An indoor wooden climbing frames start-up, Sawdust and Rainbows is climbing its way out of lockdown with international sales ‘going through the roof’ at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and parents and families in need of indoor entertainment and activity.
Sawdust and Rainbows is the brainchild of Rosie Hughes who struck upon the idea for the business while decorating her house in Coleraine in 2017 and finding her 17 month-old son scrambling for the first rung of a ladder. After failing to find a salfe and suitable climbing frame for him, she embarked on her mission to develop her own.
Making use of her Engineering and Manufacturing qualification, Hughes soon found an audience for her designs on social media.
“I was inspired by the Hungarian Paediatrician, Emmi Pikler who was passionate about babies developing in the way nature intended, allowing the child to learn and master skills at their own pace,” said Hughes.
“Creating the Pikler inspired triangle for Reuben was a slow process. He spent some afternoons on my back in his carrier singing and eating treats. But we got there and when his frame was finished he loved it – climbing on it, using it as a tunnel and sitting on the rungs.
“I started making the triangles, which I call the Wee’UN, in a shed out the back of our house. Within two years I’d outgrown the shed and had three staff. The range has grown too, and now includes a variety of frames, tunnels, a slide and accessories for toddlers and pre-schoolers. Last year we moved to a refurbished poultry house outside Crossgar and hired two more staff.”
Following a sales surge throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with March orders surpassing Christmas sales and July marking the company’s best month of trading to date, Hughes now has stockists across Europe. Sawdust and Rainbows recently sent her second shipment to the US and has recently confirmed a new stockist in Australia.
“I’ve been blown away by the interest in my products. I’ve put so much heart and soul into designing, crafting and safety testing, that it’s such a thrill to be able to share them with the world,” said Hughes.