Tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, my name is Janette Baker, I am 29 years old and I live in Sydney with my husband Glen, our 1 year old son William and our fluffy white cat Minky. I am a stay at home Mum and a Graphic Designer by trade.
I started My Sweet Prints when William was 6mths old. I had designed and made a few prints to give as gifts for some of our friends' children and everyone would say to me 'You should sell them!' so I decided to take the plunge and nearly a year on I haven't looked back! I am so grateful as now I can stay at home with Will and run my little business from home, it is a fantastic lifestyle!
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use? I design my prints on my laptop using the same software that I use as a Graphic Designer. This way I can easily customise the designs to include a child's name or special colours etc. I use archival FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) paper for all my prints as I feel it's important to be environmentally responsible.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process? I always have my eye out for new trends/colours/themes in nursery decor which I could base a new print around. And a lot of my prints have an educational theme to them like my Customised World Map Poster, Alphabet Eye Chart, or my Counting in French Poster. I like to think that my prints don't just look cute, but serve a purpose too. I don't really have a set creative process, ideas just often come to me when I least expect it, then I just play around designing what I'm imagining until I feel it looks right.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art? I have been creating for as long as I can remember. My mum always tells me about how I would bring home my preschool arts and craft projects, pull them apart and make something new out of them. Being creative is so much of who I am and being a graphic designer is the best job in the world (well to me anyway) as you get paid to be creative.
How did you come up with your business name? When I was trying to think up a name for my business I knew I wanted a word that described my product and I also wanted the name to have a kiddy/cute sort of feel as most of my prints are for children. My Sweet Prints just came to me and I like that it is almost a pun on 'My Sweet Prince'. I often have to spell it out for people so they don't get the name wrong but it's a great way for people to remember the name.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
I find reading blogs such as Design*Sponge (www.designspongeonline.com), decor8 (www.decor8blog.com) and The Design Files (www.thedesignfiles.net) are great for a daily burst of inspiration. I have started blogging this year (www.MySweetPrintsBlog.blogspot.com) and I find it is a great way to journal your thoughts, inspiration and ideas etc. I also find that magazines such as real living, Inside Out, Frankie and Shop4kids are great to find new trends and ideas.
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
Follow your instincts and just give it a go.
Make sure you're passionate about what you're doing.
Start small and be realistic. Don't put money into your business that you don't already have, just take it step by step.
Take great product shots.
Don't get discouraged if it takes a few weeks to get your first sale.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
Make up a 'Press Release' with a brief description of your store including product shots, a web link to your madeit.com.au store and a small bio on yourself. Email it through to a few blogs or websites whose themes compliment your product.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way? Make sure you research the different aspects of your business. For example the best packaging options for your product. I had products come back damaged in the first month or two of starting My Sweet Prints, then researched better packaging and now I buy in bulk and have no damaged items coming back!
What do you like to do besides creating? I've always got some sort of project on the go whether it's sewing, decorating, painting or party planning. But just spending time with family and friends and eating yummy food are my favourite things to do.
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website? Music - I just love anything I can dance to. My son William and I dance in the kitchen together almost every evening while I cook dinner so anything fun and up beat. T.V. - I have to admit that I am a Neighbours fan, yes very daggy I know! I also love Grand Designs, Packed to the Rafters and I can't go past a Seinfeld re-run. Films - The Sound of Music is my all time favourite. Books - I love all the books by Alexander McCall-Smith like 'The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency' and 'The 44 Scotland Street' series. Websites - madeit.com.au, ebay.com.au, weheartit.com
What would be your perfect day?
My perfect day would be having my son sleep in till at least 8am, then going out for a lovely breakfast with friends and or family, maybe a spot of shopping by the beach with some girlfriends and I would have to have some ice cream, chocolate and coffee just to keep the energy up. Maybe a movie or some sort of live performance in the late afternoon and then out to a nice harbour side restaurant for dinner with my wonderful hubby.
Who is one of your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words? ledamae – her circular collection in particular!