Life

Katy Meets – Jo Tutchener-Sharp – Scamp And Dude

Jo Tutchener-Sharp, photographed in Alexandra Palace, London.

New for 2017, I’m going to be catching up with inspirational individuals who have a story to tell to propel all of us into wanting to be the best versions of ourselves we can possibly be!Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few months, you can’t fail to have clocked Scamp And Dude – the super cool new kids range with an even cooler story behind it!

It’s been taking the magazine world by storm and sent Social Media into a frenzy – with it’s women’s sweatshirts regularly selling out the minute they hit the store! And yes – it’s one of the cosiest sweatshirts I’ve ever worn and a staple of my Heart Breakfast wardrobe!

The brilliant individual behind the brand is Jo Tutchener-Sharp, who I recently caught up with at her launch event at Liberty’s London…

LOVE the look of the brand! How did Scamp and Dude come about?

I came up with the idea when in hospital recovering from brain surgery. I had suffered a brain haemorrhage in October 2015, only to discover I had a blood tumour which I had removed at the beginning of 2016. I was away from my two boys (who were then 1 and 3) for 10 days which I found incredibly hard. I wished there was something I could have given them to bring comfort to them being apart from me for so long.SCAMPPINKDUDEIt was this feeling that inspired the creation of the Superhero Sleep Buddies which are at the heart of Scamp & Dude. They are animal shaped cushions that act as comforters for kids and sit on the bed keeping them safe while they sleep. There are two characters, a Superhero Dinosaur and Superhero Bunny. There is a pocket on the back to hold a photograph of whoever they want to keep close. These would have been perfect for my kids while I was in hospital, but are also great for parents who have to travel with work or a child’s first day at school/nursery.  My kids have always suffered with separation anxiety at night, way before I was poorly, even when you are in the next room to them it can seem like a galaxy away to a small child, the Superhero Sleep Buddies also really help with this.  I then decided I wanted to create a clothing range to give kids an extra burst of superpower confidence when on the move.
SCAMP1Kids often struggle being away from their loved ones and our clothes are designed to give them an extra sense of security when they need it most. Our slogan is ‘a superhero has my back’ which is written along the inner neck of all of our designs and across the back of the plain T-Shirts and Sweatshirts. All of the designs are Superhero inspired and either feature a selection of Superheroes in the Scamp & Dude family, or superpower infused prints such as our Leopard and Lightning bolt print and our Superhero Mask and Bolt print. All garments have a neon pink embroidered lightning bolt on which acts as a Superpower Button, which the kids can press whenever they need a little boost of power/confidence.
SCAMPBOYMost of us would have turned such a game changing moment into an excuse to slow down, but not you!  How did you keep positive and end up energised and inspired?

It was incredibly hard from the moment I had the haemorrhage as I really felt too poorly to do much and I went to some very dark places in my mind thinking about the kids growing up without me. I knew I could haemorrhage again at any time before my surgery so I was really terrified. So when I came out of theatre and woke up in intensive care realizing I had made it and was alive, I was literally high as a kite and a new wave of energy and determination came over me. I was so grateful to be alive.

I had a really strong urge to help others and it was a great tonic for me and really helped me to recover, focusing on my ideas to create Scamp & Dude and a way to help kids feel more confident and happy and to help parents as it’s horrible for us to have to leave our kids too.

We donate a Superhero Sleep Buddy to a vulnerable child for every one sold, which makes me so happy knowing we can try and help kids in need feel a little more secure when they really need it. We are working with three amazing charities. We are donating to children at London’s leading children’s hospital, children who have lost a parent via charity Grief Encounter and children who have a parent struggling with cancer through Don’t Forget The Kids.SCAMPFRONTWhat’s the biggest life lesson you learnt through your experience? 

However bad things get, you have to believe you can get through it. You must try and keep positive and realize that often going through something hard can make you stronger and give you a whole new lease of life and purpose. I am a lot more grateful for life these days, I appreciate so many things I once took for granted and I don’t see any barriers. The saying ‘you only live once’ is a daily mantra for me now!

SCAMPBACKWhat’s your secret to that elusive work/ life balance as a parent?  

To be honest I still struggle with this, I’m a workaholic but also a hands on mum. I still haven’t got it quite right but I will share my best tip which I wish I had learnt years ago. When you are with your kids, put your phone and laptop away and focus 100% on them, don’t check your emails, don’t go on social media (maybe when you nip to the loo you can have a quick check!) but I promise you will be less ratty as you aren’t trying to answer work emails whilst the kids are hanging round your ankles. You’ll enjoy playing with the kids more and they will be so much happier with your absolute total attention. Then when it is time to work and the kids are at school, nursery or in bed, you can focus totally on work no distractions. It doesn’t work trying to work when you have the kids with you, I’ve tried and I end up stressed and the kids end up stressed and it is just rubbish for everyone.

SCAMP2I’m excited for your 2017, judging by how 2016 ended for you!  What are your hopes and dreams for this year? 

I can’t wait to see what happens with Scamp & Dude. Every day it seems something exciting happens! I have a few new collections under way.

I am so so excited about the future of Scamp & Dude and compared to how I was feeling this time last year, I am literally on cloud 9. I also need a holiday. A loooonnnggg holiday and some sleep. That would be nice too!

Check out the GORGEOUS range at Scamp and Dude and follow Jo and her journey on Instagram: @jotutchenersharp @scampanddude

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2 Comments

  • Reply Gayle February 11, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    This is just so inspiring and really puts everything into perspective!

  • Reply Madabouttheboys February 8, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Great read Katy. Jo is so inspiring, i have been following her journey too and love how she has turned something scary into something so very positive.

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