5 Little Bears
When this mum of five boys got back into business, she began an
exciting journey that has pushed her out of her comfort zone many times over.
In 2018 Leanne Murner was producing timber memory boxes when she decided to attend a career changing Mumpreneur conference. “It was very out of my comfort zone to go to an event like this, but I just went ‘nah – got to do it! I’m so glad I did. I came back really inspired and knew I wanted to do something different.”
When Leanne made the timber boxes there were lots of offcuts and she felt bad throwing them all away. She says, “I approached one of the teachers at my son’s preschool and showed them the shoe templates I had made from the offcuts when my kids were learning to tie their shoelaces. She loved what she saw and suggested I look into doing sensory toys because nobody was doing that. Then I realised there weren’t any Australian themed products out there. A lot of kids know what an elephant and a giraffe look like, but they might not necessarily recognise a wombat or a Tasmanian devil.
“I became the crazy lady at Spotlight, feeling everything so I could get the textures reflective of the animals and the kids could learn what touching an animal feels like.”
One thing led to another and Leanne kept adding more products to her portfolio, all of them made on-site in Toronto using Australian timber. A creative force of nature, she has designed every single one. There are dominoes, memory games, light boxes, stamps for animal footprints and whole eco-system information boards introducing kids to Australian fauna from long neck turtles to green tree frogs or dragonflies – perfect to explore the backyard and to learn how the animals help our gardens to grow.
Leanne Murner’s five boys have been her greatest source of inspiration and they are her first port of call to test new product ideas, so it was only natural they should feature in the company name, 5 Little Bears.
A natural entrepreneur
Leanne has always been entrepreneurial and creative. When she was just 15 years old, she worked with Avon, smashed her sales goals and was made a member of their President’s Club of top achievers within 18 months.
She says, “I love photography and I used to make timber clocks. I would have gumnut designs on them and sell them at markets.”
Read more in the Summer issue of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.
5 Little Bears educational toys and resources are available on buyHUNTER.com.au