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Month: July 2015

Ella Loves Local : Jesse from Crayon Rocks Australia

Ella Loves Local : Jesse from Crayon Rocks Australia

I don’t know if it’s the teacher in me, or just the little girl who has never gotten over her love of colouring in, but when I came across Crayon Rocks, I fell in love. There is nothing more relaxing and enjoyable than drawing with your children. Letting your imagination run wild as you explore colours and shapes. When Jesse from Crayon Rocks Australia let me and Ella try some of their products we were hooked. They are so unique and different, these crayons are like nothing you’ve seen or tried. The best part of all is that they are shaped like little rocks, ingeniously angled so there is no way to hold them, except with perfect pencil grip. Teaching kids to hold a pencil, without actually holding one! Gold!!!!
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1. ​What inspired you to start Crayon Rocks?
​We originally started our journey with Crayon Rocks as our daughter was having trouble with her pencil grip. We had tried everything we could possibly try to fix it. Every night was a huge drama with homework, as she complained that her hand was getting tired and sore. Eventually this began to affect her confidence in learning at school and although the teacher did her best to assist, this wasn’t something she had a lot of time to spend working on, as she had a whole class to teach.
We brought Crayon Rocks and within a few weeks her pencil grip was corrected. The transition was so easy as the unique design automatically guides a childs hand into the correct position for the tripod grip and the childs hand muscles will gradually strengthen through use.

 We became so passionate about Crayon Rocks and the benefits they offered children that we began selling them in our little online store and they just took off.

​We we’re inundated with interest from parents, schools and other retailers that we asked the creator of Crayon Rocks, Barbara, for the Australian and New Zealand Distributorship.

2. How do you juggle business and family?

 ​We’re a family based business, so business is family. Crayon Rocks is run by myself (Jessie), my sister Sarah and mother Debbie.  This obviously has it’s ups and downs at times as its impossible to separate. We work well as a team under pressure and being family, as hard as things get there is always a lot of love and care underneath it all, which provides a really solid foundation for what we do.

​Our children are very much involved in the business also. We’ve taught them about profit and loss, important of customer service and why we do what we do.​

3. What has been your proudest moment so far?

 ​We’ve just celebrated our first year in business at the end of June which is amazing. It’s the little things that push us to move forward every day. I remember when we first started selling Crayon Rocks, I received a call from one of our customers in tears one day. I thought something terrible had happened but she started to explain to me that her son who suffers from a motor dissability, had just drawn a dog and looked up at her and said something along the lines of “I’ve been waiting my whole life to draw this dog and it’s finally here.”​

Creative expression for children is SO important. Our mission is to help as many kids as we can to share their story.

4. What has been your biggest challenge?

​ Oh, there are MANY challenges we have faced. We have had to write all our business systems from scratch and just had to learn as we went along. Every time something wasn’t working we’d have to re-write another system or process, source another supplier or find a new way of doing something. It sounds simple in theory, but the process of finding your ‘flow’ as a start up is very expensive and time consuming.

 The past four weeks for our business have been absolutely huge. We have done 32% of last financial years entire trade in July alone. This sounds exciting to have such a huge level of growth but it’s stretched every single resource we’ve had and we’ve been up until all hours of the night. We’ve had to do a big ‘rush’ order of stock to meet the demand. We seem to have everything running in a nice flow over the last week which has been awesome.

5. What is your advice to others wanting to start their own business?

 You need to love what you do. ​The WHY behind what you do has to be bigger than anything else, even the financial rewards. You have to love what you do every single day and wake up knowing what you do is making a difference.

You need to be prepared to get something wrong. You need to be prepared to get rejected. Following this, you need to be prepared to keep learning from your mistakes and refining until you get it right.

 Do one thing every day that will make a difference to what you do, no matter how small it may seem. Small ripples create a tidal wave.

6. Three words that describe Crayon Rocks?

​Making learning fun. ​

7. What’s your favourite current product in your line?​

We only have one product, that’s Crayon Rocks. We do have 16 colours so I guess my favourite would have to be the purple. It’s a vibrant, strong colour and reminds me of the hydrangea flowers in my ​Grandparents garden when I was little.

