Why we Run for Water - what WE get out of it

This year we will be running in our third Run for Water in Abbotsford BC, on May 25th, 2014. The Run for Water is a great event for the whole family. My Son has ran with us the past two years and my Daughter ran last year for the first time as well! Now, you may be wondering what the Run for Water is really all about? Do you get a nice big bottle of water at the end?

3 small changes for 2014 that have changed our lives

For 2014, Ron and I wanted to make a few time saving changes to make our lives even more enjoyable, and by this I mean simply cutting out a few things we do not like doing and replace that time with something we do enjoy. We also needed to free up some time, since our kids are at the ages where they are very demanding of our time. Yes, I hate to break it to you parents of babies, toddlers and preschoolers, but the tween years aren't much less demanding of your time.

Screen time is often encouraged at our house - here's why

Are iPods, iPads and other mobile devices good for kids? The short answer, in my humble opinion, is yes! I am a Mom to a 12 year old boy and 9 year old girl. My husband and I happen to pride ourselves as good parents and we are ay-okay with iPods and iPads among other tech devices in our house and around our kids. In fact I probably shouldn't admit this, but we own an embarrassing number of Apple devices for 5 people in our household (2 MacBook Pro's, 3 iPads, 3 iPod touch's, 5 iPhones, 1 iPod Nano and 2 iPod shuffle's...I don't think I'm missing any, but maybe...) and guess what?!

8 ways to donate to Ron's Mo Space for Movember

I know I already blogged about this whole Movember thing, but so much has happened since then. Ron's Mo Space has gone platinum (raised over $1000), we have launched our moustache items online, and a few companies have even started their own fundraising just for Ron's Mo Space!

Ron becomes a Mo Bro for Movember - introducing his page and our line of Movember Moustache items and gift sets!

We love November Movember. Here's the three main reasons we we love this month:

  1. It's the one month of the year that we get to travel far and wide to various beautiful cities around the country to sell our hand crafted leather goods. This year you can find us at Studio Fair in Prince George, Art Market in Calgary, Make It! in Edmonton and the One of a Kind Show in Toronto, ALL in the month of November! 
  2. It's the month of the year that our online sales are consistently the highest each and every year. Since our products make great gifts for people of all ages and our gift services kind of rock, we always have a crazy busy month as Christmas and gift orders are rolling in like no other month! 
  3. It's MOVEMBER! In case you havn't heard, it's the month of the year, formerly known as November (not really, but kind of) where men grow their Mo (slang for moustache) in support of men's health! Ron, my awesome husband and business partner has officially become a Mo Bro and he is counting down the days until he doesn't have to shave anymore. I'm making sure to enjoy his smooth face in the meantime.

We will donate 20% of NEW design sales to Ruben's Shoes!! + why our new collection was 1 year overdue.

PART 1: Ruben's Shoes - an organization we believe in:

I want to start off by saying that giving back really is a feel good thing and it's something we have plans to do a lot of. If you haven't tried it, do. You will not regret it. After having a hugely successful month with 20% of sales for our 4 Royal Bib designs going to Children's Wish, we decided to run a similar charity offer around another organization that we believe in. This time, 20% of sales for ALL OF OUR NEW designs - bibs, change purses, card holders, etc. will go to

The Story of our NEW Leather Placemats

We had a vision quite some time ago to create something that we felt was a need on the market, much like when we had the idea for the first ever leather baby bibs, now famously known as Mally Bibs. This vision was for something just as practical, easy to clean, beautiful and unique as our bibs, but possibly even better as it was for something the entire family would use. We had this vision back in 2009 to create - you guessed it - leather placemats. We actually made up a few of these leather placemats and sent them to product testers to get some feedback along with a number of other items (change purses, passport holders, bookmarks, and card holders), all of which we added to our range. After getting the reviews back we opted to add all of the other items to our product line, but decided not to add the placemats. Why you ask? Well it certainly wasn't because the reviews were bad, quite the opposite actually! While our product testers were asked a number of questions regarding each item, the one answer that concerned us was the answer to the question: 'How much do you think these placemats should sell for?'. The average answer was $20 each. Well, considering our toddler bibs retail for $40, we knew selling something that used twice as much leather for half the price just wouldn't be possible. We listened and opted not to go forward with the leather placemats, much to our disappointment. 

