The “love local” series focuses on local, proudly South African individuals, making waves in their
industries. Breaking boundaries, creating empires and being the best inspiration of locally produced/manufactured products.
Meet Kelly-Ann Gibbon. The founder and creator of “Party Playdough” is the beginning of an empire. Kelly-Ann creates unique party packs especially designed for childrens parties, as well as the cutest mixed-media/ educational playdough sets. She has won two awards through “MommyMall”, last year walking away with winning the “Mompreneuraward” and this year being awarded the “Naomi Butow Business Excellence Award”.
Read on below to find out more about Kelly Anne and her career journey thus far…
Tell me more about yourself and what you currently do?
I am a full time working mom 🙂 who loves her job. I qualified as an oral hygienist from the University of the Western Cape in 2005, and was awarded the Golden Key international Honours
society award. I really really loved studying and if I ever get the chance I would love to study dentistry. I work in private practice currently along side a dentist, we see clients everyday and provide great high quality service. Our clients are everything to us. I run a recall system which means I am responsible for recalling our patients on a regular basis to maintain their oral hygiene and healthy mouth all year round. So from 8-3pm I am a oral hygienist but then I magically transform to a mommy and playdough queen after working hours 🙂 I love being active so I am quite sporty, I’ve run a handful of half marathons and love training. I also do pole dancing as a sport as well as sup boarding.
How did “Party Playdough” come about?
As a mom, I have catered and planned many parties for my kids. It’s lovely but there is a lot of
sugar that is involved in party planning. Professionally I am helping my clients avoid the effects
sugar can have on their teeth and I think it’s only fitting that I came up with a Sugar-free party
pack don’t you think 🙂 It’s really a educational and fun twist to our usual sugary and unhealthy
sweetly loot bags we have so frequently handed out. I make handcrafted Playdough, specifically
tailored to your party theme. Glittery or plain, and in any colour under the sun 🙂 I’m always up for
a colour challenge 🙂 so far it’s been a beautiful journey. I pride myself on the fact that my dough is
NON toxic and super soft, with NO harmful preservatives or chemicals. I use a natural preservative
, being salt. So if your child takes a little bite out of their Playdough biscuit they so delicately created don’t stress please! Apart from Party Packs I supply mixed media sets too. These are Playdough sets with a theme attached to it. I have many, dinosaurs, silly spiders, under the sea etc. They have been a massive hit and I love creating new themes, currently I’m busy developing a few more which will blow your minds. These sets are aimed at imaginary, educational play, to inspire your child to explore and just have great fun all while improving their fine and gross motor skills.
What was your first job and how did you progress to this?
As most people, I started off as a waitress at spur 🙂 I had to earn some extra moola and progressed to
more academically challenging environment as I realised I needed to further myself. As time passed I became incredibly interested with the idea of being in the dental industry and gravitated I
suppose to where I am today. I really love children and I enjoy my job.
What have been the highlights?
My highlights? There are many.. the birth of my business in 2015, winning the “Mompreneur
award” last year, this year being awarded the “Naomi Butow Business Excellence Award” at the
Cape Sun hotel. My online shop is active and I’m very proud of this development, thanks to my wonderful friend Nelia Smit who designed this for me!
Working hard and really being elevated by these awards surprises because it lifts my spirit to
continuously aim higher and work on my business ideas everyday!
What’s the best part of your job?
Best part….. hmmm.Thats a tricky one but I’d say I pour my heart and soul into my orders so when I get messages and pictures from very happy mommy’s and little customers I smile from ear to ear,
be a use their joy is my joy !
What is the most challenging part?
Time management is a big issue for me why are there only 24 hours in a day. Why cant a supplier
be open at 11pm when I run out if stock 🙂
Describe a typical day in your life.
I feel horrible writing this, because my morning are chaotic but here we go.Wake up at 5:30am,
prep school clothes and lunch boxes, I then organize breakfast for everyone. (I’m addicted to tea so I’mprobably on my second cup by 6am 🙂 ) get everyone up with their breakfasts waiting and inspire them to move it along…. eeeeek the clock is ticking….. I’m always stressing about traffic. Make myself semi decent and try remember to brush my hair. I’m always rocking a mommy bun, not sure I even know where my hair brush is? Fight traffic into town, start up my surgery, I see my first client at 8:15 am. I work straight through till 3pm and jump into the car to collect my monsters from school, juggling school meetings/sports practices/my business orders and queries in between all this chaos is hard, but some how I have mastered the task…. or at least I think I have. We eat a nice warm meal together every night, that quite important to me and discuss our days because if we don’t, I have no clue what is going on in their little lives. My kiddos go to bed at around 7:30pm and that when I start admin work, and my orders. It’s more often than not a very long day for me as I put my head down at 1am. It sounds more crazy than it actually is, I can’t imagine my day being any less hectic to any other mommy out there, but that’s my routine in a nutshell.
We love to break routine, there’s nothing more dangerous than getting stuck in it, so weekends we are All up.early, breathing in the fresh air, eating brekkie on the beach and catching some waves and sun rays, skate boarding or having adventures around us in our beautiful city, you only live once right?
What are the “secrets” to your success?
I sometimes wonder myself but if I carefully think about it, I’d have to say my passion and
dedication to my quality control because in my opinion, having handmade goods can either be a
success or just overlooked. I wanted my dough to really stand out and be special, something every
mom wants to order for their kids. I am quite particular with finer details so I focus on those as I
really feel it and it sets your product apart from the next one. My Playdough is Non-toxic and
handcrafted, specifically tailored for every order. I pride myself on high quality finishes and
beautifully packaged, to create a-wow- factor….
How do you balance being a wife, a mother, all while running a successful business?
So this has been a constant worry because there is only so much you can do. I would not call myself blemish free in this department….. I think I’ve made enough mistakes along the way to realise that as soon as you feel you have a sense of balance in this department, life will come along and totally throw it out of sync…. but to be very honest the answer is to do your best, and have a good support system. Call on those favours, drop the kids off at granny so you can go for a run around the neighbourhood and don’t sweat the small stuff. I’ve burnt many a dinner dish because I’m juggling too much.
What is your dream for Party Playdough?
I dream that this business Will continue to grow from strength to strength and be a constant form
of joy to children all over the world, because yes, even though I’m rooted in the mother city, I have
packs travelling all over the world. Canada, Amsterdam and the USA! I want the playdough love to
travel far and wide and I hope my kids will draw inspiration from my hard work and always know
that what I do, I do for them and their futures.
Currently I’m in partnership with adventure clubs, gazoome play center and bash in Cape Town. I
am their resident Playdough supplier. Negotiations are underway to be in a few wimpy and
Colcacchio stores in the very near future and start branching out even more…
I am the ultimate “Party Playdough” fan and her mixed media kits are amazing! To learn more or order your own Playdough or Mixed Media sets visit www.partyplaydough.co.za
Ill be giving away one lucky reader TWO mixed media sets of your choice!
Simply make sure you are following and have liked, Party Playdough on facebook and Instagram and comment below on what your dream “mixed media set” would be.