8. Pay it forward to another local business. Crayon Rocks loves…
PS. Made with Love!!!! Ps. Made with Love is run by Liv and she creates some of the most amazing custom designed paperie for events and business I have ever seen. She is a mother of two and has such a full heart for everyone around her. Best of all she LOVES what she does with a passion that is contagious. https://www.facebook.com/PsMadeWithLove

Thanks for sharing Jesse, and for making and sharing these wonderful products with us and our children!

 

Introducing my NAME IT Print range

Introducing my NAME IT Print range

Well the last month has been nuts. Crazy nuts. I’ve introduced to the world, a new range of prints – personalised word cloud art, titled NAME IT prints. Any image, any wording, and colour. It is the perfect way to celebrate a child’s interests, love and passion. It is a great way to personalise a nursery, bedroom or play space. Heck, it’s even a great gift to give to a big kid. I could never have imagined the amazing response. The orders have been flooding in, and I’m simply trying to keep up. The inspiration came by accident really. We use a similar concept in school, to visualise thinking with our kids. I then thought about using images that are commonly loved by parents in decorating kids rooms and the rest is history.

My prints are personally designed by me. You give me the inspiration, the idea. I then create a print design and send it to you for approval. It’s then printed on beautifully thick 300gsm paper and shipped off to you. We’ve even started shipping to New Zealand, the USA and UK! If you live in Australia, the best news is shipping is FREE!

Here are some of my designs to date, but remember…anything is possible!

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So to order, simply go to http://happyellaafterprints.bigcartel.com/ and order a NAME IT print.

When you order, include your preferred image, wording and colour in the NOTES!

You can choose from A4 ($20Au) and A3 ($35Au). Free Shipping in Austrlia.

Once I’ve received your order I’ll email you a proof, and we’ll go from there!

Thanks for your support, and I look forward to making a little print for your special one, or a gift for another lucky child!

 

 

Nuts about Netflix Update

Nuts about Netflix Update

IT’s time to share some more NETFLIX love. Recently, Ella has been loving the ability to search for the shows she wants to watch by clicking through the various characters..Rather than having to find TV shows by scrolling through lists, NETFLIX allows little ones to search visually. IT means that the shows are grouped together in seasons. It’s so child friendly, it makes things so easy.

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Netflix has a dedicated section for kids under 12 years old featuring dozens of original series for kids as well as TV shows and movies from great partners like PBS, Disney Channel, DreamWorks Animation, Mattel, Hasbro, Lego and Scholastic, all in a commercial free environment. The dedicated section for kids is available across a broad range of devices including PCs and Macs, iPads, game consoles, streaming devices and smart TVs. Members are provided a kids profile upon sign up and can customize additional profiles for their kids. The kids experience features a character bar where you can find a deep selection of great TV shows and movies featuring that character. Kids, parents and caregivers will also be able to scan through row after row of movies and TV shows organized by easy-to-understand genres like superheroes, princesses, dinosaurs and girl power, featuring clear and simple descriptions of the plot of each title.

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Netfliz also allows you to create profiles for various members of your family. Each time you log on, it asks you who is watching. It remembers what you watched recently and suggests shows that you may be interested in. It is just wonderful!

Do you have NETFLIX? What do you like about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

kate

Feeding a growing boy….

Feeding a growing boy….

*a sponsored post from Heinz

Now that Hudson is one year old, I’ve been trying to ensure that he has the opportunity to try new foods, and in particular a greater range of textures. Being a working Mum of two, I have to admit that my ability to cook, puree, steam and hand make every single meal has been tested. I’ve tried, where I can to make things myself, however this time around I have turned to some of the baby food brands readily available in our supermarket aisle.  As a busy Mum, like we all are, my primary aim is to ensure that my children eat nutritious food, however I also need to make sure that we are all washed, clothed etc. etc. and this time around this has meant that I’ve had to give a little. I’ve sought help from the trusty ‘food in a jar’, and have recently done some research to make sure that what I’m giving Hudson, is indeed ok!

Heinz has 60 years experience in baby food, and I’m sure that we’ve all sampled a can of baked beans, or soup sometime in our lives! However we know the catch phrase ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’, but what DOES Heinz mean for babies???

