Seeds sown from redundancy

Jeff And daughter Verity with Happy Daisies on front lawn

Happy Daisies could be the key to a happy future for a newly unemployed Nelson man who has turned his hand to growing new business.
Jeff Shallcrass, of the Maitai Valley, was among the first to lose his job at Telecom earlier this year, in a new wave of redundancies which could see staff levels nationally reduced by 5200 in the next four years.

Armed with a redundancy cheque, a government enterprise grant and a brainwave  from nine years ago, he decided to strike out on his own with a new business venture.

The plastic meter-high daisies are a first for New Zealand and should be a strong contender on the novelty market this year, he believes.

A batch of 5000 is on the press now, while a trial run of 120 was launched at The Warehouse in Nelson on Friday.

Daisies which whirl in the wind came from a similar product he brought back from Canada in 1984, but the name "happy daisies" is his own.

" I definitely think I'm onto a seller, I've had lots of positive feedback," he said yesterday.

The brightly-coloured daisies were a perfect environmentally sound golden idea, being spray free, easy to grow and which did not need watering, he said.

With ideas for fluorescent batches and other daisy developments, Mr Shallcrass hoped to keep them on the market for 10 years.

"But it may not always be a daisy, it could be something quite different," he said.

To help cover his initial costs the Employment Service gave him a lump sum payment of $5000.

Nelson Evening Mail September 1993

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