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Ninki Talks – Hello Fred

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As Amy speaks, her children laugh in the background. Pregnancy books fill her bookcase. A naked husband strolls around, totally unaware, off-camera.

Yup, there’s no doubt about it – Amy is a mum and loves it.

“We are constantly growing our business with other products that we now source from ethical makers,” Amy tells us.

“So there’s always beautiful, new, eco-friendly and educational toys coming into Hello Fred.”

Amy is the co-founder of Hello Fred – a company that creates handmade eco-friendly baby products. First established in Tasmania, and now based in Angourie, NSW, Amy runs the business from home with her mum, Tracy.

“The main thing with babies is to make things reusable.” She adds.

“Disposable things are convenient, but so not environmentally friendly. So that’s one of the main things we think about when we design.”

We sat down with Amy, in between busy toddlers, and now a fully clothed partner, to find out more.

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So, how did it all start?

“It started when my firstborn, Lyla, was two months old. My mum was making a playmat for me. Together we designed this really cool playmat, and suddenly this business just arose.”

Amy goes on to explain how Hello Fred came to be.

“We wanted our business to be different from other businesses. We wanted to do something more eco-friendly. We found this company that prints all their fabric to order, which means fabric isn’t wasted.”

“Each fabric is done by an independent artist from around the world. So every time you order from us, it’s actually supporting that artist.”

What do you find challenging in running your own business?

“Personally for me, it’s balancing the business and being a mum at home.”

Amy explains further.

“There’s this general way of thinking that if you’re working from home then its the best. But its actually really hard.” Amy laughs.

“There’s no set working hours. So there’s been a lot of late, late nights. Which means I’m exhausted the next day and can’t show up fully for my kids.”

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What’s it like working with your mum?

“I love working with my mum.” Amy gushes.

“We don’t even have to communicate things, we’re just on the same page. It’s nice to connect with your mum on another level.”

So where do you get your inspiration from?

Amy gives a very matter-of-fact answer. “It’s all from what I need with my kids.”

She elaborates. “I usually come up with the ideas of what would be useful, and I that can’t find on the market. My mum is incredible – she just makes it work with the fabrics we have.”

And what’s your favourite product that you’ve created?

Amy doesn’t hesitate. “Definitely our playmats. It’s just the most versatile product.”

“I take it outside with me every day. We take it to the beach because we made the bottom waterproof. And you can take the covers off and wash them.”

Amy grins. “They’re just the best product I’ve ever had, personally, for my babies.”

If you were to give any female business owner any advice, what would it be?

“Just start. Somewhere.” Amy smiles.

“We wait for so long for things to be absolutely perfect, and we waste years of trying to create something that is already perfect. Businesses are never absolutely perfect.”

Amy continues. “So just start. Wherever you are in the process, just start and keep going. It’s not always going to be easy. And on those days when you don’t feel in the flow, just step back. It’s okay to take time and wait to get that inspiration and passion back.”

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