From pipe dream…to monkey business

I’m going to start with a confession. It’s not glamorous. And it’s not grown up. But here we go. When I was little, my family nickname for me was ‘Muggle-Wump’, after the monkey in Roald Dahl’s book, ‘The Enormous Crocodile’. Now that’s all very well when you are five, and your favourite pastime in the world is climbing trees and making hideouts at the top. But guess what? That’s still my nickname and my mum will think nothing of shouting out in the supermarket, ‘Wump! Can you grab some eggs?’

The fact is, that even though I am a grown up now, with a husband, two children and a brand new business under my belt, I’m still reminded on a daily basis that I spent most of my childhood up a tree, wishing that I was a monkey.

Luckily, I’ve always had a massive soft spot for monkeys so I don’t really mind.

And, fast-forward to adult life and it turns out that my daughters, Coco and Minnie, who know nothing about their mum’s past yet, love monkeys too. So when I was dreaming up the name for my new business I always knew it would involve monkeys.

So that’s how the name came about. And now I’d love to tell you a bit more about how Matchstick Monkey went from my dream to reality.

Like many inventions, this idea was born out of necessity.

Before I had children I was blissfully unaware that teething was even a ‘thing’. But oh boy, it turns out that it so, so is! I found this out the hard way when the gorgeous Minnie started showing signs of teething and, well, let’s just say it was agony for both poor Minnie – and for her mum and dad. There is nothing worse, after all, than seeing your baby in pain and not being able to help.

Of course I tried everything. Frozen teething rings, amber teething necklace, bonjela, giraffe toys, baby toothbrushes…you name it and I probably tried it. But nothing quite seemed to scratch poor Minnie’s itchy painful gums in a way that soothed her. What I wanted to find was a a chewable toy that was also a brush, that was flexible enough to get right to the back of little mouths in a way that was satisfying and fun for curious little fingers and mouths. I couldn’t find it though, for love nor money.

It turns out that having a vision of the perfect solution to a problem is one thing. Actually making it happen is another.

I knew I needed a Matchstick Monkey within six months of being a new mum. It’s just that I was too tired and too bewildered to do anything about it! (Sound familiar, all you mumpreneurs-to-be out there? I’m talking to you here: don’t give up the dream!).

By the time Coco came around, Minnie was all grown up with a fine set of teeth and didn’t need a teething toy any more. And I’d almost forgotten all about it. Until Coco’s teething phase was even worse and I had the following epiphany: It’s not just me; the world needs more monkeys, and it’s my duty to provide them.

So that’s what I’ve done. I’ll tell you more about my journey soon but what I really wanted to say was: welcome to the world of teething. It can be daunting sometimes. And what new mum doesn’t need a helping hand?

Now here is the good news: you are not alone! We’ll be here for you every step of the way.