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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chewelry - A Must Have

Check out my interview with 35 year old mother of three and principal owner of Kid Companions, Pierrette d'Entremont. This kid-friendly "Chewelry" has an unique use.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I attended The University of Ottawa in the Health Sciences, Human Kinetics program. Also I am a jewellery designer and Accredited Jewelry Professional.

For the past ten years I had run my own company, Bijoux Pierrette d’Entremont Jewelry Designs. With the birth of my children, another concept started to take shape. Babies like to tug and chew on anything they can touch. In a world full of hazards (keys, metal jewellery, glasses, watches etc.), I wanted something to amuse my baby or distract her, mostly while in Public. I didn't want her to be covered under a nursing cover all the time either.

I needed it to be many things, including safe, effective and socially responsible. The hunt was on. With the support of my husband, my babysitting mom (a retired elementary school teacher) and a few key interested individuals, we developed a two-part pendant and a custom breakaway clasp. This process took a while. We called it the HeartString Companion.

How did you come up with the “chewelry” idea?
One day I noticed how my 3yr old with Tourette’s Syndrome appreciated a clay heart pendant I had made for her teething sister. As I watched, it struck me that my 3 year old could chew and fidget discreetly while my nursing infant could tug and teeth to her hearts’ content. After a few comments from parents, phone calls to child healthcare professionals and fruitless product searches, I realized that other parents were looking for such accessories, especially for their special needs children.

Explain the Chewelry and the benefits of it and why Autistic children need it.

Our journey to design and get Kid Companions on the market began in 2006. It meant creating something that was chewable and tuggable while still being “cool” enough to blend in. Finally, we had a solution….a durable, colorful, non-toxic pendant that was safe to chew on…something that could help any child be him/herself, anytime, anywhere. We called it the HeartString Kid Companion.

Occupational Therapist recommend Kid Companions to Special Need children, often those with ASD, as an oral- motor tool. As a chewable accessory, the tool addresses the issues of inappropiate biting and chewing and helps those with Sensory Processing Disorder.

Children with ADHD are unable to inhibit the impulse to move around; it is not because they do not want to it is because they cannot. Therefore, Kid Companions allows discreet fidgeting to help these hyperactive children to focus better. Also the strong jaw muscles are a great way to use pent-up energy by chewing to stay on task.

Are Kid Companions fashionable?
With time, needing to belong to a peer group becomes more and more important. That meant creating something that was chewable and tuggable while still being “cool” enough to blend in. The heart and circle shapes and lanyards in their choices of colors worn as a necklace or clipped to clothing is discreet but yet fashionable.

What ages do you make Kid Companions Chewelry for?
These chewy fidgets are appropriate for all ages, especially now that we have three color choices of our circled shaped Kid Companions that appeal to tweens and teens.

What are they made of?
The Kid’s Companions give parents peace of mind. Since our products are developed for infant use, we wanted FDA approved, North American sourced/made and socially responsible materials. THAT was a tall order, but we did it! We have followed ASTM standards and have passed the new (and future) CPSIA 3rd party testing. We have our 3rd Party Certificate documenting the safety standards met. We even keep a record of all MSDS certificates from our suppliers. These are the unique features of Kid Companions and its’ safety features:

A custom breakaway clasp will release and can be re-attached with ease - a feature that guards against strangulation, even at play.
18” or 20″ necklaces (lanyards) are made with washable rayon/cotton that is dyed with safe non-toxic dyes. Soon we will offer a more durable non-dyed organic cotton lanyard.
Pendants all pass small parts test and are actually around 2” to eliminate any possibility of choking
Pendant and clasp materials are medical grade, BPA/phthalates free, Lead free, Latex free and Cadmium free.
Everything can be washed!! (Pendants are even dishwasher safe).
How has the response been so far?

We are focusing our efforts on selling online from www.chewelry.ca Five days a week we ship Kid Companions to many parts of the world via the postal system. Also Kid Companions are sold in Special Needs stores and web sites in Canada, the US and Australia. For example they are sold at Got-Autism, Pediatric Safety and Special Needs Toys Australia.

Anything else you would like to add?
Let’s chew and fidget safely and fashionably!

You can find us and read about by following these links:

http://www.chewelry.ca/

blog: http://kidcompanions.blogspot.com/

pierrette@chewelry.ca

lorna@chewelry.ca

twitter: Chewelry4SN

twitter: PAdEntremont

twitter: lornadEnt

Facebookpage: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Kid-Companions-Chewelry/282403565744?ref=ts

The Coffee Klatch: A virtual cup of coffee with parents of special needs children. Monday - Friday 9-11am EST Wednesday 9 pm EST Marianne ~ Elise ~ Pierrette ~ Jane

4 comments:

MommyToTwoBoys said...

I am so happy you wrote about this!!! My son, ASD, is having massive chewing sensory issues. He eats his shirts and has his hands in his mouth all the time. We have a few chewy tubes, which definitely do the trick, but they don't go with us everywhere. And if they do, then they don't return home! They are too expensive to be losing.

So I asked his teacher what she recommended and we were looking through a catalog and found this chewelry. It is perfect for my son! I will be ordering ASAP!

Sandie Lee said...

Great!
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment :)

Sandie Lee

Marianne Russo said...

Pierrette is an amazing woman - so glad to know her. She really is an inspiration and has designed a safe and well needed sensory solution

Anonymous said...

Thanks for an excellent interview and amazing choice of photos. Thanks for making everyone aware of the long journey it sometimes takes to bring a product to market. We probably have not heard the last of Kid Companions and Pierrette. Lorna

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