What do you do PomPom?
PomPom sells imaginative and unusual toys, gifts and homeware for babies and children.
We are proudly and 100% PLASTIC-FREE! You read it right, you will not find a shred of plastic in any of our designs or packaging.
Everything you find on PomPom meets 3 crucial criteria:
- Beautifully designed
We will never compromise on this.
We hand pick items created by brands that love design and creativity as much as we do.
Each is then tested on children.
It doesn’t matter if something looks great – does it work? Is it fun?
And let’s face it, kids know fun! The designs we sell need to be loved, used or played with again and again.
Why no plastic?
Plastic is harmful to the environment, ourselves and children. It leaches chemicals. It never biodegrades.
90% of the toys on the market are made of plastic. At the end of its lifecycle, only 18% of plastic in the UK can be properly recycled. The rest goes to landfill or dumped into our oceans.
Every year we each swallow a credit card's worth of plastic. Microplastics leach into our water systems and our food. When plastic is sucked, for example, water bottles or toys, micro-plastics enter the body.
We don't want that for any child!
You will find wooden toys for kids, raffia toy baskets, organic felt kids rugs, recycled cardboard wall decorations, sugar cane building blocks that look like Lego! Go and explore all that is not plastic!
Who set up PomPom?
Hello one and all! I’m Cecily (pictured above on the right) and this is Katherine. We are the founders of PomPom, old friends who want a world free from plastic.
We met at university, trotting late to lectures and much too late home. We shared hopes, lectures and Kit Kats. We have a collective love of travel, books, theatre, art, and the environment.
After uni, we both went on to big, international jobs set against the backdrop of design (Katherine) and art (me). So it is with an artistic eye and sharp professionalism that we created PomPom at the (kitchen) table.
And why plastic-free toys?
Having children really sparked off PomPom – we realised quite how much colourful plastic had amassed in our lives and would continue to do so if left unchecked.
We were contributing to the world's plastic problem.
However, avoiding plastic is hard.
Finding good looking and long-lasting plastic-free options takes effort, energy and time.
As new parents, we had very little of either. We realised, if we were struggling to do the Right Thing by the world, we weren’t alone.
Luckily Katherine was struggling too, and wanted to do something about it.
The emails, whatsapps and phone calls started … and just never stopped!
We made time. We shared tips.
We tested what worked, what didn’t, what would break, scrape or get mould, on our children, on our families and friends.
Our extensive research is unparalleled.
We created a shortlist all the best choices for children, keeping life original and imaginative.
We could make the plastic-free choice easy, fun and look fabulous!
You love it, your child loves it and the environment wants it.
We are the first plastic-free shop in the UK dedicated to kids!
How green are you really, PomPom?
We try to be as green as we can be, as a business and personally. Nope, we are not perfect, and yes my lunch will appear in a Tupperware but as a business, we take every eco-friendly step towards establishing real change.
Our toys are plastic-free but we also use :
♻️ Recycled cardboard boxes for PomPom packaging
🍂 Biodegradable sticky labels
♻️ Brown tape, rather than plastic tape
We donate annually to the Marine Conservation Society, who work tirelessly in protection of our UK shores and seas, in the fight against plastic.
Most plastics cannot be recycled, so they end up in landfill and in our oceans, destroying our eco-systems. MCS have their work cut out for them.
In 2000, we donated £780 to the charity and we hope we can better this every year.
We believe that small changes have the biggest impact, "But it's just one plastic toothbrush" says 3.8 billion people. Few live wholly plastic-lives, we can all make tiny swaps in our daily lives which can change the world.
From wooden toys to bamboo toothbrushes, from reusable bags to beeswax wraps.
What has been your PomPom highlight?
Last year, alongside selling other people’s products, we launched our first design, our PomPom Climbing Triangle UK.
This indoor climbing frame is the world’s only foldable climbing triangle with 3 adjustable heights, so it can grow with the child. Loved from 6 months – 5 years old, it goes on being fun for years. It is the only toy that outlasts the pram.
It instantly folds up and can slide behind or under a sofa. It transforms a living room into a playroom and hides away by night.
Katherine: I love it because children reinterpret it, in so many more ways than just a climbing frame. It is a pirate ship, a catwalk, a reading den, a horse, a car track, a clothes rack and that gives it longevity in a way that other toys don’t have. We fully expect it to be passed down to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren!
Cecily: We designed it during lockdown. We wanted to support British businesses and we have proudly done that. Our carpenter in Newcastle has now expanded his premises to 10,000 sqft from his 1,000 sqft workshop due to our orders. We worked with Edward Bulmer Natural Paint (fabulous, toxic free, plastic free paint) for our colourful version, the palette chosen by the UK award-winning interior design duo, Salvesen-Graham.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE POMPOM CLIMBING TRIANGLE.
Is it fun to work with a friend?
Katherine: Yes! Before PomPom, ours was a friendship based on our university years of carefree fun and the excitements and failures that come with being a grown up for the first time. PomPom has maintained and matured a relationship based on who we are today.
A little light Accounting with a strong gin and tonic please!
If you know someone very well, you understand their way of working and sense of ethics. Our shared sense of what is right and fair plays out through the business, in our approach to plastic, wages, customer service and of course, each other.
Cecily: We talk daily and our personal lives inevitably come into that. There is someone on-hand, who needs no catching up, to share Netflix recommendations, non-judgemental parenting advice, births, deaths, nit removal, money worries, recipes, medical emergencies and activist movements. You name it, we have probably covered it!
What are you most proud of?
Cecily: I am so proud of us, really proud. I am proud that we created something out of nothing. I am proud of how much we have learnt, how much determination and grit has taken. I am proud of our families who listen to the rollercoaster ride of sales, proofing newsletters, packing boxes, posing for Instagram!
I am proud that we won the 2020 and 2021 "Let Toys be Toys" Award for challenging gender stereotypes. There is no 'blue for boys' or 'pink for girls' nonsense anywhere on our sites. Let kids be kids is our motto!
Katherine: I am proud that we were able to give a sizeable donation to the Marine Conservation Society, who work tirelessly in protection of our UK seas and shorelines in the fight against plastic. I am proud that we are contributing to help free the world from its reliance on plastic.
Can we speak?
While we are proudly a small business, we believe our products and our customer service should be world class … And that includes the ability to answer the old-fashioned telephone!
Of course, we email too but give us a call any time, Katherine particularly enjoys a chat! We would love to answer your questions or let us know what you are looking for.
We can make gift suggestions, talk through toy designs or just have a natter!
If you are ever near Saffron Walden in Essex, give us a bell and drop in for a cuppa – green for Cecily, builders for Katherine!
Cecily Henderson & Katherine Rhodes
Telephone: 01799 252055
🍃 100% plastic-free
🤸 Stylish, unique and fun for kids
🐋 A proud donor and partner of the Marine Conservation Society