A ring made with breast milk and locks of hair from three children made by Annie Cooper of Whispered Memories.
A ring made with breast milk and locks of hair from three children made by Annie Cooper of Whispered Memories.

Turning ashes, hair, breast milk into treasured keepsakes

AN Ipswich businesswoman "turning moments in time and memories" into unique keepsakes by using cremation ashes, locks of hair and breast milk has been nominated for national awards for her work.

Willowbank mother Annie Cooper started Whispered Memories two years ago.

She was working as an accountant before she had her first daughter.

"I think I was just looking for something that was a bit more flexible and something I could do from home in the short term," she said.

"It started as something I sort of did for a little bit of fun and it grew from there and I really enjoyed it and turned it into a business.

Whispered Memories owner and keepsake artisan Annie Cooper.
Whispered Memories owner and keepsake artisan Annie Cooper.

"My introduction to motherhood and my breast feeding journey was a rollercoaster.

"We had all these issues and it was a bit of a struggle so I was looking for something to make me feel better about and to relive and celebrate the hard work I had put into trying to feed and nourish a child.

"I had someone teach me how to do it and it kind of grew from there."

Mrs Cooper makes items such as rings, earrings, pendants and figurines using "DNA inclusions" like hair, ashes, breast milk, placenta and pet hair, as well as fabric, sand and soil.

Her items were being sold at local markets pre-coronavirus and most of her sales come from online.

In a big coup for the Ipswich business, Whispered Memories will have a stall at the massive Baby to Toddler Show in Brisbane in March next year.

Mrs Cooper runs her business while raising her four-year-old daughter and supporting her husband’s family business.
Mrs Cooper runs her business while raising her four-year-old daughter and supporting her husband’s family business.

She runs the business while raising her four-year-old daughter and supporting her husband's family business.

"Basically, what my business is all about is turning moments in time and memories into a tangible keepsake," she said.

"It's sort of a way of having something you can touch or look at when you want to be taken back to those moments in time or memories of people.

"They're all very special for different reasons.

"The way that they're made they always turn out differently so no two pieces are ever the same.

A Pandora style bead made from cremation ashes.
A Pandora style bead made from cremation ashes.

"It's really nice to be trusted with these inclusions that are really precious to people."

Mrs Cooper has been named as a finalist for the 2020 AusMumpreneur Awards in the handmade business category, as well as the people's choice categories in customer service and product.

Winners will be named at an online event in September.

Voting for the people's choice categories can be done here and is open until Sunday, August 30.

"It's really nice to have that recognition and to be recognised to have done a good job and to be someone to recognise in my field," Mrs Cooper said.

LOCAL NEWS: Four new COVID cases confirmed in academy cluster

"(To start a small business) I think you need to make sure you understand what you're getting into and do some research and make sure what you're looking for is something that people want if you're going to put the time and effort and money into it.

"There's lots of networking groups out there where you can make friends with like-minded people."

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.


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