Sometimes being an aerospace engineer and a full-time mom just isn’t enough.
This was the life of Attadale woman Mana Simpson before she turned her passion project of toymaking into a humanitarian movement dedicated to empowering underprivileged women.
After giving birth to daughter Freyja in 2018, Ms Simpson struggled to find toys that were durable, beautiful and contributed to a meaningful cause.
So she decided to start her own business to fill the market niche.
Within a year, Ms Simpson launched Foxy Beginnings, a bespoke children’s toy company where each doll is handcrafted by a craftswoman from a marginalized community all over the world.
“I have always had a strong interest in sustainable products and empowering less privileged women and by combining these two interests the concept of Foxy Beginnings was established,” Ms Simpson said.
“Foxy Beginnings has since employed over 17 women across the world and each artisan has their own collection and range of products, which we make sure shows their unique origin and culture.”
Her dolls are now made in different places including Latvia, Ukraine, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Australia.
Ms Simpson says the choice to employ women from developing countries has not only helped their current situation, but also provided “a foundation for their future and that of their children and families”.
As her business has grown, Ms Simpson has partnered with two charities in Indonesia to help develop infrastructure for women in the village of Amed, who she says have been badly affected by the global pandemic.
The charities also help train village women to become members of the Foxy Beginnings team.
“These ladies and their families have been badly affected by the pandemic and have lost their livelihoods and now they have a sustained income manufacturing for Foxy,” Ms Simpsons said.
Proceeds from the sale of her charity bunny toy, known as Freyja’s Legacy, are donated to these charities.
“Freyja Bunny was designed by me and her features resemble my daughter,” Ms Simpson said.
“We call our charity bunnies Freyja’s Legacy because she is the inspiration behind me for wanting a better world for women now and also for future generations.”
They can be purchased from the Foxy Beginnings website or from David Jones.