Fast forward 4 years. We were torn, as we often thought about how amazing we knew our placemats would be and every time we got a request for them, we were kind of kicking ourselves, wishing we had them to offer. We have always ran our business based on pleasing customers, listinging to their requests and offering products of great design, quality and function - all things we knew our placemats would be, but we also had to price them at a price that wouldn't be a loss. That's just obvious business sense. After countless requests from customers wanting leather placemats, we thought we would give it a try. If nothing else, we knew we would have the very best placemats there are in our own home, something we were desperate to find - and let me tell you, we have gone through plastic placemats, bamboo placemats, mesh placemats, fabric placemats, cork placemats, woven placemats, all before making our own leather placemats. Really, we probably paid as much for placemats that don't last as we would have as in one time leather placemat purchase. Oh my gosh, I am not even kidding a tiny bit when I say that they have been the best placemats we have EVER had! Not only are they easy to clean, but we get so many compliments from guests as to how beautiful they look. I have no idea why we didn't make them sooner. We have been using them for a little over 1 month now and we're still in love with them. Hands down and by a long shot, these are the best placemats I have ever known.

Initially the first vision for our placemats was to make something really simple and just have them match our bibs. I mean really, how cute would it be to have a monkey or a bear centered on the placemat to go with a bib - cute right?! Then we had a brainstorming session and we really thought about what customers would want. Of course, it made no sense what so ever! Think about it, if you're spending $48 on a placemat that will last forever, you don't want your child to outgrow the design do you?! Also, if you love the look, style and function of a placemat, you're going to want it for the whole family, right?! Of course you are! Also, if this placemat is of such a great design, why would you want to cover it up with a plate? So our goal was to create something that would be wonderful for any age, be beautiful in sets and basically make your table top the envy of all your friends and family. After our initial design brainstorming session, we wrote out a number of goals:

  • to make them fully reversible with a solid color on one side for every day use, a design on the other for every day or for when guests are over / special occasions.
  • design in a way so that the designs would not be hidden once set with dishes and cutlery.
  • create designs that are appealing to both kids and adults, without being too child like.
  • offer them in fun, modern, colorful options, available individually for in sets of 4, 6, or 8 for a savings.
  • to give customers the option to customize the colors to match their own kitchen, dining room or patio decor.
  • to make the most practical, durable and long lasting placemats there are. 

I have to say most of all, these were so fun to design because I have been designing baby / kids items for so long now that it was fun to go back to something I have always had a passion for, interior design.  Besides the overall concept, I'll tell you a little bit about the thought process for the design on each of our placemats, along with their images and links to pucrchase below:

mally designs leather placemat



Design: 3 White Flowers

This one was designed with a popular color trend in mind, grey and yellow. This is actually the color combiatnion I secretly wish I had more of in my own home. Don't get me wrong, I love my home the way it is, but I'm sort of dying to remodel a room using grey and yellow. I'm thinking the kitchen would be the perfect place to do this. I love the 3 white flowers. Notice how even once set, all the design details are still showing? Yes, that was planned. The reverse is a solid grey.


Modern Tree Leather Placemat



Modern Blue Tree:

This one was designed with our own kitchen in mind. We have bright white walls, dark chocolate brown cabinetry, modern white quartz countertops, a glass and stone linear blacksplash, light blue accents and modern decor. If these are not popular for everyone, that's okay. It's perfect in our kitchen. The reverse is a solid light brown.


beige and lime flowers leather placemat




Lime & Beige Daisies:

This one has been the most popular so far, and it was designed with common kitchen colors in mind for more traditional or contry homes, but it can easily be modernized by customizing the colors. We have sold a few sets of this beauty and a few others have said they plan to purchase it. We have even customized this for two customers, switching the beige piece under the plate to a lime green for an extra punch of color. The reverse is a solid beige.


stripes leather placemat




This one was designed with modern simplicity in mind. 4 bold stripes of orange, beige, brown and blue are on one side, with a lovely solid orange on the other. I personally love this one for a patio placemat. I just think the colors are lovely in Spring or Summer and with less detail it's very easy to clean, even if it gathers dirt and dust from the outdoors. (note: I wouldn't leave it outside though). The reverse is a solid orange.


