Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Success Story of The Month

We are featured in The British Library as one of their "Success stories of the Month" with a display of the five Doll Sized chairs. It's nice to see them all together, even if there are no Teddies playing in them.
The British Library's Business and IP Centre provides a wealth of information and help for businesses, budding entrepreneurs and inventors. It's an inspiring place and well worth a visit. Quite apart from all the wonderful books and archives there are some tempting cafes and a free Wi Fi area.
The Chief Designer at Fairytale Children's Furniture pops in there every time she comes up with a new idea.

The founder of Fairy Tale Children's Furniture, Zandra Johnson is a passionate advocate of imaginative play for children. Studies reveal free time spent playing make-believe helps children develop critical cognitive skills. Fairytale Furniture helps build those skills through imaginative play. Download your free guide to Imaginative Play at FAIRYTALECHILDRENSFURNITURE.CO.UK

As Seen On TV

It was with great excitement that we saw some beautiful product shots of Zawadi The Elephant chair and Silky the Pony chair on BBC1 series "High Street Dreams" hosted by Jo Malone and Nick Leslau.
We had been taking part in the selection process and had reached the semi-finals of the "Children's Products and Toys" section of the programme. There were many applicants and some wonderful business ideas and products so we were delighted our products got so far.
From that day's filming I will always remember the kindness and patience of Jo Malone and Nick Leslau, the cheerful friendliness of the other entrepreneurs and the thoughtful attention of the Broadcast Team.
And Zawadi and Silky did look rather good. They are proudly wearing the "As Seen On TV" badges.

The founder of Fairy Tale Children's Furniture, Zandra Johnson is a passionate advocate of imaginative play for children. Studies reveal free time spent playing make-believe helps children develop critical cognitive skills. Fairytale Furniture helps build those skills through imaginative play. Download your free guide to Imaginative Play at FAIRYTALECHILDRENSFURNITURE.CO.UK

Our Animal Chairs are Migrating

We have been getting busier which is exciting. Our children's chairs have been migrating (well, they are animal shaped) throughout the UK including Scotland. There is a herd of Pip the Pony rocking chairs in Yorkshire; a mixed herd of Zebra rocking chairs, Pip the Pony chairs and Silky rocking chairs in the Midlands; whilst the herd of Elephant chairs continues to grow in the South of England.
The best seller for the teddy sized rocking chairs continues to be Pip the Pony, followed closely by Bumble the Dog. Can I continue the animal theme and refer to these small sized replicas as "foals" and "puppies"? Perhaps not, sorry!
Our list of subscribers for the free children's newsletter, "Fairytale Fun" is growing steadily. Each month the newsletter includes games to play and an easy recipe. Testing the recipes is playing havoc with our waistlines, but I hope these provide fun for the family as they prepare and then enjoy them. The recipes really are simple so that even the little children can take part.
If you would like a copy why not subscribe now, it's very easy, just enter your email in the box?

The founder of Fairy Tale Children's Furniture, Zandra Johnson is a passionate advocate of imaginative play for children. Studies reveal free time spent playing make-believe helps children develop critical cognitive skills. Fairytale Furniture helps build those skills through imaginative play. Download your free guide to Imaginative Play at FAIRYTALECHILDRENSFURNITURE.CO.UK

An exciting Year

Let's Celebrate!
It has been an exciting year. In spite of the Recession we are still here. We still love the idea of children's furniture being more than just furniture but a plaything as well. Something which will stimulate hours of imaginative play, something which becomes more and more important in our pressurised society.
There have been several articles and discussions in the media about the importance of play for children and how little time they have to play now in comparison with years ago. Computer games and television have taken over from outdoor play and imaginative play.
Childhood is such a lovely time. I've been studying the way children play, the way they move and what intrigues them for many years. I've been making things and recounting stories since I was tiny. Now all this has been combined into Fairytale Furniture. Children love stories and they love their own special chairs.
Our "Fairytale Fun" is a free newsletter which I hope will provide ideas for parents and grandparents to enjoy with their children; to enjoy this special time. It has ideas for games, stories, silly rhymes and simple recipes. You can request your copy on the side bar to the left now.
Happy New Year everyone. May 2010 be even better than 2009!

Recognition

Quality Recognition
We are delighted to have been selected as a Partner to sell our products on Not On The High Street. It's a really lovely on-line gift site which only accepts high quality, beautiful and unique products. It's quite a compliment to be selected and I passed the compliment on to all the people in the workshop in Poland who put so much care into making each chair. Because I have made furniture myself I really appreciate their careful skill.
This is children's furniture which I hope will be enjoyed and passed on, with all it's associated memories, to the next child and the next generation.

