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An Interview with Goldfish's Head Honcho - Elisa Doro!

Goldfish Gifts is known for its beautiful wooden mobiles that are produced by a close – knit community in Bali. With no two exactly the same, owner Elisa Doro explains what goes into producing these mini works of art.


Can you sum-up Goldfish Gifts in a nutshell?

We’re all about originality, colour and fun. We don’t conform to fashion or trends and our products are designed to last… Late last year I had a young man in his 20s come into our store with his baby son. He had come in to purchase one of our mobiles, the flying crazy dragon, and he told me that his Dad had bought him one and he now wanted one for his own son. That’s a whole generation! I was so chuffed (and felt a bit ancient too!).

How many Balinese people are working for you now?

Lots! There are between 20 and 30. I have been working closely with my producers for over 20 years and together we have learnt, laughed and even cried, but always been positive about the Goldfish product.

Do you all work together to grow the product range?

Yes — I go to Bali and give them sketches, colours and sizes and they make prototypes until we get it just right. The process usually takes up to 3 weeks, but its the best part of the job I think.The people I work with are brilliant and what they do is magic!

As well as mobiles you also produce play tents. What makes them different?

They are totally handmade in a cottage industry situation where people are working at home amongst the animals, the family and all those beautiful Balinese ceremonies.

The fabrics are all individually chosen by myself and Gusti, my right hand man and many designs are designed and printed in my favourite colours so we have something special.

Do parents love the fact the mobiles are non-toxic, handmade and ethically produced?

They do indeed. And the fact that each piece is unique! They are made with a smile and with the intention of making you and your children smile too.

Are you working on any new and exciting this year?

Always! I am also working in Madagascar, with small family groups on some gorgeous designs and looking forward to showing them in August… I hope! The problem there is the lack of communication and infrastructure. Often it takes us a whole day just to get to the village, walk there and then somehow communicate what we need.. but magically it seems to work.

What’s something that may surprise us about Goldfish Gifts?

Each mobile goes through at least 12 pairs of hands in the production process.

Do you have a personal favourite?

The Ozi Mobile probably because it was purchased by the last Governor General to give to Princess Mary of Denmark’s first baby. Suppliers to royalty! My Balinese suppliers were so impressed and proud.

Where in NSW are you based?

We are in the beautiful Kangaroo Valley on the top of a hill in the rainforest, overlooking the valley. It’s inspiring and peaceful!

Is it rewarding to produce a great product that also helps small communities?

The workers really are like a big family. Over the years we have helped to send a few of the workers’ children to high school and always give them a bonus payment at the end of an order. We feel very happy, and proud of these wonderful people and their handwork. We have recently been able to employ another 10 women making Balloon Balls. Previously these women had no opportunity for work because the village was so far removed from tourists and business people, but now they are all happily sewing. It’s so great to visit and hear them all call out, “Hello Elisa! You have more job??”

Thank you to Carly from Entropy for the interview!

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