Born to Sparkle works with Indigenous Elders for NAIDOC week

Born to Sparkle has worked with local Indigenous Elders to create a First Nations-inspired glitter tattoo/sparkle range in time for NAIDOC week.

Annually in July, NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia. NAIDOC week celebrates and acknowledges the history, culture and achievements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations people.

Born to Sparkle were established in 2017 in Fremantle, WA by Belle Maccoll and Mark Redenbach, with assistance from Belle’s daughter Miley Maccoll. They have been spreading their magic throughout Perth and surrounds ever since! Born to Sparkle specialise in temporary glitter tattoos, face sparkles and festival gems and boast an extensive range of over 200 designs produced in-house.

These designs include a collaboration with local Indigenous Elders to produce culturally respectful and carefully considered customised designs.

Aunty Tricia Flynn is a Woolwonga Elder from Pine Creek in the Northern Territory. She now resides in Perth and was a key contributor in Born to Sparkles NAIDOC inspired range of glitter tattoos and cosmetic glitter. Aunty Tricia sits on the NAIDOC committee and is a glitter fan and enthusiast.

“I was SO THRILLED last year when Born to Sparkle came forward with the idea,” she said.

“Last year Born to Sparkle came to ask and get our opinion on what we would like to see as sparkles. They were interested in our suggestions. Born to Sparkle told us which ideas would or wouldn’t work. They received the ideas well. I suggested the dingo/dog tracks. I know they are being used-I have a picture with them on me. I know everyone is happy with what has come from Born to Sparkle.

I made sure to see if they had put in an application for this year’s Mirrabooka NAIDOC!”

This year’s NAIDOC theme is “Voice, Treaty and Truth”-Aunty Tricia reflects on this.

“Our Voices need to be heard. Treaty would go a long way to healing. Truth needs to be known about the atrocities that have happened. My Great Grandma and Great Aunt were the only survivors of massacres in the Northern Territory. I only found that out seven years ago.”

Aunty Tricia suggested that this collaboration is a positive thing for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous relations. “I think it’s part of acceptance that small businesses integrate First Nations Culture by meeting up with us. If small businesses do this in a meaningful and respectful way then there might not be such a great divide between understandings. I am so looking forward to being sparkled again!”

Melissa Brandis is a Noongar/Ballardong woman based in Perth, WA. She is a co-host and co-producer on the award-winning community radio program Rainbow KINection. She attended NAIDOC celebrations in 2018 where the First Nations-inspired range made their debut.

“NAIDOC is a representation of the world’s oldest living culture. We use NAIDOC to raise awareness of our struggles and our somber history while also celebrating our survival and all our accomplishments.

NAIDOC is about educating and celebrating and drawing attention to what needs to be done toward reconciliation and equality.” explained Melissa.

“I commend Born to Sparkle for reaching out to our community Elders and being so respectful of First Nations culture. I proudly wore my deadly glitter tattoos last year.

First Nations culture is often left out or not represented by smaller businesses, so to have a small business working with our community and embracing our culture I feel it empowers them and us as we come together!” she added.

Like Aunty Tricia, Melissa is a self-proclaimed glitter enthusiast and has found that wearing the glitter is an empowering experience.

“I love all things glitter, so I immediately gravitated towers Born to Sparkle. Belle, Mark and Miley are an amazing family, who make so many people happy and they keep me coming back to support their amazing business. The products make me feel happy and excited, and make me feel like I want to stand out for a bit! As someone who is generally shy and introverted, this is a massive thing!”

While Melissa didn’t have a hand in the design process, as a consumer she offered up some very positive feedback for Born to Sparkle.

“I absolutely love the designs! I truly couldn’t decide which tattoo I wanted! The designs were beautiful and chosen with purpose with our Elders, which made them feel even more significant and special to wear.

Sparkles and sparkle tattoos grab attention and promote the ATSI culture by inviting people to ask what the tattoos are and what they mean. They help create conversations!”

Christina Ward, Deputy Director for The Edmund Rice Centre, has worked with Born to Sparkle on several occasions. The Edmund Rice Centre, established in 1996 and based in Mirrabooka, has a focus on First Nations people, Refugees and Asylum seekers and Pacific people living in Australia and internationally.

“I was really impressed that Born to Sparkle are making their products culturally friendly. The fact that they actually consult with Elders is very respectful and I look forward to working with them again,” enthused Christina.

Born to Sparkle will be making an appearance at the Mirrabooka NAIDOC cultural celebration on Monday the 8th of July. This is a FREE community event and will be held at the Herb Graham Leisure Centre with celebrations kicking off at 10am.

Marley Amphlett