Sarah van Zwanenburg, The Jelly Rabbit
Tell us about yourself?
I am Sarah van Zwanenburg, owner of The Jelly Rabbit an online children’s party boutique. I live in West Norwood and have two children, Noah aged 8 and Violet age 3.
What is Jelly Rabbit and why did you set it up?
I have wonderful memories of childhood birthday parties thrown by my own mother featuring carousel cakes, picnics and hedgehogs arriving in the garden to help me celebrate (I kid you not, I was convinced she had arranged it) and wanted to create the same memories for my children. Birthday’s are a magical thing when you are small and I found it hard to find the things I wanted to make the parties even more special, it seemed to require a lot of tracking down and thinking about as no one else had put all the fantastic things you can find in one place (it was costing me a small fortune in postage). After doing several parties for my son, his friends' Mummies liked it as much as the children and wanted to know where I had found everything.
I am from a creative background and the desire for doing something to add some sparkle to children’s parties without it being too Disney or predictable, turned into The Jelly Rabbit. I am hoping the website gives time-poor Mummies, who would like something a bit different and creative, somewhere to get all the bits they might need. It is an ever evolving thing more ideas and creativity to come and building up a lovely customer base who like the extra sparkle. We love a good party!
How do you balance running it with motherhood?
The Jelly Rabbit is a fledgling business so having two children and trying to start it up has been interesting! I am not adverse to a bribe or two to keep small people quiet especially while I am on the phone (Violet loves a good chat so I have learnt to keep the phone near me not her! I have found her chatting to a few suppliers) and it is very handy having ready-made testers for all the toys and bits, you really find out what works and what does not!
What do you love about SE London and particularly being a mother here?
I love that West Norwood is feeling like a little community but you can also jump on a train and be in central London in 15 minutes and get your fill of culture, fashion and food. I had no idea that having children would have been a door to making the most wonderful friends who I know are going to be with me until I am old and (more) wrinkled. I have met some incredible women who inspire and support in our little pocket of SE London.
Finally, can you share a secret top tip for other mamas in our area?
After having a baby who refused to sleep unless he was on the move I spent a lot of Noah’s early years wandering around West Norwood Cemetery! Sounds morbid but it is one of the most peaceful, interesting and can be uplifting places I would never have set foot in if it were not for him. Go and have a look, the overgrown older section is rather wonderful in a Miss Haversham sort of way and great for putting your life in perspective.
Sarah has kindly offered an exclusive discount of 15% if you quote 'mamarabbit' which runs out 29th May 2015. so if you have a party coming up, go go go!