Home Business Eco-friendly Yummikeys rings the changes with keepsakes for mums

Eco-friendly Yummikeys rings the changes with keepsakes for mums

Monthly sales have tripled since lockdown for the primarily online business founded in 2018 by mother-of-three Elspeth Fawcett and based in Aberlady on Scotland’s east coast. Now on course for a £1million turnover this year, Yummikeys’ sets of sensory rings, keys and feeding necklaces cater for newborns up to toddlers. Made of cutlery grade stainless steel they strike a particular chord with today’s parents, many now aware that 90 percent of toys end up in landfill and keener than ever before to reduce the plastic they buy and then discard.

Stainless steel contains up to 70 percent of recycled elements and considered part of the circular economy.

As well as cooling sore gums, Yummikeys’ chemical-free products that are designed in Scotland and made in China, are fully recyclable and independently safety-tested.

With 10,000 of these potentially preventing 600 kilos of plastic toys going to landfill, trends already apparent among customers have become more sharply defined recently, says Fawcett, who original concept was inspired by losing the family’s car keys after her son was playing with them.

Unable to find an entertaining toy substitute, she recalls: “When I first thought of the keys, stainless steel water flasks were being recognised as more eco-friendly and I made the connection. It took a year of planning before the formal launch.

“No one else in Europe designs and sells stainless steel baby products. We had to overcome a lot of wariness at first, but eco-conscious millennials are having families and companies with visible founders and a plastic-free focus will do well as we enter a new era.

“For us, our established position online also helped as more people are spending time this way and our business is in a market that is a fundamental part of life. Irrespective of the pandemic, babies continue to be born and teething happens.”

The company, whose aim is to be carbon neutral by December, employs two part-timers as well as Fawcett and has a supply network of other local firms.

Investment, beginning with £15,000, has been all in-house with a considerable chunk going into the safety testing. Dentists have also pitched in their expertise at the design stages.

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Customers, 90 percent buying directly from the website, include those from Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

“Keeping full control has meant slower growth, but our start-up costs were low and we’re very agile,” adds Fawcett.

The company works with an artisan engraving business in the Highlands and has found demand for personalisation increasing to 30 percent of its YummiNecklace range, worn by mums as a calming distraction for babies at feeding time.

This was the trigger for its latest piece, the £45 Ultrasound Necklace, where the £45 pendant’s elegant, silver or gold plated disc is engraved with a baby’s personal scan image copied from a photo a customer uploads to the website.

“It was time we did something just for mums and this is it,” says Fawcett, “their unique keepsake.”

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