I recently met Natalie Collier from Project Jelly and was inspired to hear her talk about her fundraising footwear designs. She makes great jelly shoes (I love the unisex Watermelon Rocks colour combination) and 25% of the profit from every pair goes directly to Mencap, a charity which supports people with a learning disabilities, their families and their carers. It's exciting to find someone working with charity in a fun and innovative way, so I asked Natalie to tell us a little bit more about the project...
What inspired you to start Project Jelly? Breastfeeding during the midnight hours and feeling like I needed to fundraise more! It's a long story, but put simply I wanted to challenge myself to make a change and see if I could start something new. Notebooks of ideas and gazillions of hours later, Project Jelly was born.
What are the ideas behind the current collection? The very simple idea of fusing a great children's shoe (made in the UK) with a big fundraising element. We have launched two colours this S/S13. Watermelon Rocks is our unisex red with a neon line sole. It's our bestseller! Who knew that all the cool Mamas were sick of navy for boys? So I'm really chuffed that the unisex red has gone down so well. We also have our glittery transparent Raspberry Mivi, which is very obviously inspired by the ice cream van lollies of the 1980's - YUM! These two will now be our core brand colours with two new exciting colour combinations due to be launched for S/S14. We would love to hear of fresh colour suggestions from our customers, so please send any ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
What materials do you use and where do you manufacture? It's a secret Jelly recipe blend! No, seriously they are made for us in a stunning Victorian factory in Northampton, the home of British shoe manufacturing. We use an injection moulding process based on the original shoe moulds from the early 1980's. Our Project Jellies are homegrown and proudly made in Great Britain. Plus, any overstock gets ground down and recycled into new shoes.
Do you have any children? If so, what is your favourite thing to do with your kids? Yes, two gorgeous Jellytots! Darcy is two and a half years old and baby Jude. Darcy is in shoe heaven and keeps rummaging through for a fresh pair every now and again. I think I've started off a shoe fetish for her like her Mama. They are crazy about each other and on a good day we love to hang out in our local woods and 'find the fairies' or hang with our buddies at Dulwich Park. On a bad day we're chasing around the house singing Mr Tumbles. The family is certainly complete - chaos reigns but it's all adreneline charged fun!
What is your favourite children's book? Mine is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (enough said!) and a very battered copy of The Walker Book of Poems c.1979. Darcy's is Pip and Posy and the hilarious Sarah Dyer picture book The Girl with the Birds Nest Hair.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future? YES!! A neon orange unisex welly boot for A/W13. We want to keep on raising money for Mencap and designing exciting new shoes. We are backed by the British Footwear Association who are helping us to draw up some future plans so please stay in touch and watch this space.