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Sara Keel

Babycup Founder

I am very lucky to have three wonderful children who delight me, exhaust me, make me proud, make me weep with joy, get me cross, bowl me over and run me ragged.

Parenting is the hardest and the most important thing I have ever done. Like most of us, I am learning as I go along. Trying my hardest to make a good job of it has meant I’ve questioned the norm on various issues and when my first was ready to wean I hunted high and low for the perfect cup for her to drink from. Unfortunately I didn’t find it and instead I would pull the valves out of no-spill beakers and remove the lids from sippy cups. This solved one part of the puzzle, (have you ever tried drinking from some of those children’s cups? For many of them you need a suck to rival a vacuum cleaner…). So the sipping side of things was improved, but my baby girl was still drinking out of a cup the equivalent size of me drinking from a bucket.

When beautiful daughter number two came along I was still frustrated by the fact that most drinking cups for infants are relatively gigantic for little heads and mouths (and hands) and I also disliked the idea of my children constantly drinking from a spout or teat. I delved deeper into the subject and found an alarming body of growing concern amongst health professionals, backing up my fear that spouts and no-spill valves are not just without any health benefits, but are actually potentially damaging for a baby or child’s developing teeth, jaws and palate (see Info page for more details).

When beautiful daughter number two came along I was still frustrated by the fact that most drinking cups for infants are relatively gigantic for little heads and mouths (and hands) and I also disliked the idea of my children constantly drinking from a spout or teat.

I delved deeper into the subject and found an alarming body of growing concern amongst health professionals, backing up my fear that spouts and no-spill valves are not just without any health benefits, but are actually potentially damaging for a baby or child’s developing teeth, jaws and palate (see Info page for more details).

So, whilst lovely baby number one had been weaned on puree but I’d at least questioned the drinking side of things, baby number two was able to move up a step weaning-wise.

Firstly, my second daughter was opened up to the wonderful world of baby-led weaning, (I have to admit to being rather scared at first but it was really and truly amazing and I thoroughly recommend it.

If you have any qualms then read the extremely helpful and very calming baby-led weaning book by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett link to BLW site or BLW book for guidance and info – it’s an easy read and well worth it), and secondly, drum roll please…………., she started drinking from an open cup at the age of six months. The cup wasn’t the ideal one, but I was getting closer and I really saw the benefits of open cup drinking. Completing our girl band, beautiful daughter number three was born and, as the six months milestone approached, and armed with the knowledge and experience of weaning my two eldest girls, further research into open cups began. My husband was in agreement with what I was aiming for and was hugely supportive of my quest to find a suitable open drinking cup: a little cup for little people.

Karen Jones

Director and US Partner

Karen Jones, Director and US partner, brings a unique and stylish design expertise and a chic take on all things merchandising. Karen graduated from F.I.T. and also attended Herbert Bergdorf Studios. She simultaneously worked in the garment district for several large fashion companies, while actively pursuing her dream of acting. Imagine! Karen managed to land parts on cable TV soaps, commercials, and a few films! Then she relocated to Florida. She continued to do some acting in the sunshine state, but found her true passion was in fashion. So she set out to conquer that, becoming the DM and buyer for Renegade clothing stores. Of course, from there, she went on to launch her own retail line and fitness studio, Flex Appeal. She and her partner turned that into a direct sales business, becoming the first fitness catalogue and online website for women long and was a trailblazer in this now well established and much loved way of shopping. Eventually she sold this successful business to fashion brand, Boston Proper. In fact, she launched the sport concept there and developed it to a spin off catalogue BP Sport. Which was very successful…Then moved on to become Director of Dresses, sport, swim, shoes & accessories. Every single thing Karen champions, becomes a massive success. (That’s why we’re so excited to have her here at Babycup™ USA.)

On the personal side, Karen married her partner in adventure, Rick, in 1993. Thus, inheriting a dear step son and in time, a lovely daughter in law, Heather, then two adorable grandchildren. Bradley, now age 7 and Hayden age 5.

That’s where Babycup™ comes in, Karen learned about Sara Keel’s concept and got the grand kids started on Babycup™ First Cups right away, to help prevent damage to their teeth early on and to improve tongue placement, as little Bradley had some speech issues, that could have been prevented has he started drinking from an open cup sooner.

Karen knew she had to partner with Sara Keel, Babycup™ founder and family friend since 2003. She instantly loved and knew she had to champion Sara’s concept stateside to help fight the dental and speech epidemic in young children on the US side of the pond.