I have to confess, I'm a lazy person. I have been my whole life. Ask my sisters, they'll back me up.
Don't get me wrong, I'm ambitious to a fault, with grit for days. But there's nothing I like less than dedicating my precious time and energy to pointless, repetitive daily tasks. What a waste of a life. I'd rather give that time over to my kids. Or, better still, claim it for me. The only thing worse than wasted time and energy is waste of resources. Products that only serve a short time, or fail early, or aren't fit for purpose, or are far too specific and are almost immediately obsolete. What a true personal and ecological waste!
Design is a verb, an action in response to a problem we're confronted with. I set about tackling all this wasted time and resources. Because to know me is to know how much I love a system, a short cut, a life hack. That's how this all got started....
Parenting Problem Solver
With a background in architectural design, over the years I have become specialized in process analysis and efficiency. Identifying potential for optimization, however minor, is at the heart of the work. That critical perspective played a huge part in the product development.
Time and its scarcity and value as a resource are front of mind, even more so since becoming a parent. In short, time is worth so much more than money.
The two main challenges were how to create a 'yes-space' for my children to be their messy explorative selves. And equally, how to better preempt and manage the fallout from monotonous, exhausting recurring household tasks
Hours and hours of product analysis, textile samples and research later the connection with our manufacturer in Korea was established. That partnership was the turning point, as it was clear from the outset how ambitious they were and are for the quality and functionality of this innovative new material. They are incredibly proud of huske as it is their first product line within Europe, although they have a long-standing reputation for quality silicone products in Asia.
Like all the best product stories, it started with a very personal need.
This huske product range is a personal problem-solver that emerged out of the confines of the pandemic. Daily life was consumed with balancing seemingly relentless and repetitive household chores. We were also preoccupied with the endless challenge of keeping my two toddlers entertained indoors, without depending on screens. Beyond that, my youngest was just getting started with weaning, so the clean-up from one meal seemed to flow into the prep for the next.
All my sons wanted was a bit of play time together, yet the laundry pile didn't ever seem to diminish. It felt like an ongoing check-mate. When kids are small the quality of your home environment is everything, it's where you spend the vast majority of your time.
It's a series of interlocking spaces that have to respond to very different needs. On the one hand, the living space is a haven a place to decompress and shake off the day. Yet, during the day it has to function as a rough and tumble play space for little ones.
High performance soft-textured material
Huske brand DNA is grounded in the belief that both functions can co-exist. Adult spaces don't need to be compromised my a child's needs or vice-versa.
Which means, no playmats with gaudy frog prints on them, no designing down for children. But rather a minimal high-performance tactile underlay for play, which allows the toys themselves be the focus. The mats are designed to support and enhance sensory perception and not overstimulate.
The role of texture, colour and the sensory perception of a space are just as important for our well being at any age and stage.
Huske products celebrate the transformative power of colour and texture to enhance our surroundings and ignite immagination.
Ensuring quality production
Originally from Ireland, I have been living and working in Switzerland for over 10 years. Life in Switzerland has had a strong influence on my perception of quality and sustainability. Consumer culture is remarkable here for the emphasis on production transparency, supporting local where possible, and most importantly choosing well and buying once. The decision making is more focused on premium materials over the perception of luxury. Brand values are more important than any marketing kudos.
Huske products are built to last. They're designed to be used and reused over the scope of many years, with their functionality limited only by your imagination.
The textile has a Korean Eco label, which means clean production, with no off-gassing or odors. It's also certified Oekotex 100/1, which is the highest possible standard for babies. The core materials are sourced within Korea and produced in small batches by a medium sized manufacturer with an impeccable track record. I am very proud to stand over this ongoing collaboration and partnership.
I was just as important to me how and where our products were made as the performance of the mats themselves.
Three brand tenants
The mats should be an agent to reduce stress and overwhelm, a calming element in any room. When researching and designing the line, the non-negotiables, staying true to my core instincts, was that the mats should be
- As simple as possible, and no simpler
- Minimal impact, high performance. Taking up as little space as possible, where necessary folding out of sight and mind
- Joyful, an ageless celebration of colour and texture
Much more to come
We are just at the beginning of our brand development, with lots more permutations and problem-solving products in the works. It wouldn't be possible without the overwhelming and continuous support we have received from customers thus far, and for that I am eternally grateful. We are always open to further input, so don't hesitate to get in touch.