Do you love the idea of a beautifully selected craft box dropping onto your doormat to enjoy with your children? I do! So I am excited to introduce you to Debbie and her company Squidgydoodle.
Debbie sent us a Winter Wonderland craft box to review*. You can find them on her Etsy shop here. The boys are delighted and absolutely love it. I confess I am very taken too. The notion of them using the materials to create their own impressions is something that I am passionate about. No child is a carbon copy of the next and thus their ideas are not either. Squidgydoodle accommodates for this in every craft box that Debbie lovingly puts together.
The box has a variety of suggested craft activities. My boys chose to start by making the snow, closely followed by the Snow Shake Collage and Tissue Paper Trees. As you can see, they had great fun in the process!
These boxes are such a lovely idea, and I was interested to learn more about Debbie, and her thoughts behind her business. So, over to Debbie…
Hi Debbie, can you tell me a little more about yourself?
My name is Debbie Denyer, I live in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire with my partner Lee, my two daughters (6 and 3 years old) and our chocolate Labrador.
What is your background?
My background is pretty varied! After Art College I studied Product Design at University. When I finished my degree, probably much to my parents despair, I volunteered in Nepal, teaching English as a Foreign Language. I ran some art classes at the school I worked in and painted murals in orphanages whilst I was there. Feeling inspired by my time in Nepal I gained my teaching qualification and taught in England, then Greece. I returned to England again, but as a result of some temping work, moved into Business Improvement, which became my career.
What would you like people to know about you?
I’m known for my crazy curly hair, love of adventure and vodka, lemonade and lime, which is apparently what student’s drink. I’ve just never grown up!
What might they not already know?
I don’t own a hairdryer; although this is probably obvious to anyone who does the school run!
Do you have any hidden talents?
I used to play the Saxophone. I think I was inspired by Kenny G. We had similar hairstyles at the time!
What do you think you’re really good at?
I’m a creative person. I love coming up with fun and innovative ideas for the craft and party boxes. I’m passionate about there not being a right or wrong way to create. Children have these amazing imaginations, which aren’t restricted by boundaries. So I try to come up with ideas which capture their curiosity and imagination.
Who inspires you?
Anyone who has got a passion and gets on with it! I get a buzz from talking to people who are passionate about something. It doesn’t really matter what it is, I just like seeing the sparkle in their eye when they’re talking. I get swept up in their energy and go home feeling really motivated. I often go to networking events, or meet other mum’s in business to chat through ideas.
What do you do for fun?
I like finding places to go and things to do as a family. I also love travelling and can often be found with a rucksack on my back and a child on each arm, exploring a country we’ve not been to before.
What are your hobbies?
I like trail running with my partner and we’ve recently got into races with obstacle courses. I have no desire to be electrocuted whilst crawling through water, under a barbed wire tunnel! I will happily throw myself down a water slide face first, crawl through a giant ball pool and jump across a river with the aid of some rubber rings though!
The kids like coming along to watch and laugh at us. They’re signing up to do one next summer.
What’s your favourite thing to do at the weekend?
My perfect weekend includes a long dog walk with my family and friends, ending in a pub lunch.
If someone gave you £1, what would you do with it?
I’d probably put it in my pocket and then end up using it to buy milk! We eat a ridiculous amount of cereal in our house! Ideally I’d like to think that I’d give it to charity though!
Why did you decide to start up a business?
My husband died very suddenly, from cancer, when our daughter was 5 months old. When I returned to work after maternity leave I felt very torn as I didn’t get to spend much time with our daughter. I’d fallen into Business Improvement and although I loved it, I felt that I could find something which used my business skills and art background. It wasn’t until I met my partner Lee and had another daughter that I finally decided to launch my business.
How did you come up with the name?
With difficulty! I’ve recently re-branded and wanted the name to capture the art and sensory nature of the business. So Squidgydoodle was born! In my head my logo character loves creating and lives in the Land of Squidgydoodle, where everything is a bit squidgy. He packs up some of the weird and wonderful Land of Squidgydoodle and sends it to you to enjoy!
What made you focus on craft and party boxes for children?
When I first launched the business I ran art and sensory workshops and parties. Parents were saying; they wished they could do more creative activities at home, struggled to come up with ideas, didn’t have all the art equipment they needed and wanted imaginative activities which their children could do themselves. In response I’ve created the craft boxes.
I made a few party boxes for people when I wasn’t available on the date they wanted a party. The feedback was great, with customers saying how easy it was to just set out the pre-prepared activities then watch the children have fun. So I decided to launch party boxes too. They’re a great alternative to a hosted party, as they’re cheaper and all the hard work of preparing activities and sourcing materials is done for you. They even include themed party game ideas, top tips for running a party and table/floor coverings.
Do you design them all?
Yes! My children test all the activities first and give me their feedback. It does mean that my house is a permanent art workshop though!
How do you source your products?
I spend hours scouring the internet. The tricky part is finding materials that are small enough to fit in a standard letterbox sized box for the craft boxes! It’s something that was really important to customers when I asked them though.
Do you have a favourite box?
Winter Wonderland is my favourite craft box, because I love how you create the snowstorm collage by shaking pasta in the box. I also like that you can create your own snow scene in your box afterwards. The Superhero is my favourite party box, as I like splat painting the villain and saving the people from the slime!
What are your dreams for Squidgydoodle?
I’d like to get to a stage where I can give something back through Squidgydoodle. I’d like to support a charity that provides art therapy for children.
What are the next steps for your business?
The next step is raising awareness of Squidgydoodle craft and party boxes. I’ve only recently launched the boxes, so I’m keen to know what people think. If they could tell their friends and family about Squidgydoodle too that would be great!
Be sure to catch up with Debbie on social media or visit her online store to see her complete range.
*N.B. Please note that I received the craft box in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own. You can find out more by visiting my disclosure page.
This post is part of my Christmas Gift Guide 2017