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Studio Astratta

visit store madeit designer spotlight StudioAstratta

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Belinda (although I prefer to be called Bel). I grew up in Sydney and moved to Brisbane’s bayside in late 2010. I have recently become engaged to my amazing fiancé, Richard, and am having lots of fun planning our wedding. In addition to Studio Astratta, I have a full time job as an Office Manager.

madeit designer spotlight StudioAstratta

Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use?

I make coasters by repurposing ceramic tiles. My signature style features bright colours and bold patterns. I love to incorporate current trends, as well as the work of fellow madeit sellers. I have recently featured exclusive artwork by Nicole Barros (www.madeit.com.au/NicoleBarros) and designs by Mozzie and Mac (www.madeit.com.au/MozzieAndMac) on my coasters.

Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process?

I’m inspired by current trends in homewares and fashion. I often see patterns on cushions, quilt covers etc or colour trends in clothing and apply them to my coasters. I have an inspiration board in my studio with magazine clippings and also lots of inspirational quotes hanging on my wall to keep me motivated.

How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art?

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been creating something. My Mum is creative so I think I inherited it from her. I can remember setting myself up with a little table out the front of our house as a kid, trying to sell my creations to neighbours and people walking past!

Prior to Studio Astratta I made and sold jewellery for a few years. I then became interested in decorating and moved on to abstract paintings and eventually coasters when I couldn’t find any to match my decor.

How did you come up with your business name?

My fiancé actually came up with my business name! He was helping me brainstorm and after some googling discovered that ‘astratta’ meant ‘abstract’ in Italian (at the time I was selling abstract paintings). I thought about changing my business name once I moved away from abstract painting, but I think it still works.

What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?

When I was starting out I did a lot of internet research. I also consulted with suppliers and manufacturers to ensure I was following the correct processes and using appropriate varnish for coasters.

I have found the madeit sellers Facebook group and other handmade groups on Facebook helpful with the business aspect. I also completed the ‘Set up Shop’ course run by Create and Thrive.

What's your best advice for someone starting up?

Work hard and be patient. You need to constantly be working on your shop, improving your photos, using relevant keywords and listing (or restarting) regularly. Be open to changing direction if necessary – you need to be making things that there is actually a market for. It’s also important not to under price your work. And last but not least, be original – find a way to stand out from others in your category.

Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?

Make the most of social media. I use Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. I find Instagram the most effective. Use relevant hashtags to help people find you, post appealing photos and try having giveaways to reach more people. I also like to use the madeit gift guide – it’s only $2 for 15 days and items are rotated on the front page on weekends.

Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way?

I’ve learned the importance of setting realistic production times. Committing to unrealistic timeframes creates unnecessary stress (and rushing leads to mistakes)!

What do you like to do besides creating?

I love spending time with my fiancé, family and friends – going out for lunch or dinner, having fish and chips by the water, shopping etc. I also enjoy home decorating.

What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website, phone app?

Music: I mostly listen to top 40. Sometimes when I’m relaxing at home I like to listen to the Foxtel Tunes Relax Channel (it reminds me of day spa music)! TV Shows: I don’t watch a lot of TV, but when I do, it’s usually reality shows – Keeping up with the Kardashians, Donnie Loves Jenny, Wahlburgers etc.

Film: I like comedies and rom coms. Some of my favourites are Bridesmaids, Serendipity, Just Go With It, Blended etc.

Books: I don’t read books but some of my favourite magazines are Homes Plus, Shop Til You Drop, Real Living, Inside Out and Bridal Magazines.

Websites: www.madeit.com.au, www.createandthrive.com, www.thestylistsplash.com.au, www.picmonkey.com

Phone Apps: Instagram, Little Moments, Facebook, Pinterest

What would be your perfect day?

It would start off with a sleep in, followed by a delicious breakfast, then maybe I’d get my hair and nails done, have fish and chips by the water for lunch, go for a shopping spree (with unlimited money), and go out for a nice dinner!

Who is one of your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words?

Zuri - I’m obsessed with Holly’s on-trend, bold, unique jewellery pieces!

StudioAstratta visit store

7 July 2015