Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi, my name is Kristen; I live on the sunny South Coast of NSW with my son Jack, daughter Tara and my very handsome partner Steve. I am currently a stay at home mum/part time worker/lamp lady so life can be pretty hectic.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use? My craft is lamp shade making and I LOVE it! I get so much joy from creating bright cheerful lamps. I am a fabric addict and use any kind of fabric that takes my fancy. All my lamps are different styles as I could not possibly stick with just one. I love to create lamps that really burst with colour, I am one of those people that are way too scared to use colour in my own home. My lamps are my way of getting that colour fix.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process? I get my inspiration from everywhere and anywhere, blogs, magazines, fashion and, craft shops... There has been many a night where I cannot sleep as I am busy thinking up new designs and figuring out which fabrics, shades and bases will go together well. I am always browsing the web and looking at overseas websites to see which colours and prints will be the "must haves" in the coming seasons.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art? I have been a creative person ever since I can remember so it was only natural that I started a small business doing something that I love making. I have always had a strange obsession with lamps but could never find any that I loved and if I did, they where outrageously expensive. I wanted to create lamps that were vibrant and unusual at affordable prices.
At the time I started Lulus Lamps my partner, kids and I had just moved from the country to the coast. With no friends and family or work to keep me busy I found I had quite a bit of spare time on my hands. It was perfect time to start up my little lamping business. I'm now so glad I started up my shop on Made It because I am doing something that I love from the comfort of my own home and making money to. Even better, is the fact that I can work whenever I want to.
How did you come up with your business name? Most people think that my name is Lulu - it's not! My middle name is Louise and my parents have been calling me Lulu since I was young. My daughters middle name is also Louise and the nick name Lulu has been passed on to her so I guess I just felt that it fit!
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
My partner Steve has been a really good resource; he often picks out new fabrics for me and always has suggestions and ideas to share with me. I have also found Talk Made it the Made it forum super helpful when it comes to anything. Any time I have a question or need advice there is always someone there to help me out and I have made some really lovely friends there. If I ever have a bit of an inspiration lapse all I need to do is walk into a fabric store, all the colours and that smell of fresh fabric fixes me every time.
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
• Be realistic, don't expect to be able to give up your day job straight away. It takes time to build a business.
• Make time management a top priority, there is nothing worse than trying to get 20 things done at once.
• Don't be scared to ask for advice. The made it forum has been a godsend for myself when it comes to sticky situations.
• Love what you do, it really shows when a seller has put a lot of thought and care into their product.
• Make sure your photos are of a really high standard, and there are lots of them.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
The best way to get your brand out there is self promotion; tell anyone and everyone about your brand. Make sure your photos are really clear and have lots of them; it makes such a big difference if you sell online! I find the best way to promote though is to look after your customers and give them quality products and super duper customer service because they will tell their friends who will hopefully tell all their friends! Net working is always a great way to get your items out there. Blogging, twitter and facebook are a great place to start. I have had quite a few customers find my lamps through either my blog or twitter page.
Finally, I think it's really important to put a lot of love and thought in your product. People can tell the difference between a thought out item and one that's been thrown together. When I first started out I made a few lamps just to make my shop look fuller and they didn't sell. Now I only create when I am feeling inspired and excited, they sell so much better.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way? The hardest lesson I have learned was this past Christmas. I squeezed in so many orders in such a small time that I felt really burnt out and I completely lost inspiration for a month afterwards. I have now made time management a top priority; generally customers don't mind waiting a little longer for their item to arrive if they know prior. It also means less nights staying up until all hours of the morning getting orders done and less chance of making mistakes. Another big lesson I have learned is to state your shop policies really clearly. It gives customers so much more confidence if they know what to expect if anything goes wrong with their item prior to their purchase. It also saves any confusion between seller and buyer in regards to refunds or replacing of items.
What do you like to do besides creating? In my spare time, (if I'm lucky enough to have any) I like to snuggle up on the lounge and get lost in a good book. I also love lazing about playing with my kids or simply watching them. I have also become a bit of a blog junkie of late and spend at least an hour per day reading my favourite blogs! On the weekends I like to jump in the car with my family and explore all the towns around us. We have only lived on the South coast for 12 months and are still discovering all the great places to go and see here. It's so nice to pack up for the day, forget about the mundane of everyday life and go to a new beach, or stroll around the shops and just be together.
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website Hmmm it's hard to pick just a few but here goes. Music - My taste in music is all over the place, I like Paul Kelly, The Killers and Bob Marley. TV Shows - I LOVE Packed to the Rafters, Revenge and reality TV. Films - The Notebook, Pearl Harbour and sadly, I am a Twilight lover Books - I like Nicolas Sparks, Jodi Piccoult and Peter Fitzsimons. Websites -acreativemint.typepad.com , woogsworld.com and mlovesm.blogspot.com.au
What would be your perfect day?
My perfect day would be waking up late to a drizzly cold morning which would be spent in bed reading. No distractions, just a few hours getting lost in a good story. Then, jumping in the car with my family going for a drive somewhere new and having a nice big lunch and then an afternoon spent lazing around the house in my PJ's. It would also be great if the house was spotless so I could really laze around without feeling guilty.
Who is one of your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words? kylies collections – Absolutely beautiful Tutu's and an even more beautiful woman that creates them