run out of womb

... learning how to be a mum from scratch

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Sick on my suit.... the mum-of-six superstar inventor of Sock Ons (and *COMPETITION*)

When Kezi Levin got married - straight after school - and then embarked on a degree whilst having three babies in three years, "everyone said I would never finish uni, or amount to much - but that just inspired me to prove everyone wrong," the 37-year-old laughs.

And so she has. Now a mum of six, Kezi, who is originally from Australia but has lived in London for almost two decades, is the inventor of a small but brilliant idea that zillions of our babies use daily: Sock Ons. They do exactly what they say they do: keep babies' ever-falling-off socks on their feet, staying toasty.

Here Kezi launches a new Run Out of Womb feature, 'sick on my suit' - where working parents talk about how they do it, and give their tips and advice.

So how do you runs a big baby business - more than 1 million babies worldwide wear Sock Ons - plus other products now include Mocc Ons and Plod Ons too - whilst looking after a big family of six boys (ready for it? they're 17, 15, 14, 11, 9, and 4!)?

Oh - and there's the chance to win a bumper back of baby goodies at the end. 

Hi Kezi. Where did the Sock On idea come from?

"I needed one of my babies to wear formal attire to a wedding in mid winter.. but he was never able to keep his socks on for more than a minute. I was on the verge of putting him in a pair of tights (much to the wild protests of his older brothers) or to just go bare-footed. I was dismayed that no one had come up with anything to solve one of parenting’s most annoying problem!
Necessity proved to be the mother of invention – I cut up a prototype that night and it magically worked! No more lost socks. No more cold feet. No more being told off by well-meaning shoppers that my little boys feet were bare in mid winter and I should really do something about it.."

What happened next?

"The inventing and branding was the easy part. I had a design degree from Central Saint Martins and I love problem solving. The hard part was marketing and trying to break into a very tight market. I spent two years filling patent and design registrations, perfecting the packaging and brand strategy - all being funded by the graphic design business that I was running from home, in between looking after 4 small children!) I should just add that I actually work for relaxation..!"


How did you launch it?


"I exhibited the product at the Kind + Jugend international baby product fair in Cologne as a last- minute entry and ended up winning the gold prize for innovation! This launched us internationally and gave us incredible exposure. With only samples on show I had orders coming in and had six weeks to secure a reliable production line! The beginning  was very stressful but incredibly exciting."

What's the balance of running family and corporate life?

"Family definitely comes first. My office looks like a playroom and I really work around the childrens schedules. I am very blessed to be able to have a job that I love and is flexible in the hours. I work when the kids are at school and when they are asleep.

It's not always easy. I used to call Mothercare everyday trying desperately to speak to a buyer to get our products into their stores. No one would ever pick up the phone but I was very persistent. One day, I had all the kids in the car screaming and by chance the buyer picked up the phone! I tried desperately to sound professional, muffling the noises coming from the back and they said they liked the product. But.. never make important business call with kids in the car!"

What are your top tips to other working mums?

"Children grow up so fast – cherish the moments you have together and try not to wish them away. There will come time when you are not needed as much and try to work around them if possible. Go with the stage of life you find yourself in and find inspiration in each phase."


Competition time!
After inventing SOCK ONS, Kezi's business now also makes PLOD ONS- to protect crawling babas' knees - MOCC ONS - moccasin-style slipper socks - and DRIBBLE ONS bibs. She's offering Run Out Of Womb readers the chance to win one of each - just enter below. 


Like Sock Ons on Facebook for more chances to win great products and be the first to see new product releases!
Visit www.sockons.com for more information.



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62 comments

  1. These are such a fab idea and Kezi is so inspirational! I'd invent some sort of nappy neutralisation spray... Hehe.

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  2. I always wanted to invent a handsfree umbrella for when your pushing a pram but not one that looks like a hat lol

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  3. Something to gently rock the cot to soothe babies to sleep

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  4. a crib that rocks automatically

    ashleigh

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  5. something to clear colic asap!!

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  6. Instant teething relief! That would be a miracle!

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  7. An app to interpret what your baby wants when crying.

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  8. extendable clolthes, they grow so fast!!

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  9. Bsbygrows without so many poppers! By the time you've done them all up the baby needs changing again!

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  10. A nappy that deteriorates so it doesn't take up so much room in the bin

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  11. Some thing that can translator what your baby needs when there crying

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  12. A device to induce sleep - one that ALWAYS works

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  13. Some kind of device that stops baby being sick on you as soon as you leave the house or are out in public :-) x

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  14. A Robot who changes nappies and rocks cradles!!

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  15. I'd like to be able to buy rolls of paper (similar to catering roll) with VERY LARGE tear-off portions (like kitchen roll) that I can spread out on the table when the children are eating and playing then throw it in the recycling afterwards. I would also use it around pets' feeding bowls and litter trays.

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  16. A sensor that tells exactly what baby needs when he's crying :)

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  17. A time stop function, so I can stop the world for a couple of hours to catch up on sleep, get changed into clean clothes, watch a bit of tv, maybe an episode or 2 of The Mentalist :)

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  18. a bib that covered the whole highchair

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  19. Anti crease clothes to help with the ironing!!

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  20. Baby clothes which clean themselves :)

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  21. A toddler catcher to run around after my 1 year old!

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  22. an electric powered pushchair for help up hills :)

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  23. Bumpers on a baby walker, when they catch the back of your heals it kills lol

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  24. rocking pushchair would be fab x

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  25. A Mummy's utility belt with pockets for all essentials you need to hand at any one time (ready-stocked) e.g. wipes, muslin, spare dummy, toy, snack, pretty scarf to cover up mess/vomit on your top ;)

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  26. Something that picks the toys off the floor and hands them back to baby when she decides she wants to play 'Throwing my toys on the floor over and over again'

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  27. A more sturdy cat net or some kind of wooden beamed 'lid' decorated with toys that goes across the top of a cot to help keep inquisitive dogs and cats from jumping in! More just for peace of mind!

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  28. a nappy that tells you when it needs changing!

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  29. a self cleaning house like Mrs Weasley in Harry Potter :-)

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  30. a buggy that talks and tells annoying shoppers to give you space

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  31. It has to be the self changing nappy unit. The day they create something to safely and efficiently change a babies nappy automatically....

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  32. A dummy with air vents so sniffly babies can breath and suck even with a cold

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  33. I would love a self cleaning house, self-cleaning and self-sterilising baby bottles, a baby-gym that is battery powered so that the dangly toys move to keep my little one interested!

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  34. Scratch mits and socks that stay on

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  35. Something that prevents pram wheels getting covered in dog mess! Maybe an easy way to remove it!!

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  36. I saw an article that said "Automated changing stations to become real in 2016", and clicked on it hoping to find out about a nappy changing robot. Unfortunately my tired eyes had misread "Automated charging stations" which was about how you would be able to charge your devices without a plug. My view is that a nappy changing robot would be much more useful.

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  37. I would invent a sleep suit that can sense when a baby is getting poorly and some how alarms if they stop breathing!

    Fab creation by the way! X

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  38. Self cleaning nappies!

    Kelly Ellen Hirst

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