Melissa Hyslop, Founder and President of Malarkey Kids – FUNctional Products for Kids, launched the first silicone teething mitten, the Munch Mitt in the year 2015 after three years of research and assessment. Mommy & Baby Times (MBT) interviewed Tanya Bragg, PR, Events & Social Media Manager with Malarkey Kids about the product range and the factors which have been integral for the growth of the brand.
January 07, 2019
MBT: How did the idea to start the brand ‘Malarkey Kids’ germinated?
Tanya Bragg: Our flagship product, The Munch Mitt was created by Melissa for her first-born son. He was unable to hold a typical teether at 3 months old; therefore, he turned to his hands, or her hands (when available) to teeth. Sometimes Melissa would have to sit and hold teethers to his mouth for hours! In addition to this, her son had sensitive skin. All that saliva on his hands caused them to get hard and dry. His skin would crack and sometimes even bleed (especially after his front teeth cut) and he would still chew his hands. When traditional teething products weren’t proving to be that helpful, she decided to create something new and innovative than what was available in the market.
MBT: Kindly elaborate a bit on the Munch Mitt and the product range offered by the brand.
TB: The Munch Mitt is a fun, functional and convenient teething solution that protects baby’s hands from chewing; prevents the constant dropping of teething toys and aids young infants in accessing pain relief easily. This sensory teething mitt consists of a food-grade silicone teether, a stimulating visual pattern and makes crinkly sounds. Turn it over and the Munch Mitt can be worn on whichever hand is preferred by baby. Further, toss it in the washing machine for easy cleaning for mom and dad! And since then, the Malarkey Kids product line has continued to grow with three new products!
• The Buddy Bib is a NEW 3-in-1 sensory teething toy and bib! It provides a unique combination of a detachable and lovable plush sensory toy, which holds the teether (that can be replaced with baby’s favorite pacifier) and a soft, absorbent/reversible bib. The plush sensory toy can be affixed anywhere, making baby’s teether, or pacifier, accessible to baby while preventing it from being dropped or lost. Much like its sister product, the Munch Mitt, bold patterns, bright colors and crinkle sounds provide added sensory stimulation while the soft, absorbent bib keeps baby’s skin and clothes dry. When the Buddy Bib gets drool-filled or dirty, simply throw it in the washing machine for easy cleaning!
• The Chew Cube is the NEW modern-day rattle. With its soft corners, geometrical design and beautiful colors – the rattle has gone from cheesy to classy. Offering four-way sensory stimulation, the Chew Cube features flexible, textured edges that soothe tender gums; black & white pattern and mirrors that provide visual stimulation; a rattle that offers sounds to stimulate baby’s hearing and a modern geometrical design that helps build baby’s gripping strength. The Chew Cube can be affixed to baby or stroller using paci/toy clip.
• The Munch-it Blanket is a convenient teether and cozy blanket for baby. Designed in fun yet functional shapes to target baby’s emerging front & eye teeth as well as early molars. The teether is made of soft, flexible, BPA-free food-grade silicone. The soft, fabric blanket is for baby to snuggle and absorbs excess drool from chewing/teething.
All of our products have been rigorously safety tested; this means they are BPA & Phthalate Free plus they made from 100% food-grade silicone.
“The key strength of Malarkey Kids is our workforce which constitutes of mothers only… We all very much complement each other and help out each other in various tasks.”
MBT: Would you like to mention something about the future developments?
TB: With regard to future developments, we are going to make an entry into the feeding market very soon probably by the next year or so about which we are really excited and are looking forward to.
MBT: Tell us something about the strengths of your company.
TB: The key strength of Malarkey Kids is our workforce which constitutes of mothers only. Since the company has been started by a mom, so, from the very beginning, the founder has only employed moms. The work timings are from 9 AM to 3 PM that has been decided according to the suitability and convenience of our employees. So, what we do is we like to drop our children off to schools and then join work in the morning and when we leave; we can go straightaway to pick them up. And if the baby of any employee is unwell, then she can bring the kid to our workplace. Our team is a tight-knit group of women who share extremely cordial relations with each other. We all very much complement each other and help out each other in various tasks.
“The current global market presence of Malarkey Kids is in about 52 countries… The quality and originality of the products speaks for themselves and we are really hopeful to sustain the name that we have made for ourselves.”
MBT: How would you describe your design and development process?
TB: Melissa had designed ‘Munch Mitts’ herself when her baby was teething. It is quite amusing that she had started working on this product with the assistance of a shoe cobbler as he was the only one who could actually get the pattern and do the sewing in the kind of material that she had chosen. We now have a small team of competent designers who work on product design.
MBT: Share some details about your manufacturing and global market reach.
TB: Our manufacturing facilities are located in China and the quality-assessment teams are constantly present at the factories to ensure the maintenance of the standard and quality of our products. We surpass all rigorous relevant standards that assure the safety of our products and that we keep up to the standards globally.
The current global market presence of Malarkey Kids is in about 52 countries. The major market for us is the USA as there are over 5000 stores that sell our products in the USA alone which is an incredible feat. The quality and originality of the products speaks for themselves and we are really hopeful to sustain the name that we have made for ourselves.