Through our mutual love for jellies, the fact we're both mothers and live at the seaside... the brain behind Sun Jellies and I got talking. Wanna know how this woman juggles jellies and kids and the history behind it all?
I had always wanted my own business but had never found the right idea or been brave enough. However I was always interested in original brands with great stories.
When our family, consisting of me, my husband and 2 kids under 3, moved to Worthing for a ‘laid back’ coastal lifestyle, I looked for some proper old school jellies for me and the kids to wear on the pebbly beach. But where had they disappeared to? No-one in the UK was selling them. After a frustrating search online I eventually discovered Méduse SUN jellies from France. Hello. These were the classic t-bar jelly sandals that I remembered from my childhood yet I never knew they originated from France! Nor did I know that they were first created by a Frenchman in 1946 in response to a worldwide leather shortage. Who would have thought that the humble jelly sandal had such an interesting history? And this iconic fisherman sandal design, synonymous with summer and childhood, was still made in France using the original moulds! What a surprise to find plastic shoes not made in China! I instantly fell in love with the shoes and the story behind the brand and my new mission in life was to bring these jellies back! In my mind I could see SUN jellies as a wardrobe staple, as commonplace as a pair of Havaianas or Converse (well in my wardrobe anyway).
The birth of my 2nd child, home renovations and a not entirely convinced husband/business partner put the brakes on my business plans for about 12 months but we finally started to trade in September 2012. The first delivery of jellies from our supplier was an exciting and daunting moment! Jelly heaven for me but hopefully we could sell them! We started on eBay operating out of our spare room and to our delight the demand for our jellies quickly grew. We now have our own website and as exclusive distributor for Méduse SUN jellies in the UK we have started wholesaling and are about to move into commercial premises! The growth of our business has definitely been helped by the fact that jellies are back in fashion but we believe our dedication to providing customers with the original French product (not an imitation made in China) and our commitment to prompt and friendly service have played a big part in our success so far. And when we look at the number of customers who come back to buy more jellies or send us pictures of themselves in their jellies or write to thank us, we figure we must be doing something right.
Running my own business is exhilarating, exhausting, scary and all consuming. It is so rewarding doing something you’ve always wanted to do but so much for the laid back coastal lifestyle! Some days I don’t even leave the house (oh was it sunny today?)! I go to bed knackered and wake up knackered. I haven’t done anyexercise in months and I look like shit. It’s like we’ve had a 3rd baby. I often feel like a neglectful mum and partner and at times I wonder if it’s a mistake putting my family and relationship under this pressure. Don’t even talk to me about work/life balance! I tell myself that this period of incredibly hard work is normal for the first couple of years of a new business and it will be worth it. In any case, I wasn’t in a position to not work so I’m thankful I’ve been able to create a job for myself selling a product I love. Oh and I have an endless supply of jellies in every colour so that’s pretty cool too.Wow, what a woman! And after that, I made her answer some questions...
Name Kelly White
Occupation Business Owner
WHAT DID YOUR LIFE CONSIST OF BEFORE YOU BECAME A MAMA?
Long showers, time to myself, spontaneity.
HOW HAS BECOMING A MOTHER MADE YOU A BETTER PERSON?
Hmm not sure about that one. I’ve never felt so selfish, impatient or resentful.
ASIDE FROM CONCEALER, WHAT CANT YOU LIVE WITHOUT NOW YOU HAVE A CHILD?
Bread sticks. Baby yoghurts. Sky Plus. cbeebies.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A FIRST TIME MUM?
You don’t have to read all the parenting books. Find your own groove.
HOW HAS YOUR WARDROBE CHANGED SINCE HAVING A BABY / CHILDREN?
I still wear ‘comfy’ maternity underpants which my partner hates.
CAKE OR BISCUITS?
I like to bake muffins with my son.
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU?
Honesty, courage, passion, a sense of humour.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SECRETS OR TIPS TO MAKING MOTHERHOOD THAT BIT EASIER?
Putting on a load of washing always makes you feel better. Other than that learn to accept a level of mess and dirt.