It's funny how big things sometimes happen without you realising how big they are at the time...
I'd met a new partner, which meant my little single parent family (that had comprised of me, my 6 year old son and my 5 year old daughter,) had now grown to having FOUR small people every weekend.. The bedroom situation needed to be addressed!
Thankfully, his two matched in to mine quite well; his son was only four months older than mine, and his daughter was a year younger than my own.. In the house we lived in, bunk beds were the natural solution to fitting everyone in.
And so we went shopping..
With bunk beds sourced, ordered, delivered, and erected, we thought our problems were over. And we were 50% right.
My daughter had the box room, which didnt fit a normal length bed in it. In the end, there was only one website that offered the kind of bed we wanted, in a size we could fit into her room. We decided on a high sleeper rather than a bunk bed in the end; thinking we could trundle a bed underneath for her stepsister when needed, and then she'd have more playspace if she could also use the footprint of her bed the rest of the time. The unrealised bonus of her bed was that her ladder had wide, flat, diagonally sloping steps, so they were comfy enough to climb. So, in her respect, we'd done good.
The same could not be said for my boy.. For him, we'd bought one of those bunk beds where the top half is a single bed, and the bottom is a sofa that pulls out into a double futon. Again, we'd figured that the futon would solve his stepbrother's sleeping arrangements, and the rest of the time he could use the sofa as somewhere to sit, play, watch tv etc..
The problem was, his ladder was almost vertical, and made of the same stainless steel as the rest of his bed frame. The rungs were thin, tubular, and hurt his feet when he climbed them. These rungs served only to shorten the novelty value of sleeping up high, and we soon found that he was wanting to sleep on the futon rather than the top bed, as the rungs hurt his feet. Not liking the thought of the top bed going unused, I started thinking about what I could do to improve the comfort of those rungs.
At first it was the obvious, like wear your slippers til you get up and then put them back on when you come back down. But if you know kids, you know that takes far too much time when they've got something they want to be doing!
Then I hit the internet. Surely someone else had come across this issue before me, and there was something I could buy to fit to his ladder. Suprisingly; it seemed not. Apart from a couple of forums where people suggested a few DIY projects, there was no actual product you could buy ready-to-fit. Not one to be beaten, so began several months of using my patient son as a veritable guinea pig!
I already had an idea of what to use as the padding; years earlier, I'd used the same stuff round the edges of our sharp-edged, square coffee table after my toddlers had banged their heads on it one time too many.. The hardest part was getting the padding to stay still. I spent hours staring at shelf after shelf in B&Q, searching for a clamp or a fixture that would do what I needed. The problem was, not only did nothing really fit the bill, but anything even close to what I needed was expensive. It was time to think outside the box.
And so several prototypes later, I had an inexpensive and very effective way of securing them, using only stuff I'd already had at home. The last hurdle was making them look a bit prettier, but fabric was quickly found as an answer to that problem. And so I'd solved the problem of his rungs, at long last!
And for a while, that was the end of it. His rung covers held firm, he no longer shyed away from sleeping on the top bunk, and that was that. But parents of kids who'd been round for playdates started to ask me about them at the schoolgates, having heard their kids rave about these coloured things that my son had on his ladder. Turns out, they were having the same problem I'd had, and wanted to know where I'd got mine from.
Before I knew it, I was making them for those mums too. And then their friends. And then THEIR friends. It gradually dawned on me that I had created that 'ready-to-fit' product I'd looked to buy myself, right at the start of all of this.
And that, ladies and gents, is how this site came to be! Now, I sell these all over the world, all made by hand, exactly the way I made my own sons (whose prototypes are STILL going strong to this day!)
Like I said, its funny how I never realised that solving the issue of my son's sore feet would lead me here. But with so many customers taking the time to send emails personally thanking me for their order and telling me how great they are, its nice to know my rung covers are making a difference, no matter how small or obscure!