New business

Darwen mom is launching a new business inspired by her son

An enterprising mother whose baby was born with a rare genetic condition has started her own business selling personalized bands for people who have a drug or feeding tube.

Kari Hewitt, 26, created Cheeky Tapes in July after struggling to find “cheeky” enough tape designs for her one-year-old son Freddie.

Freddie, who spent his first six and a half weeks in hospital, now regularly visits Derian House Children’s Hospice where he loves splashing around in the hydrotherapy pool and making new friends during play sessions.

Freddie uses a nasogastric (NG) tube, which is used to give formula or medicine to a child who cannot feed by mouth, and is held snug and secure with special medical tape.

Mum Kari, from Darwen, said: “When Freddie was born, I struggled to find NG tape that wasn’t plain and white.

“I wanted to add a bit of his cheeky personality to his tape – something fun, bright and less medical.

“I spent weeks researching and creating prototypes, which Freddie modeled and wore on his visits to Derian, and now we have a whole variety of bands.

“I started this because of Freddie, but I hope the bands allow people of all ages to add a bit more personality to their NG band.

“Business keeps getting better, we have received orders from all over the world! I feel so proud – every time we get a new order, we do a happy dance.

Katie McNally, Head of Wellbeing and Play Team at Derian House, said: ‘Freddie loves having fun at the playgroup with our other children. It has been wonderful to watch him develop during his visits here at Derian.

“We always can’t wait to see her little face – her mom’s unique NG bands bring out her adorable personality and her smiles brighten everyone’s day.”

Kari is constantly creating new designs and even offers to create custom requests. It currently offers customers a 10% discount if they use the code “Derian10” on its online store.

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