Meet Deanna Austin, the passionate and resilient Founder and Creative Director of Lingo the Flamingo.

With a heart full of courage and a mind brimming with creativity, Deanna has transformed personal loss into a thriving business that brings comfort and joy to little ones around the world.

Her journey is a testament to the power of determination and the unyielding love of a mother. Through her innovative and eco-friendly designs, Deanna has not only created a product that soothes the pains of teething but has also crafted a symbol of strength and hope.

Join us as we delve into the inspiring story behind Lingo the Flamingo and discover how Deanna’s unwavering spirit continues to touch the lives of parents and children everywhere…

What inspired you to choose a flamingo as the symbol and mascot for your brand?

I’ve always been fascinated by flamingos. They symbolize strength, courage, and determination—all qualities I discovered within myself while creating my brand after experiencing significant loss. These are also qualities little ones need when tackling life’s early developmental stages. Choosing a flamingo as the mascot was a natural decision for me when I decided to start a business.

How did you come up with the name “Lingo the Flamingo”?

Back in 2013, at a music event in Melbourne, Australia, my now-husband Mark and I were dancing with flamingo garden ornaments. The name “Lingo” just came to me, and I started calling them that. Since I always loved flamingos, the name stuck.

Can you share more about the process of designing the perfect teether for babies?

The design began with a simple drawing in 2022, focusing on the style I wanted from the beak to the wings and webbed feet. Lingo’s entire body was handcrafted, starting with a clay model. I tweaked the design for months to get each element perfect. Observing my son Phoenix when he was teething helped me understand the need for firmer areas that fit perfectly in a baby’s mouth. Hence, Lingo’s beak and webbed feet are firm, and the entire product is sized for little hands to hold and maneuver comfortably.

What challenges did you face in creating a plant-based teether, and how did you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges was ensuring the product was the perfect size and design for little ones while meeting global safety standards. After over a year of adjusting the head and neck, I had to start from scratch. I didn’t rush the launch, wanting the product to be perfect. There were also setbacks with colour samples, but with determination, I launched Lingo on November 5th, 2023, and never looked back.

How has your personal journey influenced the mission and values of Lingo the Flamingo?

My personal journey has significantly influenced my brand. After losing my eldest daughter Harper Phoenix during pregnancy and my mother Christina when my son Phoenix was six months old, I dedicated my energy to raising my son and creating a product that is safe, sustainable, and eco-friendly. Lingo is made from 100% natural rubber, is biodegradable, and is hand-painted with food-grade dyes, making it hygienic and safe for babies.

What is the significance of the colours and design elements used in your products?

I love the colour peach and find flamingos fascinating because their colours vary depending on their diet. I wanted Lingo to be a soft peach colour, subtle and different. I found the perfect Pantone colour in September 2022 called PEACH FUZZ, which is the 2024 Pantone Colour of the Year. Lingo is designed to be super soft to touch, with raised elements for little hands to explore different textures.

Can you describe a typical day in your life as the Founder and Creative Director of Lingo the Flamingo?

As a mother of a three-year-old and a one-year-old, my days are busy. My kids come first, so I spend as much time with them as possible. We wake up early, have breakfast, and then I prioritize urgent tasks for the day. Balancing being a business owner and a mother is challenging, but I use my time wisely and work until 10 pm most nights to catch up on everything.

How do you balance your professional responsibilities with being a mother to Phoenix?

It’s challenging to juggle being a business owner and a mother. I prioritize urgent tasks each day, as I don’t have anyone to babysit during the week. My son Phoenix is full of energy, so we stay busy. Despite the challenges, I love spending time with my kids and making the most of these precious moments.

What has been the most rewarding part of your journey with Lingo the Flamingo so far?

The most rewarding part has been hearing feedback from customers who love Lingo. Seeing my product take off so quickly and being featured in prestigious magazines like British Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, and QG is a dream come true. Being able to work and take my family along for the ride is incredibly fulfilling.

How do you ensure the safety and quality of your products?

The Lingo brand is environmentally conscious from start to finish. The natural rubber is biodegradable, and the packaging is recyclable. I am committed to reducing our environmental footprint and ensuring the materials used are safe for children. An independent company audited my product to ensure it meets global safety standards. I took almost two years to perfect the design before launching it.

What advice would you give to other mothers who are considering starting their own business?

Go for it! Back yourself 100% from the start. If you have a passionate idea and see a gap in the market, others likely see it too. Be prepared for challenges, but ride the wave and keep pushing. Include your kids and family in the journey; you don’t have to separate work and motherhood.

How do you stay motivated and inspired during challenging times?

I stay motivated by thinking of my mother. After she passed away, I vowed to do everything in her honor. She was the strongest person I knew, and her memory gives me the strength to keep going, even during tough times. The moments of grief make Lingo even more special to me.

Can you share a memorable story or feedback from a customer that touched your heart?

A customer recently told me she thinks of Harper every time she sees Lingo, knowing I shared my story of pregnancy loss on my website. Connecting with other parents who have experienced pregnancy loss is incredibly special to me.

What future plans or expansions do you have for Lingo the Flamingo?

I plan to expand the Lingo range and grow the brand, starting with expanding to the UK. Although I am only seven months into the business, I can see Lingo spreading worldwide, and I want to do it right.

What role does creativity play in your daily life and business operations?

Creativity is essential in my daily life and business. I strive to stay ahead of other teething brands by being different and telling my story through social media and other channels. Standing out in a competitive market requires constant innovation.

How do you keep up with the latest trends and developments in the baby product industry?

I don’t focus on following trends. I created Lingo because I saw a gap in the market for teethers with no holes and firm areas. I continue to innovate and develop products that make a difference in babies’ teething journeys.

What are some of your favourite activities to do with Phoenix and Halia when you’re not working?

I love taking my kids to the Melbourne Museum, where Phoenix enjoys the dinosaurs. Halia is happy wherever she goes. I enjoy being in nature with my kids and seeing them laugh and smile. My favourite date with Phoenix is going for a walk and getting a baby chino and gingerbread biscuit.

How do you envision Lingo the Flamingo making a difference in the lives of parents and their little ones?

I know firsthand how rough teething can be for both babies and parents. Lingo the Flamingo is designed to ease discomfort during those challenging moments, providing a reliable solution for teething pain. If Lingo can help babies around the world get through teething, I am on the right path.

Our readers love to travel. What destination is at the top of your bucket list?

My dream is to return to Palm Springs. I love the vibe, houses, and palm trees. I’ve even created a retro puzzle of Lingo in Palm Springs, which I will be releasing this year. I hope to take my family there for a holiday in a few years.

What’s your go-to quote when you are lacking motivation?

When I’m down or lacking motivation, I remind myself, “I can, and I will.” Those words make me feel strong and powerful, helping me push through challenging days.

Where can people follow you and find out more?

You can follow Lingo’s adventures on Instagram @lingotheflamingo_ or TikTok @lingotheflamingo. If you’d like your little one to have Lingo as an adventure friend, visit lingotheflamingo.com.au.

Deanna Austin’s journey with Lingo the Flamingo is a beautiful reminder of how strength, creativity, and love can turn dreams into reality.

If her story has inspired you, we invite you to explore more tales of resilience and innovation from other incredible founders and visionaries.

Stay connected with us for more uplifting stories that celebrate the power of determination and the impact of heartfelt passion.

Author

Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.

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