Jumble Tumble- the Answer to Greener Party Bags

Clare Southard started Jumble Tumble to make greener party bags for children’s parties. Here she shares what inspires her to use quality, reused items.

jumble tumble

Jumble Tumble grew up a few years ago after I’d been to just too many kids parties where my children had come away with a plastic party bag filled with plastic novelty toys which just ended up on the floor of the car on the way home. Kids do love (and expect!) party bags but i just couldn’t stand the waste – small plastic things made from precious resources, flown across the world and then just dumped in the bin.

When it came to my daughters birthday i wanted to do something a bit different. I looked online and there were some ‘eco-friendly’ party bags but I’ve been brought up with the mantra of the waste hierarchy – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – and i think reusing things was important element that was underlooked. So I made some little textile party bags out of materials scraps, bought a set of books from a local charity shop (thus supporting things i wanted to rather than a large supermarket) and some stickers and pencils from my local scrapstore (Scrapstores collect unwanted business waste, they’re awesome places – please do find your local one and go and have a rummage) and we had some goody bags to go. They went down a storm. My youngest still has her bag from then (over 3 years ago) and it’s currently being used as a teddy bear sleeping bag.

Since then we’ve been busy collecting quality preloved and waste materials everywhere – not always knowing what we’re going to do with it but hoping it’ll find it’s purpose – in stock we have canvas from torn tents, shower curtain samples, offcuts from welly-making, preloved jigsaws, marbles, cars, Lego, pencils, bouncy balls, dollies, beads, buttons, a huge range of books and much much more. We try and source groups of things, or match things up so that we can put together sets of co-ordinating party bags (so less chance of disgruntled children in the party!)

We also have sourced Fair Trade sweets, chocolates & jellybeans which we can add to the bags plus we have some fabulous paper made from elephant-poo which we make little activity pads.

Our range has expanded too – besides the bespoke goody bag our Christmas and birthday crackers (including recycled joke!) have been very popular and recently we’ve started our own upcycled bunting and little mini-boxes (which are great for wedding favours or for wrapping little presents).

Feedback from my customers has been fabulous. At the fairs we attend i often get Grandparents who want to buy their visiting grandchild a little treat and a upcycled textile bag stuffed with a book and teddy is just perfect. One grandma came back to see me to tell me that her grandkids had played with their goody bag more than anything else she’d bought them for their visit. I also ask for feedback from my party bag customers by using an online survey tool and that’s been great too – people definitely love the quality toys (even if they have been cuddled/driven/bounced/read before!) and appreciate that what they’re buying hasn’t been packaged in plastic, flown around the world and much less likely to be dumped straight in landfill.

I’ve learnt lots of lessons along the way with Jumble Tumble. Quality always counts with toys and materials and even if i don’t recognise the toy itself (who know there are so many collectibles out there!), to trust my instincts, if it feels good to hold and play with then probably kids are going to love it too (marbles in the reject bubble gum pot is still one of my favourite things ever).

If you don’t have time for putting your own bags together please do get in touch and we can tailor something to suit your children and your budget (guaranteed to be utterly unique!)

You can find more about Jumble Tumble at www.jumbletumble.co.uk

or see what items we have found on our Flickr page.

Written by Clare Southard

Edited by Helen Kinsella

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