Learning from Carol: Ironing Diva and Paddock Paparazzi

Woman takes pictures from top of the mountain during sunset using the best of the golden hour

Image: Dudarev Mikhail / Bigstock.com

Creating a product from something you’re passionate about is what many entrepreneurs do. Whether it’s making or baking items, writing or inventing something, there’s a lot we can do with our hobbies in retirement or for a second career.

One such person is Carol Jones. We first heard of Carol when we were writing one of the editions of Where to Retire in Australia. A Business Enterprise manager in Mudgee, NSW, suggested we contact Carol because she was innovative and a great example of someone who had moved from the city and established a business on her and her partner’s rural property.

Carol is known as the Ironing Diva: Designer of the Fitz Like A Glove Ironing Board Cover and Other Goodies. It isn’t a catchy title, but it helps describe her and what she has done.

Carol is frank about her business and in one of her posts, How I Built a Worldwide Business from Broke, she tells it like it is. Her business was not an overnight success. Rather, it’s a great example of someone who didn’t give up, had a vision and showed that you don’t necessarily have to live in a metropolis or large town to create a business.

She now has 400,000 customers in 30 countries.

Apart from designing and selling excellent ironing board covers (I bought one) and other products including the Travel Bug Shoe Bag (also excellent), Carol has developed a new line using her love of photography. She now designs jigsaw puzzles that showcase her scenic rural property and the wildlife there.

Carol has never had formal photography lessons and classifies herself as an amateur. But she’s a passionate photographer and says, ‘For me, photography is a joyful hobby.’

A customer told Carol that her city grandchildren loved looking at the wildlife and scenery photos that Carol posts online each day, and suggested that Carol develop the photos into jigsaw puzzles. The customer said it would be a fun activity to do a jigsaw with her grandchildren.

Carol and her partner, Victor, are precise and thorough. They didn’t jump into doing jigsaw puzzles. They researched the idea carefully before launching Paddock Paparazzi jigsaw puzzles.

Using her Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 camera, Carol ‘stalks’ the many wild animals on her property. ‘Wildlife enchants me and steals my heart,’ says Carol.

The jigsaws include photos Carol (now also known as the ‘Paddock Paparazzi’) has taken of wrens, eagles, foxes, wild goats, kangaroos and other fauna, as well as wonderful jigsaws of mountain ranges, open plains and rugged countryside.

What’s your hobby? Could you turn it into a product or service? Could it be your second career? Or something you could develop for or in retirement?

Jill Weeks is the author of 21 Ways to Retire and co-author of Where to Retire in Australia and Retire Bizzi. She is a regular contributor to ABC radio.

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Category: Lifestyle, Working

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