NEWS

I pay my mortgage with slime!

Mum Kitty makes money in an unusual way

As told to Emma Levett

Kitty’s life changed forever when her unique passion was spotted.

Here, Kitty Elliott, 34, from Nowra, NSW, shares her story in her own words.

As my son Cooper squished and pulled the piece of Blu Tack, deep in concentration, I knew he’d be entertained for a while.

Aged seven, he’d been diagnosed with autism and ADHD and, usually hugely active and jumpy, the one thing that kept him calm was the sticky stuff.

‘Are you really taking that to bed with you?’ I’d laugh as he nodded.

He often did.

Given I’d always hated messy playdough, this was a great alternative.

But then his older brother Hunter, 11, mentioned slime.

‘I think Cooper would really like it,’ he said, before showing me a YouTube video of a girl prodding and squashing a piece of purple mush.

Watching, I was a bit transfixed myself.

‘Maybe we could make some,’ I suggested.

Finding a recipe online, Hunter and I mixed up some dish-washing liquid and salt and popped it in the freezer.

Kitty Cake Slime stall
A Kitty Cake Slime stall

But it was a disaster!

‘It’s just sludge Mum,’ Hunter sighed, disappointed.

Undeterred, I went to the shop the next day to buy some better ingredients.

I’d never been crafty so it was a bit out of character, but Hunter, Cooper and I had such fun mixing up the wood glue and diluted borax before adding colouring and glitter.

‘This is great Mum!’ Hunter said, pounding a piece of purple slime we’d made.

I wasn’t convinced.

It smelt funny and felt gluggy, so when the boys went to bed, I experimented some more.

Over the next few weeks making slime became a bit of an obsession.

I bought two gallons of glue and filled buckets all over the house with my creations of every colour and texture.

I was getting better at it and after making the gooey stuff, I loved playing with it too.

Squashing and popping the slime gave me the same rush of endorphins as eating a delicious piece of chocolate did!

‘I feel happier than I have in years,’ I confided to my mum, Christine, 56.

Kitty Slime
I love thinking up new slimes

I’d suffered depression since my early 20s and even the medication didn’t make me feel this good.

Doing some research, I discovered lots of people linking playing with slime to a reduction in their depressed, stressed or anxious feelings.

It sounded very odd, but I was living proof.

In fact, I was feeling so good that six months after I started making slime, I wondered if I’d be brave enough to start selling it.

‘I’m not sure,’ Mum frowned as we looked at the costs involved.

I was a single mum and needed every bit of my income as an admin worker at an electrical wholesaler.

But at the same time, I felt so much passion for what I was making, I needed to share it.

In November 2018, I took the plunge and created a website, kittycakeslime.com.

At first, I was lucky to get one sale a month.

Underwhelmed, I struggled on, worrying about finances − especially as things at work weren’t going well.

Kitty Elliot's warehouse
My warehouse

I kept having to leave early to pick up Cooper from school as he was acting out.

But one morning, in April 2019, I logged on to my site.

What? I gasped.

It said 7000 people were on there!

There were 20 orders waiting for me and my Instagram account had 5000 new followers.

Looking at my messages, I saw one that mentioned a YouTube review. As I read on I started sobbing.

I hardly stopped crying all day I was so blown away.

An influential YouTuber, Gillian Bower, had anonymously bought my slime and she loved it.

As I watched her stretch and squeal over my product to her millions of followers, I felt so proud.

‘You’re famous Mum!’ Hunter grinned.

That month, I had 500 orders and I had to work all night to make them by hand.

I did it though, and the feedback was so positive, sales continued to soar.

I was suddenly getting 20-40 orders a week, selling each tub for $16.

‘I can give up my job,’ I told Mum six months after the review.

Even better, I could afford to employ her as another pair of hands.

It was incredible.

Cooper Elliot
Cooper loves slime

I was making thousands of dollars from my brand of glitter and charm-filled slime!

I bought an industrial mixer and my dad Mark, 52, built me a warehouse in the backyard.

The kids were initially excited, but it’s become just Mum’s job now.

Of course, they reap the benefits and Cooper has slime everywhere – in the car, by his bed, near the TV.

He’ll play with it for an hour a day.

It helps him concentrate better at school but when he does need me, my new flexible slime job means
I can go and collect him without the problems it caused in my old job.

I never thought I’d say it, but slime changed my life.

I love thinking up new slimes – like my crunchy gingerbread Christmas  slime.

And I especially love how it’s helping people.

I’ve had hundreds of messages from people with autism, stress and depression telling me how it’s working for them.

Above all, it’s such fun.

Being able to bring a smile and some sparkle to people’s lives is such a gift and it’s one I love giving. ●

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