As a mother of two busy little boys and a part-time early childhood teacher, Stacey Wallis was inspired to create Inquisitive by Nature, a boutique New Zealand online store offering locally made and international products for babies, children and early childhood centres. Concerned about the increasing number of discarded plastic toys and their impact on the environment, she set out to source products that are natural, good quality and made from sustainable materials.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
A few things inspired me to launch Inquisitive by Nature…
Upon taking stock of the amount of ‘things’ my young children had accumulated over the years, I could no longer look past the impact that many toys were having on our environment. I was also finding that many of the plastic ‘must have’ fads had one use and one use only, they kept my kids interest for a short time, then would find themselves discarded along with many other toys before them. I began to look around for toys that would stand the test of time and could be used in an endless variety of imaginative ways.
My time as a relieving early childhood teacher also opened my eyes to the incredible effect natural toys and resources had on young tamariki and their learning journeys. Yet the choices in New Zealand for ethically made, natural resources at an affordable price are rather limited.
Lastly, as my eldest son approached school age, I was looking for a new challenge in returning to the workforce, whilst still having the flexibility to work around school hours and family commitments.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Inquisitive by Nature started out slow and steady. I first spent quite some time researching suppliers of natural toys and resources and the ethics behind their creation. From there, I slowly acquired a website of products that resonate with me. As far as running a business goes, well I’m still learning that part!
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Inquisitive by Nature is still quite new, and I think I’m yet to have that big breakthrough moment. However, I am grateful and humbled by every order that comes my way, especially when I learn that my resources are going to an ECE centre, kindergarten, or family that values the benefits of natural open-ended resources as much as I do.