Reinventing the bib
Skibz founder Helen Bristol on her stylish way to tackle dribbling
How did you come up with the idea for Skibz? My children, Isobelle 14, Florence, 12 and William, eight were all real dribblers as babies. When I couldn’t find anything stylish to help them stop ruining their clothes, I decided to create a solution myself.
I started making Skibz in 2004. The name Skibz comes from ‘half a scarf and half a bib’.
What was your first design? The first design I came up with was an Old English pink flowered pattern. All the original designs were based on traditional fabrics. There was also a dark green gingham design, based on the kitchen tablecloth!
Where do you get your inspiration? I keep a look at for what trends and colours are around. When it comes to designing, I just doodle around with different patterns until I come up with something I’m satisfied with.
What’s the biggest compliment anyone’s ever paid you about Skibz?
I was in a baby boutique that sold Skibz and I overheard a mother saying that she didn’t know what she’d do without them.
And aside from Skibz, of course, what were the essential pieces of kit for you as a parent? Anyway Up Cups and Grobags.
Where do you live? We live on a dairy farm in Somerset – the farm is actually owned by Sir Cameron Mackintosh. My husband milks 230 cows and we all help out, especially in the summer getting the cows in. We also have two working collie dogs that help get the cows in and keep them in order while they are in the barns. My son Billy likes to help clean and feed the calves. And the farm is a great place to run the business as the tractor comes in handy when loading pallets for international orders.
What are your favourite things to do as a family? We don’t have many day trips as Andrew is very tied to the farm, but we often family and friends over. There’s always so much to do here.
Can you tell us about some of your plans for the coming year? We have some fantastic new Skibz coming out, not only new fabric designs but also with a new look. I can’t wait to show them off to everyone!
Where did you grow up? What was it like? I grew up four miles down the road in a neighbouring village as I am also a farmer’s daughter – my parents still live there now. The farm where I grew up was very similar to our dairy farm – rolling green fields, black and white cows and a farmhouse down a long track.
What were your favourite things to do as a child, and how do you think this has influenced what you do now? I was always making things and I think that is the reason why when my babies dribbled instead of putting up with it I went off and made something that solved the problem.
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