After months of planning, bringing to life what started as an idea I had inspired by my daughter, we were ready to launch our new storybook and toy character brand, Cheeky Monsters. Then the world paused. As coronavirus shook the world, we went into lockdown and home schooling. As everything ground to a halt, we weighed up the options, checked that our business could weather the storm and decided to launch our pre-school character brand anyway, it was a now or never moment.
Cheeky Monsters is a brand created for children, inspired by children. Kids come up with the most imaginative ideas during their everyday play. Ordinary moments can become extraordinary ones. My daughter Flori has been a constant source of inspiration, she is constantly curious and often asks hilarious questions. With her purple glasses, fabulous ginger coloured hair, Flori has been a joy to bring to life on the storybook page.
As a Mum, I always say “Everyone is different” and the five Cheeky Monster characters, brought to life to keep Flori company, are certainly unique. Their original personalities and appearance celebrate the fact that we might all be different, however we have one thing in common, we are all cheeky!
We created five characters, Violet, Rocky, Spike, Glitter and Drago, all vividly coloured with countless spikes and the occasional pointy tooth, making Cheeky Monsters an inclusive brand, for girls and boys.
Each character takes inspiration from the day to day creative play I would have at home with Flori. Rocky Road Racer for example is based on the school run when Flori would be in her car seat, pretending she was on a race track and speeding round corners!
One of the main things that we wanted to achieve with Cheeky Monsters was to allow a new generation of children to build the fond memories we had as children with our favourite toy or book. With each monster being totally unique and having their own personality, there’s one for every child to cuddle up with to bring story time to life.
The range of topics we cover in the storybooks support key stage learning at school and our YouTube content is teacher proofed. The universal themes of problem solving, friendship, being eco conscious, enjoying the creative arts and being curious about science run through all the Cheeky Monster tales.
As lockdown began, everything changed, that first Spring was beautiful however eerily quiet too in the countryside without school and playdates and the regular normal routine we all took for granted. Lockdown has been an extremely and understandably, tough time for many of us. For me, I found teaching Flori from home to be quite a lonely experience at times, and as an only child it was a bit isolating; I did worry about her connections to other friends and playtime with other children being seemingly permanently paused. However, it’s fair to say that it has brought me some of the best memories and the Cheeky Monsters have played a massive part in that.
Lockdown also meant that everyone went online. As a Mum, I knew I wanted to make home learning fun and accessing good quality digital content was important. So not only did we decide to launch our online shop with the storybooks and soft toy collection, we also created our very own YouTube channel. With videos ranging from the essential “How to Wash your Hands’ to fun animations, monster dances, creative crafts and rhythmic rhyme times. Our goal was clear, to help families up and down the country make learning fun and support schools.
Looking ahead to the future, we would love to grow the brand, to really start working with schools and children’s groups on engaging activity programs and getting our own army of Cheeky Monsters out there, having fun and a little bit of cheeky mischief along the way!
We have some ideas for our second collection launching on the online shop and plan to approach “bricks and mortar” retailers too, the high street has had such a knock this year, we would love to support independents in particular and work with local bookshops and toyshops.
Now we have launched, the real journey has only just begun, and we can’t wait to tell more Cheeky Monster stories and hear from families and schools along the way!
You can find out more about our Cheeky Monsters and where to purchase them at shop.mycheekymonsters.com