Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Kari and I’m 36. I live 2 hours south of Sydney on the coast with my husband and 2 lovely children- my son Edan is 9 and my daughter Lani is 7. I also have 2 Jack Russell dog’s -which I swear are more high maintenance than the kids! I work part-time in a very busy emergency department as a clinical nurse specialist and also teach at university. I love to make things. I also love chocolate.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use?
I sew, knit and crochet out of high quality fabric and yarns both modern and vintage. I tend to make clothing, both children’s and adults out of my fabric and both play and wearable items out of lovely natural yarn. I steer clear of anything synthetic; as I love the feel and quality you get with natural fibers. With sewing at the moment I’m really into stretch fabric for kids (so comfortable) and the fluid drape of rayon for adults. I’m also really enjoying making items for play out of cotton yarn and have been busy with some amigurumi toys and sweet little moses baskets for toy bedtime. Because I love both equally I tend to swing between projects, often have many things on the go and have a wide range of items in my store. I’m a big believer in making what ever it is that I want to make and not being stuck on a theme.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process?
Inspiration comes from the things around me. I never go looking for it, it just happens. I find I’m very drawn to colour. Lucky for me (or some may think not) I work shift work and weekends and so because of this I have creative time alone while the children are at school, and the husband is at work. This is fortunate because it’s best my husband does not see how many HOURS I spend making something small. I love going into my sewing room, with a cup of tea (and maybe some chocolate) looking at all my fabric, yarns, patterns and lace and thinking about how I’m going to put it all together to make something lovely. I try not to look at what other people are doing in the crafting world, as I don’t want to be influenced or feel like I can’t do something because someone is making something similar.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art?
I have always been crafty. I did art all through school and contemplated doing Visual Arts afterward. My Nanna taught me to sew when I was very young, and knitting and crocheting just seemed to happen for me-I cant remember ever learning it. When my children were born and decided sleeping was for the weak it all got put aside for a while. Once my youngest was 3 and things started falling into routine (yes, it took that long) the creating came back with a vengeance and at the same time I stumbled upon madeit- such good timing! I’ve never done any formal classes, unless you count the one time I did lead lighting and the teacher told me I sucked at it.
How did you come up with your business name?
I wanted something that reflected the love I have for taking something insignificant and turning it into something functional, beautiful, tactile and appealing. I was looking at my skeins of yarn-or string, which is nothing exciting on its own and but in the right hands can be turned into something amazing. OneString went from there.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
I know this is a bit old school, but I really like to go to the library and getting a pile of books on sewing, crocheting, knitting, embroidery, home decorating etc and just flicking through them, enjoying the images and learning new techniques. I’m completely hopeless with youtube and don’t have the patience or seem to learn by watching someone else. If there is a new technique I want to try I just tend to do a general Internet search and read up from lots of different sources, although this tends to evolve into new ideas and projects I want to try.
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
I think a little bit of preparation can be good, but also I’m a big fan of just going for it and not overthinking things. Learning comes with experience and so you will make some mistakes, or realise that there are better ways to go about things- and this will come with time. Once you’ve started, always be professional in the way you conduct yourself and have high standards with your products.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
I guess it depends what you want to get out of your little store and where you want to go. You do have to spend money to make money, and if you want to get well known its not going to happen by osmosis- you actually have to advertise and promote. I like madeit adverts in big magazines- because I like to see my store in big magazines. oh yes and because it’s actually rather successful! I have a FB page, and it only has a small amount of followers but all of them came looking for me themselves and are genuine, so that makes me happy. Recently I’ve discovered Instagram, which I really, really like. I haven’t gone down the whole branding path; although I do think its definitely worthwhile if you want to be well known and recognized. I’m a bit naughty and change my banner every few months to something completely different.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way?
I just threw myself into this without any real thought. I have never worked in retail, I had never sold anything I’d made before. I had no idea about pricing, postage, coming up with a great business name, working out costs etc. As a result one (of many things) I did was I completely underpriced myself. I think too because I considered what I was doing “just’ a hobby I didn’t feel I needed to price well. So wrong, very unsustainable and makes your own work undervalued - what we think is easy for us to make or time spent doing something we enjoy is actually very valuable and should be priced appropriately and in accordance with all the costs that go into it.
What do you like to do besides creating?
I like eating chocolate.
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website?
Music: anything upbeat and happy.
TV show: currently Vikings, before that Sons of Anarchy, and before that (dare I say it) True Blood.
Film: sadly I never get out to the movies for myself
Book: anything by Dean Koonz
Website: madeit, my emails, meetmeatmikes, attic24, work stuff.
What would be your perfect day?
It would be summer, and we’d all head down to the beach. On the way home I would notice the local quilters guild was selling off all their vintage fabric at BARGAIN prices- so I’d pop in and clean them out. Then I’d see that my local, very expensive fabric and yarn shop was having at 95% off sale so I’d also pay them a visit. After lunch the family would be frolicking in the pool while I watched and at the same time looked at all my lovely buys and planned how I was going to use them-I would also be eating a limitless supply of chocolate.
Who is one of your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words?
Eleven Roosters - Oh that’s such a hard question. I don’t have a favourite seller, there are too many clever and lovely stores- but I have bought an embarrassingly large amount of Eleven Roosters eyewear cases..just saying.
OneString visit store
19 August 2014