A Plush Job Opportunity


FurTastic Friends by Bocchetta is a family owned business that designs lifelike plush stuffed animals. The business began in Italy in 1948 and is now based in Burleigh Heads with their toys distributed around the world. 

When a new toy is introduced into their line up it can take up to two years from conception to production because Bocchetta's  goal is to make their toys as lifelike and friendly as possible. One toy can be made up of up to 50 different pieces of fabric.

Growing business

Lee-Ann Nordin and her husband purchased the business from the Bocchetta family in 2017 and have since expanded into new areas like substitute support animals where access to live animals isn’t viable. As an NDIS registered business Bochetta also have a key client base through aged care facilities, hospitals, special needs schools and organisations that help with loneliness, PTSD, anxiety, dementia and other conditions.

As the business has grown so too has their intake of trainees. Their latest is Ambra, who is currently studying at the Australian Industry Trade College at Robina.

“I’m currently studying a Certificate III in Business at AITC and I like the business aspects of the job at Bocchetta – invoicing, processing orders and office administration, but since starting my traineeship I’ve learnt so many other aspects of the business which I now also enjoy."

Enthusiasm is the key

Lee-Ann Nordin has been particularly pleased by Ambra’s willingness to explore all aspects of Bocchetta’s business.

“Amber’s enthusiasm for the job has opened up lots of opportunities for her. She has a lot of creative ideas, so she’s embraced the marketing aspects of our business very well, including social media, where she’s really excelled”, says Bocchetta’s CEO.  

Bocchetta Pluish Toys CEO Lee-Ann Nordin

Lee-Ann is so impressed with Ambra that she wishes she could have more trainees just like her.

 “When I take on a trainee I’m really looking for someone who is enthusiastic and has a good work ethic, that’s the most important thing for me and Ambra certainly ticks those boxes’, Lee-Ann explains. “We’re a small business, so we work with each new trainee individually to ascertain their strengths and interests and then help them to develop their skills where they’re most suited.”

Bocchetta's first trainee was Kayleigh, who is still with them after contributing 355 hours work. Kayleigh has covered a broad spectrum of Bocchetta's business activities including  picking, grooming, packing, airbrushing, and the repair and washing of toys in the warehouse. In addition, Kayleigh has utilised her digital skills by working on the back end of Bocchetta's website, as well as creating written and visual content for their social media marketing, and like Ambra, also helps with data entry, filing and other administrative tasks in the office.

Kayleigh says “Working with Bocchetta has equipped me with a variety of new and incredibly valuable skills. I have become more confident in myself and my capabilities in the workplace and have really enjoyed working with such a wonderful, inclusive team of like-minded people.”

Bocchetta's first trainee Kayleigh with a bilby on her shoulder

More prospects

With Bocchetta’s business continuing to grow Lee-Ann is already looking for her next trainee.

“There’s loads of opportunities here. I could easily have someone full time on social media and another person on freighting, not to mention marketing… there’s just so many facets to the business.”

Ambra still isn’t sure what awaits her beyond her studies at AITC, but she would love to land a full time role in a business like Bocchetta. For now she’s happily relishing every opportunity she gets as a trainee.

“I really wanted this trainee opportunity, so I worked hard to get it and now I enjoy everything about it, so I’m not sure where I’ll end up. I’ve learnt so much since I first came here. At the start I was like ‘OMG, I’m never going to learn how to do all this!’ I thought it was going to be so hard, but Lee-Ann and her team have been so helpful. I still ask questions, but nowhere near as many as I used to!”

*Main photo: Ambra surrounded by her plushy friends.