Nathan Hunter serves up fairy floss on a stick with his new business, Fluffe.
Little did Nathan know that an attempt to gain admission to a graphic design college would lead him into a career as purveyor of nostalgic nibblies. To bulk up his creative portfolio, Nathan designed logos for fake businesses, with one of his pseudo companies eventually finding its way into the real world. “I had no idea how I would make actual flavours, I just got really intrigued by the idea of creating a fairy floss empire,” he says. As it turned out, he didn’t need the portfolio to nab a position in the Communication Design course at Billy Blue College, Sydney, but the fairy floss stuck and Fluffe was born.
Harping back to the nostalgia of a bygone era, where country town communities flocked to their local weekend fete, Nathan wants to revive that joy of receiving a cloud of magical fluff on the end of a stick. “I have memories of visiting my Grandma for her birthday in Rylstone – a little country town near Bathurst,” says Nathan. “The community would host a mini Easter Show carnival with rides and show bags. This is where I first remember eating freshly made fairy floss.” With fun-fairs now on the threatened species list, Nathan wanted to find a way to bring these vintage treats into the 21st Century with the help social media.
“I’ve got a pretty big following now thanks to Instagram,” Nathan explains. “My aim is to create photos that are their own ‘eye candy’.” With slick branding, sweetly stylised imagery and a healthy dose of the ‘Nathan’ factor, the Millennials are lapping it up, with over 55 thousand Instagram followers devouring his daily visual feasts. But it’s not the business side that Nathan’s so keen on, “I put a lot of myself into it. I don’t want Fluffe to feel like a brand or a money making scheme, but rather something more magical,” he says.
The flavour selection is where the real magic begins. Forget your standard pink musk, Nathan offers an other-worldly array of Fluffe flavours, including birthday cake, American marshmallow cereal and Mojito; culminating in the best-selling Unicorn Poo, a combination of purple musk, bubblegum and a whole bunch of sprinkles. “When developing a new flavour I’ll often start with the name, something really fun and catchy that people will remember,” says Nathan. From here the colour, flavours and toppings will develop, all of which is taste-tested on Nathan’s family. After years munching on sugary concoctions, Nathan fears he can’t taste the subtleties in flavours anymore. “It’s nice to know someone else can taste what it’s meant to be – I don’t want anyone to say that it just tastes like normal fairy floss.”
Luckily for Nathan this hasn’t happened yet, as he carts his mobile machine around to birthday parties, weddings and the occasional inner-city market. It was here, at the Finder’s Keepers market last May that Nathan experienced his first sugary disaster while debuting the Fluffe range. “It was all going well for 15 minutes and then I accidentally unhooked something and lost power,” he says. “It was my debut and the worst possible scenario, I had to turn people away for 3 hours.”
Malfunctioning machines aren’t the only barrier for business. “I realised when I did a market in winter that if it’s too cold, humid or wet outside, the floss just melts as soon as it comes out of the machine,” says Nathan. To combat the winter seasons slump, Nathan began making pre-packaged bags to sell online, which immediately took off. Often 100 boxes of Fluffe will sell out in less than 30 minutes.
So what’s in store for the future of this fairy floss affair? “After I finish Uni in a couple of weeks I want to take it on full time,” says Nathan, who plans to ditch the graphic design degree unless it has anything to do with Fluffe. “I don’t think I’ll ever get over it, I’m so addicted to sugar.”