Our Creative Story

Our story begins with a phone call and a little job at a local Upholstery factory in Nambour. Little did Darrell and Michelle Dalton know what would come from these separate and seemingly insignificant circumstances. The phone call was back in 2014 from the Regional Sports Coordinator (Special Olympics Sunshine Coast) hoping Darrell a PGA Professional at the Nambour Golf Club would be interested in establishing a small weekly golf program for a few young people with intellectual disabilities. He was told perhaps 2 to 3 on a weekly basis and he said of course he would love to do that.

Geoff & Jo Hole, Shirley Hastings & PGA Professional Darrell Dalton
First Floor, Old Ambulance Station, 80 Howard Street, Nambour

In that same year (2014) Michelle took a job at Nambour Upholstery in admin however the day she took the job one of the two owners had a stroke and was unable to return to work for some time. The 10 hour a week position became full time and from that a lot of experience and opportunity came Michelle’s way. Setting up a waste management plan is not easy for a busy factory but Michelle knew managing our waste whether in the home or in the business and manufacturing world was a very important matter. At first there seemed nowhere to send the fabric sample books and upholstery fabric offcuts other than to landfill so Michelle took them home to Buderim until they filled the garage and the spare room.

Nambour Upholstery

Knowing that was not the answer Michelle began searching for options. There were two problems now, one how to support the new disability golf program Darrell had began as it was expanding greater than expected and two what to do with hi grade upholstery fabric offcuts and sample books.

One day Michelle woke up and the idea was right there in front of her. Actually there was a black and white picture of her beloved Nana Nell in a gold frame laying on the floor ready to be hung up one day. As they say it was a light bulb moment, and Michelle recounted the amazing story of Nana Nell during her time at the famous HOADS textile mill in Melbourne. It all clicked into place as Gummerson Fabrics along with Warwick, James Dunlop and Mokum had heard about Michelle taking the excess sample books and fabrics to do something with and had started sending BIG BOXES to the upholstery firm with her name on them… The owners were very kind to set them aside for Michelle to take home. It was when Michelle picked up the Gummerson samplers and held up one from HOADS (they had bought over Hoads some time back and retained the brand).

Michelle’s Maternal Grandmother (Nana Nell) and the Hoads Letter from 1970

The story goes like this. Nana Nell is a young woman who is a single mother working as the floor manager for HOADS and her daughter Shirley works with her too to help earn money for bills. Shirley has a daughter Michelle who is too little to know anything but the story is told many years later how Nana Nell went to her bosses (Mr Hoad Senior and Junior) and told them it was not right to throw away so much fabric each week even though she handed out freely as much as the 106 workers could take home, there was simply too much waste. The bosses did not know what to do or how to answer but Nana Nell did, she had come up with a great idea.. use the fabric offcuts to create a soft furnishings range of cushions. And they did and it was a great success.

Michelle and her mum, Shirley

So, Michelle was the granddaughter of this amazing enterprising woman and realised that was the answer and so with the help of the Regional Sports Coordinator a beautiful range of cushions were created and the inserts were made from pulling apart the leftover dacron another great idea!

The first cushions were purchased in 2016 and GPAI the charity took up residence on the first floor of the Old Ambulance Station in Howard Street.

The rest is history.