Position: Student, Field: Innovator, Organisation: Kindling Cracker Limited.
Taranaki teenager Ayla Hutchinson was just 13 years old when she came up with the idea and design for the Kindling Cracker – a device that makes chopping kindling at home safer and quicker.
In 2015, the now 16-year-old Ayla signed a deal with a top tool distributor in the USA. The impressive deal will see shipping containers with tens of thousands of units shipped to the USA.
I never even knew that I could even do something like this, after I made it … I thought I quite enjoyed this.”
What inspires a young woman to not only come up with an innovative idea but to follow it through to marketing and selling it?
Ayla’s parents have always encouraged their children to be “free thinkers”. Her dad, Vaughan, reckons it’s “in her blood”, calling her a “chip off the old block”.
It might well be in her blood – Ayla comes from a long line of engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs. Vaughan is himself an engineer who has patented a number of products that he now markets and sells.
Then there’s Ayla’s great grandfather William Hutchinson, who had a successful engineering business, manufacturing and installing his revolutionary system, the Hutchinson Individual Milker.
Ayla’s great great great grand uncle George Fell Hutchinson changed the lives of many Taranaki farmers in the early pioneering days with his products – the G F Hutchinson Water Ram, which pumped river water to farm storage tanks, and the Hutchinson Vacuum Pump.
Ayla is a great thinker - her innovative device was the result of weeks of thinking through different ideas and doing research. As Ayla says, “I like to think about things before I say them.”
Successful global business aside, Ayla is adamant that she’s a normal Kiwi teenager. She is presently studying for NCEA, and in her spare time, she is a keen photographer and likes to play netball and hang out with her friends.
Ayla has stepped back from the Kindling Cracker business to concentrate on her schoolwork, but she remains an important consultant who has a strong say in the family-run business. Ayla says, “It’s a real team effort. We’ve really grown as a family.”
At this stage, Ayla is still considering her options for her future, but she does know that she’ll be using her profits from the Kindling Cracker to fund tertiary study in design and art.
Find out more about the development of the Kindling Cracker.
Hear Ayla talking about her innovative Kindling Cracker in this Radio New Zealand interview.
In this Stuff news article from 2019 find out about how Ayla lives with dyspraxia and how she credits this developmental coordination disorder with helping her in her successful Kindling Cracker business.
Meet inspiring teen innovators, including Ayla, in the TeenBusiness Top Twenty 2014.
See the Kindling Cracker website.
This article is based on information current in 2015.