FAMILY BUSINESS: Kyogle schoolgirl Lyllie Lockwood at her fairy floss stand with her mother and employee Sylvia Lockwood.
FAMILY BUSINESS: Kyogle schoolgirl Lyllie Lockwood at her fairy floss stand with her mother and employee Sylvia Lockwood. Patrickgorbunovs

Putting gloss into floss

SOME people are born to follow and others are born to lead.

It would appear that Kyogle schoolgirl Lyllie Lockwood is one of the latter and her mum Sylvia would agree.

"She's been bossing everyone since she was born," noted Sylvia, who home schooled the head-strong lass from year five after Lyllie found the classroom too restrictive.

"It was boring and pointless," Lyllie recalled. "None of what I was being taught was where I wanted to go."

It was during her home schooling days that the teenager decided to buy a little Sunbeam fairy floss machine with $60 of her own money saved from birthdays.

"Mom never paid me pocket money," Lyllie recalled. "She taught me that to get money you had to work for it."

So to pay back her investment, Lyllie started making fairy floss and selling it to friends and neighbours for 50 cents a bag.

From those humble beginnings have emerged a business called Fairy Floss Girls. Lyllie was just 14 years old, and when she needed to hire staff she looked no further than her mum and mentor, Sylvia.

As a single mother raising three children Sylvia had always tried to ingrain the notion in her offspring that to be successful they needed to work hard.

Lyllie's first commercial fairy floss machine set the teenager back $300 and after it was bought on-line the young entrepreneur opened the box only to find that it was broken.

That early lesson in the realities of managing a new business proved invaluable, despite the fact that the subsequent push to get the machine replaced will never be ranked as a fond memory.

Today Lyllie has two machines, and she can set up a tent at two functions.

On Saturday, at the St Andrew's Village fete in Ballina, business was brisk and the climate simply perfect for making floss from grains of sugar.

"When the weather is dry it is harder to make, but the results are superior," she said.

But sugar-coated industry is not in this young woman's future.

She is studying children's services through correspondence from Wollongbar TAFE, and is completing her HSC through distance education.

And while fairy floss may provide an uncertain future for the bright young businesswoman, mum Sylvia is also just as certain that Lyllie will be soon owning her own child care business, or at least managing one as a leader.

"I can't see her lasting with someone being the boss of her," said Sylvia.



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