Tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello my name is Kristina Rozek and I live with my Czech husband Tomas and our children Natascha (4) and Erik (1). I am originally from a smallish country town in South Australia called Bordertown where I spent my childhood years on a cattle and cropping property. I moved to Adelaide in my teenage years and met my husband while we were both working together in a casual retail job during our university years, some sixteen years ago. You’ll now find us living in the northern suburbs of Adelaide.
I sort of stumbled upon Little Viking Girl by accident last year while on maternity leave from the working world. I finally had some time to be creative as my son Erik had just reached one years old. Feeling the need to engage my mind in what I love most – arts and crafts – I began cutting and pasting on the kitchen table; playing around with my photographs in Photoshop; writing in a journal about what was (and wasn’t) working technically and visually; and researching other designers on the internet, which inspired me enormously. I took the plunge and created a store name, designed a few simple pieces, uploaded the photographs and generated a few sales. I was also instantly glued to the number of received ‘views’ for each item!
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use? I use polymer clay and acrylic paints for my brooches, pendants and earrings and new and vintage fabrics for my children’s clothing. In the beginning I was making brooches and pendants solely by hand but this was far too labour intensive and time consuming. I started experimenting with silicone moulds and soon found I could produce more in a shorter time frame, allowing me additional time to work on other aspects of the growing business.
I create my own handmade postage boxes from cereal and biscuit packaging, using a template initially from a modified light bulb box. It pays to be savvy with postage in Australia. If you are selling small items like jewellery, and as long as it weights less than 500g and has a thickness of less than 2cm, you can post it as a large letter ($1.20) versus a parcel ($4.35). As well as saving on postage costs, the idea of creating sustainable packaging from waste is a huge added bonus.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process? I find inspiration through a number of ways. A flip through a design magazine at the newsagent stand or supermarket aisle to catch a quick glimpse at what others designers are doing; a drive in the Adelaide hills through the surrounding townships; or a trip down memory lane to the times when I would arrange the Christmas Eve table ‘Danish style’ with soft lighting, red candles glowing in the windows, an array of wines and Schnapps and rye bread topped with herrings and caviar.
I work in spaces all over our home: the kitchen table, on top of the microwave, at the computer desk in the lounge, sitting on the back verandah, or at the workbench in the shed (a sad reality when you have outgrown your home!) Indoors you will find me working on the initial stages of my clay jewellery, such as filling silicone moulds; or sewing an appliqué for a bodysuit design. Outdoors I am sanding brooches with an electric belt sander or giving them a light sanding on the verandah in the afternoon sun.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art? My creative flair officially flourished later in life, around my second year of University. My first year at Uni was a flop so on a whim, I enrolled in a Diploma of Visual Arts at the North Adelaide School of Art. This led me to study for a Bachelor of Visual Arts Degree at the University of South Australia.
Unofficially I have been creative most of my life, whether I am making a colourful salad in the kitchen, decorating the wall of my house or planting some seedlings in the garden.
How did you come up with your business name? The inspiration behind Little Viking Girl draws on my Australian-Danish heritage. My mum Nina originated from Copenhagen, Denmark and it was her Nordic style that shaped and influenced me as I was growing up. My business name really reflects my style and what you will expect to see in my shop.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
I have a medium sized collection of design and interior design magazines that I flip though regularly. InsideOut is one of my favourites along with Vogue Living. I especially love the features on foreign people and places, and the abundance of ideas I get after reading the article.
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
I would suggest taking a look at the market place (online, local shops) to check your proposed idea is not already oversaturated. And if it is, make sure your idea stands out to a select audience.
Once up and running, keep your communication links active with your customers. I *immediately* send a personalised email to each person who places an order through Little Viking Girl to thank them for their purchase and to let them know when their purchase will be posted.
I also include a small gift in each order – usually a handmade gift card - that includes my business details on the back. This acts as a great marketing tool because (hopefully) the card will be given to someone else who can then look me up, but otherwise, it acts as a nice touch that really says ‘thank you’ once again.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
When listing new items on madeit - or re-listing a sold item - think about the order in which you do this. A mix of different items, composition and colours will really give your shop the wow factor.
Make contact with other madeit sellers. You never know where it may lead. Plus, who doesn’t like a compliment from a stranger, be that a madeit seller!
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way? Try not to spend too much time in front of the computer! When our internet was down for around one week, I was hugely surprised at the amount of work I generated during that week, including a few new designs. I also try and turn off the computer (internet) around 6pm so that my attention is solely on my family. While this isn’t a business lesson, it is one that will help balance your home and work life.
What do you like to do besides creating? I love driving around the countryside with Tom. We have been doing this for many years, though it has become a little dormant at the moment. We used to start the trip at the petrol station; after paying for fuel, Tom would return to the car with a jumbo packet of Twisties and Iced Coffee - hey what better fuel to kick-start a long drive together? And if there were no time restraints, we would spend the night in a country town and share a meal together in a nice restaurant or pub.
I also love indulging in the movies (see my list below), catching up with close friends, playing a game or two of pool and physical fitness.
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website? Music - Groove Armada, Goldfrapp, Hot Chip, The Presets T.V. - Grand Design, At the Movies, Rebus, Doc Martin Films - After the Wedding, Eastern Promises, Half Nelson, Tootsie Books - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson, Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow- Peter Høeg, The Thirteenth Tale – Dianne Setterfield, Milk & Honey – Elizabeth Jolley Websites - www.socialmention.com, www.thesculleryblog.blogspot.com, www.lubaby.dk, www.jordangrace.com
What would be your perfect day?
I would dine for lunch at the Queen Street Café at Croydon with a good friend, followed by a movie as brilliant as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. For dinner, a selection of ‘Indian Temptation’ takeaway from my local (and best) Indian restaurant in Adelaide, with my family. And if time permits, a quick glimpse at my emails. A message from a prestigious European shop requesting wholesale prices would be a rather perfect end to the day!
Who is one of your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words? bluegingerdesigns – because Kylie’s linen range is exquisite!