Tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, we are the AnK team – made up of Angie Bettridge and Kristy Sparrow. We both live on cattle properties (with our patient and understanding husbands – Brant & Alex) an hour from Alpha in Central Queensland (in opposite directions..LOL !!). Angie is mum to two gorgeous girls - Mikaela 6yrs and Sienna 4 yrs and Kristy has lively twins aged 7 yrs – Madelyn & Tom. We both teach our children at home through Distance Education (previously known as School of the Air). Together we created AnK Bowtique, after numerous phone calls, emails and several bottles of wine we opened our madeit shop this year and haven’t looked back since. We have been especially busy with the Christmas season.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use? We specialize in gorgeous accessories for all princesses – hair accessories, headbands, bow/clip holders, beanies, hats, brooches, singlets, t-shirts, necklaces and more. We are always looking at different ideas to expand our growing collection. We LOVE grosgrain ribbon – the texture and colours and the endless variety of items we can create from it. Shabby chic material, floral fabrics, felt, pearls and beautiful embellishments. We are both addicted to buttons !!
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process? We love to shop and regularly get ideas whilst out shopping or online and in magazines. We are inspired by fabrics, ribbon or a new piece of felt.. A lot of our creations are from trial and error. We make things our children would like to wear and often get requests for custom products. We are very particular with our colour schemes and will often spending too long searching our supplies for that perfect button.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art? Just over 2 years ago we attended a local market with our preloved designer children’s wear and we took along a few handmade clips and bows. Our little ‘hobby’ has progressed from there. Needless to say we have improved as we have grown !!
How did you come up with your business name? Angie is the A and Kristy the K of AnK Bowtique. We tossed around a few ideas before we settled on this one!! All of our hair accessories are named after all the little (and big !!) girls we have had the pleasure of meeting or creating for. Our brooches, hats and necklaces are all named after flowers.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
As we both live on rural properties we don’t have access to the facilities that most city people take for granted. We rely heavily on the web and magazines and dream of heading to a city craft fair to see what is happening in the ‘big smoke’.
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
• Start out small and see how your products go. A large amount of stock is difficult and expensive to maintain.
• Keep abreast of fashion trends – colours etc.
• Be aware that what starts as a ‘hobby’ can quickly become a full time job. Keep it fun and enjoyable.
Look through other madeit stores to see how other people have set up their listings and what type of information to include.
Be friendly with Australia Post – get to know their pricing systems.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful? We can’t emphasise enough the value of quality and clear photos, especially when selling online. A great photo will sell the product before a customer has even got to the description. We also often include samples with our orders, everyone loves to get ‘freebies’. Social networking sites such as facebook have worked well for us and we can keep our fans updated with new products. We have just started a blog – www.ankbowtique.blogspot.com and we link to our madeit store. When we attend markets or craft fairs we include a flyer in with the purchase which has links to our madeit store, blog and facebook site and also tells a little bit about our business.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way? Don’t trust all brands of glue – it really is trial and error. !! It is also difficult when doing the majority of shopping for supplies online as we love to feel the texture of a fabric or ribbon. Get to know your suppliers and keep a book of where you sourced all your supplies and the cost. This has been extremely helpful for us as we frequently share supplies.
What do you like to do besides creating? By the time we have finished teaching, running busy cattle properties, doing the books and maintaining our houses we rarely get the opportunity to have ‘free time’. We both love decorating, photography, cooking and gardening and have dabbled in digital scrapbooking.
What would be your perfect day?
A long, slow massage followed by a day sipping cocktails whilst looking over the ocean. Finished with some shopping with an unlimited credit card !! Did we mention we are shop deprived out here ??
Who is one of your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words? allanaC - creative, gorgeous & ohhhh so clever camera straps & super cute giraffes