Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Beckie VandeHoef, I live in Mt Martha on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, and I run a little thing I call little wise owl. Just after a had my son Roy (who is now 2) I found myself filling the day making fun little creations from the mountains of fabric and other things id collected along the way.
That’s when ‘little wise owl’ was born. I had always created for myself and friends, but found that I had far too many ideas I wanted to try and materials to use to keep it all to ourselves. And besides now I can feed my button collecting fetish!
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use? I love finding vintage tablecloths, sheets, doilies, and remnant pieces of fabric, trim, buttons etc and making new exciting fun things from them. I have issues with buying new things, so if I can resurrect an unloved item into something fun then im happy!
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process? My inspiration comes from my materials. When I find some awesome fabric, or a great doily I know exactly what it will make from it. Im quite a messy ‘creater’, my creative process involves rummaging through what fabrics I have and seeing what will go with what, or whether a certain trim will match a certain tablecloth. I've started drawing ideas as I have them, otherwise I get really sidetracked.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art? Ever since I can remember, I have sewn. I got my first sewing machine for my 12th birthday and it is still my trusty companion to this day. I have studied fashion design and fine arts at uni and have always had an interest in ’making’ and re using anything I could find. I remember very well being about 9 and dad bringing home metres and metres of wiring in all different colours so I could plait bracelets for my friends, so ive always been a bit of a re-user.
How did you come up with your business name? I bought a friendly silver owl to sit on top of my Christmas tree one year and it just some how became my mascot. I liked him so much I photographed him for my shop banner. Originally *one wise owl* I decided to change to ‘little wise owl’ and love it!
My friendly little silver owl now sits in the lounge room and will grace our unorthadox bamboo Christmas tree again this year.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
I have recently become a fan of blogs (you visit my blog here), and there are so many creative, inspiring people out there. I like to read vintage craft books to see all the kitchy, and sometimes horrendous ideas they have and usually end up altering a pattern or using a technique in something new.
What's your best advice for someone starting up? Do it, do it, do it! For so many years I procrastinated about making things to sell, and now I realize how fun and rewarding it is! Try and brainstorm your ideas with someone impartial, I've received really great ideas/advice from the most random of places.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful? There is nothing like word of mouth! I have a friend who is a shameless ‘little wise owl’ promoter. Be confident in your products, give them as presents, wear/use them yourself and others will be confident in them. Im not a fan of pushing my products on people, I prefer them to speak for themselves. If you love you products, there has got to be other people who do too.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way? ‘Measure twice, cut once!’ especially with vintage fabric! Countless times have I cut into a beautiful piece of fabric in a creative flurry only to realize later that it isn’t the right size. I have learnt to use a little bit of restraint. Also always look after yourself, first and foremost when running a business, (big or tiny) you are the most important thing. Afterall you are the business!
What do you like to do besides creating? I love making jam, soap, gardening and baking. Playing with my beautiful 2yr old Roy and wonderful husband, meandering around a great market, scouring op shops, and sharing great food with great friends!
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website? MUSIC bob dylan, you am I, rolling stones, mess hall, the drones.
TELEVISION SHOW don’t watch that much, rockwiz, dexter.
FILM anything kubrick, reality bites, inglorious basterds
BOOK buddism for mothers, lucy family diary, mixtape, peppermint mag