It’s all happening.

 

In just a few days time I’ll be welcoming my fourth child into the world, which brings the total count to four little monkeys under 5 years old.

A couple of weeks later, the first shipment of our rokii rocking egg & ride on animals is arriving, along with our debut baby + home collection.   So things are going to get a bit hectic around bower & beyond HQ as we manage production and delivery logistics for our backlog of orders, continue to push forward new product developments and try to keep 4 little people as contented as possible.

This follows years of careful product development, safety testing, retesting, redesigning, reworking, perfecting, planning and waiting and hoping for it all to come together, culminating in a design award and business launch.  I just didn’t expect to be also managing a newborn, 1 year old, 3 year old and 4 year old at the same time.

There may be delays.  There may be tears.  There may be temporary insanity.  But something tells me it will all be worth it in the long run.  It’s just going to get a bit messy in the short term.

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Wool felt cushions: 100% comfort and joy

A cheeky little nubbly-textured 100% wool felt cushion

I’ve been cooking up a new range of cushions using softly textured, hand dyed 100% wool felt, and they got a warm reception from homewares boutiques and design-led stores alike at the recent LifeInStyle tradeshow.

The cushions have an appealing, nubbly surface texture and well stuffed interiors for total comfort and joy.  The cushion inserts are made from 100% recycled PET bottles, so you are saving the planet whilst lounging.  Marvellous multi-tasking.

Why 100% wool?

There are cheaper synthetic felts which are widely available, but their carbon footprint is alarming when compared to natural fibres, and the dyes used are full of nasty chemicals.  But it is the look and feel of 100% wool that made up my mind. Synthetic wools just don’t feel right. They have a slippery, non-breathable character that isn’t conducive to snuggling up to.  Wool is also more hard wearing.  The synthetic types just can’t cut it after a while – they produce pills – little balls of fluff that congregate all over the surface and end up looking ragged.  And any fibre that can naturally repell dirt, thereby requiring less cleaning, is a favourite of mine. Clever, clever little sheepies.

Why hand-dyed?

The hand-dying process produces a subtle variation in texture and colour that isn’t achievable in factory produced fabric.  The hand-dyed felt has a character and depth that is both tactile and visually appealing.  It also means I can use non-toxic food-safe dyes, a good alternative to industrial processes with nasty side-effects.  If the dye is safe enough to use for icing kid’s birthday cakes, its definitely nice and safe to lay your head on. (It’s also lots of fun standing over a boiling cauldron, pulling freshly minted colours from the richly coloured potion).

Why use recycled cushion inserts?

PET bottles are uniquely suited to a second life as cushion stuffing, as they produce a soft but hardwearing stuffing.  They function better whilst also using less resources than newly manufactured synthetic fibres in typical cushion inserts.  Win win.  Each 35cm square cushion saves about 9 plastic bottles from landfill.

The pillows will be added to www.bowerandbeyond.com in the next month, and are available for wholesale orders now (the wholesale order list is available – just drop me a line at info@bowerandbeyond.com).

Best in Show

Just back from the LifeInStyle trade show, where we launched rokii and our first home + child collection. We were delighted with the response – huge enthusiasm for rokii and lots of great new stockists.

Highlights:

1. The lovely ladies at KidStyleFile declared rokii Best in Show. Woof.  They said “The combined functionality and aesthetic of rokii make it one clever package, and we absolutely love it.  The rokii wins our vote for best new product at the show.”

2. The über stylish design maven Terri Winter fell for rokii, so the little beastie will be rocking and rolling into Top3byDesign in early October.

Lowlights.

1. Standing on concrete floors for 9 hours a day whilst 8 months pregnant, showing people your product collection can be really quite tiring. (As can explaining that it’s actually your 4th child, so you already know that you’re going to be rather busy). At least the people were incredibly lovely and I didn’t go into labour.

2. Who knew a trade show could have such awful coffee?  Aren’t there laws against that in Melbourne?

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rokii – Good Design Award winner!

The results are in!

rokii has won a Good Design Award  at the Australian International Design Awards, 2012.

Putting aside a few sartorial issues I encountered, (e.g. how to dress for a black tie event when 8 months pregnant and not look like a walrus wrapped in satin), the awards ceremony was a fabulous finale to the whole design process.

rokii – Good Design award winner, 2012

In Style: Sophie Gilder, bower & beyond

In Style: Sophie Gilder, bower & beyond

“When an self-confessed ‘impatient’ investment banker realised she couldn’t find baby goods with the functionality, looks and lasting value she wanted after her first born arrived, you can guess what happened next…”

…read the full profile on the LifeInStyle blog.

Australian Design Awards Finalist 2012

rokii by bower & beyond is a Finalist in the Australian Design Awards!

It’s been three years of designing, developing, modifying, testing, tweaking and yet more testing…

We’re just a little bit excited around here.  Rock on, my wee bonny beasties.

(View the beasties in their natural habitat at www.bowerandbeyond.com – we’ve just redecorated their enclosure)

rokii by bower & beyond – go you good thing

Australian Design Awards

‘rokii’ our modern riff on the traditional rocking horse, has been nominated for the Australian International Design Awards.

Our wee beastie is going head to head against an international field of design superstars produced by global behemoths.

If you can be judged by the company you keep, then we’re happy little vegemites.

Though perhaps a little overwhelmed.

rokii by bower & beyond