The founder of Fairy Tale Children's Furniture, Zandra Johnson is a passionate advocate of imaginative play for children. Studies reveal free time spent playing make-believe helps children develop critical cognitive skills. Fairytale Furniture helps build those skills through imaginative play. Download your free guide to Imaginative Play at FAIRYTALECHILDRENSFURNITURE.CO.UK

Advent Fair

Rudolph Stiener School Advent Fair
Our second public show was the Rudolph Steiner, Kings Langley School, Advent Fair. It was a bitterly cold wet day, but that didn't deter the 3,700 visitors who enjoyed all that the Fair had to offer; steel bands, jazz cafe, plays, games and a barbecue which wafted wonderful aromas round the gardens.
It was a happy show and we enjoyed talking to people and answering questions about the children's chairs and the doll's furniture and reading the story books to the little ones. There was only one draw back – we both sampled far too much of the delicious home made produce for sale.

The founder of Fairy Tale Children's Furniture, Zandra Johnson is a passionate advocate of imaginative play for children. Studies reveal free time spent playing make-believe helps children develop critical cognitive skills. Fairytale Furniture helps build those skills through imaginative play. Download your free guide to Imaginative Play at FAIRYTALECHILDRENSFURNITURE.CO.UK

Baby Show Earls Court

We thoroughly enjoyed showing our children's chairs and toy chairs at The Baby Show in Earls Court. There were more than 27,000 visitors and I think we spoke to most of them. My voice nearly gave out after the first day and by the third day it sounded more "cracked old crone" than "sultry siren"
This was our first big big public show, rather than a trade show, and it was a pleasure to watch people's reaction to our chairs and to talk to them about the products.
There were a few children there within our age range – 18 months – 7 years and we put some chairs on the ground for them to play with. They seemed to love them as they came back again and again to sit or rock. "Bumble the Dog" stood up well to TWO over excited 7 year olds sitting in him at the same time and rocking hard to the limits of the chair. It remained as stable and safe as ever; which is just what we aimed for in our design.

The founder of Fairy Tale Children's Furniture, Zandra Johnson is a passionate advocate of imaginative play for children. Studies reveal free time spent playing make-believe helps children develop critical cognitive skills. Fairytale Furniture helps build those skills through imaginative play. Download your free guide to Imaginative Play at FAIRYTALECHILDRENSFURNITURE.CO.UK

Zebra Chair one of 10 Best

We are delighted that our Zebra rocking chair, "Ziggy Malia" to her fans, was featured in the Independent Newspaper feature one the "Best 10 Children's Furniture". She was, as ever in good company with some well known children's furniture retailers and manufacturers. It's really lovely to see such imaginative things for children to enjoy.
With Christmas drawing closer the hunt for gifts has started. If you are buying for children it is often quite hard to find things that they don't already have, or to find a lasting gift that won't be grown out of, or will lose it's appeal quickly. Things that children play with using their imagination they grow very fond of and want to keep. Did you keep any of your toys, ones that you didn't want to part with? Perhaps a teddy, a train set, farm animals? They were probably something with which you played games in you head.
Its an unusual concept to think of a child's chair as a plaything and especially a plaything that encourages imagiative play. The characters on our chairs become very real to the children and the little story book encourages more stories and adventures for their imaginations.
We hope the children enjoy the furniture so much they want to keep it for their children. We have made that simple too. The chairs dismantle for easy storage.

The founder of Fairy Tale Children's Furniture, Zandra Johnson is a passionate advocate of imaginative play for children. Studies reveal free time spent playing make-believe helps children develop critical cognitive skills. Fairytale Furniture helps build those skills through imaginative play. Download your free guide to Imaginative Play at FAIRYTALECHILDRENSFURNITURE.CO.UK

New Projects

We have started with a bang this year and it's a very exciting time. In spite of the recession interest in our unique furniture continues to grow. People seem to love the concept of furniture the kids can play with and which stimulates imaginative play.
Our new project is again all about play. We have launched a newsletter, not about us and our products but a newsletter for children; "Fairytale Fun" . It will have ideas for fun and play. Games to play in the car, games for a rainy day, stories, nature notes and more will feature each month. So sign up for "Fairytale Fun" to receive your copy. We will never impart company news, product specials or try to sell to you. It is purely for having fun with your children and grandchildren. We hope you will enjoy it and contact us with feed back and ideas.
In March we exhibited at The Harrogate Nursery Fair. Again my daughter came with me to "man" the stand and also to act as "sat nav" on the journey. Actually she is better than a sat nav as she dispenses useful information like "Try fourth gear Mum". But where was she when I was taking lots of photographs of our stand (it did look good with it's new banners) and there was no film in my beloved old analogue Nikon? Still, there will be other shows.
Again we received a lot of attention and again the quality of the furniture was admired. I've passed on the compliments to our manufacturer via his young son who acts as our translator. He is still at school and often, very politely, corrects my grammer.
The magazine Feature Editors are finding us now and we have been featured in several glossies and we will add a press area to the website. We are delighted to have been accepted as a partnership participant in a government backed initiative by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. "You & Your Family" magazine will be given to every pregnant woman in UK at 12 – 20th week of her pregnancy. The magazine and its supporting website offers information, education and support to parents and their children. It was felt that the play element, safety and quality of our products fitted the ethos of the initiative.

