Turning hobbies into business
What do clothing protectors, window art and all-natural dog treats have in common?
They are all products being made and sold by Therapy Focus customers operating microenterprises with support from their families, friends and therapists.
Creative sisters Lisa and Lizzie recently launched their micro-enterprise, LandE Designs, at Perth Makers Market, selling clothing protectors. Lisa, who is living with cerebral palsy, has been a customer of Therapy Focus for more than two years, and in that time has been receiving a range of services including occupational therapy, speech pathology and dietetics. The business idea was a family affair, with Lisa and Lizzie noting that a lot of the clothing protectors available were designed for a younger market and not entirely age-appropriate for 20-year old Lisa.
“Lisa gets a source of income via LandE Designs, and we get to work together. Not only is it fun, but we get to make executive decisions on everything in our business – we’re the bosses now!” Lizzie said of the micro-enterprise.
It’s a similar story for Therapy Focus customer Kim, who is in her final year of high school. With the support of her family, Kim started her micro-enterprise, Kim’s Window Art, creating faux stained-glass decals that can be attached to windows, mirrors and glass.
Kim’s Therapy Focus Occupational Therapist, Chloe Hampel, said that Kim’s therapy team have been working to improve Kim’s core strength and shoulder stability so she can create her works of art with greater control and minimise fatigue. As Kim is non-verbal, she uses her communication device to communicate with her customers.
“Kim has come such a long way since the start of the year, and her mum has been amazing at incorporating small therapy strategies into everyday activities,” Chloe said.
“During our sessions with Kim, we’ve created business cards, labels, laminated tags and packaged her items and painted some of her artwork.”
For Michael, who has autism, it was an affinity to his four-legged friends that inspired his microenterprise, ‘Mikey’s Dog Treats’. The dog treats are all-natural, homemade with no preservatives or additives, and made with love by Michael.
“Michael’s Occupational Therapist and I have been supporting Michael to increase his confidence and social communication so that he can engage more actively in his micro-business”, Michael’s Therapy Focus Speech Pathologist, Jordan Cable said.
“Initiatives such as microenterprises help the people, we work with what they have been working on in therapy sessions to a real-world situation. It also allows them to form community connections and generate an income doing something they enjoy and are passionate about.”
Pictured: Mickey mans his stall with help from Therapy Focus therapists
You can support these microenterprises by purchasing their products and following them on social media:
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At Therapy Focus, our teams of experienced therapists help teenagers and young adults with disability navigate challenges, explore their options and participate in the activities that bring joy and purpose.