What choices did I make choosing the right foam and fabrics?
My first playmat was one I made with my own sewing machine. I wanted a place where we could all be together playing whichever story the kids imagined. The playmat turned out to be the perfect way to combine playing with giving them the attention they deserved. That's how my journey started in the summer of 2016. Of course, I never expected to have sold my first pile of 35 playmats only a few months later. Want to read my story on finding the right fabrics... please continue!
After that first self-sewn playmat, the quality of the materials have become much better. These playmats are now a combination of well-made fabric and foam. That sounds very basic but don't let those terms fool you. I carefully chose this selection of materials. Let me take you on my journey in finding the right fabric and foam. I want the playmats produced by By Alex made of high-quality products. My search for the best quality brought me to the eco-friendly and pure and flexible material known as cold foam. This cold foam can last for about ten years and does well under heavy use. That means you and your kids can run around and jump on the mattress without it losing its quality. Wrestles matches, first baby steps, intense tickling sessions and endless hugging do not affect the quality of the padding. Thanks to the cold foam made in the Netherlands by one of the best suppliers of foam, every playmat has the exact same quality and is as resilient and comfortable as you'd want it to be.
The mattress is 3 cm thick. That's exactly the right size to keep the discomfort of a cold, hard floor away from your quality playtime. Its thickness makes it also suitable as an extra protective mat underneath a swing for example. It is also comfortable enough for kids sleepovers. In my home, for instance, my 9 year old nephew sleeps on this when he stays over. The grip, temperature regulation, resilience and all-around quality is why I decided to use cold foam for my playmats.
The mattress is 3 cm thick. That's exactly the right size to keep the discomfort of a cold, hard floor
The non-toxic fabric of the playmats
The journey for the right fabric brought me to Spain, France and I even found a good supplier in the Netherlands. I wanted to see the production process myself and be sure of the quality before I made my decision. I felt, and still feel, a responsibility to only invest in sustainable products and suppliers. This particular supplier delivers products with the Oeko-Tex 100 certificate. This certificate tells us that the materials used for the playmat meet the strict international standards. It promises us that there were no toxic substances and chemicals used in the factories and during the production process. An independent party has tested the materials in different stages. Amongst other things, they monitor the quality during the production process, while the materials are in use and after they’ve been used for a while. As you can see, the Oeko-Tex 100 certificate fits the high standards I have for my materials perfectly.
I also found out that these fabrics have another added bonus besides being non-toxic. I was thrilled to learn that these fabrics are really easy to clean. And nothing beats fabrics that can handle stains well with babies and toddlers spilling things, drooling and making a mess within seconds. You only need water and a clean cloth to make your playmat shine again (read more about it here).
The first fabric I fell in love with was the ‘It’s A Wild Jungle’ baby fabric, a aqua blue fabric with a cute print that had monkeys, birds and many different leaves on it. As you can imagine, I needed this fabric for my playmats right away. All printed fabrics on the playmats are 100% cotton, detachable and washable. The other materials - the buttons, tassels and labels - are made of soft velvet and have a unique molecular filter which makes cleaning an easy task. The fabrics are strong and will survive almost everything. However, I, as a mother, also know that small mistakes can have large consequences. If it so happens that your playmat needs some fixing, send a message, and I'll help you figure it out.
I was thrilled to learn that these fabrics are really easy to clean.
The making of: Dutch design meets the Middle East
I import the fabric from the Middle East and develop the padding for the playmat myself. I make the playmat myself with a little help from Dutch seamstress who creates the cover. For the final touch, I put the covers around the mattress and sew the buttons on. It’s a real workout for me to get the cover around the mattress because they are quite big, 160 cm by 80 cm to be precise.
By investing in sustainable products and suppliers, I contribute to a better future for my children. By buying a By Alex playmat, you'll also be contributing to a green future for our kids. On top of that, you’ll own a beautifully designed playmat that will feel as a part of your living space. It probably goes without saying, but there is no child labour or employee abuse involved in the process of creating playmats.
Now you know all about the origin of the playmats and the decisions I've made. If you still have questions concerning the production process or materials, please let me know. I'll be happy to answer them.and please, shout. I'm happy to send you a sample fabric to test yourself!
ByAlex Playmats Care Instructions IV from Alex on Vimeo.