Nina Wilson from Handmade by Ella.
Nina Wilson from Handmade by Ella. Chris Ison ROK230218cella2

Rocky market business: Small beginnings to bright future

FROM what started out as a quick job to make some extra cash before Christmas, Nina Wilson and her family have developed a hobby into a successful business.

Handmade by Ella takes plants and makes them "funky”, with succulent timber boxes, kokedamas of plants wrapped in twine, plant terrarium glass bowls and more.

"It was just a hobby, something I couldn't buy locally,” she said.

Now in its third year, the business has snowballed to not only include selling at markets as far as Eumundi, to stocking across stores in Gladstone, Yeppoon and Rockhampton and further.

"We had our first pop-up shop at Stockland and we had a temporary lease at City Centre Plaza over Christmas,” Nina said.

"We do workshops which get amazing interest, between 20 to 30 people each class and children's workshops in the school holidays that can have 150 kids in a three-day period.

"We do everything, we do wedding centrepieces, bouquets, favours, custom orders.”

To keep up with demand, Handmade by Ella has recently introduced a website with the global buy now, pay later systems, Afterpay and ZipPay.

"We have spent the past two years building a customer basis and now we are hoping they will shop online,” Nina said.

"It has increased sales already, there's a big call for it and it opens up a range of customers.

"If you offer kind of payment you can't give them a reason not to buy from you.”

When Nina first started out, her products were the first around the Central Queensland market scene, but now some lookalikes are coming out of the woodwork.

"It's just part of business, it just means we have to be on top of our game and make sure we are producing high-quality products,” she said.

To make her products, Nina uses a CQ succulent grower. Each week she can order anywhere from 60 to 500 succulents.

"90 per cent of our business is local; our business cards, bags, the timber, the plants, the candles,” she said.

It is also a solely focused family business.

"My husband Daniel make the boxes and my two boys come to the markets and do workshops with us,” she said.

With more success than she could have imagined, Nina is grateful for "the amazing support.”

"My only goal was to keep myself employed and pay the bills and I have managed to do that for three years now with the help of my family,” she said.

There could even be a bricks and mortar store on the horizon.

"We hope to open up a shop, we're just testing the waters at the moment,” Nina said.

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