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Thumbsie® thumb guards on the radio

On Saturday 27th May 2017 Nana Akua, presenter of the Saturday afternoon show on BBC Three Counties Radio, posted on the St Albans Business Facebook page “ I am looking for people to interview on my BBC Three Counties Radio show. Are you a local business that has been created out of adversity?”

A kind lady of St Albans suggested Nana get in touch as she felt the Thumbsie® business story was inspirational enough to be on the radio.

I had met Nana Akua at a networking event a few months ago so she had heard of Thumbsie® before and knew that we had helped many children to stop thumb sucking.

Nana asked me to appear on her radio show that afternoon, nothing like the present I thought! It was such an opportunity to get some local coverage for my thumb gloves that I agreed to go over to the Dunstable studios for 3pm.

The rest of the morning went so quickly, we flew around the supermarket and did all of our usual chores for a Saturday morning. All the while I was practising in my head of how I might answer her questions.

After a stressful and hot drive around Dunstable town centre eventually we found the studios and arrived at reception exactly at 3pm – phew!

It was very exciting going into the studio, Nana tested my mike levels by asking what I had for breakfast and then said ok so we are going to cut Adele short and go straight to you. “Oh, not sure I am ready I said, what are you going to ask me first?” I don’t think that I have ever had to think on my feet quite so much. We had not rehearsed and I had not been given a set of questions in advance! So as Adele sang “If you’re ready, if you’re ready” I had to get ready for my first ever live radio interview!

Once I had answered the first question my nerves seemed to ease and I just started chatting quite naturally with Nana across the desk into a big blue microphone.

I suppose when you believe in your product as much as I do it’s easy to get passionate about it and explain the story behind the business. Nana asked why I started Thumbsie®, I explained that it was due to my youngest daughter Isabel when she was five she found it really difficult to give up thumb sucking because she was unaware that she was doing it. I couldn’t find anything in the UK that I felt was a positive experience and I wanted something that would remind her. I have always been creative and good with a sewing machine so Izzy and I bought some fabrics and the first Thumbsie® was created. It’s a simple idea, it fits over the thumb a bit like a glove but just with a thumb and then is secured around the wrist with Velcro.

Jo Bates Thumbsie on BBC Radio Three counties

Jo Bates in the studio

Nana asked “was she ok to wear it?” I explained that being able to choose the fabrics helped Izzy and children can do that now, they can chose their favourite fabric from about 30 that are featured on the website and this helps encourage them to want to stop thumb sucking.

Nana Akua said she knew that thumb sucking could cause problems with the teeth if it was prolonged and that the orthodontist bills are really expensive. I was pleased to be able to explain that lots of dentists recommend Thumbsie® and that I was told I was even mentioned at the Irish Dental Association for Children’s annual conference last week in Dublin.

Nana asked if Thumbsie® fabric thumb guards were available to buy in shops but I explained that they were available online but that we were International and had sent them to over 25 countries, event that morning we had had orders from Latvia, Australia and Rome.

She went on to ask how many Thumbsie® thumb and finger gloves are sold each week, I told her about the five amazing seamstresses that I have making them for me in their own time in their own workshop space as we are helping lots of children each week now.

Nana asked “Do you get lots of letters saying thank you you helped my child from” “yes,” I interrupted!! I went on to explain that I have had lots of Google and Facebook 5 star reviews from happy parents. I told her about the story of Layla a 7 year old finger sucker and William her brother a 4 year old thumb sucker that had both given up this week with the help of my fabric guards. As a treat were going to Legoland in the half term holiday.

Her last question through me, but I guess I should have been prepared, when she asked me if there when any future exciting developments for Thumbsie®. That was tough although I am working on something that will encourage children to clean their teeth so remembered to mention that.

So after a full 9 minutes we thanked each other and the interview was finished!


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