Friday, January 29, 2010

Spotlight: twirling betty

Tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi there, I’m Christen and I live with my husband and two little girls in Port Melbourne. I grew up in Warrandyte (in the bush about 45 minutes from Melbourne) and after moving around quite a bit I’m thrilled to have ended up in a place where seagulls fly over my house and I can walk to the beach or city. Before I had kids I was a lawyer in a large commercial law firm in Canberra. Loved the people but the rest not so much. So when all our stars aligned and we moved to live in Rome for three years, I chucked it in. I had the time of my life in Rome and basically just swanned around shopping at amazing fresh food markets, visiting art galleries and Roman ruins and learning Italian. Yep, it was truly la dolce vita! I had my first baby, Sophia, there (that in itself was quite the experience) and I remain TOTALLY obsessed with Italy. I miss Rome terribly but feel I’m on the mend as I only cry with nostalgia about once a week now!

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

It sounds corny but I really do derive inspiration from everything around me. Since I’ve started creating stuff, I notice colours, textures and patterns everywhere I go. I also find looking at art so nourishing and uplifting and love to flick through the books I brought back from Italy with me. It’s not as if I then go off and create a renaissance-inspired piece (sun visor in red velvet and gold brocade anyone?) but I find it just gets ideas flowing. I take more modern inspiration from the many craft and design blogs that I subscribe to and read pretty much religiously. There are some absolutely amazing people making stuff and blogging about it out there. Quite awe inspiring.

My creative process is really as simple as contemplating the materials I have and trying to come up with new ways to use them. Many of what I consider my best ideas have popped into my head either while I’m in the shower, drying my hair (a long process) or feeding Olive. I suppose these are the times when I’m not necessarily occupied with the other demands of the day and can really let my mind roam without interruption.

How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art?
Well, they say necessity is the mother of invention and Sophia’s baby mohawk hair necessitated firm action. I searched high and low for clips I liked that would stay in her fine hair but everything I found was just too pink and fluffy for me. So I went and bought a few pieces of fabric I liked and then started experimenting with fabric and glue and after a few failed attempts, managed to come up with some clips in the fabrics I liked. Things just went on from there.

The funny thing is, until I made my first hairclip for Sophia 4 years or so ago, I really did assume that the creative gene that ran through all the women on my mum’s side in particular had skipped me. I always played piano and studied languages though school and uni but that was really the extent of any kind of right brain activities. In hindsight, the demands of studying for such a long time and then working in a high pressure job I think meant that I just didn’t have any space for anything else in my life. When I was pregnant with my second baby, Olive, I was bitten really badly with the crafty bug. I’m as shocked as anyone really that the creative drive didn’t recede, as I had thought it might, with the hormonal surges of pregnancy! In fact, Olive has just turned one and if anything, my urge to create is just getting stronger and stronger. I’m not really sure how I ever lived without art and craft and in my life.

To read the full interview visit the
Twirling Betty's spotlight page

Every fortnight madeit spotlights a new designer about their art & craft, advice for success and much more. Be inspired!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Vintage love!

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Visit for more handmade gift ideas

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Promote your madeit store!

Below are a few tips to promote your madeit store as well as some great tips from one of our sellers.

Talk the talk
Tell friends & family about your craft, word of mouth is the best form of advertising.
 Send your family and friends an email with a short description of your label, a couple of low resolution pics and a link to your madeit store. Kindly ask them to forward this onto family and friends and so on.

Small cards go a long way
Order or print out business cards with your logo/label name and your madeit shop url. Hand them out to potential customers, friends or strangers.

Include daily
Add your madeit shop url to your email signature. Simple but effective. Your direct shop url is

Share your craft
Start a blog - blogs are a great way of promoting your work & store. For more information on blogging visit whip up. Become regular visitors of other blogs and post comments. Add your madeit url to your blog so buyers can click straight to your shop. Madeit web badges can also be found here.

Be Social Part 1
Start a facebook page for your business and post updates. When you post updates ask your friends to post it on their page. Add your facebook page link to your website, blog & madeit profile.

Be Social Part 2
Join twitter & post updates. You can use the "share" feature on your listing and store front to post straight to twitter & facebook. Add your twitter link to your website, blog & madeit profile. Become a friend of madeit as we love to forward sellers tweets.

Spread the news
Start a newsletter for your existing customers, keep an email list of your customers. If you go to the markets, have an email list form where visitors can register for your newsletter.

Be descriptive

Use as many descriptive words as possible in your madeit listings. You can simply list words that refer to your listing at the bottom this way you'll appear in as many searches as possible. Don't forget to add plenty of details about your product in your listing.

Take great photos
Having clear photos will help you sell your product.
• Try photographing them on a plain background, this way your product stands out and the background isn't distracting from your wonderful handmade product.
• Take a few pictures from different angles or a detailed shot.
• Try not to use a flash, natural light is best to show off your products & wares.
• Set up a dedicated photography area and test what works best for your product, take note of the time of day this way you'll get the same result every time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kyuuto! Japanese for cute!

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Visit for more handmade gift ideas

Monday, January 25, 2010

new seller quick five! :: Rabbit & the Duck

New seller : Rabbit & the Duck

How did you find about madeit?
I've been buying handmade long before I had an inkling I could actually sew. A friend introduced me to Made It and I would spend hours making mental lists of all the things I wanted to buy. Of course, when I started Rabbit & the Duck, Made It seemed like the logical place to start selling my designs!

Explain your style?
I love to keep things simple and use lots of natural textures - linen is a favourite. And of course there needs to be a lot of red!

