Jeni Atkinson, Little Possums Preloved
Talking to Jeni is the loveliest experience, she is an honest, down to earth mother who has a sincere desire to help parents carry their children. A mother to five children, she remembers clearly the days when buying a second hand sling to carry her baby in was beyond her means. Now she runs a thriving small business that allows parents to buy a safe, preloved baby sling with payment options, enabling those who might not have been able to afford one to buy an essential piece of baby equipment. She is really humble about this, assuring me she is not a business woman but someone with a simple idea that meets a need.
How does it work? Jeni buys in second hand slings and baby carriers, often from manufacturers or bulk sales from sling libraries. She meticulously checks them, washes, irons and then photographs them before listing them for sale in her facebook shop. Customers can organise a payment plan if they wish and rather than having to pay all the instalments before receiving their purchase, she posts out the sling straight away.
“A parent can’t wait six months for a sling, they need it now,” she tells me firmly and there have been almost no problems with people paying. I’m not surprised, she has such integrity, often talking potential customers out of buying a sling by helping troubleshoot with their current one. Jeni also carefully researched and spoke to experts to ensure the payment plans meet with all financial regulations.
Another key element to Jeni’s work is ensuring the longevity of baby carriers. By buying second hand slings she is helping prevent waste or useful items ending up in landfill. Preloved slings have little packaging, paper instruction booklets or other wasteful elements. Little Possums is encouraging parents to reuse items and reduce waste and therefore tread more lightly on our planet.
Jeni sounds really organised, but this is met with laughter as it turns out her son is the one who helps Jeni with company spreadsheets and stock takes, as well as packing for when there are events or shows. Thank goodness for family.
Family is absolutely at the heart of what Jeni does, Little Possums Preloved supports her family and helps many others. They recently sold their 1000th carrier she tells me proudly, that’s 1000 happy customers and babies. What a lovely image that conjures up.
Recently Jeni has also become a Director the Calm Family Group. She is enjoying running courses for parenting consultants and peer supporters, which is wonderful to hear. She admitted earlier during our chat that she originally did her peer supporter training back in 2015 so she sounded like she ‘knew what she was talking about’ when she went to sling meets. She certainly is an expert now and I can’t think of anyone lovelier and more approachable to do this sort of training. Jeni is a woman with a caring and compassionate approach to everything she does for all families with a desire to keep their babies close.