Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name Cathy, I'm 38 years of age and I'm married to an amazing and most supportive husband named Billy and we have 3 beautiful and deeply loved children Joel, Jeremi and Alannah. We live in the suburb Epping, North of Melbourne and our estate is fairly new, so we are enjoying living in an area that's bordering City and Country, so to be able to see cows and green pastures a short drive from home is quite refreshing.
Growing up I was involved in our family business which made Lebanese sweets, pastries & delicacies and prior to having children I was working at a desk acquiring many office skills, neither of which have any relevance to my interests today, lol.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use? I design/create beautiful hair accessories mostly for infants through to tweens, my store consists of hair clips, hats & headbands, of which and are made to suit the many different tastes & styles. I love working with ribbons, lace, pearls, buttons, felt, diamantes and flowers.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process? I get much of my inspiration from todays fashion as well as past fashions, my designs revolve around what people would love & appreciate so really a lot of inspiration comes from my customers too. One thing that I really enjoy doing is researching and trying to design/create accessories that are unique to what's already on the market.
My creative process is built on having a very large collection of materials, so that when I do have a theme or idea in mind, I'm able to create it. Half the problem is trying to get what you have in your mind out, so it excites me to know that I can whip up whatever is thought up.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art? I have been creating Bliss Clips for about a year now. I have always had a thing for being creative and just seeing something from a visual perspective and then recreating it. Being creative in things like re-decorating a room or making decorations for parties, setting up for functions, gift-wrapping or just being different in the way I did and finished things brought me a lot of joy. The latter part of my life was leaning towards being an Interior Designer, but this is on the back burner for now and at the moment I'm really just enjoying being able to work from home and loving that I'm able to be creative and unique in what I design/make.
How did you come up with your business name? I really wanted my clips to bring lots of joy/happiness through their beautiful and unique designs. I knew my designs would mostly include Butterflies, Hearts & Flowers and Bliss Clips was the name that suited just perfectly.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
A lot of what I do is self-taught and sometimes I wonder if there is any easier way to do it, lol. But definitely googling for both tutorials and supplies is a great help. The Internet is a gold mine and a wealth of knowledge for all your needs and I source/purchase most of my supplies from the world over using it.
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
Just be passionate about what you do, don't start up a business for the sake of earning extra money, your heart really needs to be in what you are creating/selling. Once the passion is there, don't be afraid to invest all that you can in to it, as the rewards make it all worthwhile. Register your business, if you are intending to make money then do what is right and register it, integrity in business in very important. Be professional in the way you present your products so definitely invest in a business identity, as branding is very important and appealing. Madeit has been a great exposure for me, my business has been recognised through it and I have branched out into wholesaling because of it, so it really is a great place to ground yourself.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
Do whatever you can to put yourself out there, friends and family is a great start, for me it was my head start and from then onwards, it was my online madeit store that drove it further. Start a facebook page, this is a great way to showcase your products, hold promotions and keep people informed with new products, as well as a great way to get people involved. Advertise in papers or magazines if you have the opportunity to do so, if you believe in yourself and products be prepared to spend in these areas. Offer promotions such as free postage or percentage off sales, this encourages your customers to make that purchase they've been thinking about. I also find that it really brings people joy when you add a thank-you gift or card with their purchase, this shows them that their business meant a lot to you. I believe getting to know your regular customers is a nice thing too.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way? One very big lesson I have learned is patience, we tend to think that once our store opens that the orders will start flooding in and this just isn't the case, I think it took about 3 weeks to get my first sale, which then excited me to list more products and to my surprise it just progressed beautifully from that point onwards. For me, being organised is a huge issue, I find my mind is clearer and more focussed when everything is in its right position, being disorganised causes me to use up time unwisely and is very tiring.
What do you like to do besides creating? I love having time away with my family, where we get to explore Victoria and visit old towns and antique stores and purely just enjoy being together and having fun. I love being surrounded by great company and interesting conversations. I really enjoy board games and last but not least, I love shopping as my madeit co-sellers would know, I now have such a joy and appreciation for handmade.
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website? Music - Hillsong United, Planet Shakers, Jesus Culture, Pop & Jazz. T.V. - Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, Will & Grace & King of Queens. Films - Ramen Girl, Pretty Woman, The Assassin, What Women Want & August Rush Books - Sadly I don't do much reading, so I don't really have a fave. Websites - madeit.com.au, facebook.com, handmadecooperative.blogspot.com, handmadekids.com.au
What would be your perfect day?
I absolutely love romantic country cottages, so my perfect day would be spent with my husband in the Mount Dandenong Ranges during winter, in a cottage on a majestic acreage taking in the views and peaceful surroundings, enjoying a spa to relax and then cheese platter & wine by an open fire, pure bliss.....
Who is one of your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words? Tara K Designs - Her designs are just stunning, unique & well made.