Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Sarah and I grew up with penguins under the house in Phillip Island, Victoria. I moved to Melbourne for Uni (Bachelor of Science) and spent a few years living overseas. My home now for the last five years is a little terrace in Footscray in Melbourne, and I love it!
I work fulltime in a day job in IT Consulting, and sew in my spare time in my spare room. I would love to work in the handmade world fulltime – one day!
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use? I sew bunny and birdie softies from a pattern in my head, and make purses, bags, scarves and cushions as well.
I love to upcycle material that has already been pre-loved, such as tablecloths, pillow cases, sheets and tea towels. I like that this fabric already has a history and now can be loved again as something different. Plus I love the retro and floral designs of reclaimed linen.
Also amongst my fabric collection is an excellent stash of vintage material from my grandmothers scrap box, which has extra sentimental value to me.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process? What I make is determined by the fabric at hand and its pattern and texture. I am inspired by the material and will buy a sweet floral pillowcase from the op shop thinking it would be a good bunny or make a sweet lining for a bag. I make things that I would like to use. I also scribble ideas and designs in a notebook when I should be concentrating on other things!
I get a lot of inspiration from all the creative people online that are giving things a go, sharing their knowledge and are so supportive of each other.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art? billy boy & mia has been going for about 2 years now, but I have always loved working with my hands. I started sewing when I was about 12 spending Saturdays at my grandmothers learning embroidery and making gifts for family. I still use the same sewing machine. Love the ancient husqvarna!
How did you come up with your business name? Billy Boy was the name of a sweet blood red bay horse I used to ride, and Mia is my furball cat.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
I am not involved in any classes or groups, but I like to use the madeit forum to bounce ideas off creative people. I also love reading blogs, books and magazines like Frankie and Peppermint to see what else is happening in the world of craft. Twitter has also been a great tool for networking and meeting like minded crafty people.
What's your best advice for someone starting up? Jump in and give it a go. Use the forums and online resources and talk to people. Everyone is supportive and helpful!
Also, don’t get disheartened if you don’t have loads of sales, remember you’re creating for the enjoyment of it and when you do get a sale it’s a bonus!
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful? I am hopeless at self promotion, but have good friends and family that pass on my details to everybody.
A tip for an online store would be to aim for good clear photos as they really sell the item. I have found Twitter to be great but be interactive and don’t just promote items.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way? Don’t send a product without payment! Got a bit carried away at the post office one day, and although I did get the payment in the end, I had a few stressful days thinking about it. Now I am much more organised with my packaging and posting.
What do you like to do besides creating? I like baking yummy treats, and enjoy random gardening, and sitting on the porch with a good cup of tea (or a glass of wine) chatting with a friend.
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website? Music: Currently it’s Fleet Foxes, Jose Gonzalez, LadyHawke, and anything 80’s!
TV: Love comedies like Black Books, Flight of the Conchords, The Goodies
Film: So many, its hard to pick. ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest’, ‘The Party’, ‘Tron’, and more recently ‘Up’ and ‘ District 9’
Book: Jane Eyre, A Fortunate Life, The Princess Bride, Tuesdays with Morrie, The Book Thief
Website: All the crafty bloggers, and madeit of course!
What would be your perfect day?
A sleep in with a cuppa and a book in bed, a lazy lunch with friends or family, a swim followed by a glass of bubbly and yummy dinner – preferably on a tropical island somewhere!
Who is one of your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words? michvanetta - stunning jewellery, gorgeous photos and brilliant customer focus.