Tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi. I'm Rhonda. I'm 41 and lucky to be a stay-at-home mum to an energetic 2yr old son, a friend (hopefully) to my beautiful 14yr old daughter and a partner to my best friend, Scott. We live in Lismore, NSW which is about 1 and a half hours drive south of the Gold Coast. I started selling on Madeit about 3 months ago when I mistakenly clicked a link I had found doing a Google search. I can't remember now what it was and up until then, I didn't even know Madeit existed. I had struggled for the better part of 6 months using my own website to try and sell the things I make and I was about to give it all up. Then I found Madeit. Since opening my little store, I haven't looked back.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use? My craft mainly consists of anything to do with punches, paper, ribbon, stamps and recently twine. I love it all and I can't get seem to get enough of it. I have drawers upon drawers of them all and some of the paper I buy, I will probably never use. It's not that I don't want to - it's because I can't bare the thought of cutting into perfect little patterns or sweet little pictures. I will drag it out and think, yes today I will make something with you, but then put it straight back into it's home.
I don't think I strictly stick to one thing I make because I believe variety is the spice of life in every way, so right now, I mainly make tags, cards, mini matchbooks/notepads and punch little shapes from paper. I will give anything a go once, sometimes things work, sometimes, not. I tried sewing years ago when my daughter was born but after sewing right through my finger, I gave that a miss! So now, it's anything to do with paper. I love the smell, the feel and the different textures of paper and if it wasn't so noisy, I would probably sleep on it.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process? My kids inspire me, especially 2yr olds because they really have fantastic, pure and wild imaginations and my son chats non-stop! Colours and patterns inspire me. I seem to be always thinking of what I can make next with that pattern or what can I make with this stamp. Sometimes it's hard to turn the thought processes off but I'm slowly learning that it's a necessity.
Other creative websites inspire me, especially if I haven't tried something before. My daughter inspires me. I can ask Renee if she likes this or if she likes that because it is always good to get a different opinion and I know she will always be straight to the point, not to mention that 14 year olds and 41 year olds really do like different things (even if we try and convince ourselves that we like the same things).
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art? I first started out in my early twenty's teaching myself folkart painting. It was something I really developed a love for and I often painted things to give to friends and family. That lasted for about 5 years until I had my first child. I developed Post Natal Depression and just gave it all away. I never had any passion to create anything for a very long time - years infact. I then taught myself Web Design and stupidly decided to open an online Web Design business, which didn't do very well but did teach me a couple of things about myself and starting a business.
After that failure, Renee and I then moved to Lismore about 10 years ago and after a few personal tragedies and years of never ending grief, I met my partner Scott which was a blessing in disguise. After another tragedy in the middle of last year, my thought process about life changed and I started making things again. Not just every other week, but every single day and I haven't stopped making things ever since. The day just isn't the same if I can't make atleast 1 new thing. I'm really thankful for the change in my thinking because it has turned my life around in a huge way.
How did you come up with your business name? It was originally from my web design days. For anyone who does web design or just anything to do with graphic programs, you would know that one measurement used is pixels and because the business was a new journey for me, I called it Pixel Adventures. Even though it turned out to be an adventure of the not so nice kind, I still like the name, so I have kept it. I am not sure how it reflects the things I create these days, but I think it reflects the beginning and the end of a tough journey I have had in the last 10 or so years and a new journey I started at the end of last year.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
I don't take any classes and don't belong to any groups as yet but I do visit my local scrapbooking shop atleast once a week (not to shop of course!). If I have any problems or just need advice with something, I know that Julie at the shop can help. Otherwise I do a lot of random Googleing. I would love to take a class in something but with a 2yr old (and a 14yr old) and a partner who is a Tiler by day and a Firefighter the rest of the time, it's not practical for me at the moment. That's a future venture. For my photos, I use a digital camera that my partner bought for me last year and to edit my photos, I still use Photoshop which I taught myself years ago.
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
Don't try to outsell the competition because you will drive yourself nuts mentally. If people like your work, they will buy from you.
Buy the best tools that you can afford because it really does make a difference to the end product. A good example for me was a paper trimmer. I did have a good one but I spent twice as much money and bought a better one and the way it cuts is just way superior.
Don't be afraid to say No. If someone asks you to make something and you can't really afford to buy the tool that you need to make their order, then don't say yes in the hope that after you make this person's order, you will use the tool again because you may not and if the sale doesn't cover the cost of you purchasing that new tool, then really it's a waste of money. That lesson I have learnt myself the hard way because I bought a particular punch and then had the customer go to someone else without telling me.
Have some specials occassionally but make sure you word them correctly because even though there are some lovely people out there who will buy your product at the full price, there are some others who will take advantage of you any way they can.
Don't list what you haven't already made. If you've only made 1 of something, don't list more than that because you may find catching up to be harder than what you think.
Be creative, enjoy what you do and have fun while you are doing it because life is way too short!
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
If you have a blog page or a website, advertise it when you sell to customers either on your business card or on your packaging or both. Advertise at your local store on the Notice Board. Tell your friends, family and whoever else will listen because word-of-mouth is some of the best 'free' advertising going. Visit shops in your local area because if 10 say no, you may just get 1 that says yes (I am about to go down this scary road). Just try and get your business and product out there any way you can think of and if you are serious about growing your business, then you have to walk the hard roads.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way? Apart from the couple mentioned, yes. Don't send an order unless the customer has paid. I don't know why I have done that in the past but I have. I guess I think everyone is honest, when really, they aren't.
What do you like to do besides creating? I love to read, even though it has been a long while since I have actually had enough quiet time to relax and read a book. My little guy Kody has this game on the Wii where he can go fishing and both myself and my partner love to fish so at Christmas, my partner and I will be taking our 2yr old for his first 'real' fishing trip. That should be an interesting little outing especially since Mum & Dad (and sister) don't have a lot of patience these days!! I am really looking forward to hopefully relaxing and to the look on Kody's face as he catches his first fish. I just hope he doesn't cry!
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website? Music - Pink Floyd, Ronan Keating, Powderfinger, Guns N Roses, Andrea Bocelli T.V. - Lie To Me, CSI, RPA, Californication Film - Any of the Lord of the Rings, The Notebook Books - Like Water For Chocolate, anything by Sara Douglass and Ian Irvine (2 great Australian authors) Websites - kwernerdesign.com , kath-allthatglitter.blogspot.com, stamperosity.com
What would be your perfect day?
Sleeping in until at least 7, getting up and having a relaxing quiet breakfast knowing I don't have to run around after a 2 year old little energizer bunny and doing whatever I want or nothing at all (quiet time these days is a rare thing).
Who is one of your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words? Moonmum - beautiful, gorgeous and original.