Tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi my name is Victoria Crisp and I live in Kalgoorlie, West Australia. I am married with two boys 8 months and 2 years old and while my husband is off driving road trains for the mines I stay at home and sew. The other half of Brusselsprouts is my mother who lives in Noosa, Qld so you can imagine that we are Telstra's best customers.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use? We love to make childrens clothes using natural fibres such as cottons and wools. I have a small obsession with craft materials of all kinds and have containers full of buttons, fabric, wool, ribbon, paper etc etc This is definately a genetic obsession as my mothers house is the same, however we both love fabric and love to see a little sprout wearing something we have created. It is so nice when strangers ask where I bought what my boys are wearing and the positive comments when they wear their handknitted clothes.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process? I suppose my process is backward as I buy the fabric first and then think of what I will make from it. I know immediately as soon as I see a fabric that its a must have and then I come up with something to make with it. I like to showcase the fabric as much as possible, so often the fabric is the star of the show. Sometimes it takes me weeks to decide what to make and I still have fabric I just cant decide what to make with. I would have to say that my mother and I just love simplicity and if you have a great fabric you can design simply and have a lovely piece. Inspiration comes from our childhoods, I remembered at 7years of age my favourite dress in the world was crocheted and I felt like a princess in it, and that is how our summer range began by combining my mothers ability to crochet and putting a modern take on it with fabric.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art? I always loved art as a child and would try my hand at everything, I studied Art History at uni, was a ceramic artist for a couple of years and even worked as a hairdresser too.I started Brusselsprouts a year ago while I was pregnant with my second son, at the time I was working as a bookeeper and was itching to get back into something creative that I could do from home. I really missed the satisfaction and sense of achievement you get after seeing an idea come to life. I never thought I would end up sewing as I had started by knitting because I had found it hard to find winter clothes made of Australian wool, all I found was acrylic and I prefer wool as its much warmer and lasts so much longer. However while I was visiting my parents I saw that my mother had been sewing and that is where the idea started of us working together and so I started to sew again too.
How did you come up with your business name? We wanted something that would be easy to remember and was androgynous. I had read a review on a restaurant called Aubergine and the thought of Brusselsprouts for children just popped into my head.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
Because I live in Kalgoorlie my resources are very limited, its pretty much the internet or nothing! I was told that every business should have a blog so after I set mine up (brusselsproutsdesign.blogspot.com) I started looking around at others and I am now a blog addict. There are so many fantastic creative people all over the world and so many of them are willing to share their craft with photos and tutorials. I usually end up with about 6 windows open as I follow all the links and my favourites list is about a mile long.
What's your best advice for someone starting up? Make what you absolutely love, not what you think will sell. If you make something you love it shows through in your work and others will love and appreciate it too. Then just go for it! madeit is such a great platform to put your work out there, you can sell from your living room no rainy market days or site fees or trying to juggle the kids and babysitters. Try to get some impartial feedback before you invest too much money into something, make a couple of things and put them up for sale and see how they go first.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful? Up to this point I have not done any paid advertising at all and have tried to utilise as much of the free networking as possible such as twitter, a blog, forums etc These sites are out there and have great marketing potential but you do need to spend the time on them. I have chosen to do only a couple as I know I dont have the time to do all of them, but they are worth it we are now selling in The Netherlands as a result of being on Twitter and I only tweet about twice a week.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way? Not to let the business take over your entire life, there needs to be a balance with family and work.
What do you like to do besides creating? Spend time with my children and husband all together, my husband works 2 weeks on and 1 week off so we really appreciate the week we have together. And I love to read, anything and everything.
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website? MUSIC I like everything but am so old school I dont even own an ipod, I buy cd's and listen to the radio
TELEVISION SHOW Stupid comedy like The 40yr old Virgin or suspense/drama The Shawshank Redemption
FILM I very rarely watch tv but if I do its usually the ABC
BOOKJohnathon Livingstone Seagull, The Alchemist, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, Shameless True Crime Addic
What would be your perfect day?
Sleeping later than 4am to start with, then a nice champagne breakfast by the seaside followed by the family having a great day by the water. Meeting with extended family for lunch then an afternoon siesta. Lastly having dinner and wine with good friends and some quiet time at the end of the day with my husband.
And if I could squeeze in a trip to the mythical best fabric store in the world, the one that has every fabric ever made with a limitless credit card to go shopping with I think that would top off my perfect day.
Who is your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words? GayeAbandon - Recylcing at its best, just gorgeous!