Pay It Forward - Handled with Care

Luscious lotions now available at Pay It Forward. Koral Fitzgerald’s Handled With Care range features at Pay It Forward, corner Nancy Ave and Weston Road this month. Koral says, ‘It came about as an extension of a hobby making natural goodies for myself, friends and family. Most Christmases, those nearest and dearest to me would get something created by my hands - baking, crafts or products to use on themselves or around the house. I am a wife, proud mum to a gorgeous toddler and have had a career working in the health and not-for-profit sectors. I thrive on challenges and actively live life.’

The brand name originated from the ethos Koral has around what we put into and onto our bodies - with so many additives, preservatives, petroleum, SLS and often long chemical names on ingredients lists these days, we miss the message that Mother Nature has something for everybody, for every ailment. It just needs to be selected and prepared appropriately, that is, handled with care.

‘Connecting with Pay It Forward after a friend of mine introduced me to the shop, I have chosen my favourite few products to market and sell, with the goal to expand in due course,’ says Koral. ‘My keystone product is Calendula Salve. This all-purpose preparation is made from organic dried flowers of the calendula, and is macerated for 4-6 weeks in oil to extract the healing properties of this fabulous plant. It can be used on almost all minor skin complaints including eczema, chapped lips and burns.’

Other products include a natural lip balm tinted with freshly cooked beetroot, a coffee/coconut oil/cinnamon body scrub to awaken your senses and a fresh lemon hand and foot scrub. In addition to the treats for humans, Koral hasn’t forgotten our beloved four-legged friends! Taste-tested on many canines, she makes two varieties of pooch treats that can be used as a training tool, or simply a natural indulgence for your dog.

Koral’s products are free from synthetics, additives, detergents and parabens. As they are also preservative-free, most products will have a shorter shelf life than store-bought equivalents, however they don't usually get to sit around for long! Look out for new products in Koral’s range coming soon - other salves, scrubs, ointments, oils, soaps, balms and bath treats. So do your body some good and treat yourself (and your pooch) to these natural products.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Koral and ask her a few questions about her creative journey...

Koral, you are actively involved in Pay It Forward, what do you enjoy most about being involved with this project? The Pay It Forward co-operative is an amazing creation for like-minded artisans, and I am very grateful the Neighbourhood Trust had the insight and energy to run with it! I enjoy meeting other artisans, chatting to them about their products and their journey so far creating beautiful items. Looking after the shop is also fun, especially being able to help customers find what they need and to educate them on who we are and what we do as a group. To this day, each time I have done a shift I leave having purchased at least one item! With that, I love being able to support my peers in the group, as the range is so diverse it is a fabulous location to purchase birthday and Christmas gifts.

What does an average day look like to you? I am a busy mum juggling a part-time job and caring for my one year old son. As most people do I'm sure, I look forward to the weekends - time to spend as a family, catch up on some chores, see friends and most importantly, have fun! I put aside time every fortnight to work on projects needing my attention, including 'Handled with Care'.

Who do you consider to be your muse? Mother Nature. 

What does your creative look like? I have a lovely ring-bound A4 notebook which journals my creation of 'Handled with Care', including many pages of sketches of how the logo might look, page references for recipes I have seen in books or magazines to try out, costings of ingredients, and many recipes either jotted in or cut-and-pasted from elsewhere. I have a bookshelf full of books and magazines regarding natural health and beauty - flicking through these gives me inspiration when I make new things. 

What is the best piece of advice you've learnt on your creative journey? It may not be perfect the first time around: review, learn, adapt and do it all again!

Where to next? I would love to have my items available as an online store and expand my range to include all the goodies I love making at different times of the year. As time permits, I hope I can chip away at this goal over the next year. 

Pay It Forward is a Neighbourhood Trust community development project, with support from the Christchurch City Council and The Canterbury Community Trust. Shop hours are 10am – 4pm Mon-Fri; 11am – 3pm Sat.

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