Bonnie Moller’s love of animals, fashion and the environment has prompted the 14-year-old to establish her own business.
The Murrumba Downs local launched her sustainable pet fashion business, Fetch AU, in 2020, and it continues to thrive now she has National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support.
Bonnie’s mum, Catrina, said Bonnie’s support worker, Molly, assists her with marketing and selling products.
“Molly helps Bonnie with the set up and photography of new accessories for the website and social media,” Catrina said.
Bonnie, who has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), loved the idea of physically going to work, so she decided to sell her products as part of the pop-up Love Handmade Markets throughout Brisbane and Redcliffe.
“We do the set up for her at the markets early, then her support worker gets Bonnie ready and takes her to the markets and stays with her to assist with market sales,” she said.
“These experiences have been powerful for her to interact with the customers and get feedback.”
Catrina, who was previously a school Principal and Head of Department – Special Needs, said the idea for the business came from a unit of study she developed as part of home-schooling the teen.
“I made sure she was passionate about what she wanted to study, and she was learning skills for her future employment… so as part of her assessment task she developed a business plan for a sustainable small business and worked on it from there,” she said.
“Bonnie saw a gap in the market, and also felt guilty for buying ‘fast fashions’ for her own dog.
“She invested so much time and work into the plan, she decided to do it for real; by the end of that term she had the website going and also runs her own social media.”
Bonnie finds and repurposes most of the fabric from old doona covers or sheet sets from local opportunity shops.
“Her support worker, or I, take her out to buy patterns she is happy with,” Catrina said.
“Every two months we do two days of work – one day cutting and one day sewing – when stocks are low and a top up is what’s needed.
“I do the cutting as Bonnie can’t cut, and then Bonnie can do the overlocking for the bandanas; that way Bonnie is at least involved in part of the construction.”
Bonnie uses a powered wheelchair and has recently begun using a Pacer – a harnessed walking frame – twice a day to assist her with rehabilitation, slowly helping her walk again.
She also receives NDIS funding for physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to support her mobility and wellness goals.
“Having the right amount of physio is absolutely essential,” Catrina said.
“For Bonnie, physio is the key to her physical health; to try and keep her body active and healthy without damaging it further.
“By the end of this year, Bonnie wants to be walking short distances on her feet without any support; to be able to work in the kitchen or go to the bathroom – basic things. To be able to function in the home without relying on the wheelchair would be awesome.”
Bonnie received assistance to apply for and implement her NDIS funding from Carers Queensland’s NDIS Local Area Coordination Partner in the Community Program for the Brisbane region.
Carers Queensland can support you to find out more about the NDIS, to apply for funding and to help you get started with the NDIS.
If you have a disability but are not eligible for the NDIS, Carers Queensland can help you identify and link to options for support in your community.
You can also contact Carers Queensland on 1300 999 636, or firstname.lastname@example.org