Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m Lauren, I live in inner Melbourne with my lovely husband and two very gorgeous (and cheeky) sons. Jack is 7 and Edward is 4.
I work from home on my little business while caring for my boy’s full time. We have a dog, Wally and a cat, Daisy. I often refer to us as the ‘mad house’.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use?
Cover buttons and Fabric. I am drawn to Japanese fabrics (cotton and kimono’s) and they are the inspiration for my jewellery. I can’t sew to save myself so buttons became the perfect way to combine my love of fabric and jewellery. I am determined to master sewing once both boys are school age.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process?
The fabric I source is my main inspiration. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with vintage kimonos. I adore that they have a rich history and are originals. I think my best ideas have come when I’ve been making jewellery or sorting fabric. It will often lead to a new idea or arrangement.
My children’s art also plays a big part. Most of the time they are drawing or painting things for the first time, completely uninfluenced as to how it’s ‘supposed’ to look.
My creative process is limited in that I work around the boys and their routines. Nights are my main working time or when the boys are happy to craft along with me. It can get frustrating at times as I often get ‘into the zone’ and want to keep working. I’ve learn to become very productive in the free time I get.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art?
I’ve always loved crafting. From a young age I’ve been making one thing or another. After high school I studied Visual Arts (photography/printmaking) At the completion of my course I tried to find work in that field but it was a tough industry and in the end it was a matter of paying the rent and eating. After 3 months I took on an apprenticeship in Horticulture. Surprisingly, I loved it. I applied my love of art and design to creating outdoor spaces using plants.
Unfortunately I injured my back at work and during some time off I started crafting again. A good friend was crafty as well and we started making jewellery and selling to other friends. We did markets and festivals and the response was positive. When people started asking for my business card I knew I was onto a good thing! With the support of my husband I quit my day job and the plan was to focus on my biz for a while to see where it went. During that time I took on several wholesalers and continued with markets. Not long after we were thrilled to fall pregnant with Jack and so I became a work at home mum.
How did you come up with your business name?
Well, it’s my own name. I spent hours trying to come up with a great business name and nothing seemed right. In the end I used my own. At the time I thought it was a bit of a cop out but in hindsight I’m glad I used my own name.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
I think my main inspiration these days is the internet. The resources available are endless. Browsing other creative peoples work helps me stay focused and driven to keep making.
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
Make what YOU love. My business started by making necklaces for me to wear. Now days I rarely make anything I wouldn’t wear myself. Find something that sets you apart from every other handmade seller. Don’t undervalue your time. Make sure your photographs are great quality too. In the end it’s what sells your item.
My last tip and possibly the most important, is to offer impeccable customer service. Including handwritten notes, gift wrapping and send out parcels in a speedy manner goes a long way.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
Use social media as much as you can. There are heaps of great articles written on being successful in social media. I still find word of mouth a great tool. Most of my wholesale opportunities have come thru recommendations by other shops or customers.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way?
Take risks. Don’t regret applying for ‘that market’ or taking on a huge wholesaler. I’ve procrastinated over ideas/new products before only to find other sellers have beat me to it. Also keep on top of your book keeping…it can get out of hand quickly!
What do you like to do besides creating?
I love browsing handmade markets and going out for breakfast with my family. I still enjoy gardening and as a family we love going on adventures in the great outdoors. I love taking photo’s too.
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website?
I’m a 90’s tragic when it come to music. I’m completely devoted to grunge especially Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.
I’m enjoying watching Offspring, Time of our Lives and The Good Wife. For laughs I love Modern Family and Rules of Engagement.
My all time favourite movie is The Breakfast Club. I know it word for word. I also love thriller/murder mysteries
Just like movies I enjoy thriller novels. My favourite author is Donna Tartt. I wish she would write more than one book every 10 years. Now days I prefer an easy read as I’m normally asleep 4 pages in!
I’m currently obsessed with Instagram and Pinterest. The Design Files is a regular on my bookmarks. I follow several parenting blogs but they are mostly of the humorous kind.
What would be your perfect day?
A big sleep in, yummy breakfast and good coffee. I’d follow that up with some handmade shopping, DVD on the couch and a trip to the park with the kids. It would also include no cooking, cleaning or bottom wiping!
Who is your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words?
Redressed Obviously I love the fabrics she works with and her clothing is so flattering to different shapes.
Lauren Williams visit store
8 July 2014