I am Zara, the heart and soul behind The Play Card Company. As a mother of two, former primary school teacher, and an entrepreneur with autism, my journey has been filled with diverse experiences. My love for LEGO and my role as an avid geo-cache detective only add layers to my story. These passions, combined with my commitment to education, inspire me to infuse wonder into every child’s life. Through The Play Card, I advocate for the simple joys of childhood and the importance of inclusive play. I am living proof that with passion and perseverance, boundaries can be redrawn and dreams achieved.

When did you start your business?


What was the inspiration behind starting this business?

As a primary school teacher and a mother of two, I witnessed firsthand the desire parents had to play with their children but often felt lost on how to make playtime meaningful. I saw a pressing need for guidance and support in this area. Combined with my personal love for play, I was inspired to curate and provide resources that would unlock the magic of play. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to overlook the potential of everyday household items as tools for play. Inspired by the concept of upcycling, I wanted to show families how to turn standard household items into enchanting playthings. My passion lies in taking the mundane and turning it into magic, providing children with endless opportunities to learn, explore, and grow using the resources already at their fingertips. The goal was clear: to empower families to foster connections that enrich their lives and to make The Play Card the go-to resource, much like a treasured family recipe book, but for play.

What are you most excited about in your business?

I’ve always been fascinated by the sheer joy and wonder simple activities bring. What excites me the most about my business is the opportunity to ignite this joy in countless families worldwide. Every time a parent shares a story of how The Play Card transformed an ordinary evening into a memorable adventure, my heart swells with pride. I am thrilled about our upcoming expansions and collaborations, but more than anything, I am passionate about continuing to revolutionize playtime by converting the everyday and mundane into extraordinary and magical moments of bonding and discovery.

What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?

Starting a business is always filled with challenges, and for me, they were magnified by my personal journey with autism. Balancing my roles as a mother of two with the demands of entrepreneurship often felt overwhelming. Sensory sensitivities, social interactions, and executive functioning became intricate dances I had to master. Additionally, introducing the concept of upcycling everyday items into play tools was both revolutionary and met with skepticism. Convincing people to see the magic in transforming the mundane into playful adventures required patience and persistence. Yet, every hurdle taught me resilience, adaptability, and the importance of staying true to my vision.

What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?

Starting a business is a journey filled with highs and lows. If there’s one piece of advice I would give to other women considering this path, it would be this: Believe in yourself and your vision. Doubts, challenges, and uncertainties will inevitably arise, but it’s your unwavering belief in your idea and capabilities that will guide you through. Moreover, find a community of other business owners. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals can offer guidance, share experiences, and provide encouragement when things get tough. When you truly believe in what you’re creating and trust in your own potential, you become your most powerful advocate and driving force. This belief will not only sustain your spirit but will also inspire others to believe in and support your vision. So, no matter what, hold onto that belief fiercely and let the strength of your community uplift you.

Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?

Entering the AusMumpreneur Awards was more than just about recognition for me. I saw the AusMumpreneur Awards as a platform to not only showcase my business but also to connect with and be inspired by an incredible community of like-minded women who balance motherhood and entrepreneurship with grace and determination. Participating in these awards also provided an opportunity for me to emphasize the importance of play and creativity in children’s lives. It was my way of reaching out, sharing my journey, and hopefully inspiring other mums to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams while making a meaningful impact in their respective fields.

What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?

Being a part of the AusMumpreneur Awards has been an enlightening and transformative journey. One of the aspects I deeply cherished was the self-reflection it instigated. It allowed me to pause, look back, and truly appreciate how far I’ve come, both as an entrepreneur and a mother. But beyond personal growth, it was the connection and camaraderie with other businesses that I found truly invaluable. Engaging with fellow mumpreneurs, understanding their journeys, and sharing challenges and successes added a layer of richness to this experience. Above all, I was continually inspired by the tenacity, creativity, and passion of the women I met. Their stories served as a powerful reminder of the limitless potential within all of us when we combine passion with purpose.

What surprised you most about the awards?

What surprised me most about the AusMumpreneur Awards was the incredible sense of community and mutual support amongst all participants. Rather than just being a competition, it felt like a collective celebration of every mumpreneur’s journey. There was a genuine interest in each other’s stories, a shared enthusiasm for our successes, and a mutual understanding of the challenges faced. It reminded me that while entrepreneurship can sometimes be a solitary journey, there are wonderful communities like this that uplift, celebrate, and champion each other’s dreams and endeavours.

How did the awards help you in your business?

The AusMumpreneur Awards brought significant visibility and recognition to The Play Card Company, which undoubtedly boosted our credibility in the market. Beyond the immediate brand exposure, being an award winner opened doors to collaborations and partnerships that might not have been possible otherwise. Furthermore, the experience of participating made me more introspective, helping me refine my business strategies and vision. But perhaps the most invaluable takeaway has been the connections made with other amazing mumpreneurs. Their insights, guidance, and camaraderie have been instrumental in navigating the business landscape, fostering growth, and driving innovation in ways I hadn’t previously imagined.

What advice would you give to other mums thinking about entering the awards?

First and foremost, believe in yourself and the value your business brings. Entering the AusMumpreneur Awards is not just about winning; it’s an opportunity for self-reflection, to truly understand your business journey, and to articulate your mission and vision. Don’t shy away from showcasing your achievements, no matter how big or small. Connect with the community, because the network of like-minded mums in business is an unparalleled source of support, inspiration, and knowledge. Lastly, enjoy the process. The experience of participating, getting to know other businesses, and being inspired by other women is in itself incredibly rewarding. Dive in with an open heart and mind, and you’ll gain so much more than you anticipate!

What has been the best thing about starting your own business?

Starting my own business has been an exhilarating journey, but the absolute best thing has been the empowerment and freedom it has given me. Not just in terms of managing my time or being my own boss, but also in the freedom to create, innovate, and directly impact my community. Every upcycled item, every magical plaything I bring to life is a testament to my passion and vision. Plus, as a mother of two, I cherish the flexibility it offers, allowing me to be present for my kids’ milestones while also pursuing my own dreams. It’s a balancing act, but one that’s been worth every challenge and triumph.

What’s happening next in your business?

The future of my business is brimming with potential, and while I’m bursting with excitement to share, most of these developments are top-secret for now. But I can promise that they will be innovative, sustainable, and crafted with the same love and dedication that I’ve poured into every creation thus far. To all our supporters and curious minds out there, I invite you to follow along our journey. The best is yet to come, and you won’t want to miss it!

What are your big plans for the future?

World domination through play? Now that’s a concept I can get behind! But jests aside, my vision for the future is truly to infuse the globe with the essence of play. I believe in a world where creativity and imagination are not just limited to childhood, but are integral parts of our everyday lives, regardless of age. I hope to create spaces, products, and experiences that reignite that childlike wonder in all of us, turning even the most mundane moments into magical ones. Play is universal, and I dream of a world that recognizes and celebrates that.