There’s a saying in the business world: “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.”
This is advice that two Edinburgh mumtrepreneurs have clearly taken to heart, after creating a product which can soothe teething babies and save parents a constant headache.
The Neckerchew, the brainchild of Julie Wilson and Amy Livingstone, combines the concept of a dribble bib with a teether attached so that it can’t be dropped on the ground.
The product has already become a hit, with more than 1000 sold in a matter of weeks and big-name companies from around the world looking to stock the product.
The success is a world away from the birth of the design, which came about from two mums struggling to deal with the tricky problem of dribbling, teething babies.
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.
Julie, 48, who lives in Morningside with estate agent husband Graeme and their 21-month-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?’”
Sure that they had spotted a gap in the market, the pair spent the next nine months doing market research.
Amy, 35, who lives in Roslin with husband Alastair, who works for the government, and their 20-month-old son, Dawson, said: “We started to look into what kind of fabrics would be best and found one that is gentle enough for a baby but also absorbent enough to make sure dribble doesn’t soak through. For the teething part, we found a material that is safe for babies to chew on, and that wouldn’t peel or flake.”
Amy, who is expecting a second child in June and is using her maternity leave to devote more time to the business, and Julie, an innovation manager at Scottish Enterprise, decided they wanted to keep their budding business in Scotland.
Julie said: “We found a company based in Glasgow called Tot Spots who put together a great prototype, so we’re happy to be working with them.”
Since the product launched in February, the pair have been blown away by its success.
Julie said: “We’ve sold over 1100 already, double our projections for the first year. The feedback has been phenomenal. It’s such a simple idea, but people have really responded fantastically to it.”
More than 20 independent stockists and four national retailers including JoJo Maman Bebe are set to have the Neckerchews on the shelves by summer.
Amanda said: “We’ve also had interest from distributors in the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Japan, Ireland and Australia, so soon they could be taking over the world.”
Sir Tom hails ‘simple solution’
MILLIONAIRE businessman Sir Tom Farmer, founder of Kwik-Fit, said that he was “very pleased” to hear of Julie and Amy’s success.
He added: “It’s wonderful that these two ladies have been inspired to overcome this problem by creating a product that will not only serve them well, but will also be of a benefit to plenty of other parents. Often simple solutions make the best ideas. I wish them the best of luck.”