A marriage breakup, life as a single mother with five teenage children, and a lengthy illness – Anne-Marie Wynne knows all about life’s challenges. But today sitting in her Tamahere, Hamilton, home surrounded by bolts of silk, tulle and taffeta, she is the picture of self-confidence.
Life for a while was tough but last year Wynne found her niche, launching a small business designing, hand-making and selling clothing for little girls who like to dress up, reports the Waikato Times.
Her range, called Return to Eden, has been described as “avant-garde for children” and offers girls’ fairytale-influenced, everyday clothing.
A tutu will set you back $120 but Wynne said when the courier delivers it in a black box wrapped with an ivory ribbon, the moment transforms from a purchase to “an experience”.
“That’s something I always wanted and that’s the element of surprise. I wanted it to be an experience for the daughters and the parents.”
Plugging into the high-end niche market, Wynne has sold her one-off creations to mother and daughter combinations across the world including Britain, Thailand and the United States.
The name Return to Eden was inspired by the book The Secret Garden.
Sticking with the make-believe theme, Wynne aims to conjure up and deliver ethereal and magical designs.
She developed the business idea after spending 10 weeks in bed last year suffering vertigo.
She was told it would last only 10 days but when the bouts of sickness continued, she had no choice but stay indoors, the internet her only real form of contact with the outside world.
Facebook was her saviour and the idea for the business dawned when she noticed there was a community of arty types who made their living through designing, making and selling their own clothing. Wynne is a nursing graduate with no design background, but that did not slow her. What started as a sickbed hobby is growing into a promising business.
She sells her line on her Return to Eden Facebook page. Her followers numbered 1381 last week.
She is preparing to launch a new range that will use higher-returning silk garments and the self-proclaimed perfectionist is developing her business and technology skills and networks in order to grow her business.