Red Deer mom recognized for baby art business

For many women, maternity leave is a time to care for and bond with their babies. Amanda West has been able to accomplish this — and start a new business.

Amanda West and her children Drew

Amanda West and her children Drew

For many women, maternity leave is a time to care for and bond with their babies.

Amanda West has been able to accomplish this — and start a new business.

The Red Deer mother recently launched Colorful Concepts, through which she produces wall art for young children. Her first product, called Discovering Shapes, depicts squares, circles, triangles and rectangles and comes with a related activity guide.

It’s already earned a pair of awards from Creative Child Magazine.

“I was thrilled,” said West, who is optimistic recognition in the American publication’s holiday issue will raise Colorful Concepts’ profile.

Discovering Shapes is available at Calgary baby store bo bébé, and can also be purchased for $70 through Colorful Concepts’ website. West began contacting other stores last week, and is working hard to raise awareness with prospective customers.

“That is definitely the challenge.”

It was her motivation for sending Discovering Shapes to Creative Child Magazine in April. There, early education professionals and parents judged it Product of the Year in Creative Child’s Kid’s Room — Wall Art category, and Top Choice of the Year in its Toddler Decor category.

The impetus for Discovering Shapes came while West, a medical lab technologist, was awaiting the birth of her second son. Preparing a new room for her first boy, then 18 months, she ran into a roadblock when seeking artwork for the walls.

Ultimately, West decided to create her own canvas art that contained basic shapes that could double as teaching tools. She later developed relevant activities and songs.

It occurred to her that other parents might appreciate the infant-focused artwork and the learning opportunities they provide.

“They’re versatile, they’re useful in more ways than one, they look great — if I do say so myself — and they serve a purpose, which I know moms like.”

After West determined that no similar products existed, and she conducted some market research with the help of a consultant, Colorful Concepts was launched.

“A lot of people loved the idea.”

West is already developing follow-up products: Discovering Numbers and Discovering the Alphabet.

“I should have my first shipment in by January 2012.”

On maternity leave with her third son since May, West credits Colorful Concepts for providing some balance to her busy life.

“I think it’s good to keep my brain active. It’s been healthy for me, although it has been challenging — don’t get me wrong.”

She was even able to involve her own children in the development of the activity guides.

“It was a fun process for me and my kids.”

Additional information about Colorful Concepts and its products can be found online at colorfulconceptsforkids.com.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

— copyright Red Deer Advocate