Mum of 5 finds financially freedom and life purpose after her wedding business shut and she had to home schooling her 5 boys.
Leanne Murner is the founder of 5 Little Bears,a range of timber educational and sensory resources with an emphasis on Australian themes. 5 is a lucky number for Leanne. She has 5 boys and now 5 awards under her belt.
Leanne won the AusMumpreneur Business Pivot Award, the AusMumpreneur Author of the Year Award, and the AusMumpreneur Sustainable Product Award.
She was named the second Women's Business School Student of the Year and the third AusMumpreneur Making a Difference in Education Award.
Leanne's first successful business was not 5 Little Bears. Leanne founded Personalised Keepsakes, which has since been downsized due to resources being transferred to 5 Little Bears. Personalised Keepsakes was a successful photography packaging company that sold personalised engraved boxes and other items. Leanne had always suspected that something was missing from her company, that there was a creative void in her heart that wasn't being filled. She had always been drawn to Australiana, and now that her family was complete, she took the plunge and founded 5 Little Bears.
Leanne says: “My main business was servicing the wedding industry that was closed due to covid, 5 Little Bears was just at start up only selling to early childhood market. We found ourselves selling to parents who were homeschooling and needing products to entertain their children when in lockdown. We started to receive requests to offer wholesale to new retail customers, with no one being able to import. Everyone was needing products in high demand in Australia and the international market. In the space of a few months we had closed one business and scaled our other over 400%. Having such a huge demand for Australian made and Australian themed I found myself also becoming an Author producing books teaching children about Australia.”
Personalised Keepsakes was the parent business to 5 Little Bears and one may not have existed without the other. It was a necessary stepping stone which ultimately lead Leanne to her life purpose.
Leanne adds: “To overcome so many hurdles to experience new opportunities in such a short time I am so grateful for the success that keeps coming! It has been such a honour to be recgonised for all my hard work and determination.”
Leanne is a children's book author, with three of her six-book series already published. Her books are inspired by her daring sons. They take you on a journey through the Australian native bush. Leanne designed the books to be both entertaining and educational about native plants, indigenous culture, and wildlife in Australia.
She also co-wrote 'Back Yourself,' a motivational book for women in business. Bringing together the inspirational stories and expert advice of 27 businesswomen who share life-changing stories about what can happen when you learn to believe in yourself.
5 Little Bears is run by a group of mothers. It can be difficult to find a job that fits into your schedule as a mother. Leanne has created a flexible work environment so that when mothers are needed due to sick children, school activities, dance concerts, sports, and all the other kid-related events that pop up all the time, they know it won't affect their employment. In general, Leanne has ensured that her employees can work and be mothers, with all the benefits that come with it.
Leanne concludes: “When we say hand made we mean HAND MADE! Nothing is outsourced here. The 5LB team is literally loading the machines, packing the orders, printing the tags everything is done here and by us, the Mum team. When you place an order we don't just pick and pack, usually we need to make it. There are sometimes several components to products too, gluing, cutting, printing, designing, marketing, you name it we are doing it! We even have brainstorming sessions to create new products!
5 Little bears is an international business. We currently have distributors in the US and Canada along with wholesalers in Singapore, and Taiwan. We love that our Australian made and themed products are so well received overseas. You can't help but feel a wave of pride when you get an order from an international supplier who loves your products.“