Axis Toys has been importing and distributing toys in Australia for 10 years. A small family concern, owned and run by Peter Morris and Paula Opfer, supplying the independent retailers with interesting quality brands from Europe, such as Lundby Doll’s Houses, Goetz dolls, World Wide Fund for Nature, Wooden Toys, Plasto and DoodleArt.
Remember DoodleArt, those iconic colouring in posters from the 1970s? 60 hours of colouring in each poster for ages 6-99 years? Axis Toys had been successfully distributing the range and building the brand in Australia for over three years but when a change in the international suppliers company structure meant that supply to Australia at an affordable price was threatened the company looked for a resolution.
“We loved the concept and did not want to lose the business and demand we had built, so we thought maybe we should develop our own Australian colouring in brand, but where to begin?” commented Paula Opfer.
When Lou Trevitt , a friend made at the school gate, arrived one day with her daughter and a DoodleArt for a play date, Peter laughed. After recovering from Breast Cancer Lou really wanted to sink her teeth into something and more importantly for her, give her art and creativity more value. Paula asked her if she would be interested in designing a poster with an Australian floral theme under the new ColourAway brand. And so the journey to creating the brand ColourAway was born.
The first poster Lou created was “In a Native Garden.” A wonderful combination of Australian native flora and fantasy butterflies filled with native flowers.
“We just love it, not only because it’s gorgeous, but also because it is very personal to Lou and us,” added Paula Opfer.
For Lou, “this garden embodies the heart and my love for nature and the butterflies symbolise transformation. I love the incredible design Nature offers especially our Native flora - so delicate and yet so strong and resilient.”
For us parts of our everyday lives have been woven into the design, funny little personal touches that make us smile. If you look closely at the bee in the border, it has slightly unusual wings. They are the shape of the printer’s sunglasses. Every time Lou met with the printer his sunglasses were on his head so they made their way into the design.
Next came the Magician’s Daughter. This drawing combines Lou's love for storytelling and the mystical realms - keeping her strong belief in fairies alive!
"This poster will take you through the realms of the night forest guided by the Moon and the powerful energy of the owl," says Lou Trevitt.
Then as we approached the second half of the year Paula and Lou were both looking for an annual planner for the kitchen wall and the office. When they couldn’t find what they wanted, Lou designed one! One that everyone can personalise with their own colours to suit the look of their room. The calendar includes their interests such as the moon’s cycles, national holidays and calendar events such as Halloween.
As we work on the next wave of designs and concepts under the ColourAway brand we have picked up another two artists: another mum from the school gate who moved from South Africa to bring up her family here and a 14-year-old artist who goes to school with our kids and so the journey continues.
Never underestimate where those casual conversations at the school gate will take you. From a business perspective it has meant a new brand and on a personal level it has meant friendship and support.
For Lou Trevitt it has been part of the healing process "I really allowed the drawing to take me on a journey each day so it would present something else to me. It has really taught me to listen to the creative voice and play again, I love the creative process."
Since 2004, Axis Toys has specialised in distributing quality imports for Australia and New Zealand within the toy, gift and lifestyle markets sourced locally and from Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland Spain and China. Our quality product range is primarily niche oriented - each product bringing a very strong point of difference to its category. All our suppliers’ products conform to the latest safety standards and we are able to supply disclaimers for each supplier to verify this fact.
Axis Toys is the exclusive distributor in Australia and New Zealand for DoodleArt, Goetz, Lundby, Micki, Miniland, PlayBox, Plasto, Cayro, Wooden Story, Little + Sleepy and Goldfish Gifts. They are also the developers of the new ColourAway and Scribbla brands. They are the exclusive distributor for WWF in Australia and the agent for Steiff Bears in Australia and New Zealand. Axis Toys is a member of the Australian Toy Association.
P: 02 9986 3466