As a young child growing up in the outskirts of Sydney, I always had a fascination with the outdoors and the critters that called it home.
Whilst many of my friends would be within arm’s reach of technology, I was always within arm’s reach of the outdoors. The number of times my parents woke to a house full of various bugs and reptiles that I had collected on “adventures’ in the backyard, I am truly surprised I was not traded in at a young age.
I still remember my very first reptile that I ever kept, a beautiful eastern bluetongue lizard called Bluey. This tiny cold blooded critter cemented my lifelong fascination with these amazing creatures and ultimately the making of Critters Up Close.
My parents helped to foster and support this passion by allowing me to join the local herpetological society (reptile society) at the age of 9. Here I met my mentor, Anthony Stimson (owner of Australian Wildlife Displays, Sydney) to whom I owe so much for inspiring, supporting and encouraging me from a young age to pursue Critters Up Close as a lifelong dream.
After spending the first 10 or so years of my life working in various roles including completing a chef’s apprenticeship, serving in the Australian Army and working in various other roles, there was always that feeling that I had to get back to what was my first passion, wildlife and nature.
For years I plugged away with my business plan, with a notebook always at hand I would write down ideas that came to mind, including having it next to my bed for the regular 2am dream or idea that I just had to put on paper!
With an incredibly supportive wife, a little baby girl and another bub in the pouch, we packed up and left everything and everyone we knew in Sydney to move to Perth. Both my wife and I had visited previously and loved so much about Perth. The people, unique environment, beautiful coastlines, weather- the list goes on.
Launched in June 2015 in a part time capacity whilst holding a full time job by day in emergency response and stacking shelves at a supermarket by night, after 6 months the demand was there and Critters was full steam ahead!
It has not been easy, small business is a complex and challenging beast particularly when you throw in a large number of animals to care for, it has been a sink or swim scenario for us as a family and happy to say that after 2 years we are finally swimming strong.
To the thousands of people we have had the pleasure in meeting, the kids we have inspired and all of you who have supported us- THANK YOU!
We have big plans for the future, meeting more people and making positive changes for the unique and diverse species and their habitats we have here in need of our help and a loud voice.
We look forward to providing you all with a “Wildly Educational” experience!