It is 8.05am on a mid-week morning. The Al Nahyan branch of Jones the Grocer has barely been open for five minutes, yet a solitary figure is already sat at a table, juice in hand.
Celeidh Cook, a mum of three, wife and business woman, drives from the outer suburbs of Abu Dhabi into the city each weekday to drop off her children at school.
A juice in a mid-town coffee shop is not part of the daily routine but today is different; She is here to share her story as a parentrepreneur with a conscience.
You would think that two busy mums with five children between them would already have their plates full and indeed they have.
But it is because of just that, or moreover, constantly and lovingly clearing food off the floor from their infant children’s full plates that the two parentrepreneurs Celeidh Cook and Kristina Williams cooked up the idea of a stylish range of children’s tableware products that meld fun and eco materials into the designs.
Eco Rascals, the company’s ingenious name, launched in 2018 after both co-founders met each other just sixth months previous to launch date.
The mums, both of whom share a deep passion to reduce the use of plastic, met face-to-face in a mum and baby coffee morning in Abu Dhabi where they live.
Both were working, a difficult task when their children – Kristina has two, Celeidh three – who were growing fast and about to start school, and with all that that entails – drop offs; pick-ups.
“We both worked but we didn’t want to use drivers and school buses, nor did we want to be beholden to someone else’s schedule.”
A conversation was set in motion, focusing on each of their backgrounds; Kristina’s expertise in financial counselling and Celeidh’s PR and marketing experience.
“We were very much set on the idea from our very first meeting that we were going to do something together.”
The breakthrough came during a time when the two mums were sat at home together “feeding the kids, we learned that we both served foods to the little ones on wooden boards and were laughing. ‘Do you do that too’ I asked Kristina. It was clear both of us didn’t want any more plastic.”
The problem was obvious. Plastic is unsustainable. The pair started looking for sustainable material and bamboo was key.
Thin bamboo was available from the UK market but was unable to stand the test of the time-honoured tradition of being tossed on the tiled floors of Abu Dhabi homes by dissatisfied toddlers during mealtimes.
“The concept of a bamboo plate was great; we needed to make it thicker,” says Celeidh.
Extensive research on the markets further afield delivered just want they wanted for designing higher quality products that were fun, durable and most of all, eco-friendly.
The first animal-shaped designed dishes arrived in the form of an elephant and an owl, two favourite animals of Celeidh’s mother-in-law.
The dishes come complete with a detachable silicone suction base so food and dishes stay where they belong – on the highchair or table!
The bamboo, of course is natural, organic, recyclable, biodegradable, grown and harvested without the use of pesticides.
Many of the dishes, such as the owl, have three sections perfect for separating food and are ideal for those important balanced meals.
Today, orders arrive from across the globe.
The animal range has expanded, in super appealing hues, and includes lions, ducks, snails and ladybirds, just to name a few.
One burning question remains – will we see a camel-shaped dish anytime soon?
For more information and a look at the complete range, visit to ecorascals.com