I have followed Jane of Snuppets for YEARS on social media and I am so excited to be able to not just introduce you to her amazing snack bag puppets, but also help you get to know the maker behind this fun, sustainable children’s brand!
Firstly, start by telling readers a bit about yourself!
I am a mother of three and have always been a maker at heart, even before I made a business of it! I have done everything from stationery to children’s clothing and even had a children’s boutique at one point. My kids have clearly inspired me and influenced my playful design style. I am motivated to continue “makin” and challenging myself to try new things. I am hoping to dive back into clothing eventually!
Snuppets are SUCH a cute & unique idea. What was your inspiration for this product?
So, when my kids starting going to school I knew that I wanted to come up with eco-sensitive solutions for packing lunches. I made some simple little sandwich bags. When I was taking a walk with my son in his stroller I noticed that he was playing with his empty snack bag as if it was a toy. The idea struck me in that moment to make an interactive storage solution for kids so they weren’t left behind in the lunchroom and Snuppets™ were born! I immediately came up with the name when I thought of the snack puppet concept and decided to trademark my idea!
After your first design(s) were such a hit, how did you go about evolving your product & adding more designs? Did you know from the start you wanted to continuously add new designs?
The evolution of the Snuppet™ has been quite a process! They started with hand stitched features and button eyes. Each one was so unique and one of a kind however I realized that if I wanted to grow the business, I needed to streamline my design process. I decided to draw the characters and have the fabric custom printed. I also started with a velcro closure and have moved to a zipper closure as I feel they are a bit easier to handle for little hands.
Do you design & sew all of the Snuppets yourself? Do your children help with the design or creation process at all?
I design all of my products with the help of my built in focus group (my husband and three kids)! I sew all of my Snuppets™ with my own two tired hands! The making of a Snuppet™ is a bit laborious with the hand cutting and floppy ears so I have not had any success with finding a manufacturer that is up for the task (and I have tried!) I have recently enlisted the help of a local manufacturer to help sew my Reusable Straw Pouches. As much as I love the hands on sewing process, it is nice to have some inventory made so I can spend design time on the computer as well.
As a mom of three, I imagine life can be pretty hectic sometimes! What are your best tips for time management and organization for maker mamas?
Oh wow, time management is really not my gift. I generally have about 10 projects going at the same time (ask my very patient husband)! It is “organized chaos” around my house at all times! I have converted the corner of my garage to my sewing studio. It is nice to always have my machine out and ready to go so I will hop in there and bust a few things out while the oven is heating up for dinner! If I can steal a handful of productive creative moments throughout the day, I feel complete!
All of your products make eco-friendly snacking such an easy option for parents. Tell us more about how you use Snuppets to create a positive environmental impact!
I really believe that being a true environmentalist is contemplating our impact with choices we make and always trying to do better. I challenge myself all of the time and admittedly have things I personally need to work on in my life. None of us are perfect, I certainly am not. We are all tempted by convenience in our fast paced world but it’s good to check in and challenge ourselves to make slight adjustments that can make a positive impact. The making of plastic bags have a negative impact on our environment and once used, they really never go away. They are virtually indestructible and will outlive all of us while wreaking havoc on our environment! Yes you can choose to recycle plastic which is certainly better than throwing them out however the chemicals released and energy used when recycling plastic is not a great solution. The best thing we can all do is reduce our use of plastic and choose to reuse! One Snuppet™ can last years and replace hundreds of disposable baggies! I have Snuppets™ that I have been using for 3 years. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
You can read some staggering facts about plastic bags here…Plastic Bag Consumption Facts | ConservingNow
You recently began to share some more politically motivated designs for your reusable straw pouches. Did you find that taking a political stance affected your business in any way? (would love to hear about your choice to use your influence as a maker to create change!)
I do try and stay consistent with all of my products having the purpose of reducing waste. It keeps me motivated when I believe in what I’m making and while the growth of my business has been slow, I do feel like people become loyal when they feel it’s authentic.
What is your go-to self care routine to prevent burn-out and overwhelm as a small business owner?
I am 46 and still feel like I have so much growing to do as a person. Over the years, I have learned the importance of self-care & how it impacts me if I don’t make it a priority. I make time for exercise most days and try hard to make time in my life for people I love. I have recently carved out time in the mornings for some quiet yoga and meditation before my house wakes. I am feeling the value in this and while I have a long way to go in the meditation department, I can sense that this is going to become a habitual part of my daily life.
Your branding is so on point – did you design your logo & product packaging yourself?
I love the marketing side of making my products. I design all of my packaging materials/tags and coming up with names for new products is so fun. This past year I have added Happy Cloths and Seaside Straws to my collection.
Where would you like to see Snuppets in the next 5 years?
My business has been a slow build but things have picked up the past year. Snuppets™ appeal specifically to children but the recent addition of products appealing to a broader market has helped grow my business. I do have some ideas on the horizon for new eco-sensitive solutions that I hope to launch in 2019. I would love to increase my retail sales online but overall, I am happy with the pace of growth for my business since I only have two hands!
How many of your Snuppets do you personally use in your household?
I really can’t say how many Snuppets I have in circulation right now in my house, probably around 20? A lot of them are older models or samples, I actually have very few of my latest designs!
What is your advice for makers who want to begin acquiring wholesale accounts but aren’t sure where to start?
I currently have 6 wholesale accounts. I am working on display ideas as I think this will possibly help grow my business in this department. I have found that stores like to be given a simple way to display. Space is typically an issue in the retail world so I feel that if I make it easy, they will be inclined to buy! I will keep you posted on this theory and let you know how it goes! (: