Home business award finalist
What started as a stress buster soon turned into a booming business for one South Auckland mum.
Mangere Bridge resident Tracy Nicholls’ home-based soft toys business, Cute Cuddles NZ, is now one of the finalists in the people’s choice category of the Network NZ Business Awards.
It all started five years ago when Nicholls’ youngest child was continually too sick to go to daycare.
‘‘After five years of seeing doctors and a million tests done, we still don’t know [our daughter’s condition]. They [doctors] discovered she had a collapsed lung with pneumonia,’’ Nicholls says.
Blood tests showed a working immune system, but reality was ‘‘it didn’t actually work’’.
Her daughter is now five and son is seven. .
‘‘It became quite stressful ... never knowing if I would get to the hospital on time ... the tests were horrific,’’ she recalls.
She says sewing brought her ‘‘sanity’’ and it still does.
‘‘I just took something I was passionate about and turned it into some timeout from the stresses of what was going on,’’ she says.
‘‘I do this because it allows me to stay at home with my children. No one would employ me because every three weeks we’re at the hospital. It allows me to be a better parent.’’
Soon word spread about her soft toys and people started asking her to make things for their friends.
‘‘I’ve learnt a lot on this journey,’’ she says, especially managing her ‘‘time and stress’’.
She’s enjoyed sewing since she was 10.
With a clientele base in Auckland mostly, she also delivers country wide. Rattles start at $12 and toys like the dinosaur can go up to $42. No two toys are the same.
‘‘I never make the same animal from the same fabric twice. They’re the perfect keepsake. It’s so easy to do and makes my job fun,’’ she says.
‘‘A child can have something as unique as them.’’
All the animals are made with 100 per cent cotton and are stuffed with polyester, so they’re low allergenic and easy to wash.
You can find her on Facebook, buy her toys online, and vote for her in the upcoming people’s choice category at the Network NZ Business Awards.
Tracy Nicholls from Mangere Bridge makes handmade soft toys.