Conscious choice: Customers opting for locally handmade toys
A Bundaberg creative has turned her love of craft and nature into a successful business, with new and exciting projects on the horizon.
It all started when local business Nutty Creation owner Sue Snowdon was living interstate and started using natural materials to create sweet gifts and home goods.
"Originally I was making things out of gumnuts and leaves, so brooches, hairclips and notepads, which is where the name Nutty Creation came from," Ms Snowdon said.
"It was when I had children that I started making wide brim hats, because I couldn't find them anywhere else and when I returned to Queensland I came up with the idea of making little turtle hatchling toys."
Handmade and unique, Ms Snowdon's sweet turtle hatchlings come in the form of an egg, which can be unfolded to reveal a soft toy.
The small business owner eventually began supplying her handmade toys with local tourism destinations including the Mon Repos Turtle Centre and Lady Elliot Island.
Sourcing natural fabrics and fibres that share similar textures and designs to the real-life animal's coat, skin or shell, the Bundy maker soon progressed to creating more Australian wildlife and sealife.
"I always had an inkling that they would take off, because I've never seen anything like them anywhere else," Ms Snowdon said.
"One day Mon Repos contacted me to see if I could design a manta ay for them and my first thought was 'they don't come out of eggs?' but they wanted it because it's handmade right here in Bundaberg.
"Initially I was just making animals that hatch out of eggs, but it's kind of turned into soft toys in general - I went on to make whales for the Hervey Bay Tourism Information Centre down on the boat harbour too."
Since those humble beginnings, the positive response to Ms Snowdon's range has only increased, with current designs including clown fish, platypus, crocs, dinosaurs and echidnas, among others.
With no intention of slowing down, the small business owner has just released an exciting new design - the kookaburra, and is in the process of creating a whale shark too.
Despite being a one-woman show, Ms Snowdon said she has received requests from all over the country along with kindergartens wanting to use the toys for educational programs.
"In the lead-up to turtle season in November, Mon Repos actually increased their last order to 400 hatchlings and they sold out within two months," she said.
"Customers have provided a lot of positive feedback and said they've bought my toys because they know they are made here in Australia, which is something people are starting to think about.
"I always love making Australian animals and even my dinosaurs range features a Muttaburrasaurus, which was from up Winton (Central West Queensland) way."
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