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Its A Cuddlefest with Cuddledry!

By 8th February 2015

One of the products that Looby Lou had on the TMBaby hit-list when we arrived at Harrogate’s Baby Fair last March was the Cuddledry Apron Towel.  She had been given one as a gift when Skye Daisy was born and loved it so much it became one of her ‘go to’ gifts for new parents.

When we arrived at the stand to find not just the Apron Towel, but a whole range of gorgeous bathtime and poolside items we were sold! The toddler towel has been a huge hit on #TMBaby and as I type we have four Apron Towels winging their way to some brand new babies and their parents!

Cuddledry designers, Helen Wooldridge and Polly Marsh, shot to fame after appearing on BBC’s Dragons’ Den. The two mums, who were inspired to make the Cuddledry after watching their husbands struggle at bath time with slippery babies, made a big impression on the Dragons’, especially when they decided to turn down several offers of investment.

This week it was announced that the Original Cuddledry Apron Towel has won the Mumsnet Best award for the EIGHTH year running! Listed as the no.1 Gift for a newborn by Mumsnet the Cuddledry baby bath towel has secured this coveted award for 2015. 

We caught up with Polly and asked her to tell us how things have been since THAT trip to the Den nine years ago, how they juggle a business and kids and how they feel about nailing the most sought after award in the UK for the eighth year running!

“I’m a mum to three gorgeous (Most of the time J) girls – Maddy aged 9, Sarah aged 7 and Reya aged 5.  They do loads of different activities after school so after a full day working for Cuddledry, life steps up another couple of gears at 3.30pm as we dash around the region to meet various deadlines to get different girls to different activities with the right kit!

All parents will understand this!  I am married to my husband Marshy (or Nigel to grown-ups) who runs a sports hospitality company and we live in Quantock Hills, Somerset, with various chickens, dog, cat, fish – we are a happy, very busy, family.  Helen also has three gorgeous kids – Rosie (11), Jake (9) and Jasper (5).  Helen is married to Craig, and they live in a village on the other side of Somerset called North Cadbury.  She leads an equally manic lifestyle working all day and night juggling family with work and other commitments.  

The rest of our team of working mums (we do have one man on the team) are spread all over the south of England from Kent to Cornwall, all of us working from  home, achieving an astonishing  workload in the 5 hours between school drop off and pick up.  No one has a real idea what busy really means until you become a working mum.

Helen and I have known each other since we met in a bar at 8am (it was part of the officer training corps Manchester barracks  – Territorial Army for students J).  We shared a Bloody Mary and made friends for life - that was 25 years ago!  After university we went our separate paths, travelled, had careers, got married, had children…. and meeting infrequently along the way with a dozen other very close friends from the same peer group. One such occasion was my daughter’s first birthday party eight years ago.  Helen and her family, along with several other friends’ families, were staying at my house.  The children were all between 3 and 13 months old and all had a bath together after tea, which the dad’s were in charge of.  All us mums chatted and watched, amused as all the husbands struggled in exactly the same way as we always did – trying to hold up a towel in their teeth or under their chin, whilst simultaneously trying to pick up a slippery, wet baby. Most towels (and most dads) ended up soaked, as the babies cried to be cuddled warm and dry.  All the mums said the same thing happened to everyone they knew - Helen and I agreed if only there was some way the towels could tie around the adults neck, then all these issues would go away.

We spent two weeks searching for something online (we never dreamt for a moment that there was nothing out there already) trying to find this “apron style” towel, to no avail.  After the shock of discovering there was nothing out there to suit our needs (and everyone else’s needs as by then we had asked everyone we knew and everybody said it was the same struggle for them at bathtime), we decided to make one. 

So, there followed a couple of hilarious trials with us cutting up sheets to find the best design, and using a teddy as a demo baby….  until eventually we settled on the simplest design – which is still the same one we have today.  Easy pull release on the shoulder so parents can safely hold baby at the same time as undoing the poppers (no fiddling behind the neck or waist, juggling baby with one hand), no other unnecessary straps or attachments to complicate things or make life difficult.  We made it big.  Massive in fact. It’s the size of an adult bath towel.  That’s why it lasts and lasts, as opposed to regular baby towels which only last a couple of months. It’s simple; you pick up baby and cuddle them dry in your arms.  Everyone is happy. ”

It is super easy - Check it out here! 

We asked Polly about their reasoning behind the fabric choices; we love bamboo and see it everywhere now but back then it wasn’t being used nearly as much.

“First of all, we made it double layered for two reasons. 

1-    to ensure parents stay dry

2-    to trap air/insulation so it’s super warm for babies to snuggle into

Then we decided to make it using bamboo blended with cotton for several reasons. 

1-    It’s super soft and does not go rough like cotton towels can – great for babies skin – and it’s warmer too. 

2-    Bamboo is 60% more absorbant than cotton so perfect for drying hair and skin – no need to rub, just cuddle.

3-    Bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial so great for newborns.

4-    Bamboo is the most sustainable crop on the planet so it’s eco-friendly too”.   

There is nothing but great things to say about this towel – it’s simply a must-have item for all new parents.  As well as their eighth year running with Mumsnet, Cuddledry is now used by tens of thousands of parents, endorsed by celebrities and recommended by midwives and maternity nurses worldwide. It has won over 40 prestigious awards and is recommended again and again as the number one baby bath-time essential.

The range also now includes adorable toddler dress-up towels, toddler bath ponchos and robes, swim towel and swim poncho, SPF poncho towels. You can buy them all right here on TMBaby.

Polly commented on all of this;

“We are of course delighted when we hear feedback like this.  We would love every parent in the world to be aware of how good Cuddledry bath towels are for babies, and for their parents.  Word of mouth and users who constantly buy Cuddledry towels as gifts for all their friends is superb.  We have such a strong fan base and it’s great to hear so much feedback from parents writing in to tell us how Cuddledry has made their life so much simpler at bathtime.   

We wish we had loads of money for more advertising and promotions though, as there are still a lot of parents out there who have not heard of Cuddledry towels, and it’s sad because they are really missing out. We aren’t ruthless business women, and we want to retain that work/life balance always – babies grow up too quick and we don’t want to miss out - but we truly want to make all parents benefit from the happy memories and the simple bathtimes that Cuddledry can offer, so thanks for reading this and spreading the Cuddledry word!” 

Here’s a couple of our fave celeb mums and their opinions!

“Cuddledry have thought of everything, it clips around the neck to free up your arms for picking up your bubba and drying them in a flash, before you know it baby is all snuggled up in the cuddly side. Fantastic invention, why didn't I think of it first" - Zoe Ball

“I’m so glad my mum bought a Cuddledry for me, it’s the best thing anyone can buy for a new parent.” Denise Van Outen

Our February Cuddlefest! You can WIN a Cuddledry Toddler Dressing Up Towel on the #TMBaby Competition page this month. And do please check back to find out how Mrs M, Jo, and Tracey get on with their newborn babies and the Cuddledry Apron on our Parent Tester section next month! Find Cuddledry on TMBaby here.

Now, how to convince Polly and Helen to make ROAR in an adult size....

Love Nic and Looby Lou XX

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