Kezi Levin finally had enough of her little one pulling off their socks and discarding them on the pavement and decided she was going to do something about it so she created Sock Ons. An amazingly simple gadget to stop socks going astray, Sock Ons were a huge hit and over a million products have now been sold. What’s even more amazing is that she did it while mothering no less than seven children.
Before we get started on travel, can you tell us what it’s like being mother to no less than seven children!?
It is definitely what you call a happy handful! That being said, I do have older children who help with younger siblings so it isn’t as hectic as it was when they were all little!
What is your first childhood memory of travel?
My first trip on an airplane was when I was 11 years old and it was the most exciting thing in the world. I think the flight was even more exciting than the destination. It was before the days of fancy electronics and we had packed so many things to do on the plane.
Where was the first place you went with a little one in tow? How did it go?
Our first holiday was on a horse farm in Devon and we stayed in a little stable above the horse paddock. It was small and cosy and the kids had so much to do and see on the working farm. We had 4 little boys then under the age of 8 and what more could you ask for to just be able to run around in the mud and climb hay stacks!
How do you find the experience of traveling with children generally?
Travelling with children is a huge amount of work but the family bonding and fun memories are worth it. I let each of my kids pack their own little overnight case and we sometimes laugh at the things they choose to bring! We try and keep the holidays simple and outdoors. The younger children don’t need anything too sophisticated to be happy – they just enjoy the time spent together.
Super stressful or worth the effort?
Stressful? Definitely!! In fact, there have been some holidays where I have turned to my husband and told him that I just feel like a children’s camp director!! We can be so busy with the kids on holiday that we barely have any time together. After one holiday, we ended up going out for dinner the night we got back. Holidays with the children is not relaxing or restfull – in fact it is totally exhausting but we do bond and have lots of fun.
Do you ever travel with your children for work?
No. As a general rule, I just don’t travel for work as the childcare logistics are too much to organise. Traveling on a work trip with children means I wont get anything done!
Where was your best holiday with your children?
I travelled to Australia to visit my family with 5 children on my own (yes – crazy – I know!!) We had to walk through the airport in line order so we didn’t loose anyone! I knew that on the plane I wouldn’t have a chance to sit, eat, watch a movie or even go to the toilet!! If you travel with zero expectations then you cant be disappointed. Once I arrived after 24 crazy hours I handed the kids to my parents and probably slept for 24 hours and had a proper break! The kids just loved being outdoors and exploring the Sydney beaches. Holidays with grandparents who can help with the kids are the best.
And your worst?
We drove to Switzerland to go on a family biking holiday. I had just toilet trained my toddler and we ended up stopping on the moterway every 30 minutes to go to the toilet. I think we hold the record for taking the longest time to get there. In the first hour we arrived one of the big boys put his little brother on the bike to test drive and he ended up breaking his leg before we even got the suitcases upstairs. My toddler spent the entire holiday in a leg cast and we ended up going everywhere in a buggy whilst the rest of the crew cycled down swiss mountain tops!
What is your must-have travel accessory when traveling with children?
Plastic bags in my pockets in case anyone gets travel sick and lots of little snacks in zip lock bags.
Have you any top tips for travel with children?
Keep travel distance as short as possible. Don’t expect your holiday to be relaxing. Take lots of pictures because in a few months time you will look back and realise what a great time you had!
Can you tell us a litte bit about why you started your company and how you juggle a successful career with children?
Sock Ons was borne out of necessity! My youngest baby at the time had to attend a formal wedding but he couldn’t keep his socks on for more than one minute. So, it was either go in a babygrow or tights and there was nothing out there to solve one of the most common annoying parenting issue. With formal training as a graphic designer, I set out to find a solution and after many months of testing, prototyping and developing, Sock Ons were invented! I feel blessed to have a job that I can do from home and work around my childrens’ schedules, even if my office does look more like a playroom than a boardroom.