Small business PR Queen sets up a social enterprise to support small local businesses, Australian educators, children, and local businesses after fires, drought, and COVID hit in less than a year.
Candice Meisels, Founder of Candice Meisels PR, has been assisting start ups and small to medium-sized Australian businesses for 7 years.
Candice says: "Whilst most agencies cannot work with small businesses and small budgets and small or no retainers, I have created a model to do just this. I love supporting small businesses and sharing their stories and helping them to grow and scale. It has been incredible to watch these businesses grow over the years."
Candice has 5 of her own young children, 5 aged 10 and under. Four of her children are biological and one is in foster care but her open adoption should be through within 6 months. She also has 5 rescue pets including two dogs who were rescued as older dogs from pounds and three rescue cats.
She adds: "I have always had a soft spot towards the underdog. Perhaps from growing up as a child in South Africa, the extreme poverty which I saw on a daily basis, eroded a hole in my heart for the underdog and made me always strive to make a difference no matter how small."
After experiencing drought, fires, and then COVID all within the space of a couple of months, my heart just broke for small, rural, and family businesses.
Whilst in lockdown and trying to homeschool her own kids, Candice started researching quality educational, Australian made resources for her children.
"My husband and I grew tired of heading to the local large stores or placing online orders only for plastic toys to disappoint or break. We realised that we have purchased duplicate toys over the decade for our children of varying ages. The toys just did not last. I wanted to only buy wooden, handmade, and premium Australian made or designed educational products. I found many incredible family-run small Australian businesses and was shocked that I did not know about them before. Their products are simply stunning and I had to help them, help parents who were as overwhelmed by toy choice as I was over the last decade, and help our children, educators, and charities at the same time."
Fairy Fun Toys is a social enterprise that purchases Australian made or designed educational resources directly from these small businesses based all over Australia.
Candice concludes: "Schools, Educators, those who home school and therapists are offered discounts or bonus products to support them and we sponsor grassroots initiatives. It's a win-win for everyone. Purchasing and supporting local can really make a difference to so many Australians.
The Women's Business School Scholarship fund will be the first grassroots initiative that we will sponsor. We want to assist small business as much as we can and to give other women in business the chance to acquire business skills to grow their business is just another avenue in which we will support Australian small business."
Why is it so important to support small businesses in Australia right now?
Candice Meisels: Small businesses owners have faced fires, drought and a pandemic. Tourism is obviously down and with restrictions and lockdowns having taken place in 2020, small businesses need all the love they can get.
How can CandicePR help small businesses get back on their feet?
Candice Meisels: Candice Meisels PR offers affordable PR Campaigns for small business owners. We have done this for 7 years and continute to do so. We work on ad-hoc and ongoing campaigns. We love to support start ups and small business owners in Australia.
What message do you have to parents when purchasing toys this Christmas?
Candice Meisels: Purchase from small businesses, purchase from local businesses and try purchase made or designed in Australia. I set up a social enterprise, Fairy Fun Toys, to stock and support Australian small businesses. The products are handmade, enchanting and educational. They are all made or designed in Australia by Australians and support Australian families. By purchasing from Fairy Fun Toys you are not only purchasing keepsake, premium quality Australian toys but you are supporting small businesses, real family businesses and grassroots charities. The first grassroots charity that we will support is The Women's Business School Scholarship Fund.
Are you human... how do you juggle 5 kids, 5 pets, business, and a social enterprise?
Candice Meisels: Yeah I am human and I do get tired and sleep well when I am not woken up by said children or pets haha. It's busy and yes some days are overwhelming, some moments are hectic but others are rewarding. I would not change all the happy chaos for anything. I have a huge heart and love giving back. We are in the process of adopting one of our daughters and it's been an amazing emotional rollercoaster. The pets are all rescued too. I am all for giving back and charity which is why my PR business is focused on helping small business and I have set up the social enterprise on the side as a hobby/charitable initiative.
Can you tell us a bit about life in South Africa and why it has lead to giving back as an Australian?
Candice Meisels: South Africa is a beautiful land. It is actually very similar to Australia. However, it is riddled with poverty, inequality and power struggles. It is really sad and I grew up seeing so much poverty. When I was a child I did not know about apartheid but when I was 13 Nelson Mandela became President and I actually had the chance to meet him at my school. He was one of a kind in terms of his leadership, optimism and passion. Being South African and growing up their taught me that we all have a part to play in giving back and making our world a better place. No deed is too small and every small act can make a difference to a person or animal's life.
Can you take us through the Fairy Fun Toys range?
Candice Meisels: The range is packed with Australian made and designed, handmade toys for babies through to tweens. From sensory play, to Christmas specialty handmade and wooden items, to open ended play, small world play and of course educational play, the range is just absolutely beautiful. I am so proud that Australian families and small business owners have the ability and creativity to create such incredible toys.
What are your go to toys that provide value, education and fun?
Candice Meisels: Check out the Maths Boards, the Literacy and Numeracy stencils, the coconut counting toys. All of the toys are educational in some way or another.
The toys also provide real childhood play and avoid plastic, lights, bells and whistles that overwhelm a child's senses.