It’s not often that the likes of Twitter and Instagram connect me with blasts from the pasts. And I’m not talking about previous ex boyfriends I’d rather forget, I’m taking about Mamas! Mama’s who was involved in the birth of their baby. This Mama is pretty special. Not only did she and her hubby make a Saturday night back in October 2011 on labour ward the most fun ever for a midwife, she also is relaunching my all time favourite childhood shoe for little people! And with a great charity behind it too! And now I have 2 little people in my life, I can recreate my childhood memories right down to their little tootsies!
Natalie! So lovely to link up again. Last time we hung out was in room 10 on labour ward eating amazing chorizo pizza and laughing about how much we couldn’t live without our dishwashers and baby name choices! Life has been pretty busy for you since the birth of Jude, you are non- stop! How on earth have you found time to start up Project Jelly?
‘The last 10months have been amazing – I nearly bottled the whole idea in January as I thought with no retail experience behind me that perhaps it was just bravado and hormones powering me! But a long winter spent back and forth to the factory in Northampton (babies in tow!) and gazillions of hard work later meant that Project Jelly came to life. It’s been an awesome learning curve alongside motherhood for me – being invited to 10 Downing street in May was a highlight!! Its super cool to think that Florence Cameron could be sliding down the banister in her pink project jellies! I had a difficult pregnancy so treated myself to a long pre mat leave break. I had 7 weeks off last summer and a gorgeous last hurrah with my toddler Darcy. 10 notebooks later and a brilliantly placid chunky son Jude meant that breastfeeding hours powered by the Internet, hatched a simple little idea?!
A great British children’s shoe + a fat fundraising edge = projectjelly.com
What inspired you to re-introduce such a great retro product ‘the jelly shoe’ back on the market?
I’m in the Anti Crocs brigade and so thought surely there needs to be a British Shoe to challenge the toddler play shoe crown ! Whatever happened to Jelly shoes of old ?? Hmmmmm. And the fact that my lovely sparkly sister-in-law Helen and daughter Darcy are both shoe fetish queens! Darcy kept clipping around in my high heels and my JuJu Jelly shoes and obsessed with shoes and hand bags . They both love a shop and I really wanted to challenge myself and fundraise in a different way ‘shoes+mencap’ seemed a curious blend I needed to investigate.
Mencap are one of those charities most people don’t know about until they or someone they know really needs their support. How is The Project Jelly helping to spread the love?
Indeed – Mencap, the voice of learning disabilities are an amazing charity helping people to lead independent lives. It’s really close to my heart, my sister-in-law Helen and my Collier family have had wonderful help and support since Helen was born in the 80’s. Please check out their website – they continue to be one of the most active and creative charities and we need to shout from the rooftops the amazing work they do! http://www.mencap.org.uk/
I had the opportunity to meet Jo Whiley who is a lifelong supporter and quite possibly the coolest mama and Mencap supporter around. Who else would rock into 10 Downing street in Laboutins and leggings. Loved it! By the way I wore my adult JuJu jelly shoes of course ..clear glitter babies available from TopShop, but looking a lot more stumpy for it!
Natalie you are a pretty cool Mama, how has having two gorgeous children helped you to keep focused on such a huge project?
I guess this little chapter of ‘Project Jelly’ I hope will teach them about charity and the art of giving. I do feel we are in a commercial snowstorm and the more brands can do to spread good messages and the more we give back the better ….They are actually a huge help- they are hilarious good fun and my little best buddies ( it’s quite easy to be adored by your kids when there’s a room full of shoes and boxes to open every day ! ) It has been hard work and quite a journey but one that means I can work around them and continue to work from home and be their no.1 mama. Who knows what the future holds but it feels good to have this learning and creativity in my life and I hope to be around juggling jelly shoes for years to come.
** please do check us out at projectjelly.com **
Finish these sentences for me
‘Motherhood is a mixture of……………Chaos, tears and the best laughter/love potion around’ – Only in that order momentarily as were in terrible two’s.
‘I couldn’t live without these 3 things…..’ Wet kisses from my mini Colliers, obscene amount of sugar and my very understanding Dude/AKADaddyPiggy
‘My top tip when giving birth is……’a sense of humour hat, and whilst you’re at it whole wardrobe. DONT EAT PIZZA! And sod the straws – I must admit to an epidural or two! So be brave but shout loudly if you want those drugs x
Don’t just take my word for it though, my girls LOVE their Project Jelly shoes, thanks Natalie!