Tickle Tots – Behind the Brand, Sophia Ferguson
Cloth nappies designed for adventurous tots.
I started developing Tickle Tots in 2012 after the birth of my daughter Evelyn while on maternity leave – it was a great creative outlet while having a break in employment. Initially I started out making handmade pieces of clothing and accessories on my domestic sewing machine at the kitchen table, soon turning myhand to making the ‘perfect’ cloth nappy to fit my slim built baby, after struggling to find a cloth nappy system that worked for us. The design process was a case of trial and error, with tweaks and improvements at each stage. Willing friends were called on to trial the designs to help get a fit that would be suitable for babies of all shapes and sizes – with a birth-to-potty nappy, this is no easy feat!
Materials and Design
There were several factors that I was keen to incorporate into the Tickle Tots nappy:
- It had to be slim fitting, so that specialist clothes and ‘sizing up’ wasn’t necessary
- Easy to use, for Dads, grandparents and childminders to use without problems
- Absorbent, I didn’t want to be changing wet nappies every hour!
- Made of a natural material next to my baby’s delicate skin
- And most importantly bombproof – no one wants an entire outfit change after a dirty nappy!
I chose bamboo as the core absorbent material as it had the qualities I was after – amazingly absorbent, slim fitting, and a natural and sustainable fabric. Its drawbacks are its drying time – but for me the benefits outweighed this. Leg gussets and hook and loop closings gave me the leak-proof fit and the ease of use I was looking for.
With my little kitchen table business gaining momentum and outgrowing my sewing machine, and with my cloth nappies getting some great feedback, I decided to take Tickle Tots to the next level. This involved securing a loan from Virgin Start Up’s and looking for a manufacturer for my nappies, in between having my second baby! In September 2015 I took my first delivery of Tickle Tots nappies, a very proud moment – I now had to get the word out there and sell the product that had taken so much work and passion to produce. Samples were sent to retailers and to my great relief they loved the product as much as I did – Babipur became one of our very first stockists and remains our single biggest retailer, their support and feedback has been invaluable.
Time to expand
One of my main passions is for design, and I was soon itching to add to the products we had to offer. I created a wet bag that was new to the market with two pockets and a detachable mesh bag inside, as well as a hybrid nappy, the Tickle Tots Two – both of which were greeted by parents with enthusiasm. I taught myself surface pattern design to create my own prints that were unique to Tickle Tots – drawing on my own rural upbringing in Shropshire for inspiration. All inhouse prints are hand drawn and painted before being digitised.
Give Cloth a Go!
With so many product possibilities and a growing list of exciting prints in the pipeline, I am looking forward to 2018 and the opportunities it will bring for Tickle Tots whilst building awareness of the devastating impact of disposable single use items have on the environment, in particular plastics.
At Tickle Tots we aim to give parents the encouragement and confidence needed to give cloth nappies a go – even by swapping one single use nappy a day for a reusable will save 30 nappies a month going into landfill.
Small actions made together lead to change with a huge impact!
The Tickle Tots Ethos.
We take our ethical standards at Tickle Tots very seriously – and know our customers feel the same way.
To provide a top quality product with eco–credentials to be proud of we have set ourselves some strict guidelines:
- All our materials have to be tested to Oeko-Tex Standard 100, to ensure they are safe for babies delicate skin and gentle on the environment
- Our manufacturers are carefully chosen, where staff are paid a fair wage, work regular hours and work in a clean and safe environment, as well as producing a high quality product
- As our nappies are manufactured abroad and have a resultant carbon footprint, we plant a UK native tree for every 1000 nappies produced
- We keep our packaging to an absolute minimum, with each nappy simply wrapped in a belly band or insert made from recycled card.