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8 Senses

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10 Things we have learnt in the last 10 years

10 Things we have learnt in the last 10 years

On the 10th December 2020 we turned 10! We had a small celebration at that time, but saved our BIG celebrations until the new year to mark our 10th year of business. Turning 10 years old and marking our entrance into double figures is no small thing!  

After 10 years in this market it feels right to pause and reflect and consider what a mammoth, crazy and enjoyable journey we have undertaken so far. After 10 years we are still going strong, and not only have we survived in business despite what the world has thrown at us, we have grown and continue to evolve.

It has certainly been a rollercoaster, and here are 10 things we as a team have learned since our birth in 2010.

  • Every chewer is so different! 

“When we started this journey we did not have as much understanding as we do now. Over the years we have seen people who are light chewers destroy our strongest products quickly and chewers who are very aggressive have them last longer than expected! There is so much more to selecting a chew than we ever imagined, but we now have 10 years experience under our belts and we doubt there is anyone who knows more than we do on the subject! You see it is not just about strength, but also style and frequency that is key to finding the right chew. Making sure the chew is matched to the chewer to ensure they are getting the feedback they crave and the sensory input they need is key.This has become one of our most important and core values. We take our time and work with people to help them identify the best product to meet their needs. There may be other companies out there offering seemingly similar products, but none have designed their products with this knowledge and care, and we pride ourselves on getting this right for everyone! We think big in our plans  and ambitions, but we act small and that is what sets us apart. “ Jenny – CEO)

  • The 8 senses 

“There are 8 senses! School teaches you there are just 5 (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell) and 10 years ago, that’s what I took as truth. But there are actually 8 and they all feed into our sensory system to create our own unique sensory profile. Understanding that is a big step forward in understanding your own sensory needs.” Jenny – CEO)

  • I am autistic! 

“I’ve learned that I am autistic! I don’t think I would have realised that I was autistic or maybe I would have questioned it but would never have gone as far as to get a diagnosis. Being involved in the Chewigem community, surrounded by people who are just like me, gave me the confidence to pursue my diagnosis and to arrive at a place where I felt wholly accepted. What you might not realise is that it’s not just us helping and supporting you, but you guys are always helping and supporting us too in different ways.” (Lorraine – Community Manager)

  • You are not alone

“I’ve learned that my sensory processing difficulties are what make my life the most difficult. However, there are so many amazing products, tips, and tricks available to us to be able to self regulate, calm, and focus and even attend somewhere we would normally avoid. I’ve learned that we need to create our own tool kit to use when we are struggling with our senses and that we don’t always have to do that alone, the community is here to help.” Jamie

  • Keep calm and carry on..

“You never know everything and you don’t always get it right. We learn from our mistakes and we learn from each other. If you don’t ask the questions you’ll never know the answers. I’ve learned if I see something I don’t agree with I need to ‘take 5’ and think and breathe. I ask myself, “o I need to get my opinion across in this situation or will it just make things worse or have no relevance at all?” –  if I don’t need to give my opinion, I just move on or scroll past.” Lorraine

  • You don’t know if you don’t ask…

“In the early days I was scared of saying the wrong thing, asking a question that might come across as insensitive, or using language that may unknowingly cause upset. But I really wanted to learn, so over the years I have become braver and asked more questions which has resulted in some amazing conversations, the formation of great relationships and the expansion of my knowledge and understanding. Being cautious stopped that dialog. So the lesson is… ask…it goes without saying that it should be done with compassion and respect, but seeking to understand is never a bad thing.” Jenny

  • Don’t apply what you know from one person to all people..

“Ok this one sounds blindingly obvious, if we stop to think about it, we know that no two people are alike. This is probably never truer than when it comes to our community. Opinions are often polar opposite on some issues, for example whether you are a ‘person with Autism’ or an ‘Autistic’ person. With that in mind taking the time to find out what that person prefers is important.” Jenny

  • Technology is my best friend and my worst enemy

‘Life is indeed simpler these days, technology, websites and cloud services mean you can do and access so much at great speed. Mass editing which would have taken hours can be done relatively easily with a little knowledge and a few clicks… but man … when it goes wrong… does it go wrong… and often no one knows why, or how! Even with the best planning, and execution technology can go wonky. The words clear your cache, whitelisted and IP addresses along with the classic switch it off and switch it on again are now part of my everyday language.’ Jenny

  • Be careful how you write Sensory….

“The number of times we have been unlisted from sites, blogs or had red flags against our content or products on various platforms is more than I care to imagine. Because the word sensory can also be associated with sex some places have automatic bots that delist you as they assume you are posting adult content!’ Jenny

  • You do less when you stress

“Ok I have learnt this and it is so true, but I have definitely not mastered it! Although I am certainly better than I was ten years ago. We live in an instant world, where people expect near immediate replies to emails, facebook messages and phone calls. When running your own business it can result in the feeling that you are ‘always on’, you dont want anyone to feel let down or not responded to, but that also has to be balanced with having some form of life and quality time with those you love… so really the biggest lesson is nine times out of ten… its not urgent and it can wait. ‘ Jenny