Li’l Hands Bizi Minds was founded by Central Coast Mama Elle, and inspired by her baby daughter Olivia. With her background in Early Childhood Education and over 15-years’ experience working with children, Elle found herself overwhelmed with all of the creative experiences she could provide for her growing baby to support her development and learning through play. Baby Olivia, however, had her own ideas, and Mama Elle realised very quickly that children grow and learn at their own pace, so why rush the process? She set out to provide a creative outlet for little hands with busy minds. Here, Elle talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about her business journey so far and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
The inspiration behind Li’l Hands Bizi Minds was my daughter Olivia. After being an Early Childhood Teacher for over 15 years, I became overwhelmed with providing creative experiences to support her learning through play, and came to realise that I didn’t need to rush this process.
While I was learning all about being a mama, I thought why not share these creative experiences with other families who have their own Li’l Hands needing to put their Bizi Minds to use.
Incorporating our Buddy Bear Kits as a fundraising initiative in support of Bear Cottage was really important to our family too, as this cause is so close to our hearts, being proud supporters since 2013.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I kind of went all in. What started as a passing conversation on the phone to my good friend Naarah suddenly turned into an all-nighter, where by 3:00am I had set up a landing page for the website, created social media accounts and scheduled announcements of our upcoming launch. Within 24 hours, we had our first order for a Buddy Bear Kit and a few days later the Plaster Painting Kits started rushing out the door. Here we are almost 3 months later with an established product range including our own Creative Activities as well being stockists for some amazing Australian businesses.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Being able to connect my passion of supporting charities into the business through our Buddy Bear Kits range. Our chosen charity for the fundraising initiative is Bear Cottage, the only Children’s Hospice in NSW. This product range is not about making money for us, with $5 from every Buddy Bear Kit sale put aside in a fundraising account to then be donated directly to Bear Cottage quarterly throughout each year.
In our first 2 months in business alone, we raised an amazing $275 for Bear Cottage – that’s $5 from 55 Buddy Bears sold!
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
A lot of my work is done with my family. My partner Tj creates the plasters and Baby Bear Olivia is the star of our Bizi Babies Play Sessions held virtually each Wednesday. When it comes to the business side of things, I dedicate one day a week to really focus on behind the scenes, such as website maintenance, product research, collaborations and connecting with potential new as well as existing customers. Having two dedicated delivery days each week – Mondays and Wednesdays – helps as well. There’s less stress to get orders fulfilled instantly, meaning we have to drop everything and focus just on work. Instead, the automation does the generic tasks whilst we enjoy family time, then each evening we check for any orders and start fulfilling ready for the next delivery day.