Renae is the designer for Huglees, a cute range of knitted dolls for young children. Renae wanted one of these dolls and when she couldn’t find one that was safe and affordable she decided that the marketplace needed one and maybe it just needed to be her that created them and so Huglees was born.
We asked Renae to tell us a little about her journey:
What can you tell us about Huglees?
Huglees are gorgeous knitted dolls that come in a range of cute, colourful characters. They are made from 100% cotton and have passed Australian and New Zealand Safety Standards so they are super soft and safe for your little ones. They are also washable, affordable and make a great gift for newborns or toddlers.
What made you decide the market needed Huglees?
A close friend had a baby shower and I wanted to give her a cute, knitted toy for her newborn. I struggled to find something that was reasonably priced, soft, safe and suitable from birth so I thought I would have a go at designing my own.
How did you come up with the designs, what inspired those particular characters?
I wanted the designs to be simple; without any buttons or attachments so that Huglees would be safe and could be taken to bed with children. In terms of the actual characters, they are mainly farm animals which were inspired by my son. When I was designing them, he was at the age where he was learning his farm animals and almost every book he had had a farm animal in it.
Where did you get the characters names?
A couple of the characters are named after my two boys, a couple after the actual noise that that particular animal would make and others I thought sounded cute.
Why do you think that the Huglees knitted dolls are so popular with and attractive to children?
Because they are colourful and very soft. Both boys and girls love the bright colours and the quirky characters.
Which age group are Huglees most suitable for?
They are suitable from birth up to 4 years.
I am sure I read somewhere that these toys are hand crafted or hand made, can you tell us a bit about this?
I would love to say that I make these toys but unfortunately I just don’t have the time or the ability, so I design them and they are made for me from 100% cotton.
What has been your greatest challenge throughout this process?
I wish I could say just one thing but the whole process has been a challenge. It was an idea that I had and I ran with it! I had no prior knowledge about how to start or run a business so its been a huge learning curve and I have spent a lot of time reading and using brilliant resources available on the internet.
I have also met some fantastic ladies who have been able to help me or at least push me in the right direction. Its just been a matter of asking.
What has been the most rewarding moment?
When my first wholesale order came through. It’s one thing to design something but its another when other people like what you have done.
Can you tell us what being a woman means to you?
I have two boys, aged 3 and 10 months, a wonderful husband and some great friends. So where I am in my life right now, being a woman means being the best wife, mum and friend that I can be without putting too much pressure or losing my sense of self.
In between that I work on Huglees and I would be lying if I said that I have the family/work balance sorted. It can be hard to juggle everything but its just a matter of prioritising, having fun and enjoying the journey….and I have met some amazing women along the way!
Is there anything else you would like to share with us about yourself or your product?
Huglees are sponsors of the 2011 Ausmumpreneur Awards and we have also been nominated for the People’s Choice Award for Best Product. We are very proud to be part of such an amazing event and community which supports mums and mums in business. I would love it If you would like to support Huglees, please head to http://connect2mums.com.au/photo/huglees-renae-harrison-1?context=album&albumId=3120381%3AAlbum%3A232960 to vote!