Melbourne AW24 Indigenous Program Recipient: Ochre Dough

We can’t wait for you to meet our Melbourne Design Market Indigenous Program stallholder when we return to the Royal Exhibition Building this July 12-14! Mikaela Egan is the founder behind Ochre Dough, a natural playdough and crafts brand infused with native bush tucker that inspires multi-sensory learning through play. Mikaela’s ethos is to help people connect to Country and culture through play, encouraging the young, and young at heart, to embark on educational adventures that celebrate Aboriginal culture, country and creativity.

Follow your nose to their amazing-smelling stall at the Melbourne Design Market and let your creativity flow!

What inspired you to start Ochre Dough?

Ochre Dough was inspired by a love for connecting to culture and Country and how in this modern world we can connect in creative ways, through experiences and through play.

It all started from an idea I had over in my other business, Koorie Prints, that I’ve had with my partner for about 6 years. I had just naturally found myself creating cultural products for young people, so we had developed a bit of a Kids Corner. Seeing the joy it brought to little ones was so special and it brought me so much joy myself. So as part of that I had come up with the idea to make an Aboriginal Flag bamboo plate/tray for sensory play. This then led to creating the Aboriginal flag playdough kit with homemade playdough, which then led to making playdough using Ochre from Country for natural colouring.

Initially this was going to be a product on its own, called Ochre Dough, until ideas started sprouting and we decided that ‘Ochre Dough’ was going to be its own brand. Everything we do or create at Ochre Dough is about that connection and education. Learning through play is the best combination!

Tell us about the native ingredients you use – how do they add to the sensory learning experience?

I’ve always loved learning about and tasting native Australian bush tucker, it’s a great way for all people to connect with the place here that we call home. And so, using native ingredients was a bit experimental to begin with but turned out just perfect.

The spices colour the playdough subtly but give off a lovely scent which adds to the sensory learning experience. The fruits have a slight scent but give a stunning colour to the playdough making it completely natural and great for little hands. And to add to it further they all come with an educational card to learn about each bush tucker. What’s really great about it is that families and children can be learning together.

What can visitors expect from your stall at The Finders Keepers, will they be able to try the products with their own hands?

You’ll know where we are at the market – just follow the delicious smell of lemon myrtle, wattle seed & strawberry gum! We will have all our products on show for you at the market, plus some samples for you to be able to see, smell, touch & squeeze. There will also be a kids table for some play and colouring in.

Who are you looking forward to seeing or meeting at the markets?

We are looking forward to seeing all the incredible stallholders (being our first time!) and it’s so great to see more Indigenous-owned businesses on the lineup, very keen to check out their work. I am also looking forward to seeing Beau Wylie and Ash Newman, I’m very intrigued by their artworks. And of course, other businesses for kids like Hey Doddle who we follow on Instagram.

What’s next for Ochre Dough?

At the moment, just trying to keep up with the growth and getting to a place where we are sustainable. Making sure our products are the best possible quality and that our educational components provide as much value as possible.

I’m currently doing everything from home so it will be great to have a dedicated space where all the creating and magic can happen. I’d love to have a space that allows for the community to be able to drop by, get involved, and just have those all-round good vibes happening daily. It’s really all about having fun even throughout the chaos of growing so quickly.

Connect with Ochre Dough:

Melbourne Design Market
Friday 12th July 4pm – 9pm
Saturday 13th July 10am – 5pm
Sunday 14th July 10am – 5pm
Royal Exhibition Building
Get Tickets Here
RSVP on Facebook

Leave a comment