Plush Tush - designer booster seats for your car
- Credit: Archant
A Ribble Valley company’s leather booster seats are ensuring young passengers can travel in luxurious style
If you happen to see a very stylish, perfectly groomed lady peering into the windows of luxury cars as she makes her way across the supermarket car park, it's likely to be Susie Wilson. She'll be checking to see how many of them have a luxury child booster seat installed.
Wiswell-based Susie owns The Plush Company, which manufactures luxury, handmade leather booster seats. It began with a germ of an idea in 2015 and today has attracted the attention of royalty and celebrities, as well as forging links with prestigious brands and, most recently, they've featured in the new Lexus car advertisement.
'It began when my daughter, Imogen, was seven. My car then was a BMW M3Z4 two-seater and I wasn't thrilled at having to try and force a large car seat into a small space. For one thing it spoiled the aesthetic and for another, the seats could be so easily damaged by it.
'I am a petrol head but obviously the safety of Imogen came first so I pushed and shoved the large seat in - putting a towel under it to protect the leather, not a good look! It got me thinking though and I was sure I couldn't be the only person who valued the safety of their child as paramount but who also took a pride in their car.' But bringing a car seat to market isn't easy: for one thing it has to be crash tested, which is a painstaking and expensive business. Fortunately, Susie isn't just a creative thinker, she is also an accountant who has spent most of her career working with blue chip companies and high net worth entrepreneurs. So, armed with business knowledge from her high-flying career, a steely determination and her own money, she decided she was going to go right ahead.
Having researched the industry, Susie created a prototype seat which was rigorously tested and the final product - which she launched at the London Car Show in 2017 - now has all the necessary VCA safety accreditations. Her company, Plush, are the only approved manufacturer of luxury leather child car booster seats in the world.
Her products created a massive buzz, and attracted praise from The Duke of Kent who personally congratulated Susie on the idea. Many people placed orders, including the model and racing driver Jodie Kidd, while Tiff Needell, the racing driver and commentator also admired it and told Susie he would help to promote it.
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'I know luxury leather booster seats are a niche idea but it's heartening to see just how many people do want boosters that fit comfortably into bucket seats and believe me, if they fit into a Ferrari bucket seat, they will fit anywhere.
Of course, saloon drivers also want their children to travel in first class style and actually, you can fit three booster seats side by side in a large saloon car; so that's perfect for mums on the school run.'
Today, Susie concentrates on three styles, all of them made with finest leather, usually in black or cream, and she can also create customised boosters to complement different car interiors.
'I did one for a Rolls Royce and I'm making some in Hotspur Dark Red for Bentley.
It gives me a lot of pleasure to see my booster seats helping to make luxury cars retain their special look but of course, if your car is special to you then it's special to you.
Some of my clients drive Minis and Golfs but they still want a booster that will look good and protect their leather seats.'
Plush is involved with several car owners' clubs such as The United Emirates Ferrari Owners Club and The Porsche Owners' Club and, thanks to Piers Morgan, the Aston Martin Owners' Club.
'He tweeted that he was concerned about his child's booster seat spoiling the leather in his Aston Martin,' Susie said. 'Someone mentioned Plush and he phoned to see if I could help. I did and he was so thrilled, he told other owners all about me.'
She keeps up with the latest trends by going to the Geneva Car Show, armed with a sketch pad, before coming home to design and make a template. When she's happy with it, it's crash tested and then goes into production abroad.
And has recently launched two new lines. One is a leather cushion that can be embroidered with a name or number and she is already working in collaboration with Bentley to develop nappa leather cushions filled with duck down for their customers.
'It came about when I made one for myself because I'm petite and have trouble reaching the pedals when I go on the racing circuit, which is a real hobby of mine,' says Susie whose other venture is providing Steiff teddy bears with a personalised leather bib and Steiff like them so much they have taken the unusual step of featuring them on their website.
Prices for the Plush booster seats start from just under £200, theplushcompany.com.