The Robot Pendant came to life when Jellystone Designs was expanding its range into a Juniors Collection. After the success of the Women’s range it seemed like the next logical step to launch pieces that could be enjoyed by kids as well. From there, the Robot and Heart Pendant were designed and created, made in 4-5 bright and bubbly colours that were typical to the Jellystone brand back then.
These pieces were a hit from the get go, the cute Robot and the adorable, glossy heart. Soon after the launch some Occupational Therapist (OTs) became aware of these pieces and saw how useful they could be for kids seeking oral input and having a need to chew. Products in this area that could be worn just didn’t exist. If they were to hold something to chew it looked so clinical and was a clear reminder “there’s something going on with this kid”.
The jChews range of teethers that were designed for bubs were pretty cheeky – I mean one of them is the Choc Bar which still causes sideways glances at bubs gnawing on it in the stroller or at me when I’m showing the range at a trade show. The Smart Phone from this range was a great hit with OTs who loved recommending it to kids who needed to chew and the design is fun and playful.
Then the legs fell off…literally. The original Robot Pendant just wasn’t strong enough to withstand the chewing it was experiencing. I think the head fell off a few times here too. It was quickly redesigned with its new purpose in mind and Robot Version 2.0 was launched. The new robot was designed with friendliness in mind as well. Looking like a friendly little buddy, it can be thought of as a mate for little ones starting school or preschool who need extra reassurance or are battling anxiety transitioning at these times.
For all the happy business stories and back to back success you hear about, let me share this, for me, most of the time it is a matter of winging it one day at a time and scrambling to learn as much as possible. As much as it was so exciting that we now had a piece that was able to help kids facing anxiety, struggling to concentrate or focus it was also was completely overwhelming knowing the pressure was on the help serve this new market. I knew nothing about the autism spectrum so I reached out where I could and read whatever I could find that helped me articulate more about Sensory Processing Disorder.
We exhibited at the first ever Austism Expo in 2016 in Melbourne. It was absolutely huge and more people attended than I could ever have anticipated. This event was organised by two mums with kids on the spectrum who wanted to bring all the resources they knew of together. They did an exceptional job.
We reached out to OT Deb Hopper who was more than happy to help us understand just how useful our jChews and Pendants were to oral motor input seekers – you can see Deb’s comments here.
We exhibited in 2017 at the Australia Pacific Autism Convention alongside Nana’s Weighted Blankets. It was an amazing experience meeting the Nana’s and learning all about the work that they do and the people they help.
We work with Source Kids, a fabulous publication which delivers the latest information for parents, carers, families, professionals and teachers working with children with special needs. We love to contribute products for giveaways hosted by Source Kids whenever we can.
At all our trade shows that are gift focused we show our range of Pendants also. That’s why you see them popping up more often in toy stores across Australia. We love getting calls from these stores explaining that they have sold out and we need more pendants please! This has required explaining and educating our stockists about our pendants as well so they feel confident to sell them and have the range in their store too.
We are a sponsor of the Autism Summit which starts next week inline with Autism Awareness Week. You can see more details here about the amazing work Rhiannon Crispe does at Homebase Hope here. So many talented professionals are being interviewed and speaking as part of this event. I highly recommend you check it out.
Every product we have designed (and stay tuned because more are launching this year!) we have imparted our funky edge to the design. The last thing we have wanted is to design a product that could create a stigma for the person using it and lead them to be targeted for being different.
Most importantly we’ve listened to you. We’ve listened as you’ve shared your stories of the good, the bad and the ugly. Stories of what it is like at home. The struggles your son has faced as they started preschool and how his robot is his friend. How your daughter transitioned from a dummy to her chew pendant at 5 years of age. How your son lost is pendant and had a meltdown. How devastated you were to receive a diagnosis and how overwhelming it has been to take in ever since. How your school won’t let children wear jewellery of any kind.
Thank you so much for sharing everything. We are so appreciative and we always want to hear more and understand more. Any ideas for new products please reach out to us. We LOVE to hear from you – can’t stress that enough.
Happy Austism Awareness Week this coming week! Keep an eye on our Instagram page for the giveaway we are hosting with some further amazing brands.
P.S. And on a personal note, post all these products being launched my now four year old has a Robot Pendant in his bag at Preschool. Some days he needs it, some days he doesn’t. His teachers get it out for him as required. It was their recommendation that I get him one! Mum fail I didn’t think of it myself! It helps him to stay on task better on these days and it is often in the afternoon when he’s getting sleepy.
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