Tell us a bit about yourself?
We (Sweet William is made up of sisters-in-law from Melbourne, Paula and Jeanine) are orginally from South Africa and have had creative careers in advertising, teaching and architecture. We are now all full time mums - (there are 7 children between the two of us!) and part time artists/crafters. We are passionate about being creative and making. We wanted to connect creatively despite the pressures of everyday life and so decided to pool our passions and start a collaborative, crafting project called Sweet William.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use? We always start with pen and paper; drawing and illustrating is at the core of Sweet William. We try and keep our products unique by incorporating our very own original artwork. (Paula is the illustrator, her drawings are encorporated into products by Jeanine, who loves to sew.) Recycling and upcycling are key elements in our designs; most of our craft materials are thrifted and or vintage - we collect paper, fabric, buttons, old games - anything we can transform into something beautiful. We design and make our own cushions, brooches, prints, hand made cards, craft packs and stationary.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process? We draw inspiration from all over the place - motherhood, markets, magazines, blogs, film, music, art, design, nature, colour, pattern, etc but we do have a thing for the past, especially old children's books and vintage fabrics. We both get a kick out of op shopping and are mad for any market any where! We inspire each other, share knowledge, and encourage each other to try new things.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art? We have both had life long love affairs with creating. Paula's very first memory is of painting a bright yellow sun and remembers her Granny giving her felt to play with at a young age, while Jeanine remembers a constantly-crafting mother always passing remnants her way. Sweet William was started in May 2008.
How did you come up with your business name? Sweet William was a persian cat Paula had as a pet while growing up, the flower Sweet William represents friendship too, so we felt the name had both meaning and a sense nostalgia.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
The web, blogs, books, prints, magazines, textiles, stationers, habby shops, op shops, markets - all a wealth of resources.
What's your best advice for someone starting up? Be passionate and love what you are doing - because if you are not commited to the work it will not keep its hold. For selling online - get really familiar with your camera. Put the time into getting your name out wherever - on the web and in real life.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful? Provide regular and consistent listings of items for sale - it keeps the shop fresh and increases the choice for potential buyers. Get into the web - blog, flicker, twitter, face book, etc.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way? Shop around on e-bay and the internet to source good prices for materials - we have payed far too much for some materials in high street stores.
What do you like to do besides creating? Besides creating??? - school run, packing lunches, drinking tea. Family life probably takes up most of our time. So if we are not busy making we are busy with our lovely families.
Magazines- Frankie, Selvedge, Dumbo Feather, Monster Children, Elle Deco, so many......
What would be your perfect day?
Paula - sleep in (wow), some sort of excersise, brilliant coffee, delicious food, few hours browsing a flea market, quiet time doing some drawing, a walk on a beach, crisp glass of sav. blanc, a great film at the cinema - in any order!
Jeanine- I love those empty-calendar days that get off to a real slow start with everyone still in their pj's half way through the morning. Coffee and the paper, pottering about the house for most of the day, and then a spontaneous outing that might include a spectacular sunset, good food, wine and friends.
Who is your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words? GayeAbandon - for their beautiful, creative, useful, upcycled products.