As seen in Adelady magazine | Issue 1
Marissa McLoughlin, Marisa Kent and Annette Short.
Image credit :: Wayne Pearson.
Meet the three Adelaide mums behind Ugly Swan Scream Free™ hairbrushes.
After years of tears and tantrums while brushing their daughters’ hair, these three Adelaide mums
decided enough was enough. They quit their day jobs and went on a mission to design and develop the first ever Scream Free™ hairbrush.
The story of Ugly Swan is beautiful and inspiring and must be told by the mums themselves. So, I
sat down with Marissa McLoughlin, Annette Short and Marisa Kent to find out how this magical hair brush came about.
Where did the idea for the Scream Free™ brush come from?
Every morning my daughter was in tears as we tried to brush her hair. I had to chase her around the house and it added another 30 minutes to our morning routine each day. Breaking point came when I was overseas for work and my husband Skyped me with our daughter in tears. He couldn’t get her hair brushed to go to school and he was at his wits’ end. Getting three kids ready is no easy task on your own, and the battle of hair brushing was enough to push him and my daughter to the edge. We were defeated. We’d gone to so many chemists, hairdressers and supermarkets and tried out 30 different brushes that all ended up the same way… our daughter in tears.
After I got off the phone, I mentioned the daily hair brushing war to my two travel companions. They totally sympathised, saying they had the same dramas in their houses. We decided that something needed to be done for all the families like ours and we went on a mission to find the solution. We all gave up our full-time jobs to become research queens, and on 1 July 2018, we proudly launched Ugly Swan with our first product, Scream Free Brushes™.
Is the Scream Free™ hairbrush good for kids with sensory issues?
Most definitely. This is just one review we’ve had from a mum who purchased our brush: “I was extremely skeptical about this brush being able to help my daughter. She has major sensory issues, is also deaf so wears hearing aids, and hates her head, hair and ears being touched. Brushing her hair has been such a nightmare. My husband and I were absolutely gobsmacked when she happily sat perfectly still as the knots were easily brushed out of her hair without a peep. I burst into tears! Something as simple as this hair brush has honestly changed the game in our household.”
You also have another hair product making the daily grind less stressful…
Yes, we designed the Unicorn Hair Towels. We wanted a towel to absorb water and stop our children from having wet PJs after their bath or shower, but couldn’t find one that would stay on their heads that was long enough to fit long hair, let alone absorb the water. It was important to have something that would stay secure, fit long and short hair, and feel comfortable and lightweight so kids wouldn’t mind having it on. We went on the hunt for material that would absorb one litre of water and we found it — a water-wicking fibre that absorbs the water and came in the perfect pattern.
What do you want other parents to know about your products?
First and foremost, we want parents to know that they work. It’s not a gimmick. All our products are designed to stop the small ugly things that can drag you down each day. As a parent, time is the most precious thing. We want to give parents back that 30 minutes they lose every morning trying to brush their kid’s hair and make life less stressful for the whole family. Also, teens and adults will love them, too.
Where can you buy your magical hair brushes and head towels?
At the moment you can buy them on our website. We will be in some hairdressing salons and big retail outlets in 2019… watch this space!
Why do you think your products are so popular?
People often ask us if we’re hairdressers — we laugh and reply, “No, we’re mums”. But being mums means we have the experience to know what to look for in a product. We also know a little thing can make a big difference in getting everyone to school on time.
What’s the best part?
This whole experience has been life changing. We gave up jobs that we excelled in to go into the unknown. There are days when we’re challenged but we keep telling ourselves we have the best credentials — we are mums. If we can make life easier for other families, then we’re winning.