Mally Designs Leather Placemat - eat tree





Fall 'Eat' Tree: 

I guess you could say that this one is a little more child like, perhaps a little juvenile compared to our others, but certainly completely suitable for any age. The bright colors and the word 'eat' are a a simple reminder not only to eat your meals, but to eat a healthy variety of colors in your diet. If that tree applique looks a little familiar to you, it's actuallly the branch we use for our bird and owl bibs. The reverse is a solid lime green.


Mally Designs Leather Placemat - Rain Clouds




Clouds and Rain Drops

Being a Vancouver based (well, Mission) company, it seems fitting that we jump on this whole cloud trend that we keep seeing and add in some rain drops as well. Like the 'eat' tree, this design is perhaps a little more child like, but again it's completely suitable for all ages. We love it and perhaps some might think the design will rain on their parade, but we like to think it will brighten your rainy day. The reverse is a solid lime green.


Mally Designs Leather Placemat - Apples





3 Apples:

You know what they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Yes, apples and the health benefits of them were the inspiration for this design, as well as a color combination that I happen to be in love with. Red, grey, lime and white - there's just something refreshing about it. The reverse of this is a solid grey. 


Mally Designs Leather Placemat - Red & Blue Flowers




Blue and Red Flowers:

In sticking with a modern design theme, we wanted to design a less traditional flower - something bold, colorful and something that could look good in a variety of color combinations. After playing around with some simple flower designs, we knew this was it. We have already customized this one on in a red / brown /lime / orange color theme as well and it's absolutely gorgeous. Click here to see it on our facebook page.


Be sure to order soon in order to ensure you have them in time for Thanksgiving, Christmas or your next family get together. To order our leather placemats or to see our entire collection of placemats and coordination leather coasters, please visit the leather placemats section of our etsy shop. If you wish to customize the colors, simply send us a private message though etsy where we will help you with the customization process. All of our placemats are available individually or in sets of 4, 6 or 8.

20% of sales of our Royal Bibs will go to the Children's Wish Foundation + NEW Designs Launched Early!

The past few weeks have been so exciting for us - quite the timeline of events in fact! First we were asked to send bibs to the Royal Couple for their then unborn baby. Then, after sharing this exciting news, we started getting media calls from TV networks and newspapers, which is always good for business of course! Next we decided to launch some of our Royal bib designs early and do some fundraising with them as our way to thank Children's Wish for this opportunity! Our new collection is not planned to launch until September, but we managed to get the photos of a few of them ready right away for an early launch, as we knew they would be in high demand after announced that they were the ones going to William and Kate for baby George. So, how did we choose which designs to send? We really wanted to treat this like any other gift, thinking about what they would like and since the Royal Family and both Will and Kate have a love of horses and William is a Polo player, we decided our brand new personalized Horse Bib would be perfect. Our Son (Kyler, age 11) suggested the Helicopter Bib since William is a rescue Helicopter Pilot, and lastly we decided to send a custom double sided Maple Leaf / RCMP Mountie Serge Bib as some of our facebook followers suggested to show some Canadian pride - so that's 3 bibs, 4 designs. Order any of these 4 designs now through August 31st, 2013 and 20% of sales of these very special bibs will be donated to the Children's Wish Foundation to help grant wishes of children with a life threatening illness.

This is all such a great honour for us, but perhaps an even greater honour, is that little Diamond, the little girl who got to meet Kate will be hand writing a letter to Princess Kate, which will accompany our bibs to the Royal Family. 

Here's Nicole (me) and Ron with the designs we chose to send:

Mally Designs Headquarters + Royal Bibs

  We made the same page of the Province as the happy Royal Family!

Mally Bibs and Royals Featured on the Same Page of the Province Newspaper















New Mally Bibs Collection Photo Shoot Model Search!

Do you have a cutest baby or toddler in your life? Of course you do! Do you love Mally Bibs and want the opportunity to have said cutest baby or toddler model Mally Bibs and be one of the faces of Mally Bibs?! Of course you do! Do you live in or around the Fraser Valley / Vancouver, BC area?!! Okay, maybe not... but if you do, we have an exciting opportunity for you!

