Jem Taylor, 28, from Queensland, shares her story with Take 5:
I smiled watching my two sons sitting on the couch stroking their pet chickens.
Like me, my boys Chad, seven, Charlie, five, and my husband Matt, 32, had a soft spot for animals.
My parents owned a farm and I’d grown up surrounded by all critters, from horses, cows and chickens to ducks, dogs and cats.
Now, I bred silky chickens and had 20 as pets.
“Mummy, the chook’s done a poop,” Chad said, pointing to a dollop on the couch.
I stomped off to grab a cloth.
I adored my boys and Matt, but I wasn’t in a good place.
Struggling with my mental health I felt angry and irritable all the time.
It began when I was pregnant with Charlie in 2017.
I suffered hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe morning sickness, and was bedridden for my entire pregnancy.
The trauma of being so ill led to a phobia of getting sick.
I never wanted to feel that awful again and now led a life consumed by anxiety and fear about picking up a bug or a germ.
It’d spiralled out of control to the point where I became a prisoner in my own home.
I even gave up my job working in the mortgage department of a bank.
“I can’t go on like this. I need a focus,” I cried to Matt.
I decided I needed something where I could work for myself from home and be flexible for the kids.
With my love for animals, it didn’t take long to come up with a plan.
“I’m going to start an online shop selling kooky accessories for fashionable feathered and furry friends,” I said to Matt.
I did some research and after purchasing products, was soon fully stocked with dog and cat toys, high-end handbag carriers and quirky collars.
I called it Edna & Co after my cat, and it went live in 2020.
Customers loved it.
One afternoon, I had an idea to sell chook nappies.
“They’d solve our indoor chicken poo problem and I bet they’ll be a hit with customers, too,” I told Matt.
They work like nappies for babies, the garment loops around the neck and wings like a mini overall and they’re washable with an interchangeable pad.
My chook nappies sold out in no time, with orders coming in from all over the world!
Now, they’re my best seller and there’s no more poop in my coop!
As for me, I’m finding happiness again and my pet boutique is helping me to finally heal.