My youngest kid was around six months when she started teething really hard. This kid was a gnawer (and a few years on, still is.) She loves to chew on everything. Hoodie strings were her favourite. And she's so cuddly. Or clingy AF. Depending on your perspective. So, we were hanging out a lot at that point.
I still wasn't working full-time, but Vireo Research was still doing well. I just hadn't figured out how to scale it the way I wanted to. My kids had almost all of my focus then.
So there we are Netflixin' on the sofa, I'm in my hoodie and leggings. And I wondered about a teether that could make my silly, clingy, chewy baby happier. And that could make me happier too as I carted my silly, clingy, chewy baby everywhere.
I started to talk to people about my idea. Was this crazy? Was it really a good idea? Who would my customers be? Could I run a company like this? Was I a kid product person? Hmmmm...
I have a research company, so obviously I did some research. It seemed like a lot of people liked this idea. Parents who were kind of relaxed about the parenting thing. Parents who were living in comfy clothes, just getting through it all. And people who wanted to buy cute, unique gifts for parents.
And then I talked to parents of kids with sensory needs. Kids with special needs, kids with ADHD, or ASD. These kids need to chew to focus, or relax.
I started working on the design. I started looking for manufacturers. I found smart people to teach me things I didn't know, and used their expertise to support the design process. I took my silly, clingy baby to meetings. She hung out. People were (mostly) cool with it.
We had three prototypes, and eventually ended up with our star, cloud and skull. This year, we'll retire these designs. And build some new designs.
So, Hoodie Chew Chew, and Bright Tree Kids was born, and here we are.
Like my path through parenthood, it’s been a wild ride. Actually, the two aren’t terribly different: each day, I just try to get through, prioritize what matters, and enjoy it all as much as possible. And I’m definitely not taking off my hoodie. Hopefully, Hoodie Chew Chew makes your moments a little easier, more comfortable, more wearing your favourite hoodie.
My name is Caroline Wilson. I'm the founder of Hoodie Chew Chew and Bright Tree Kids, and Vireo Research. Thank you for visiting and learning more about our story. As always, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.