There are plenty of reasons to love Bubble brand, Project Jelly. For one thing, they're responsible for some of the most gorgeous jelly shoes and wellies around - and, for another, they're entirely home-grown. Then there's the fact that they donate 20% of their profits to children's charities... We caught up with founder, Natalie Collier, who told us more about her remarkable mission...
Natalie and son, Jude
Natalie, why did you decide to found Project Jelly? And why jelly shoes?
Ha! It's a very long story
of many silly ideas, but essentially it was a mission to fund-raise. I had a long standing love for JuJu Jellies
and wanted to start a business with a BIG fundraising heart. After winning the
MD of JuJu over with my plans and designing my first collection of Limited
Editions, I started the business 14 months ago and signed up for Bubble London's
summer show. Its then been a fast paced roller-coaster of good fortune and lots
of hard work! We have just signed our first distribution deal for most of Asia
and will see our Project Jellies in high end stores - including Lane Crawford, Galerie
Layafette and Harvey Nichols Asia.
Were you surprised by the success Project Jelly enjoyed after debuting at Bubble London?
Honestly, YES - but the biggest surprise has to be the cult
status we have achieved in Asia in just a few months. Taiwan sold over 1000 pairs of our Jellies in a few hours at launch. They love our 'giving story' and premium British jellies. The love affair with 'Made in England' is such an
important USP, particularly in Asia right now.
What's been the highlight so far?
Ah, unashamedly it has to be the Invitation to No.10 Downing street last
May. I presented Samantha Cameron with some of our Project jellies for her
daughter, Florence, and had the privilege to share my charity initiative and
business idea with her.
Some of you in the industry already know that my toddler
son, Jude was diagnosed with a disability, SPINA BIFIDA, in January this year. It was
heartbreaking and I honestly considered giving Project Jelly up - however we got a fast op
date from Great Ormond Street Hospital and the 'rock star' neurosurgeon
performed a rare operation to help Jude's symptoms. Jude will be attending
clinics and further operations every few months through his childhood. I owe
GOSH everything and it feels only right to support them next year along with
some local charities. My long term ambition is to set up a Foundation Trust and
help children's charities in every country we launch in.
Jude and friend
If you had one piece of advice for someone looking to launch a charity initiative like Project Jelly, what would it be?
Do it ! Don't be
afraid to voice your ideas to anyone that will listen. Secondly, seek out a mentor; there is so much
to learn, and the Childrenswear industry is full of amazing, creative and friendly
people. Special mention to The British Footwear Association and Department of
Trade & Industry, who are also incredibly supportive.
We're seriously inspired by Project Jelly's remarkable story - are you?