A mum from Sheffield has set up her own global business after a near miss in the kitchen with her daughter and a pan of boiling water.
Kim Johnson designed the FunPod product and her company Little Helper after she found a parenting problem she couldn’t solve.
When Kim’s daughter Aimee was just 14 months old she was helping her mum in the kitchen when she almost had a dangerous accident.
The 48 year old explains; ‘I was transferring the pan from the hob to the sink and Aimee toddled right behind me, my knees gave a little and I nearly dropped the pan.
‘Luckily I didn’t spill it and all was ok. But it made me look for something to keep her safe.’
It was not only this incident that worried Kim, but Aimee’s constant need to be involved; ‘Aimee used to drag a chair over to the worktops to stand on and this was a no-no for me.’
Kim devised a temporary solution because she didn’t want to resign Aimee to watching TV in the next room when cooking is such an important part of children’s learning.
Kim said; ‘Children form their habits and opinions between the ages of one and for years so this is a crucial time to teach children essential life skills that would stay with them for the rest of their lives.
‘I ended up standing Aimee on a small table wedging it into a corner and then surrounding it with bean bags, at the same time becoming a one-handed cook.’
However she knew it wasn’t a permanent answer and over dinner that night discussed the issue with her dad and step-mum.
The idea of the FunPod was born – a device to keep children safe while allowing them to interact with food and be at the correct height for the surface they are working on.
The businesswoman and entrepreneur initially had 120 parents critique her first model, which has barely changed since the initial sketches because it is meant to be a simple device ‘designed by parents for parents.’
The soft launch was in May 2006, then in November British retailer Kiddicare agreed to stock the product.
Having her own business has meant Kim, and her husband Sean, can spend much more time with their daughter; ‘We wanted to make sure that one of us took Aimee to school and were there at the school gates at the end of the day, and with our own business we can do that.’