  • Heinz only use quality ingredients and where possible source ingredients from right here in Australia.
  • Their apples, pears and peaches come from Goulburn Valley, their farm fresh
  • pumpkins are from country Victoria, and all meats are from trusted suppliers throughout Australia. These ingredients are picked, packed, and delivered with care to the Heinz Specialist baby food facility in Echuca, which is in country Victoria.unnamed-1

Mums will be happy with providing this to their infant as they can trust that it is preservative free, of high quality, is tasty and Heinz jars and pouches of infant food are prepared locally!

The product can often be used as an add on to homemade meals or a snack, so it is flexible in its role in the household, alternatively it can definitely beserved as a complete nutritious meal.

I’ve recently trialled a few products from their new range with Hudson, and I have to say that he loves every mouthful. I’m trying to promote self feeding and products like the Nutrios and Mini Rice Cakes have proved a hit.

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You can check out their range by heading to http://www.heinzforbaby.com.au/gottalovethegoodstuff. You can also check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HeinzForBabyAustralia for tips and ideas in using their range of products.

I’m sure your little ones will love them too!

kate

Ella Loves Local: Karen from Moonlit Sleep

Ella Loves Local: Karen from Moonlit Sleep

One of the questions I get asked the most is recommendations for kids’ linen and manchester. There is nothing more beautiful than divine, soft sheets for cots and children’s beds. Both for the look in the room, and most importantly, comfort for your child. Gone are the days of plain colours, and whilst I do love white, I’m also partial to funky designs for my kids! It was with pure delight then, when Karen from Moonlit Sleep contacted me to share her new business, and I’m thrilled to have been able to preview her range myself. Hudson has recently had the pleasure of sleeping (mostly soundly…i wish) on a gorgeous safari set in light blue and dark blue colours. What I love most is the generous size, for those of you with Boori Cots….it fits!!! Easy to wash, the vibrancy of the colours remain. Organic soft cotton, the set comes complete with pillow covers for those of you with babies who are transitioning to toddler pillows. Whilst Hudson still has a way to go before he gets his own pillows, I’m thrilled to know in advance that his set will be matching (the things that excite me!)

Here are some more previews of my favs from their range….

Dolls Picnic…

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Fairy Garden…

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and Hudson’s favourite….Safari

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  1. What inspired you to start Moonlit Sleep?

My first born! Well, it was actually before she was born… I was looking for organic cotton cot sheets, and I just couldn’t find any in a design I liked. There were gorgeous baby clothes, but gorgeous contemporary baby bedding was seriously scarce! Finding organic cotton was important to me, as it’s such a beautiful fiber to sleep in. It doesn’t irritate even the most sensitive baby skin and it’s eco-friendly too! I actually studied Fashion and Textile design and had been working in the fashion industry for 15 years, so I was also ready for a change…. A bed sheet or quilt cover felt so exciting to design for, as it’s basically a huge canvas begging for a great print!!

2.     How do you juggle business and family?

We are a family business, so for us, family and business are very intertwined and I really LOVE it that way! My husband is amazing and very supportive. He built our warehouse space from re-claimed stage flooring that was being thrown out. My eldest is very interested and also my toughest critic… When I received the first Doll Picnic samples, the pillowslip had a white cuff on it like the flat sheet. She said to me, “ Mummy, that white bit looks funny on the pillowslip, like funny wrong”…. I must say, I agreed with her and it was promptly removed!!

In regards to the juggling, it is quite literally juggling! But, having Moonlit Sleep does allow me to work around the kid’s schedules and also my hubby’s odd work hours. I have two child-free days a week where I work like crazy. I also utilise nap time and get lots of work done at night after the kids are snuggled up in bed!

  1. What has been your proudest moment so far?

Oh goodness, we’ve had a few! Having our first orders come through from people we didn’t know was a massive moment for us. That was the moment when someone actually chose us over the established mass-market brands, and I was so thrilled and proud. There is still so much excitement in our household when orders come through!

The thing I’m most proud of though, is that all our sheets and quilt cover sets are certified organic to the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) standard. This means that it’s not just the cotton that has been grown organically, but the whole making process is free from nasty chemicals and produced according to strict global standards, both environmentally and socially.

