CUTE CLOTHING OPTIONS: Gruffalo and Co owner Darna Mattingley with her eight-month-old daughter, Thea. Picture: Kristen Booth
CUTE CLOTHING OPTIONS: Gruffalo and Co owner Darna Mattingley with her eight-month-old daughter, Thea. Picture: Kristen Booth

Mother-daughter team takes on new business venture

AN EMERALD mum has leapt into a new venture, allowing her to spend time with her young daughter and build a business side-by-side.

Darna Mattingley and her partner Marc Richards bought Emerald based children’s boutique Gruffalo and Co. in February, just before the coronavirus restrictions were implemented.

“I had Thea and then I saw it was closing down and after a conversation with Marc, here we are,” she said.

“I thought it would be a shame for the town to lose the shop because we don’t really have many other choices around here.

“Everyone loves nice clothes for their kids and I thought it would be baby-friendly for me.”

Although she was forced to close the store, business continued as normal behind the scenes with an influx of online orders.

With her now eight-month-old daughter Thea by her side, Ms Mattingley carried out hundreds of contactless deliveries across Emerald.

“The locals have been super supportive and have still been buying items,” she said.

“I think people got sick of buying (at the same stores).”

While the first few months were a “whirlwind, learning to juggle motherhood and working”, Ms Mattingley said she had loved every minute of it and was looking forward to expanding the brand.

The store will open a pop-up shop at Moranbah on June 25 and 27 and if successful, will continue to regularly visit the town.

“We just felt like they don’t have much access to these products and if it goes well, we might go up there monthly,” she said.

The team is also in talks with “some exciting new labels” and is preparing for the arrival of spring and summer stock.

The new mum has been able to work with her daughter and nieces and nephews to bring in a range of new pieces to suit various age groups.

“It’s really fun to work with (Thea) and see all the different sizes and ages. And then going to the shopping centre and seeing a kid wearing our clothes, it’s a great feeling.”

Ms Mattingley said the past few months wouldn’t have been possible without the wonderful staff members who supported her.


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