Entrepreneur mums take teething product global

Amy Livingstone and Julie Wilson with their Neckerchews, which are designed to make teething easier. Picture: contributed
Amy Livingstone and Julie Wilson with their Neckerchews, which are designed to make teething easier. Picture: contributed
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TWO “mumtrepreneurs” are set to take their business global just one year after launching an innovative product that makes teething easier for babies – and parents.

The Neckerchew, brainchild of Cheeky Chompers directors Julie Wilson and Amy Livingstone, has already become a hit after being stocked by ­retailers including Mothercare and John Lewis.

The innovative idea, which combines the concept of a dribble bib with a teether attached, so that it can’t be dropped on the ground, has now been put before the panel of wealthy investors in the Dragon’s Den in a bid to win backing to take it global.

Since launching in February last year, Cheeky Chompers has sold more than 27,000 Neckerchews, which are now stocked by other outlets including Jojo Maman Bebe, Waitrose, Bentalls and
Kiddicare.

The company, commended by Leith business legend and Kwik Fit founder Sir Tom Hunter, originally aimed to sell 10,000 Neckerchews in the first year, which was then revised to 23,000 after it reached its original target within the first eight months of trading.

The duo has also been nominated for a range of prestigious nursery trade awards and secured a Highly Commended Baby and Nursery Trade Award (Banta).

Mrs Wilson said: “The feedback has been phenomenal. It’s such a simple idea, but people have really responded fantastically to it.”

The two women, who met at an antenatal class in 2011 prior to birth of their first children, came up with the idea after noticing that they seemed to spend much of their time re-sanitising dropped teethers.

Mrs Wilson, who lives in Morningside with estate agent husband Graeme and their two-year-old daughter, Grace, said: “When children start to teethe, they dribble a lot and they want to chew everything they can get their hands on.

“All any of us seemed to do was pick up and re-sanitise teethers, and we felt there had to be an easier way. That’s when we thought ‘well, what if the teether was somehow
attached to the baby?’”

Mrs Livingstone, who lives in Roslin with husband Alastair and their two children, added: “We found a fabric that is gentle enough for a baby but also absorbent enough to make sure dribble doesn’t soak through.”

The duo recently faced one of their biggest challenges yet, when they had just three minutes to sell their business idea to the notoriously hard-to-impress residents of BBC’s Dragon’s Den.

Though remaining tight-lipped about the outcome until the show airs this Sunday, the pair did reveal that they faced some tough questioning from Dragons Duncan Bannatyne and Peter Jones.

Mrs Wilson said: “We were over the moon to have the opportunity to pitch our business idea on Dragon’s Den.

“Although we can’t reveal if we received any investment yet, I guarantee that our battle with the Dragons will provide nail-biting viewing.”

The duo also said that any investment from the Dragons Den business gurus would be used to help develop Cheeky Chompers’ product range and to help the company expand into international markets, especially America.