I’m also really proud that, we’re selling our organic sheets and quilt cover sets at comparable prices to the non-organic brands of similar quality. I think it’s so important that people are able to make a choice affordably. It really frustrates me when organic options are either so much more expensive, or really “beige” looking! I wanted to make our organic bed linen really gorgeous, and affordable at the same time!

  1.      What has been your biggest challenge?

Finding the right factory to work with! It took over a year and a lot of work to find one that truly shared our beliefs and ethos. The factory we are working with is just amazing, they are a family business too and I feel so blessed to have found them. They have a really strong focus on quality and they specialise and have a personal LOVE of organics too. They also donate to a local charity in their area that provides shelter, food and education to local orphans and street kids. It makes me so happy and proud that by working with this particular factory, we inadvertently help kids who are so much less fortunate than our own. I can’t wait for Moonlit Sleep to be in a position where we can start our own giving back program!

  1. What is your advice to others wanting to start their own business?

Be brave, be organised and be confident in your own abilities and strengths! For areas where you are less experienced or less confident, seek out a mentor for advice. Go for It and Good Luck!

  1.    3 Words that describe Moonlit Sleep….

Organic, Gorgeous, Quality.

  1. What’s your favourite current product in your line?

Our Fairy Garden Floral Sheet Sets. I LOVE them so much as they were inspired by my Nanna’s super retro, floral sheets that I slept in at her house as a child…. So many happy childhood memories! They made such an impression on me even back then. I always loved that her sheets were a real feature in the room! I LOVE gorgeous printed sheets with a blanket once the weather warms up a little!

  1.    Pay it forward to another local business. Moonlit Sleep loves…..

Zoe Loves Ava, Patrycja makes the most gorgeous hand made woven wall hangings!

Available in single and cot sizes, their range is divine. Best of all, if you purchase you will be supporting a local family….living their dream!

Thanks to Karen for giving us an insight into her divine business!

kate

Cotton On Kids – New Season Kidswear and Kidsroom Collections

Cotton On Kids – New Season Kidswear and Kidsroom Collections

I don’t know about you, but when certain emails come through my inbox, my heart skips a beat (yeah, a little nerdy I know!). This week when Cotton On Kids shared a preview of their new season BOHO range, I instantly thought of my kids and how much they would love it. Cotton On Kids is one of those brands that are my favourite go to. Over recent years they have improved the durability of their clothing out of site. Wash after wash, there is no colour run, balling or fading. I have to give it to them. They are on a winner.

This season’s collection  features fashionable tran seasonal pieces with everyday essential that kids (and parents) will love. Little girls will love the flowy skirts with bright tassel drawstrings and floral-patterned kimonos, and the boys will go nuts for our fun printed tees and cool new pant styles including drop crotch trackies and cuff chinos. Honestly, I cannot wait to get Ella into some of these pieces….

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What’s even better is they have also released their new Kidsroom Collection – Sweet Dreams & Outdoor Aventure!  The collection, which is 100 per cent cotton, includes fresh new items that are perfect for decking out your child’s entire bedroom – from quilt covers, pillow cases and cushions to some new accessories including wall art, heart-shaped lighting and woven floor rugs.

Kids will enjoy sweet dreams in liquorice-striped sheet sets, sorbet-coloured polka dot quilt covers and ice-cream-shaped cushions, while the adventurous will love both the safari and outer space-themed looks which feature rhinoceros-printed quilt covers, rocket ship cushions and starry night wall decals.

All styles are designed to be mixed and matched, with items from the new collection matching back with our existing products, so whether you are looking at a complete room re-vamp or some small upgrades; the new range caters for all budgets and needs. The new collection is available in a range of designs suitable for single, double and queen size beds, ensuring everyone in the house, including toddlers, teens and even the ‘big kids’, can have fun revamping their bedroom. Prices start at $14.95 for a piece of wall art through to $69.95 for a queen size quilt cover, making the new range an affordable option for growing families.

Here are some of my favourite pieces from their amazingly styled rooms… (click on each link to go straight to their web store)

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So whether you need kidswear or a gorgeous makeover for your kids’ room….Cotton On Kids has certainly got you covered!

kate