Royal Baby to have one of our own Mally Bibs - and how YOU could win a matching one!

I truly do not believe luck exists, except for maybe the time when I was playing Texas Holdem (poker) on a family cruise we took last year when I got a Royal Flush (odds according to Wikipedia are 1:649,639). I think luck might have had something to do with that. But the kind of luck I don't believe in is when it comes to life and business, in which case I really don't think luck has anything to do with success. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I believe that if you combine an amazing product with a positive attitude and a whole lot of determination, good things will happen. They just WILL! It's a no brainer.

Now, speaking of Royal, one of those great things took place last week when we got a request to send one of our leather bibs to William and Kate, the Royal couple themselves, for the Royal Baby that is due any day now! We were so excited, and feeling a little panicked as we were not sure which design to send, we turned to our facebook page likers for support as we so often do! All I can say is that we were in awe at the responses. So many people offered such amazing advice. Our first thought was to send the crown or something Canadian, then so many people gave their input and we were so thankful, as we have come to the conclusion that we will choose 3 designs to send. Once we find out if they had a boy or a girl, we will reveal those designs and personalize them and send them off to the happy Royal family. Will and Kate are apparently very down to earth people and we want to make sure they are given something that many people would enjoy, so we will send them something popular - a top seller as the first design. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also love Canada, so the second design will be something Canadian - we think they would love it and nothing says we're prouder to have a Canadian made product than that! Lastly, for the third design we will send them one of our new designs which has yet to be revealed - believe me we have a few new designs in the works that we know they will absolutely love! 

Here's a shot of William and Kate in Calgary on their last visit to Canada, where they were 'White-hatted'. The White Hat Ceremony is a long-standing tradition in Calgary, a symbol of the Western hospitality and good cheer they like to share with visiting guests to their city. 

William and Kate in Calgary

Photo Source: Bauer Griffin, July 7, 2011 from Zimbio.com

Now some people may be wondering how we got asked to do something of such great honour as sending our product to the future King and future Queen for their first born child?! Well, it turns out that one of the wonderful people at Children's Wish is also a big fan of Mally Bibs. They have connections with the Royal Couple from their last visit to Canada when they arranged for Kate to meet one of their children who had a wish, and they would like to gift them one of our bibs, on behalf of Children's Wish and Mally Designs. This amazing foundation has been granting wishes for children who are ill since 1987. They believe that each wish is as unique as the child who makes it. When William and Kate visited Canada last, Children's Wish granted a sweet little girl named Diamond her own wish to meet a real Princess. You may have got to watch this, as it was highly televised when little Diamond he got to meet Kate Middleton. My eyes water as I type this, because this is something that is truly amazing for this little girl to have experienced this in her lifetime and Kate was just so amazing with her, taking lots of time with her despite the windy weather. If you would like to read more about this little girl who stole Kate's heart, please click here.

Here's a shot of the precious moment when Diamond's wish came true and she got to meet Kate Middleton, a real Princess. 

Diamond meets Kate Middleton

photo source: childrenswish.ca from Canadian Press

A Royal Baby Contest:

Now, let's all wipe the tears away together and think about something super fun! What I thought would be really exciting is if we ran a Royal baby contest, baby pool style! So go on over to our facebook page and be sure to like it if you haven't already. Then check out the status update at the very top of our page (which will remain at the top until the Royal baby's birth has taken place and the details are announced). Comment on that status update with 3 guesses: the birthdate, gender and weight of the baby. Whoever is closest will get to choose one of the bibs for themselves, that we send to William and Kate, personalized if you wish!

From Our Blog

We're retiring from shows plus, a shipping update

The title says it all, and it's true. It's time, and it feels right. After 14 seasons, we have decided it's time to wrap up the Craft Show and Christmas Market chapter in our lives and really start to enjoy the holidays. Our kids are getting older and through the years we have loved doing these shows, but the only downside it that it has also meant being away from our kids for a few weeks and for a very fast paced December served with a side of exhaustion for us all.

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