toys and pendants for sensory development. When we work with them we understand more about how we can best integrate aspects of tactile learning, touch discrimination and self-regulation into our products. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that our sensory tools have been useful in helping children deal with big emotions and anxieties.
Some products such as the DIY calm bottle and the Kids Chew necklaces are great for children with ASD. Where did the idea for those special products come from?
It’s crazy but totally by accident! Jellystone Designs actually began as a women’s silicone jewellery designer. We got many requests to make a kids collection to compliment these designs so we launched our Juniors range. Shortly we realised that OTs and parents in the ASD community were using our Juniors necklaces as oral input devices because the silicone is safe and durable for kids who need to chew to stay focused, to deal with anxieties, and/or to self-regulate. We were thrilled, amazed and quickly realized we had a lot of learning to do.
So what did you do next?
In order to cater more to our ASD community, we decided to launch an official Kids Chew Pendant range which was designed specifically for children with sensory needs. We worked on the pendants to make them more solid and durable and we selected designs that would be cool, trendy and also discrete so they could be worn at school and not like a special “device” prescribed by a specialist. We are passionate about inclusivity! Our very popular DIY Calm Down Bottle, helps children self-regulate their breathing and improve their focus. It’s really amazing to hear the positive feedback on our products from parents in the ASD community.
We know why we love Jellystone’s products, but why do you think so many families love them?
One of the things we’re best known for is creating multifunctional, multipurpose teether toys. I think parents love that they can give their little one a toy that will improve their motor skills and hand-eye coordination, soothe sore gums I think a lot of parents like to provide a toy which is safely chewable and will last past teething. Our award winning Rainbow Stacker is the best example of this; they can play with it long past the teething stage.
Jellystone products have won quite a few awards. Can you tell us about this?
Yes, we’ve been lucky enough to have quite a few of our products receive awards! In 2018, our Rainbow Stacker and Teether Toy won Gold in the Favourite Baby Toy category for the MyChild Awards. It has also been awarded the 2018 Top Toy Award from Creative Child Magazine and a Parent and Teacher Choice Award. Our Colour Wheel and DIY Calm Down Bottle received Preferred Choice and Top Toy from Creative Child Magazine in 2020. In 2018, Jellystone Designs was awarded Gold in the Global Brand Awards. Entering awards has been such a great way to get recognition for our products and to put them in front of new audiences.
Explore the Jellystone range here: https://jellystonedesigns.com.au/