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  • Writer's pictureClaire Fury

Learning to dance in the rain

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

"It's not about waiting for the Thunderstorm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain"

Discovering hot air balloon nursery mobiles on Pinterest changed my stay at home mum life in a positive way, after i bought a basic pattern online to make one for son's nursery back in 2015. Little did i know what vengeance and hate it would bring me from one jealous old age pensioner outside of my community.

After my first "Puggles Baby and Kids Market" in Newcastle (market no longer runs) i was approached for an interview with an independant website called Handmade HQ.


Q: Tell us a little about yourself

I'm a 44yr old first time mum of one, my husband and I immigrated to Australia from the UK in 2004 and shortly after bought a farm in Pokolbin, which is the heart of hunter valley wine country. I make all sorts of things, art is in my blood as i come from a line of very Artistic people on my dads side of the family.

Some of my hobbies include:- Drawing, painting, sewing, dressmaking, photography, sugar art, cake making, cooking, flower arranging, graphic design, pottery, crochet, knitting, woodwork.....the list goes on...........

Q: How did you get started ?

It started over a year ago when i made my newborn son a decorative room mobile, when friends and neighbours saw it they asked me where i got it from, i explained that i handmade it myself from scratch, then they all wanted one and my business grew from nowhere and snowballed quite quickly

Q: What was your inspiration ?

I regularly see the hot air balloons floating over the vineyards and often land in acreage on the road i live in, so it was very inspirational and appropriate for the area. I wanted to make something visually stimulating for a baby as they can only see in black and white for the first 6 months of their lives, as they grow and focus their vision it will become entertaining for a baby to look at as well as please the parents eye and compliment a nursery scheme.

Q: What is in store for your handmade business in 2017 ?

Lots of good things i hope, i just started my first market last weekend in Newcastle that specializes in Childrens products called "Puggles Baby and Kids Market", my on-line shop ( and Blackthorn Hill Retreat Instagram have proved very successful for me too. Momentum has grown over the past 14 months and my mainstream business is sewing custom orders in between looking after my 18 month old at home.

I will be a regular feature at the "Puggles Baby and Kids Market" in Newcastle NSW for my balloon mobiles, this market is the only one i can manage to fit into my schedule so far, mainly because i need that time in between to replenish stock on top of my custom orders which are my mainstream business.


A: When I first joined my local market selling my honey I was the happiest person ever, I was so glad that my friend of four years had talked me into joining her market as I immediately felt like I had an extensive artisan family and a community I could finally belong.

Little did I know that she would shatter that friendship in a heartbeat within 12 months’ time.

The market has a unique branding and strong ethic for Locally Made & No Imports, which I defended strongly for my friend who was subject of a feud war. I was always the first person to leave a positive note on the internet and hold her hand through all her trials and tribulations, we had well and truly accepted her into our family, becoming social outside of business and networking lunches.

Being a small market they have a ‘one of’ rule which means that you can’t have 3 people selling honey there on any 1 weekend, fair enough. My then side business selling hot air balloon baby mobiles since Dec 2015 was taking off at a fast rate of knots, but because of the ‘one of’ rule I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sell my mobiles at her market, I was completely fine with this because I strongly supported and agreed with the market rules, however I did ask my friend at a networking lunch in front of witnesses if I could sell them at her ‘double up’ days ONLY, which happen approx. 3 times a year where ALL stall holders are invited to be there even if that means 4 people selling soap on the same day, double up days are usually only for Christmas, markets birthday, or occasional festivals. The answer was NO, absolutely no way, although not surprised by her answer, I was happy that I’d asked and completely respected her decision because of our friendship as she had a handful of individual hot air balloons at the time on her jewelry stall (unlike my mobiles of them) and was claiming the one of rights solely to herself as market manager/owner it was her prerogative to do so.

Some months later….

After writing to a specialized Kids website about some possible marketing exposure of my product I was contacted by their sister company HHQ after my first ever Newcastle market, they asked me if I would like to give an interview, I was ecstatic and jumped at the chance, the editor was glowing with praise over my mobiles and sent me a set of questions to fill out immediately.

After my interview was published, unfortunately the editor put a sentence at the bottom of the page telling their audience that they could also find me at my local handmade market!!!! I did a double take and said to myself “WHY, WHY, WHY, WOULD HE SAY THAT?” now my friend is going to think that I’m hijacking her marketing with a product that I don’t sell there, I never mentioned her market in any emails or any part of my interview, I don’t hash tag that market for a product that’s nothing to do with them.

Soon after there was a NOT very cryptic message on the closed stallholders group for my honey market saying “If you’re giving an interview to HHQ please ensure that it’s only for products that I authorize you to sell” this really pissed me off (because she should of known me better than that after 5 years) and I was in a fuming mood all day at her market selling my honey, she didn’t approach me once with an apology, after selling out of honey 2 and half hours before the market closed I had time to stew on it because the rules are if you sell out you can’t pack up and go home (we’ve sold out on more than one occasion due to the popularity of our honey and had to twiddle our thumbs for a few hours before we could take our gazebo down)

A few days later she came to my house to have a chat with me and “Apologize” I thought, but I was sadly disappointed. She informed me that my interview had deeply upset her, especially the question about “what inspired me?” when I said the hot air balloons that float over the vineyards and land in the road I live in, she said “you know that’s not true, you copied mine” !!!!!!!!!!!

The hot air balloons do land/take off from the road I live in

I did not copy hers as she didn’t make mobiles at the time (and I bought a pattern on-line)

In the dictionary the word COPY means to ‘replicate an original’ I have not replicated hers, and hers are not original.

She also lied to me that the independent website had only given me an interview because I was one of her stallholders, when actually I had earned it off my own merits.

She also wasn’t happy that her market rule about “if you sell out, you can’t pack up” being made public and was insistent that I was upset because she didn’t allow me to sell my mobiles at her market!! This is not the case because I can sell my mobiles anywhere.

My mobiles sell very successfully on-line, but I quickly found another market that only runs 3 times a year and they’ve welcomed me with open arms, this was the maximum amount of markets I wanted to do per year whilst raising my toddler at home fulltime.

Before leaving my house she said to me on Parting that she’d already spoken to the Editor and got him to take the sentence off the bottom of my interview, but she wouldn’t be completely satisfied until my entire interview was removed from the internet, and that’s exactly what she did, bullied the man in to removing it completely.

In an email from the Editor it said “Simply put!, I have enough to deal with having a wife with advanced cancer and effectively now being a single parent” The market owner is taking up way too much of my time over this matter, we set out to support the handmade community as my wife loved it and wanted to help where we could, lesson learnt.

From that moment on she ended our 5 year friendship from my point of view, I physically felt sick that we encouraged our Toddler to call her "auntie" and that I even invited her in to our home. I had no idea that this jealously was bubbling inside her until all the venom started spewing out of this old age pensioner

Needless to say she had made the situation between us so bad that she couldn’t face me at her market and I was sacked shortly after

This experience has taught me yet again that I’ve wasted invested time in a friendship and to move on and don’t look back because I’m not going that way.

Some years later.........

She is still bullying me and spreading lies, even publishing FAKE NEWS that i ordered a mobile from her and then cancelled the order, why would i order one of that quality when i can make one of my my quality ? she also approached Roche Estate to snaffle the contract to supply them with Market stalls for the Hot Air Balloon festival effectively blocking me from trading, for which i reported to the office of fair trading for 'restricting trade'

I continue to stand up to her and bullies alike, but i don't need to lower myself to her level, shes doing a very good job of digging her own grave

C x


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