Zacalu Zoo

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Darren Coyne

Remember the days when clothing and toys were made to last? Remember back when the fabrics you wore suited the climate that you lived in?

The partners behind Zacalu Zoo do.

Christine Sonder and Chantal Wieseler knew that if they were going to get into retail, they wanted to sell nothing but quality products.

With an online store, an outlet at Kingscliff, and now a new shop at Bangalow, their decision to invest in quality is paying off.

Zacalu Zoo specialises in clothing made from natural fabrics and toys made the old-fashioned way.

IMG_3175‘We’re into selling “slow” toys,’ Ms Sonder said.

‘The type of toys that children use their imaginations with.

‘Computers are wonderful and a great source of information but this is about children enjoying slow time.’

The shops sell things such a puzzles, wooden toys, and things that children can build themselves such as forts and pirate ships.

The clothing, for kids and ladies, is all made from natural products such as linen and cotton, which are suited to the north coast climate.

‘There’s no plastic in our shops. It’s all wooden toys, craft supplies and interesting bits and pieces that you don’t find in regular stores,’ Ms Sonder said.

Zacalu Zoo began trading in Murwillumbah four years ago but relocated to Kingscliff’s Marine Parade after just a year.

As the store’s popularity grew, Ms Wieseler and Ms Sonder decided to branch out to Bangalow.

‘Bangalow is such a gorgeous place and we had both lived in that area for years,’ Ms Sonder said.

IMG_3187‘We opened the new store there at the beginning of August and it’s going very well.

‘My son Brett Sonder and his partner Sharyn King have also joined the business and we all take turns working in the different stores.’

As well as the children’s clothes and toys, Zacalu Zoo also specialises in comfortable clothing for women, again made from only natural fabrics
‘We do our own Zacalu brand, which is designed by me with fabrics sourced from America, as well as other leading Australian brands,’ she said.

‘In the kids’ range we’ve got top Australian brands that include Paperwings from Mullumbimby, Rock the Baby and Munster Kids.

‘For the babies we stock the Alex and Ant brand.’

The Kingscliff store is located at Shop 2, 96A Marine Parade, while the Bangalow store can be found at 1A, 36 Byron Street. To visit the online store go to


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