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Once upon a time: the Tinta story

~ Hello, Colour Lovers!

October is our birthday month, and this year we’re 8 years old! At Tinta HQ, we’re all piling into our toddler Transport set to take a trip down memory lane in the World of Tinta, and you’re invited too.

Eight years has seen so many new and exciting designs, different ideas, and whole rainbows of colours shift and change. We’d need eight more years just to tell you everything! But we know what really matters is the mums and kids at the very heart of Tinta, and all the colourful adventures they’ve had over the years. So let’s sit down with a cup of tea and go back to the very start of the story.

Once upon a time, there lived a little girl who loved to draw and colour-in...

How the Tinta story started

You see this excited dino-loving kiddo? This is Sabrina, Maria P’s eldest daughter. Her 5th birthday kicked off Tinta crayons… rather by accident!

For Maria F and Maria P, there was no detailed business plan, no considered approach— all of the thought came along later. It was pure genius, nothing but fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants madness, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Maria F had planned to spend 6 months’ quality time at home with her daughter, Adelaide, before Adelaide started school. She had no idea that just around the corner was an article that would change her life forever.

The article was about the 2015 discovery of asbestos in kids’ crayons sold in Australia. And Maria thought to herself, surely it can’t be that hard to make crayons. I’ll give it a go!

With less than a hundred bucks of materials, she set up her new experiment, working out how to make her own non-toxic crayons that were just as much fun as the ones in the big shops.

Tinta’s very first box
Tinta’s first barista-turned-crayon pourer jugs

Maria F’s then-neighbour, Maria P, had a daughter the same age as Adelaide and the two little girls were friends. Sabrina’s birthday party was dinosaur-themed, so Maria F set about making the very first pack of crayons for her special day all in dinosaur shapes.

From neighbours to business partners

Maria P loved the unique crayons just as much as Sabrina did. When she asked Maria F where she’d gotten them from, she was surprised to find out Maria had made them herself. Maria P loved them so much she ordered 10 whole boxes to give as presents to her loved ones. Then more orders started to come in, and by Christmas that year they’d made and sold over 1000 boxes!

Maria F and Maria P’s partnership began (or should we say the Tinta story began!) with a neighbourly chat over the fence and an offer of helping hands in the Maria F’s kitchen crayon department. From there, their friendship bloomed into Tinta Crayons, their partnership and business. They’ve gone to markets all across Australia, won awards, and of course made lots of new and exciting crayons.

The sky might be the limit for us apart, but there’s no telling how far we will go together with Maria and Maria at the wheel. After all, there’s a whole universe of Tinta crayons just waiting to be explored.

How the Tinta story is going

While they don’t live just a fence away anymore, Maria F and Maria P’s partnership has never been stronger. Through trial and error, new business shenanigans, and of course covid and its lockdowns, the Tinta story has grown and grown. The Marias might not have been able to be in the same space through the big lockdowns, but that didn’t stop them from bringing plenty of colour into your lives. They even celebrated Tinta’s 5th birthday together and it was tons of fun!

  • Adelaide F with crayons on the kitchen table

In 2022, Tinta Crayons moved into spacious new digs, just in time for the Kinder Kits. Over three months, the team grew to 15 people who together made just over 255,000 crayons for all the kiddos of Victoria starting 3-year-old kindergarten in early 2023. When we asked Maria and Maria what they were most proud of doing with Tinta, the Kinder Kits were at the top of the list.

Cherry and Charlotte packing the last crayon to send to OCC for the Kinder Kits
Here’s to our ergonomic petals!
Maria F and Maria P’s Kinder Kit success
Tinta’s new Burwood home
Pouring 255,000 petal crayons
Tinta’s well-done barbecue on the last day of the Kinder Kits

But we’re not done yet! If you put 8 on its side, you get infinity, and that’s how much we’re looking forward to the future. October is our birthday month, and we’ll be celebrating right to the end. Keep your eyes on our socials for some of our favourite behind the scenes moments, and sign up to our newsletters for exclusive subscriber-only content to brighten up your inbox.

We know Adelaide and Sabrina are excited for the future already. They can see only one problem with taking over the business when they grow up and their mums retire- one of them will have to change their name so they match just like the Marias’.

And they all lived happily ever after. We’ll see you next time with more colourful tales to share!

Love, Team Tinta x

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