GOSSIP STATION: Nana's Manners

We are very excited to welcome creator Kathryn of new lifestyle brand Nana's Manners on to #gossipstation for a chat as she prepares for the much anticipated launch of her Indiegogo campaign TOMORROW! It’s been an unbelievably exciting journey to date so we can’t wait to hear more about her incredible concept which initially started 3 years ago whilst she was teaching! So, without further ado let’s get to it…

Kathryn, thank you so much for joining us! Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself and your background…

Hello everyone and thank you for having me! I’m a mum of 2 who worked as a Primary School teacher for 10 years before setting out to create Nana’s Manners. I loved teaching and quickly realised the importance of giving children the tools they need to succeed. I’m so excited to be starting my own company with a product I fundamentally believe will help all children.

We know we have said it a million times but we LOVE the concept! Can you tell us where you got your inspiration for Nana’s Manners from?

A few years ago, returning to teaching after having my son, I found myself in a Reception Class (4-5yr old children) for the first time. This was the year ‘free school meals’ for all Infant School children came into action after the Government changes. There were up to thirty children in each class trying to eat a hot meal with a knife and fork every day. Two of my class had some idea how to hold the cutlery to use it effectively meaning lunchtime quickly became the most stressful hour in the day! As a teacher I have used pencil grips, training scissors, easy grip rulers, yet there is no cutlery out there that works with this principle.

Coming home from work one day I told my husband, as it doesn’t exist, I was going to design the cutlery children need myself.

Now that’s an incredible story! Why the name Nana’s Manners?

Nana was inspired by my mother, now ‘Nana’ to my children. In my childhood she was always hot on using a knife and fork correctly, often commenting on the inadequacy of the available children’s cutlery. She is a retired Primary teacher herself. Many years later the situation seemed pretty much the same, despite advances in so many other child’s products. I was inspired to change this.

You and Jamie Oliver would make the perfect team! Talk to us about Nana’s Manners...

We believe in giving children the support they need to build their confidence and become independent in the big world around them. Let’s give kids the tools they need to help them develop key life skills.

Your brand message is so powerful, can you talk to us about how Nana’s Manners came to life…

We’ve had an amazing journey with our first product. I knew that the most important part of the design was for the handle shape to be intuitive for children.

I moulded the shape myself from children’s modelling clay to start with (these are the white models above), then took my design to an agency that were able to digitalise it.

The first thing we did when I came up with the shape was a Patent search, checking I hadn’t missed any existing products in my hunting around! Luckily, this search didn’t raise anything that may have stood in the way of my design. I then applied for the patent as soon as I could, once the drawings and documentation were completed. That step was an interesting learning curve in itself!

We then needed CAD models and from there were able to produce 3D prints.

In reaching the final shape we must have produced at least 5 stages of amended prints. Each time I tested it on groups of children, refining the design until I was satisfied it was the perfect shape. We’ve worked hard to find a manufacturer that will produce a high quality product.

Wow! Ok, now we can see why the development process has taken over two years! So, we understand you’re going to be starting your Indiegogo campaign TOMORROW! Can you talk to us about that and how can people support?

Nana’s Manners is an organic brand that started around my kitchen table. It seems fitting that we launch the brand with the support of people that believe in our product. We were introduced to the Indiegogo website by a friend.

This site helps everyday people make exciting concepts a reality, their mission being to help bring creative projects to life.

By offering our customers the chance to buy our first edition sets of cutlery on Indiegogo, we can fund our first production run and promptly get Nana’s Manners off the ground! We have everything in place and a manufacturer ready to go. Now we need everyone’s support to help press the button!

Indiegogo works by giving us two months to reach our target amount of money in pledges. If we don’t reach our target, we receive nothing. We have put together some great product deals in return for support at these early stages. Pledging works like pre-sales. The main difference to straightforward sales is that people will only be charged if we reach our target.

We’re putting everything into our launch tomorrow and hope we receive the support from customers to bring Nana’s Manners to life!

We are definitely behind you and can only imagine that others will be too! Nana’s Manners are here to make changes! What makes the cutlery so special and why should be people invest?

Even mini versions of adult-sized cutlery are physically difficult for kids to use. In the struggle, children can loose confidence and become distracted and disengaged. Our cutlery creates a stress-free eating experience. Removing distraction allows for a focus on the food and engagement in conversation around the table.

Our patent for the cutlery was granted after only two years – short by patent standards! It was fast tracked after the initial examination as it was believed to be innovative and unique.

They knew a winning product when they saw it! Apart from the Indiegogo campaign, what’s coming up for the brand? Do you have any secrets you can share with us?

We have developed a set of Conversation Cards as the perfect accompaniment to our cutlery. Each card contains an open-ended question that should get adults and children talking about their ideas around the dinner table and imaginations running wild! These will be available through our Indiegogo campaign.

We are also currently working on developing some cases for our cutlery to allow the knife and fork to be carried around easily when eating out as a family. We’ve found that whilst many places cater for kids through their menus, the utensils provided are not thought through. Eating out should be enjoyable and relaxing for the whole family.

Once our cutlery has launched we will be developing some more of our ideas for new products we have in the pipeline. We don’t want to say too much at this point, but we can say that all our products will support children’s development.

Where can people buy Nana’s Manners?

Our cutlery will be available to pre-order through pledging on the Indiegogo website for two months from the day it is launched. The link to buy through Indiegogo will be added to our website when we launch.

What would be your dream for Nanas Manners?

We want to help every child be confident at meal times and be able to enjoy the social side of eating with their family and friends. We don’t believe the dinner table should be all about the food. I would love to see our cutlery available in family friendly restaurants to help everyone enjoy meals out.

I’m also looking forward to being able to focus on other exciting product ideas that are at the planning stages. We have so many exciting ideas for Nana’s Manners and are very much looking forward to the next 12 months!

Exciting times ahead for the Nana’s Manners team! All we can say is that we can’t wait until you reveal more!

Thank you so much for joining us on #gossipstation for a chat right before the launch of your exciting Indiegogo campaign tomorrow. It has been such a pleasure having you and being able to learn more about your incredible brand and your inspiration behind it. Your concept rocks!

We will be shouting from the rooftops to encourage everyone to get behind your Indiegogo campaign as we are ready for the revolution of Nana’s Manners.

Besos Alegre xox

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