A young man with Asperger's who was bullied throughout school and struggled in life is now "walking tall and proud" with the success of his bespoke jewellery business.
Taupō 21-year-old Mackenzie Lyttle is the designer and silversmith behind Ratbag Jeweller.
The unique designs made from old coins, bullet cartridges, and silver bullion have been a huge hit for the Covid-born business which sells online.
"Mack sends each piece out with a handwritten note and he has had the most heartwarming responses," mum Tina Lyttle said.
"The feedback has been amazing and he is now walking tall and has found his purpose."
Lyttle - affectionately nicknamed "Ratbag" as a boy - has high-functioning Asperger's syndrome as well as ADHD and dyslexia.
The family comes from a long line of blacksmiths and silversmiths from Yorkshire and Mackenzie was fixated with the family history, Tina Lyttle said.
"My father is a gunsmith and he came to live with us three years ago and has been teaching Mack how to make jewelry."
Despite having a tremor in his hand, Mackenzie has been able to create stunning bespoke rings - some set with jewels - that have grabbed attention on social media.
His grandfather helped him set up the small business and his sister Kelly Lyttle, a full-time nurse, takes photos and looks after social media.
The hand-drawn rat logo was designed by family friend Charlotte Rose who owns Lovely Creatures design studio.
"Everyone has come together so Mack can get on and make his jewellery," Lyttle said.
"He is so proud of himself and it has given him so much confidence and hope."
When New Zealand was in level 4 lockdown Kelly Lyttle put a post on the NZ Products Facebook page.
Tina Lyttle said feedback from people on the Facebook page - created by Manurewa businesswoman Sarah Colcord - had given Mackenzie a huge boost.
Now called "Chooice" the Facebook page and new website was designed to give Kiwi-owned businesses much needed exposure during challenging times.
"We are so grateful to Sarah Colcord for creating the page, she has done such an amazing thing at the perfect time," Tina Lyttle said.
Mackenzie was so grateful for the Facebook page he sent Colcord a custom-made ring for her younger brother who also has Asperger's.
Tiny Lyttle said the business was not about making money for Mack.
"It's about him having pride and purpose and showing others there is hope," she said.
"Just today he said 'Mum I hope seeing my story gives others like me hope that there is a future for them'."