Tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, my name is Jacqueline, I am very lucky to be a stay at home mum to 3 delightful boys, 4, 6 and 8, and I’m 40 and married to Peter. We live in Horsham, Victoria, about 3 hours west of Melbourne.
We have a new pup, Max and an organic veggie patch in our back yard. It’s a big part of our family life – it teaches the boys all about growing, water conservation, recycling, cooking, preserving, baking and sharing. It would be great if my house was a little tidier, but will the boys remember a tidy house or the fun stuff we did instead of tidying!
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use? I create Buntings, Santa Sacks, Name Garlands, Laundry Bags and Cards. I began selling ZippyZippy creations on Madeit back in 2008 and I love it. I enjoy working with denim, cotton, linen and lovely bright colours. The cotton gives a nice crisp clean finish; denim and linen have a great texture and colour contrast with the bright colours. I am also know to have a slight addiction to star print fabrics.
Raw edge appliqué is featured on my Santa Sacks and Laundry Bags, this technique is like colouring in with fabric, I really enjoy this method, and it’s effective and quick. Stitching with some reclaimed cardboard from cereal boxes have also been experimented with recently.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process? My inspiration mainly comes from the fabric. The fabric is always purchased first – I just know what fabrics I enjoy working with, and don’t venture too far from my preferred colour palette. I play around with colours, have little piles of fabric sitting around my space – one day I like the combination, the next day I don’t.
Once I am happy with a combination it is promoted to the “make me” pile. A lot of my work is custom orders to match an existing colour scheme in a bedroom or for a special occasion, so, the creative process is listening to and interpreting the customers vision. Often an idea will pop into my head and I just want to try it STRAIGHT AWAY. This is not always possible as most mums will know, so I end up with lots of little notes drawing and fabric combinations stuck around my space. I also use a friend in Darwin to bounce ideas off – she is very honest and very helpful - the wonders of technology - Where would we be without it!
My 8 year old is a very helpful consultant to me, he is always happy to give his opinion and has a great eye for colour and detail. I create articles that I like, are practical and that appeal to the boys.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art? I had lots of holidays with my Grandmother, Mary when I was little – she was and still is very creative, as was her mother Olga. Mary always had us making little creations, she made clothes for us, they had no power – but she always had that pedal Singer humming along. In the late 80’s I was into knitting, enough said about that, although I have kept one just to prove I could knit.
Even when Peter and I spent 4 years backpacking, I always had some project to do, usually a cross-stitch, it was small and portable. I sold cards to sell along the way, tools were small to carry and supplies were easily purchased wherever I was. Creating is also my “Time Out” from being a mum/cook/laundry lady/ and so on. It’s my quiet time to focus on something else for my sanity. I am lucky to have a dedicated space for creating so I am able to achieve little snippets on a project when the opportunity arises, my space is always set up and ready for action.
How did you come up with your business name? The name ZippyZippy came about with the help of my second born. When he wanted something quickly, he would say, “Come on Mummy, zippy zippy”. I thought it would be a great name – easy to remember and spell when people are searching.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
I belong to a great “Stitch and Bitch” group. The group is made up of mums with a common interest and having some time out from the small people. They are all very clever, talented, inspiring and supportive. Some knit, some quilt, some crochet, some smock, and so on. We meet every 2 weeks, and take it in turns hosting at our homes.
If you want to try something new, one of them always knows how to go about it. If you don’t have a stitch and bitch group - start one now. Although, before I started attending this group, I started one project and finished it. Now I probably have 12 unfinished projects – I blame the group!
I use Picnic to edit photos, it’s free or you can pay a small fee for a premium version. Of course, I trawl through blogs; there is so much helpful information out there as well as great tutorials and of course fabric. Forums are also a great tool for learning and finding information. The crafty community is fantastic at sharing information and helping each other out.
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
• Just have a go!
• Make sure you enjoy creating your product;
• Research your pricing, no point in creating something if all you are doing is covering the cost of the materials – you need to calculate to pay yourself for your time and other expenses.
• I attended a presentation at the Stitches & Craft in Melbourne earlier in the year, the presentation was by Jodie from RicRac, Jodie said this of her online business, “This venture is probably not going to make me rich, but is does make me very happy”, Well spoken Jodie.
• Keep your postage rates low, you may be able to absorb some postage in the price of your product. I know free postage makes me prick my ears up. Have a great relationship with the staff at your post office, query them if the same parcel costs $2 more to post today than it did yesterday!
•Treat your customers how you would like to be treated.
• Strike up a repour with your customers, let them know when the item is posted, thank them for payment and order.
• These 10 little words say it all - If It Is To Be It Is Up To Me
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
Exceed your customer’s expectations, presentation is very important, I always take care presenting my products to my clients, it is wrapped simply in brown paper, I enclose a brief handwritten thank you note.
I have a blog to market my products. Potential customers are able to link to my shop, see what I have sold, see what I am listing – the customers can also get a feel for who I am and what else I get up to. Comment on other blogs too, only if you have something to say though – know what I mean.
A Facebook Page for ZippyZippy has been a real benefit. It’s great to connect with other like minded people and customers, there are some great pages to help you market your business and offer lots of free advice. Make sure your store, blog and Facebook Page are all linked together.
Relist items on Madeit as often as you can, don’t relist your items all at once, spread them out so they appear on a few different pages. List in different categories if you can, it will give you more exposure e.g. I list some buntings in “baby/children’s and some in home wares.
Participate in forums, you will learn lots and form a repour with other artists and customers.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way? I did not realise how much online time ZippyZippy would consume, between Blog, Facebook, Taking Photo’s, Editing Photos, and so on. I am still trying to find a suitable routine for these tasks. Keep one step ahead, I am a mum first, so keeping a few steps ahead with meals, washing, outings and so on, makes things a lot easier, and frees up the evening for creative pursuits. Don’t relist items you have not created – the little’s will definitely be sick and needy when the non made listings sell! Just adds more stress.
What do you like to do besides creating? Spending time with my boys of course, watching them learn and grow.
Baking things from scratch and preserving produce from the patch.
I enjoy watching the black line at the bottom of the pool and the uninterrupted thinking time while I swim laps(has not happened for a little while though). I love mowing lawns – I like the smell and the neat lines and that I can’t hear anyone talking to me, I’m in my own little zone.
Visiting markets is a favourite, as is lying in a hammock.
I enjoy sleeping and love my Saturday afternoon nanna nap!
What would be your perfect day?
Waking up in beautiful Hobart, Tasmania), after a lovely sleep in.
Coffee with a poached egg on cold toast, a leisurely walk down to Salamanca Markets where I meet up with Peter and the boys (they have been playing in the park). A lovely lazy lunch at an old historic pub, then a drive out of town, maybe down to Bruny Island, show the boys where we spent time camping, where Peter collected oysters and the light house he spent days drawing.
Return to Hobart, drive up to Mount Wellington to take in the lovely view, dinner out a nice restraunt and a nice cosy warm bed.
Who is one of your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words? timefortea.me - I love these unique, beautiful sketchbooks and journals.