Today we talk to Linda George, the creative force behind Stina’s Style – home of the original custom ActivityPlayMat Australia. A highly educated early childhood specialist, the brand was conceived when Linda saw a gap in the market as a new mother.
“A playmat is one of those must have items a new parent needs for their little one in those critical early developmental stages. It should be a place that stimulates and fosters curiosity through exploration and tactile experiences to encourage visual development – what I couldn’t understand while searching for a mat for my own children – why couldn’t it be beautiful too?”
It appeared this fusion of educational function and style did not exist. Drawing from her Scandinavian style roots and early childhood qualifications, Linda developed a product that captured the critical developmental elements children need, but crafted her product with a beautiful modern style, made locally.
“Just because we become parents – doesn’t mean we have to forgo our sense of style as we leap into the often-chaotic new worldof newborns. My style is part of who I am, how I create my home. I saw the mat as an extension of this, an opportunity for me to create something beautiful and bespoke for my child that we would both enjoy.”
For Linda, there are some key things any new parent should consider when selecting their perfect first PlayMat, a safe place to rest, play and educate your child:
Is the ActivityPlayMat adaptable – large enough for your child to have scope to explore but easy to pack down and travel with you as you visit family and friends(orlet grandparents give a parent a few hours to themselves or dare we say a date night)?
Does the ActivityPlayMat have a well curated selection of toys that stimulates and encourages your child’s visual development? Options to curl those delicious,chubby fingers around and grab to develop their fine motor skills and hand eye coordination? Your infant's sight is not completely developed until around 6 months of age, so high contrast patterns and tactile elements are great ways to nurture their curiosity. If ActivityPlayMat toys are changeable to grow with your child – all the better.
Where has the product been made and does it have all the safety checks and measures to ensure that it is comfortable and soft for your precious bub but can withstand the rigours of baby exploration safely? Our mats are all made locally on the Mornington Peninsula, it was extremely important to me when developing our range to ensure I was close to the sourcing, quality control and design process while supporting my local community.
Is the design a style that the parents can enjoy too–functional and fashionable? Often a playmat becomes an investment piece handed onto later siblings, a centre of our living spaces for the first key chapter of your child. If the design can reflect your home and your aesthetic – what’s not to love.
As you explore the origin of this brand story, everything about Stina’s Style is handmade and from the heart. The brand name itself was tribute to her daughter Stina and the logo the result of a craft project with her son – tasked with doing a drawing of his younger sister on a mat while developing the product.
Linda shared; “Family is my everything. I love that our product can be at the heart of other families through this beautiful life stage.”