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St Paul's School

Year 12 Graduate | Clare Gibling

Finishing school as a partner in a start-up business wasn’t something Clare Gibling had ever envisaged.

Yet that is the reality for the St Paul’s School Year 12 student who successfully commercialised a sustainability card game during her final year at the award-winning independent school in Bald Hills, north of Brisbane.

The concept for the card game originated in an ideas session at the school’s Entrepreneur’s Club, attended by students, teachers and parents, in 2017.

Clare says when she scanned the sea of ideas club members had put forward, she was drawn to one on sustainability by parent Sarah Gover.

So, the two women partnered to flesh out the cost and audience for developing an affordable, screen-free, boredom-busting game that children and adults could play.

What they came up with was Clash of the Countries, a 40-country card game that features four facts on each country related to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals.

However, Clare says just like any good business story, theirs almost hit a major hurdle when they realised, after production had commenced, they needed approval from the UN to use its logo on the cards.

“Sarah arranged to meet the Queensland UN representative and turned what could have been a near disaster into an incredible opportunity. The representative loved the game so much she ordered 90 copies,” Clare recalls in relief.

Since launching their company Illuminating Distractions and the card game on 1 July 2018, Clare and Sarah have sold 140 copies to buyers including local and interstate schools. To date their success has been the result of word-of-mouth marketing.

Clare says establishing a start-up has taught her a lot, not only about business and the challenges facing countries around the world, but also about herself.

“I used to get quite anxious talking to people I didn’t know. But this experience has forced me to develop my communication skills and to step outside my comfort zone by talking to people, such as potential buyers, who can help spread the word about our product,” she says.

While Clare aspires to study a Bachelor of Arts/Law at university, she says she won’t be ignoring her business, which she plans to take to the “next level” once school ends this Friday 16 November.

“Who knows, this side hustle could end up being my main career.”


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