Monday, February 06, 2012

Small business can 'press right buttons'

Image: Hand-painted metal button, courtesy

ADULTS delight in torturing little kids with the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Firefighter, police officer, doctor, nurse, computer scientist, astronaut ... just about every occupation has roots in formative and unpolluted minds.
Maybe someone should do a study asking five-year-olds that age-old question, then follow up a few decades later to find out whether they have achieved their ambition.
That might tell us whether society meets the hopes and dreams of those who have unquestioning trust in its future.

THE memories of how each of us answered that profound question fade over the years, so a fair-dinkum study would document a hazy corridor of everyday life.
Long ago and far away (well, not too long ago and in the English rural district of West Sussex), Mandy Killick had a consuming childhood interest.
The daughter of farm workers always knew she would not follow mum and dad into the fields to tend the cattle and pigs.
When Mandy visited her grandmother, the family lost her for the day as she emptied "nan's button tin" on the loungeroom floor and sorted them.

MANDY always wanted to grow up to be an antique-button collector, and she now has the supreme satisfaction of going one step further.
For the past seven years, she has been building a business, supplying antique buttons to an adoring market of collectors and crafty types such as quilters, sewers and jewellery makers.
She is known to the world through the internet after setting up
Mandy and her husband David, with their three children, migrated to Australia in 2000, seeking a warmer climate. In the UK, Mandy had a 'day job' in airline reservations and checking to finance her button-collecting obsession.
The family first settled in Perth but in 2003 moved to Cleveland because of David's work as a tiler.

ALTHOUGH her core business is still in buttons, Mandy has diversified into high-end recycling, that is, buying and selling small collectables, such as glass and china, along with clothes, shoes and vintage jewellery. She also makes jewellery, including designs with buttons, of course.
The package makes a formidable presence at some of the Brisbane district markets as well as a business that can supply craft needs, 'at the press of a button'.
Mandy uses 'wanted' notices in our local Classifieds to replenish her stock.
Now, we can rest easy knowing that the "costume jewellery, vintage clothing, shoes, bags, old linen, postcards, small glasses and china" are helping to make a little girl's dream come true.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

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