Haven uncovers the person behind the ‘mum’ tag, sometimes it’s hard to remember who you were BC (before children) and with less time for you now that you have a family in tow, reconnect with us.


Full name // Carmel Horner

Title // Co-owner

Company // Toy Kingdom, Byron Bay & Lismore. Play Forever Toys, Ballina

Married to // Carey

Children (names and ages) // Miles 11 years and Sunney 8 years


Tell us a little about your role.

I joined my husband in the business 8 years ago and I run our Byron Bay store. Carey and I attend the trade fairs together and share the buying duties. We are continually seeking to source new and interesting products for the stores so this also involves a lot of research. I am also responsible for the Book keeping and Advertising and Marketing of the business.


What was your inspiration to grow a toy/retail business?

When a national discount retailer opened up in our regional town 12 years ago we decided to change things up and started looking around for toys that represented high quality and a unique point of difference. The strategy worked for us and we have just opened our third store on the North Coast.


What is your favourite dinner? (And cooking doesn’t have to be up to you!)

Anything that has been cooked by someone else! It is such a luxury and I savour every mouthful!


You’ve got a day to yourself – how do you spend it?

An early run to the Lighthouse with my favourite running partner, Dad and a trip to the Farmers Market followed by time spent on the beach with a good book would be non-negotiable. If I can fit it in, lunch with a friend or a bit of shopping that doesn’t involve going anywhere a supermarket would be heavenly! My favourite way to spend the end of the day is with my family at home watching a movie or playing a good board game!


Last time you read a personal development article? What was it about?

I don’t read many articles but I do find the autobiographies of inspiring, prominent people very motivating. I have recently read Vivienne Westwood and Julia Gillard’s stories and found both women to be incredibly motivating in terms of their resilience in two very cut throat industries, fashion and politics.


Do you find time to exercise? What’s your favourite way to get the endorphins pumping?

Exercise is vital to my sanity! I try to do something most mornings, whether it is the lighthouse run or a boxing class on the beach at Broken Head. I find being up early and active thoroughly energising and it sets me up for the whole day.


What did you want to be when you grew up?

I think I wanted to be all the things little girls in the 80’s wanted to be, a hairdresser, a teacher, a nurse! It never occurred to me back then to become a business owner but it has been the best decision I ever made.


More: www.facebook.com/mytoykingdom




haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.