The founder of Fairy Tale Children's Furniture, Zandra Johnson is a passionate advocate of imaginative play for children. Studies reveal free time spent playing make-believe helps children develop critical cognitive skills. Fairytale Furniture helps build those skills through imaginative play. Download your free guide to Imaginative Play at FAIRYTALECHILDRENSFURNITURE.CO.UK

And Then Add Children

...and listen to the laughter...
A saturday was scheduled to re-photogrqaph our furniture, this time with children. A request made at my local networking event to "Borrow some children, please" resulted in seven children under the age of 7 being offered as "models".
Seven children, all under 7 ...All together... All at once!!!
I envisaged noisy, happy mayhem and confess to being both excited and anxious.
The day dawned bright but with the sky heavy with snow and the fields and trees white with frost. A landscape sketched in silver. The air was so cold you could snap it off. I am still amazed by and indebted to those Mums and Dads who got up early on a saturday morning, drove 20 miles through winding frosty lanes, arrived on time with their children; waited patiently in the wings and then drove all the way home again.
The children were little Stars! They did what children do, chattered, asked questions, played and listened to stories. The bigger ones mothered the smaller ones, combed their hair and wiped crumbs off their faces (there were fairy cakes and biscuits), (and marshmallows), (and chocolate eggs)
Gail Dalmaine, the photographer, kept everything running smoothly and my only regret was that I didn't bring a voice recorder to capture the laughter, shrieks and giggles coming from the studio. Isn't the sound of young children laughing wonderfully infectious?
Thank you Mums and Dads, and thank you lovely little Stars. Every time I look at the pictures they bring back happy memories.

The founder of Fairy Tale Children's Furniture, Zandra Johnson is a passionate advocate of imaginative play for children. Studies reveal free time spent playing make-believe helps children develop critical cognitive skills. Fairytale Furniture helps build those skills through imaginative play. Download your free guide to Imaginative Play at FAIRYTALECHILDRENSFURNITURE.CO.UK

BPA Baby & Child Show

Hello Again
Launching the company at the BPA Baby & Child Show was an exciting and stimulating three days. For the first time I was on the other side of the show stand, - yet another steep learning curve.
My daughter came with me to help "man" the stand and what a tower of strength she was. It was role reversal time. In a voice that sounded alarmingly like my own she bossed me, supported me, encouraged me and brooked no excuses. Aren't Kids just wonderful? In the evenings, over a meal and a glass of wine, we talked and giggled until it was far too late.
Our furniture attracted a lot of interest, all of it favourable. The Buyers all commented on the high quality, the unique designs and innovative concept of furniture with a story book. Already Fairytale Furniture is appearing on other websites and it's nice to know other people want to sell it. So far all five of the chairs seem equally popular with no one being selected in preference to another. Do you have a favourite, do tell?
The highlight of the show for me was to stand quietly and watch the way children (there were only a few at the show) reacted to the furniture. It was the same way that all children do when first they see it; first the slight "double take", then they walk up to it, stroke it and within moments begin to talk quietly to the furniture, interacting and playing games in their imagination.
That is exactly what I hoped for – to make children smile, to give them space to play and imagine. After all, you are only a child once.
Overheard ... Small child running races with Grandma in the park. Oh Grandma, I do love you - you are only old on the outside.

The founder of Fairy Tale Children's Furniture, Zandra Johnson is a passionate advocate of imaginative play for children. Studies reveal free time spent playing make-believe helps children develop critical cognitive skills. Fairytale Furniture helps build those skills through imaginative play. Download your free guide to Imaginative Play at FAIRYTALECHILDRENSFURNITURE.CO.UK

Welcome to the FairyTale blog

It has been an exciting roller coaster of a journey getting here, full of discoveries, blind alleys and raised hopes. We've met lots of people who said "it can't be done" and some who said "don't see why it shouldn't be. Let's have a go."


With so many ideas in our Fairytale Children's Furniture® portfolio, one of the hardest tasks was to chose just one range to start with.

"But it's like chosing between your children!" we wailed.

"Tough!" said the Stern Controller (Business Manager) "Only one - or I'll go and play with someone else!"

We hope you enjoy our first range. We have been unrelenting in our persuit of quality and safety and in providing furniture with the Fairytale Furniture Ltd. signature of Furniture + Play + Story.

Our debute at the BPA Baby & Child Show at the NEC in Birmingham promises to be an exciting occasion; but more about that later.

The founder of Fairy Tale Children's Furniture, Zandra Johnson is a passionate advocate of imaginative play for children. Studies reveal free time spent playing make-believe helps children develop critical cognitive skills. Fairytale Furniture helps build those skills through imaginative play. Download your free guide to Imaginative Play at FAIRYTALECHILDRENSFURNITURE.CO.UK