Start-up is climbing the ladder out of lockdown with international sales

Coleraine native, Rosie Hughes never thought that she would be selling indoor wooden climbing frames across the globe. In, 2017, while decorating her house for Christmas, she found her 17month-old son, Reuben on the first rung of a ladder. Rosie then set about finding a safe climbing frame for him. After a lot of searching and not finding what she was after, she decided to put her Engineering and Manufacturing qualification to good use and make her own. She shared a picture on a parenting group on Facebook, and the orders started flowing. Sawdust and Rainbows was born.


"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. Creating the Pikler inspired triangle 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."


Rosie continued: "I started making the triangles, which I call 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 and hired two more staff."


The recent lockdown due to Covid19 was a strange time for the fledgling start-up. With everyone stuck at home, orders started to go through the roof. March 2020 was busier than the previous Christmas, and this July has been Sawdust and Rainbows' best month of trading. 


Rosie now has stockists across Europe, and recently sent her second shipment to the United States. A stockist in Australia has just been confirmed.


According to Rosie, she's ready for the challenge: "I've been blown away by the interest in my products. I've put so much heart and soul into designing, crafting and safety testing, that it's such a thrill to be able to share them with the world.  


For more information about Rosie's range of indoor wooden climbing frames visit: