The Story Behind our Teething Mittens
Introducing you to the very first teething mittens. Warm knitted mittens with wooden teething rings. For keeping little hands warm and toasty while providing a teether for sore gums when out and about. Here is the story behind them.
BUT FIRST, HERE THEY ARE
And here is how they came to be…
Let me take you back to a bitterly cold February day. I had a full day of meetings in London which included a lot of walking and waiting around. Luther, who was teething at the time was with me in the buggy. My plan was for him to stay in his buggy and fall asleep while I walked from one meeting to the next. The intention being that he would sleep through my meetings (Ha!)
I had noticed this problem before, but on this particularly cold day with a teething baby and a lot of buggy time outside, it became very apparent. I found it was impossible to keep Luther’s hands warm and for him to be able to hold and chew his teether at the same time. Cue a very grumpy baby either because he had cold hands or because his gums were hurting. It was then that the idea popped into my head that it would be a genius idea if I could somehow attach a teether to a pair of mittens and solve this inconvenient problem.
Life was busy I didn’t further explore this idea until I ordered some wooden rings for making macrame plant hangers. When I got the wooden rings out of the packet, inspiration struck and I realised that by using them as little bear ears, they’d turn my regular mittens into some playful teething mittens that were functional and beautiful at the same time.
A NEW INVENTION?
I began researching and trawling through all the databases for patents and registered designs and I couldn’t find anything like my teething mittens. There were single teething glove toys, but there hasn’t ever been anything like my mittens before; a wearable outdoor accessory that provides warmth and is a teether at the same time.
I began experimenting with attaching wooden rings to mittens and took the first prototype with me along with a big box of my Look Up collection to the Christmas Showcase I did with Etsy in July. I have to admit I was slightly nervous getting them out of the box, I think because they are a new idea and I always feel nervous showing people my new ideas, but they were selected to be part of the showcase and on the day, the response to them was hugely positive and really encouraging.
HANDMADE AWARDS AND A LUNCH WITH ETSY’S COO
Following this positive response I took them with me to the Handmade Awards and pitched the idea to the panel of judges. I received some really helpful feedback for further developing them to be the best they can be. I also happened to be invited to a lunch with Etsy’s COO the next day so I took them along with me then too to glean any more feedback or advice I could from industry experts and again was really encouraged by the feedback.
DEVELOPING AND TESTING THE TEETHING MITTENS
The next step was developing the teething mittens. I wanted to make sure the wooden teething rings were the best size for chewing and large enough not to be a choking hazard. I also tested them out on friends’ babies and tweaked them as I went along, adding little ties in the cuff to prevent them from from falling off and strings so they don’t get lost when out and about.
PROTECTING THE MITTENS FROM COPYING
Because these are the first teething mittens of their kind I was nervous about the idea being stolen and copied and perhaps even being reproduced badly and cheaply and undercutting me as a small handmade business. And though they are my intellectual property because they are my idea, I wanted to make it official. I spent some time researching and reading through the mine of information on the best way to do this and I settled on registering them as a design. It was so exciting getting the certificate through the post and now these teething mittens officially belong to me for the next 25 years!
AND HERE THEY ARE!
After such a long time developing these beauties, I’m so excited to show them to you! Playful knitted bear mittens with little wooden teething ring ears.