We’re Turning 20! The Image Casting Journey
14th August, 2018
We were born in the summer of 1998. That means that this month we are celebrating our 20th birthday! To mark the occasion, we are looking back to 1998, when Image Casting first opened its studio doors, and the long and exciting journey we’ve been on to lead us to where the company is today in 2018.
So what was the world like for new mothers back in 1998 when we started?
Aside from the terrible tragedy of not yet being able to get a beautiful baby hand casting kit, things were a little different for new mothers in 1998, when we were first setting up the Image Casting business.
The top five baby names for girls in 1998 were Emily, Hannah, Samantha, Sarah and Ashley. For boys, Michael, Jacob, Matthew, Joshua and Christopher topped the baby name charts. Interestingly, 20 years on, in 2018, none of these names even feature in the top 10! Emily remains the most popular of the names, but has fallen to spot 17 in 2018, whereas the name Ashley does not seem to be used for many newborn girls anymore, having dropped all the way down to position 313! Instead, the names Olivia, Sophia and Amelia prove the most popular for the baby girls, while Muhammad, Oliver and Noah are being used the most for boys born in 2018 so far.
1998 saw the start of some big changes in the baby world. Not only did we start producing baby body casts here at Image Casting, but birthing practices also began to change. With the rise of the internet truly taking hold towards the end of the 90s, June 1998 saw the first ever birth broadcast out over the internet! More than 30,000 people queued on the America’s Health Network site to view the miracle of birth taking place on their fuzzy, 90’s-quality screens, but typical technical problems meant that only 3,000 people could access the site at once!
In 1998, there were a total of 635,901 births in England and Wales. Statistically speaking, if you gave birth in this year, you were most likely to be between the ages of 27 and 31, with 210,566 of the babies being born to women of these ages! You were also more likely to be married when giving birth, with almost 391,000 babies born to married couples. The father was likely to be a little older than the mother, with the highest number of babies born to dads between the ages of 30 and 34.
How have things changed for us since 1998?
Back when we first started in 1998, babies weren’t really on our mind. Set up by Fiona, who had a background in body casting for theatrical costumes, Image Casting began with a focus on full body and face casts. With a studio set up in Balham, Fiona began to get more and more visits from mothers, looking to preserve the memory of their newborn’s ever-so-cute tiny hands and feet. And what mother wouldn’t?! Noticing a gap in the market – and wanting to spend more time with adorable little babies and children – the business began to develop into the service it is today, primarily offering hand and feet casts for little ones.
Looking for a way to show off our casts, we began working with Artbeat, to develop a beautiful framed cast. By 2002, our unique open frame was on offer, allowing more of the intricate detailing of your baby’s hands and feet to be displayed! Like all babies, we started to grow, and eventually even outgrew our Balham home, moving over to a bigger studio tucked away in the railway arches of London Bridge.
Over the years, demand for casting was on the rise, with mums outside of the London area in which we are based requesting a way for their baby to be cast without travelling all that way.
Alison joined the company in 2009 to help solve this request with the help of the Casting Kit! With a special kit to easily cast your child’s hands and feet in the comfort of your own home, Image Casting’s reach went global. Now with happy customers all across the world, in Australia, Europe, Japan and the US, the business has been able to further grow and develop, creating a range of incredible products to celebrate your baby.
By 2013, we started to offer our Holding Hands casts, which have proved immensely popular with families. Alongside working with metal and resin, we introduced glass casts to the mix. One of our most recent endeavours has been developing our miniature 3D printed charms, which sees casts made even tinier to be used as cufflinks, pendants or keyrings!
Want to know what we’ll be up to over the next 20 years? Follow us on Facebook for all our latest updates! Check out the page for the full #20daysofcasting timeline, following the Image Casting journey for our 20th anniversary!