The latest installment of ‘handmade with love’ introduces Vicky, the brilliantly talented lady behind cdbdi.
Vicky creates beautiful, original, personalised soft toys from lambswool and having been very kindly sent a dragon for Jack and a frog for Phoebe, I have been totally blown away. Vicky’s attention to detail is impeccable and they really are ‘heirloom soft toys’ that are built to last for generations to come.
Both the dragon and frog, came with personalised scrolls which was a lovely touch, and Jack was especially excited that his dragon will ‘protect him in his sleep, keep him company and guard his bed when he’s not in it.’
The cdbdi range includes elephants, frogs, dachshunds, dragons, rabbits, duck billed platypuses and super cute shrews in a variety of colours and all can be personalised with a name embroidered onto their waistband, scarves or tummies. They have been a huge hit with my two and I can guarantee that Vicky’s gorgeous soft toys will brighten up your home.
Name: Vicky Light
I slightly regret this name as everyone asks ‘ why cdbdi?’ My husband and I thought of it after a glass of wine too many, thought we were geniuses and had cards, domain name etc all set up before I realised people found it confusing. It’s also a nightmare to say on the phone! Anyway, it stands for ‘see the beady eyes‘ because they all have large eyes and actually it does seem to stick once you know!
Tell me a little bit more about yourselves:
I’m very lucky to have found something to do at home whilst bringing up our two boys. My husband has also been incredibly supportive both emotionally and financially as anyone knows it takes a while for a small business to get going. My constant companion and shadow is Noodle, our mini wire-haired dachshund. She and I have just updated our cdbdi shop on etsy with all things dacshundy.
Describe your business in one sentence:
Designed, personalised, British soft toys and gifts handmade with love in London.
When did you start your business and why?
I started the business when the boys were 2 and 4 because I couldn’t find any British made, non mass produced dragons for them. They are now 16 and 18 and still have them, although not in their beds anymore!
What did you do before you set up cdbdi?
I was a chef for a firm of solicitors in the city but after having the boys gave it up. As has happened to so many mothers, the expense of childcare and travel meant that I was bringing home £1500, so time for a change.
Did you face any challenges setting up your company?
Just the usual challenges of juggling the boys/home life and keeping up with orders.
What is a typical work day for you?
I love what I do so I try and do all the stuff that I really don’t want to do first thing in the morning; washing, tidying, food shopping etc so that I can start work at ten. The boys come back from school at 5 so I stop then but usually sew or stuff toys in front of the television in the evening.
Describe your creative space:
I work on the ping pong table when everyone has gone to school or work and listen to the radio with Noodle curled up beside me. The boys aren’t happy with me as I’ve made small pin prick marks all over the table which makes the ball bounce funny, I’ve told them that it makes for a more interesting game, they’re not convinced!
Who and what inspires you?
One of the first toys I made was a shrew, inspired by my favourite book as a child ‘Shrewbettina’s birthday’. It’s a gorgeous book with no writing just illustrations of Shrewbettina and her amazing birthday party.
The other people that inspire me are my fellow Notonthehighstreet.com partners. They are so creative and supportive particularly the south London crew !
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
The most exciting thing business wise was when Designers Guild started stocking my toys and also being asked to join notonthehighstreet.com
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Family first, make sure your product is high quality, believe in it, work hard and keep at it.
Have you always been creatively driven?
Yes, my family is very creative, my mother and sister are both artists so we have always drawn and sewn at home. I used to design and make soft toys out of off cuts from Mum’s clothes that she made.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I’ve just made a reindeer for Christmas that is exclusive to Notonthehighstreet.com I’m really pleased with him as he can come with a personalized wooden heart that you can use as a tree decoration too.
What has been the most interesting or exciting project you’ve worked on?
I’ve just taken part in the Campaign for wools wool week which is helping to promote the versatility, sustainability and longevity of wool as a material. They created a wool b&b full of beautiful wool products and included my toys in the library. I’ve now been allowed to use their logo which is a really lovely mark of quality.
In terms of your work what couldn’t you live without?
My wool is very special. The yarn is from Denby Dale in Yorkshire, it then gets sent to the lovely Mandy in Stroud who knits it into great long streams on her knitting machine. She sends to me and I wash it , dry it and iron it, this creates a soft, thick and long lasting material ready to make my creations. The colours from them are amazing, I try to keep to just a few but always seem to buy new colours .
What do you love most about what you do?
I love being able to work from home, it’s very flexible so if the boys are ill or it’s the holidays I’m here. Also I can live in a world of dragons, dachshunds, duck-billed platypus etc, what’s not to love ?!
What are your business dreams?
I would like to be able to delegate a bit more and get some help with the making process, it would always be in England but I want to make sure that every toy is perfect; I’m a bit of a control freak I’m afraid !
When are you happiest?
When I get a lovely review from a customer or a photo of their child with one of my toys.
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In addition to this lovely interview, Hello Baby has teamed up with Vicky to offer one lucky person the chance to win a beautiful personalised soft toy of your choice from her website.
For your chance to win, comment on this blog post, telling me which soft toy you would like if you win AND fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. Full T&Cs are below.
- Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding anyone professionally associated with Hello Baby Blog or cdbdi.
- The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
- The prize draw starts at 12am on 7th November 2016 and closes at 12am on 30th November 2016.
- Entry is free and must be made by commenting on this blog post AND filling in the Rafflecopter widget. Entrants can gain bonus entries by visiting Hello Baby on facebook, @hellobabyblog on Twitter, tweeting about the giveaway, following Hello Baby on instagram, following Hello Baby Blog on pinterest, following cdbdi toys on instagram, visiting cdbdi on Facebook and then completing the Rafflecopter widget featured in this post.
- The name of the winner will be published on this website within 14 days of the competition closing.
- Hello Baby Blog’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.
- By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by the competition terms and conditions.
- Hello Baby Blog reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and / or winner in its discretion and without any notice in accordance with these terms and conditions.
- Once the winner has been selected at random using Rafflecopter, I will inform Vicky and she will be in touch to discuss your choice of soft toy. Cdbdi will accommodate all requests within reason but if a specific colour is not available as requested, an alternative colour will be offered and cdbdi’s decision is final. I’m sure this won’t happen but I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post or arriving late.