Fabriculture makes it simple to learn about Australia’s threatened species by providing screen-free, well-researched and beautifully illustrated educational and lifestyle products. With the added benefit of teaching literacy through open-ended play, their products teach children about native species, fostering a love for Australian natural heritage and inspiring the next generation to preserve it. Fabriculture founder Penelope Gale is committed to promoting Australian biodiversity and raising awareness through their stunning range: from educational and baby gifts, to beautiful textiles, greetings cards and fine art. Here, Penelope talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the inspiration behind her business, the passion that drives her, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Fabriculture was born from attending a playgroup when my twin boys were 7 months old. When the playgroup leader asked the older kids what a toy was, they all cried out “Bunny Rabbit!”. But it was a bilby. This really resonated with me – when I looked around our nursery, my kids’ clothes, toys, artwork and bedding were covered in rabbits and foxes and cats: animals that kill our native wildlife. Our books were about farm or zoo animals. It opened my eyes to what children are exposed to each day.
Conservationists dedicate their entire lives to saving a species, but if our kids don’t know these animals exist, why will they want to protect them?
In search of some Australian wildlife – in 2018, it was practically impossible to find. I became really quite alarmed. Even the books on Australian animals were only the famous ones – where were our other species?
It was this alarm that got me researching and drawing our more unusual and endangered Australian animals in 2019. I found a lot I’d never heard of – so I spent a lot of time liaising with scientists and researchers, some who had even discovered the species – to find out more.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
With great difficulty! By the time I had found a local printer for the flashcards, a strange illness called Novel Coronavirus was hitting our shores and suddenly there was no toilet paper on the shelves. I have a background in design and manufacturing, and my plan of attending trade fairs to sell to retailers fell through so I ended up going completely online.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
We are all Australian made – being accepted into BIOME and QAGOMA stores is a huge recognition of our sustainable and ethical manufacturing, our fabulous local suppliers and the high quality of the products.