Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Tanja and I live in Albury with my husband, our two daughters (11 and 15) and a son (9). We share our house with a cat named Killer. We moved to Australia a year ago from Slovenia, Europe. It was our 15th wedding anniversary trip to Australia an New Zealand that made us fall in love into this country and its abundant nature. Therefor we sold our house, put all our belongings into a ship container and moved overseas to Albury where we live now.
I studied fashion design in Ljubljana and worked as a handbag designer and stylist over 10 years. I also worked as a food stylist for different lifestyle magazines.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use?
I make bags, clutches and coin purses from my own patterns. I like sourcing unusual fabrics on the Internet. I love eclectic, whimsical and shabby chic style. Right now I am involved into designing my own fabrics and I can't wait to see the final results. I like to include small details like leather straps and colourful pipping into my bags, because I think the perfection is in details.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process?
I’m constantly on the lookout for amazing textiles, and when I find something I like, I immediately know what I should make with it.
My inspiration comes from the most unexpected places, such as an advertisement on the bus or a box of cereals in the supermarket. There are constantly about 10 ideas waiting to be materialised. My hands can never catch up with my ideas, and I wish I had more than two hands and/or 24 hours a day (well, not really). I am not a very well organised person, so actually better organising my time would help.
I get up at seven drive children into school and then spend the morning catching up with messages and fulfilling orders, afternoon is dedicated to children, then in the evening fitting in all packaging, posting and photographing . I am lucky enough to get a lot of help from my husband who is an architect and designs all my labels . It’s a delightful thing to be able to earn income from working with your hands and your family while doing things you love.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art?
I have been creating and sewing from my childhood. Making pillows and clothes for my barbie dolls soon became into sewing skirts and dresses for me. German Burda Magazine with patterns was my bible then. While I'd learnt fashion theory in school, I completely selftought handbag manufacturing. At first I was making only leather bags. Living near Italy helped a lot, because of long Italian tradition in making leather goods there is plenty of materials to choose from at their stores. The best leather and hardware were available to me and inspired me. While living here, I fell in love with beautiful fabrics available from all over the world, and try to join together my love for leather and fabrics.
How did you come up with your business name?
I have always had a rooster as my logo. Rooster is a symbol of fertility and relates to me to seeing myself as a fertile person with all my creative ideas. Eleven is one of my favourite numbers and it turned out to be also our house number.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
I have learnt a lot in the forums and different blogs– everything from where to buy the best packing materials to how to use google analytics. It is a wonderful source of information, and I’d strongly recommend new sellers to take the time to browse the forums. I would personally definitely benefit from a class how to effectively organise your time.
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
Although the product itself is most important, your logo, banner, photography, shop announcement, item descriptions, wrapping, communication with customers, and many other factors contribute to your brand identity, and you have to put your effort into all of them for a cohesive and appealing style. It’s a steep learning curve so there’s no need to rush. I found that it helps to become a buyer first to see how the transaction works from the other side so then you can treat buyers as you’d like to be treated yourself. And of course Love what you make – follow your bliss not fashion. Be inspired by others, but take time to develop your unique style which I still struggle with.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
Well I don't think that I am doing enough in this direction. Actually I think it helps if you have a blog and facebook page. I am using pinterest and have a blog. Beautiful and appealing business card is essential too.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way?
The hardest part of the business has to be looking for and testing the fabrics and supplies I use. Finding the best interfacing that really work for particular shape can be expensive, because you have to buy and try all those materials. But I think that's the only way, as words don't teach.
I used to underpricing a lot, and still do sometimes, when I list new product.
What do you like to do besides creating?
There are so many things that I like to do, but unfortunately I don't have time for all. I love gardening, especially growing roses, baking ( I have a big collection of cook books ) and travelling. Embroidery is also my passion but I hardly make it there. I also enjoy watching birds and try not to put them into every clutch that I make.
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website?
Film - Buena Vista Social Club, Howards End, all movies from Quentin Tarrantino (it's a weird combination I know)
TV Show - I don't have time to watch TV but always like to look at Grand Designs and Downton Abbey
Music - Indie rock ( The Strokes, Libertines, Oasis, Artic Monkeys) I also love to listen Tom Waits, Cesaria Evora, Etta James
Book - Haruki Murakami South of the Border, West of the Sun and Norwegian Wood, Gabriel Garcia Marquez Love in the time of cholera, Paolo Cohelo Alkimist , Frances Mayes Under the Tuscan Sun Website - Ebay for unusual fabrics
What would be your perfect day?
A year ago my favourite day would be a Sunday trip to Venice for a cappuccino at Floriani, today a perfect day is a family picnic on Murray River bank, watching cockatoos playing among the trees above our heads, or walking a high country rail trail and observing the abundant wild life that surrounds us.
Who is your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words?
Oopsidaisi - because there is something whimsical and personal in their creations
Eleven Roosters visit store
10 June 2013