Managing director Rosie Hughes said “We are delighted with these awards. I have poured my heart and soul into designing and safety testing the Wee’UN and to receive three Platinum awards is beyond my wildest dreams."
Sawdust and Rainbows’ Pikler inspired Wee’UN triangle proved a favourite with the judges, picking up 3 Platinum Awards in the categories of Best Wooden Toy 0-1yrs, Best Wooden Toy 1-3yrs and Best Activity Toy 0-1 yrs.
Sawdust and Rainbows is the brainchild of Rosie Hughes who struck upon the idea for the Northern Irish start-up while decorating her house in 2017 and finding her 17-month-old son scrambling for the first rung of a ladder. After failing to find a safe and suitable climbing frame for him, she embarked on her mission to develop the Wee’UN.
Making use of her Engineering and Manufacturing qualification, Hughes soon found an audience for the Wee’UN on social media.
“I was inspired by the Hungarian Paediatrician, Emmi Pikler who was passionate about babies developing in the way nature intended, allowing the child to learn and master skills at their own pace,” said Hughes.
“Creating the Wee’UN for Reuben was a slow process. He spent some afternoons on my back in his carrier singing and eating treats. But we got there and when his frame was finished, he loved it – climbing on it, using it as a tunnel and sitting on the rungs.
“I started making the Wee’UN in a shed out the back of our house. Within two years I’d outgrown the shed and had three staff. The range has grown too, and now includes a variety of frames, tunnels, a slide and accessories for toddlers and pre-schoolers. Last year we moved to a refurbished poultry house outside Crossgar, Country Down and hired two more staff.”
Rosie continued: “The whole team has worked so hard and has really pulled through during the challenging times recently. Everyone at Sawdust and Rainbows is ecstatic to have had such a fantastic result. I could not have done it without the talent and dedication of my small team. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for making it happen.”