Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Feature Post: Interview with Zubky

I was recently given the chance to do a review of the teething/nursing necklaces by Zubky. I was able to learn quite a bit about the shop through Natalie, who creates the necklaces with her family, and I appreciate the time she took to share this information with me. Natalie and her husband are passionate about their products and their family, so I thought it was important for everyone to be able to read about their shop. Zubky is currently sponsoring a giveaway on my site, so please be sure to check out my review, as well. (I will be posting the review and giveaway later today--so please check back!)

How Zubky Was Started

Waves Nursing Necklace by Zubky
Basically, my daughter, McKenna was a pinchy, hairpuller and couldn't stay focused while nursing AT ALL. I was committed to nursing her until at least the one-year mark and knew that I had to do something or we weren't going to last. I was thinking about getting a nursing necklace and when I saw the prices for them, I thought it was a little pricey. Being a crafty mama, I thought I could make much nicer ones for a lot less than companies who outsource to China and mark up the prices. I loaded up my baby and went to our local craft store and I dangled a bunch of the pendants in front of her and found that she LOVED this one (the first baby approved design :), so I bought it and some silver cord and beads and went home to build my necklace. It worked out really well, so I went back to find another one, and then another, and then another... It was a fun thing to get out of the house and do with her so I really enjoyed it. My friends loved them, so I made some for gifts, and then after a few times of being stopped by someone wanting to know where I bought my necklace, I decided to make some and sell them online in my husband's Etsy shop (he was selling cornhole boards on Etsy under TheWoodChucksWood).
First Necklace by Zubky

How the Price-Point was Determined

I wanted to make sure the nursing necklace pricepoints were fair enough that any mom who wanted/needed one, could afford one. Many of our nursing necklaces cost less than $10, for that specific purpose. We also participate in many charitable organizations by donating our products to La Leche League fundraisers and other non-profit groups promoting natural parenting and breastfeeding awareness.

Why the Zubky Teething Necklaces Were Created

Then, when my daughter hit the teething stage, Chuck, my husband, made her some wood rings to chew on and she LOVED them, but soon learned how fun it was to throw them on the floor and then go up and down as I would pick them up when I was wearing her. (I personally think it was because I was wearing her in my Moby wrap and she liked the ride up and down to the floor - haha - She's a smart cookie!) It just made sense to tie the ring on a necklace cord like my nursing necklaces, but it seemed too plain with just a wooden ring. I spent a week working on designing a way to add beads and knot them onto a single strand that could attach to the ring in a safe way that wouldn't easily break. Finally, my rainbow bead knot creation worked and looked good. That's how "Stephen's Legos" - the original Zúbky teething necklace design - was born. (As a side note: Our youngest son, Stephen, is obsessed with Legos and the colors on the black cord just reminded me of his Legos I'm always stepping on, so I named it in that manner.)

I wanted a few other bright colored necklaces to grab her attention, so I designed a few more. One had to be girlie with some pink in it, and since she's my only girl, I named it after McKenna... that one is McKenna's Marbles. I put a few up on Etsy, and they sold out so I made more, and have had tremendous response ever since. I've gotten some great feedback about how babies just love them, and I know firsthand that they do... I wear one all the time when I'm home with McKenna. 
McKenna's Marbles

As she's gotten older, aside from chewing on it, she really likes shaking it around like a rattle too. It's like a fun, chewy toy for her that I don't have to pick up all the time. :) My husband actually designed one for her that has a large bead on a single string and she absolutely adores it at this stage.

How the Materials For The Necklaces Are Selected

We have always tried to use natural things with the kids... wood toys over plastic... organic fruits and veggies over conventional... cloth diapers over disposable... etc. When it came to the teething necklaces, I wanted to make them as natural as possible. We started using organic olive oil to polish the finished rings, and then eventually came up with a natural beeswax polish recipe. We source our beeswax from a local lady who doesn't use pesticides, antibiotics, or chemicals in or around her hives. I always try to source locally.

I knew that although the sensory beads in the middle of the necklaces wouldn't really be in the babies' mouths, they should be colored with lead-free paints for safety. I searched for a supplier with verified lead-free painted beads and purchased from them, even though it was at premium pricing... You have to pay a little more for quality sometimes... And to make the beads even more natural, my husband and I came up with a way color them with food-safe ingredients. We use 100% safe, food-grade ingredients to dye some of the beads and rings and love the way the colors come out through that process.

The Inspiration Behind the Designs

We like to create two different styles. There are fun, playful designs with vivid rainbow of colors that babies just love; and there are more subtle designs that are stylish enough for moms to pair with an outfit. Believe it or not, my husband designed one of the most popular designs, "Autumn Leaves" ( He's a very stylish guy and has really shown that he has an eye for designing, and he impresses me every time he comes up with something new. He tends to put the more subdued, natural colors together and I usually am behind the bright color combinations. It's funny how that works out because his personality is mellow and calm, and I'm the crazy one... you can definitely see the difference in our design work! He looks to nature for his designs, and I am inspired by the playful side of things. 

Who Creates the Necklaces

2011 was a crazy year for us. Chuck got a ton of custom cornhole board orders and I had necklace orders rolling in left and right. This meant that he spent most of his time working in his shop, and I spent most of my time in the house with the kids. We really enjoy the time we spend TOGETHER so he decided to shut down the custom cornhole listings and focus on the necklaces with me....We get the kids involved in the design process too. The boys love to sit at the table with us and put together different color combinations. Before we list a new design, I always test it out on McKenna, our daughter, to make sure it's interesting enough to catch her eye and hold her attention.

Where the Zubky Name Came From

As we begin 2012 with a new focus, we wanted to rename our effort to tie more appropriately with our products and we came up with a name for our new shop: "Zúbky"... It's a tribute to my heritage. Zúbky means "teething" in Slovak and my paternal great grandmother was an immigrant to the US from Slovakia. Every now and then, I will use a Slovak word to name a new design too. I think that adds some fun to it.

To view Zubky's products, please visit the website or the Etsy Shop.

You can also become a fan on Facebook and join the mailing list to stay up to date on all of the new designs!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...