We are 2 working Mums – passionate about promoting Role Play for the older child. We both had children that wanted to continue the ‘lets pretend’ experience without the stigma of it being deemed ‘babyish’ by their peers. They wanted to take role play to the next level by feeling that they were playing ‘for real’.
And when one of our daughters asked for a “grown up Teachers pack just like the one that they use in school” we set about designing one from scratch. From there, orders started to flood in from friends and family as there wasn’t anything like it available on the market and it was then that, over a cuppa in a supermarket café, we decided to take the plunge and look to offer our packs to the wider market. And from that moment, as the product has developed, our enthusiasm and passion for it has grown.
We knew we were on to something good when within our first 4 weeks of trading, we received recognition from industry leaders. Firstly the Jacqueline Gold WOW award and then closely followed by winning a National Award from Toy Talk in the Best Role Play Toy 2014 category.
Hi… I am the Creative Brain in Wannabees and have always loved creating wonderful “make believe” surprises for my 2 beautiful daughters Madeline and Imogen who inspire me every day. I currently work full time in Property which is a far cry from the children’s toy market so each and every step has been a VERY steep learning curve for me and I am enjoying every moment of it!
Hello… I am the Business Brain in Wannabees as am much more at home with marketing plans, facts and figures than fonts and colour palettes! I am also a Mum to 2 wonderful kids, Amy and Sam, who I am incredibly proud of. Taking the leap into setting up Wannabees was driven by watching my son battle and ultimately beat cancer… if he could do that at his young age then I certainly could at least try to be even half as brave!
As a result of Sam’s treatment he spent much of his time in bed with his older sister then 6yrs entertaining him with books and games. This is where our Doctors pack would work brilliantly, not only for the little patient to have fun whilst also taking away the “scariness” of their new world but also for their siblings to feel “important” and “included” in the journey.
Throughout the year we will be selling our Wannabees Doctor Role Play Packs which will be giving back to a charity of our choice.Retailing at the same price (£14.99 RRP plus p&p), we will be donating to our chosen charity partner for 2018/2019; the children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent.
“When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health.
Cancer doesn’t discriminate. Today, 11 more children and young people will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. From diagnosis, CLIC Sargent’s specialist care teams will step in, ready to help, support and guide. We provide a specialist package of support tailored to each young cancer patient and their family.
CLIC Sargent will fight tirelessly for children and young people with cancer, often when they feel they can’t. We do this individually, locally and nationally, so that they can focus on the important things, like getting well. And if the worst happens, we will work with bereaved families to get them support, to help them cope with their emotional pain.”
— COLLETTE BROWN, CLIC SARGENT
Over the years our own children have enjoyed many hours creating pretend schools, restaurants and hospitals and we have been keen to encourage it. However, as they have grown we have watched as they spent more and more time on electronic solutions and using less time relying on their own imaginations for stimulus.
We actively encourage time on electronic platforms as that is the world they are growing up in and it is imperative that they learn how to use technology safely and responsibly however we were keen to find a solution that would also encourage them to continue enjoying role play long after they had outgrown the toys that are currently available on the market.
We don’t claim to be “educational specialists” by any means but have spoken to many who are and this has driven our passion even more. Here is an email we received from one such specialist Caroline Howett Assistant Head Teacher BED Hons, Specialist Leader of Education and Early Years Consultant, about our packs:
“I have used Wannabee role play packs at home with my own children who are now aged 11 and 12 years, as well as using them with the children I teach at school. The packs provide a framework which enables children to develop their own ideas and play experiences.
Imaginative play has many benefits for children of all ages. Emotional development, social development, language skills, self-esteem, empathy and the ability to take and manage risks are all supported through engaging in pretend play. Children learn how to deal with their own and others feelings and how to communicate their own ideas clearly. Role-play involves negotiating, reading social cues, decision making, sharing, caring and taking turns.
Through using Wannabee play packs my children have spent hours engrossed in developing their own imaginary environments which has replaced sedentary play on digital technology. I strongly believe that through providing high quality role play resources, I am giving my children the best opportunities to develop into happy, healthy adults equipped with skills to deal with the demands of the real world”
Pippa and Lynne meet for a cuppa in Sainsburys café and make the life altering decision to create the WannaBees range
Original Teachers pack designed
The whole design is scrapped and re-started from scratch due to astronomical safety testing costs
Miss Flower, Dr Bumble and Mrs Honeycomb, the WannnaBees characters are designed and brought to life
Website is launched and Teachers and Doctors packs go on sale on Amazon
The first Teachers pack is sold
WannaBees is awarded the WOW Women in Business accolade from Jacqueline Gold CBE
WannaBees is awarded Best Role Play Toy 2014 in the Toy Talk awards beating off some huge market leaders
First Doctors pack is sold
First press coverage in Chester Chronicle
Our first Toy Fair at Olympia
Filmed for Dragons Den with wonderful feedback. Two of the Dragons absolutely loved the concept but felt it was just too new for investment – oh well better luck next time!
First packs being sold through Independent Retailers
WannaBees hits Liverpool for the Toytopia toy fair
First Cafe owner packs is sold
Commendation received from Early Years Foundation Specialist
WannaBees Lifestyle photo shoot
Bumper Christmas sales and a real turning point for the WannaBees team
WannaBees is featured in Good Housekeeping Magazine
New website designed
The Good Toy Guide lists Wannabees role play packs as a ‘Recommended’ toy!