Glitter; I roll my eyes at the mess but at the same time I just love it – who doesn’t love a bit of sparkle? Back in the 90s (and now I am showing my age) glitter gel was part of my make-up kit when we went out, but now I have pre-schoolers, glitter equals mess. The good news is clean-up is only a vacuum or damp cloth away.
I was torn when I started to think about adding glitter to Dough Queen’s brand. I started looking for edible glitter so our dough could remain non-toxic, however most edible glitters are water soluble and dissolved in the dough. I ended up with sticky dough that wasn’t sparkly at all!
I returned to the drawing board and found enough types and shapes of glitter to fill a swimming pool. As I worked through my options I learnt most glitter was made of tiny pieces of plastic and/or metal.
Around this time, news articles caught my attention about plastic rubbish making its way into our oceans and suddenly I started to see disposable plastic all around me. I started recycled my flexible plastic waste (I drop mine at Pak’N’Save but you can find details about other businesses supporting this initiative here http://www.recycling.kiwi.nz/soft-plastics), but could I do more?
Glitter is classed as a ‘micro-plastic’ in the same vein as micro beads found in cosmetics. Recently a NZ expert said Glitter was more of a problem than cosmetic microbeads. These little pieces of plastic don’t break down in the environment, and worse they reflect light to attract wildlife to eat them. My next best idea dawned on me – if I can’t get edible, maybe I can do environmentally friendly? Because to be honest you’re hardly going to go pick up glitter and recycle it, are you?
So, after MORE sleuthing on the internet I found our happy ending; BioGlitter is made by a company in the UK, it’s biodegradable in sea and waste water, will compost, is cosmetic grade, not tested on animals and is not harmful to the environment. The only downside is it’s not for consumption, so we recommend that if you buy our BioGlitter then your child should be over 3 years old – hopefully by then they have learned not to eat play dough!
Pixie Dust Gold
Royal Twinkle Blend
We launched our Gluten Free range late last year, but life gets a little hectic sometimes and to be honest writing doesn’t come naturally to me – if you’ve met me I’m definitely a talker rather than a writer!!!
Gluten free has always been a goal, but as I quickly discovered being able to say a product was gluten free wasn’t as straightforward as removing wheat flour from the mix. I’ve never attempted to be gluten free, but have been around others that are – you quickly learn that gluten lurks in many things. Watching a gluten free adult order from a restaurant menu is one thing, but keeping a child gluten free adds an extra layer of difficulty. Part of my motivation to create this dough was to remove some of the difficulty for those parents trying to do the best for their kids.
To be able to state “Gluten Free” on a product in New Zealand we needed to pass independent lab testing that ensures there is no detectable gluten present, which means no more than 3 parts per million. Now technically play dough isn’t food, however anyone that has been around small children knows they do not limit what they put in their mouths!
I had two main aims when I created this dough:
1) Safe for those that can’t tolerate gluten
2) Feels and smells just like our original play dough.
In order to achieve those goals we have a separate area where our GF dough is made, with a completely separate set of tools and utensils. All of my equipment has either never touched gluten or has been thoroughly cleaned (I channeled a few OCD tendencies). Once I found I had the right texture and recipe (we use rice and corn flour), I then had a tense 10 day wait for our lab results to return before I knew I had achieved a true Gluten Free product.
So, its been a little journey, but I love learning new things and we hope that having our Gluten Free option available will ensure no one misses out on the fun that is DQ Play Dough. If you have any questions regarding our GF dough or have children with other allergies please just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I first started out DQ I thought I’d just do dough, especially seeing as there’s already a rather big play dough brand with a LOT of accessories. My passion was in the dough I played with in my childhood.
Fast forward to my first market with General Collective – we offered to donate some dough to the kids activity tables (one of the BEST things about GC markets). We had a few cheap plastic play dough toys knocking around home, so I added them with the dough on the tables. The market was really busy, as you’d expect with General Collective, and the kids tables didn’t let up – it looked like a play dough bomb had gone off by the end of the day (sorry Rose).
From my stall I watched as kids enthusiastically played with our dough, creating, rolling, sculpting, pushing and pulling. Those cheap plastic toys were also getting a work out and I realised my play dough is like ice cream without cones or sprinkles – great by itself but sometimes needing just a little bit extra; I needed accessories!
I’ve always been firm that I didn’t want a cheap, mass produced product made in an unknown factory from unknown ingredients. I needed locally sourced, natural hand made accessories to complement my play dough and the Dough Queen brand.
Over the following few weeks I talked to a LOT of people about various options (some are still in the pipeline – stay tuned) and learnt quite a few things, mostly about wood turning. I talked to people throughout NZ about the craft and whether they could do what I had in mind. Eventually after lots of discussions I found my wood artist and have had to button my lip for over a month (those that know me will know how challenging that was!) about my new arrivals.
I’m so pleased with our little DQ rolling pins. They are made from rimu that has been recycled through Reclaimed Timber Traders. Just like our dough, each pin is hand made (thanks Helen and Mike) and completely unique. These rolling pins reflect the value of our New Zealand heritage and, with care, we hope will be treasured for generations to come.
Get yours here …
Dough Queen has been a while in the making, it has knocked around in my head since my eldest was about 1. I tentatively mentioned it to a couple of people and to my surprise no one told me I was crazy! With guidance and a lot of patience from all of them here we are.
I thought for my first post I’d tell you about our new home….
To find out more about how and why DQ was created check out About Us.
On our Products page you’ll find our primary range of Natural Play Dough in six colours (Yellow, Red, Orange, Green, Blue and Purple). We will always have these colours in stock (and a few more that are in the wings) plus every so often we’ll have a special custom colour. Gluten-free is on its way but we have a few things to sort before we launch this range. If you desperately need gluten or allergy free or there is a colour we don’t have feel free to Contact Us and we’ll see what we can do.
Why buy one when you can buy two or more? To celebrate our new site we are offering a discount when you order two or more of the same colour – check out the automatic discount that will appear in your cart.
Our little industry is based in Auckland so for those customers in the area we have a good deal on shipping; for the rest of the country you’ll find shipping is done by weight (amazingly reasonable rates by Pass The Parcel).
Check out our FAQ page if you have any queries and we would love to hear from you if you have feedback. We’re also on Facebook – it would be great to have you Like us – DoughQueenNZ.
Finally, I would like to thank those who have encouraged and supported me, Craig for his cheerleading and mechanical magic, Jessie for her time and feedback when she has a LOT of other things to do and finally Thomas for being my editor and his unwavering encouragement.