What makes you happy?
Being surrounded by big piles of neatly folded fabrics. Hot air balloons. Receiving a handmade card or letter in the mail.

What makes you sad?
I have a favourite necklace that a fellow crafty friend made for me. Recently, I thought I had lost it and moped about for days. A week later, I discovered it tucked inside the coat I had been wearing at the time. A happy ending!

What can't you live without?
A good soundtrack to sew by. A great pair of scissors. And some chocolate to snack on : )

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Carnegie: Little Shop of Handmade

Tell us a little bit about your store
Little Shop of Handmade is about 13km South East of Melbourne CBD in the Suburb of Carnegie.

We sell 100% Handmade in Melbourne/Rural Vic goodies - with the exception of our craft kit's and books which are sourced all over the world, but then you go ahead and make it yourself in Melbourne so it still fits in with the theme. One of the requirements for stocking at Little Shop is that all items must retail for under $50. We have an AMAZING selection over 40 designers/craftsters including our own in house Brands "Little Shop Of... and Morgan and Jane"...

We literally are a little shop - but you wont believe how much we have packed into the space.... we have big plans for a second store called the "Big Shop of Handmade" later this year or early 2011

when/why did you open your store?
We opened in July 2009. Originally the store was only going to be my studio/showroom as I had totally outgrown my spare bedroom just dealing with internet orders I was getting from Made It, Etsy and - I also had about 15 Stockists to look after and my weekly Market stall to make for - it had become crazy to say the least...luckily my husband Jon was happy enough to step over the boxes and push the mess aside to sit down at the table for dinner "Bless Him"!

We actually live in Carnegie ourselves and had our eye on this cute little shop front for a while - the store was never open and on our daily walks past we dreamed if only this was ours....we could do so much etc then one afternoon we saw the for the lease sign ( a few weeks before we heading to India for a month YIKES! ).

The shop had a small studio space out the back plus a sweet little shop front - so the shop was born. I have lived in the area for about 3 years and knew that I could get away with doing such an exciting concept in an unexpected shopping strip. We are still pretty close to the City but really at the start of suburbia and the area is full of ex inner city livers who moved out to start families - so lot's of professional groovers Photographers, Designers, Copy writers etc so I really wanted to bring a more inner city concept to the burb's - it's been amazingly received - it's awesome! at least twice a week I get comments on how much the shop is like those found on Flinders Lane, Fitzroy, Northcote and even Japan WOO HOO!

What labels designers do you stock in your store?
ohh so many - all your Melbourne Market favourites - Little Shop of, Rummage Style Vintage, Scrumptious Productions, Lark, Blockage, Aunty Cookie, Rabbit and the Duck, Owl and Fox, Mingus, Button Tree, Pirdy, Buttons by Lou Lou, My Very Button, Pocket Carnival, Studio Leanne, Empress designs, Pear Shaped, Mainichi, Blue Ginger Designs, Here we go Loupy Lou, Print Space, Sooooound, Crayon Chick, Emerge, Peeping Tom Papers, Vendela, Maggie Dolly, Little Gooseberry, Jo Sew and Sew, Night Owl, Scotatto, Cserpent, Kalliopi, Lekker, Red Letter Studio, Shei Collection, Boombi, Wee Small Hours, Charlie Parker, Le Pappillion, Shonah, Ali, Pinky Pig, Pezimystic, Betty and Hamish, Polka Dot Rabbit, Pins and Thimbles, Antigone K, Nilla Nilla, Bella Girl, Pepperberry and Co, Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love. Gee, Chuckles Designs...

I think thats everyone, so sorry peeps If I have missed anyone out! We pretty much cover Newborn to Nanna not too much stuff for boy's but I have certainly made it easy for a boy to come by a present though - the general consensus from Ladies shopping with partners in the store is "You can buy me ANYTHING from this shop!"

Why do you love handmade so much?
My background is 10 years in product development for mass market . Towards the end of my career I never felt connected to any of the products I was designing and making - basically it was mass produced junk inevitably ending up as land fill, never to be cherished or kept forever.... and I did not like that at all, no siree!.

I had also totally disconnected myself from the creative side of my work too - working in corporate is always about the bottom line...some one else's bottom line ( and they seemed to be driving fancier cars and living in bigger houses than me when I was doing the hard work!). I love that handmade has absolutely no boundaries and restrictions and what's really important is the feeling of excitement, happiness and the small sense of achievement it brings when starting or finishing a project....if only that happened everyday to every one! What a world!

Name 5 feelings that your customers will feel when they enter your store.
Thrilled, excited, amazed, inspired, welcome

Little Shop of Handmade (visit website)
8 Woorayl St
Carnegie, Vic

Opening Hours
• Sun , Mon, Tues ~ Closed
• Wed - Fri ~ 11am - 6pm
• Sat ~ 10am - 4.30pm

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An apple a day.....

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Visit for more handmade gift ideas

Monday, January 18, 2010

new seller quick five!

New seller : PaperandRibbons

How did you find about madeit?
I love to spend my Sundays at the local craft market and, while looking for wedding jewellery, I picked up a business card from a stall. She had a storefront on madeit..the rest is history!

Explain your style?
I'm a very girly girl, but I like to keep things simple. I am obsessed with pink, but I think I've managed to avoid that in the store, thank goodness.

What makes you happy?
Colourful floral prints, the smell of fresh paper, cuddles with my two cats and shopping for pretty dresses. Oh, and the thought of marrying my best friend in three months time!

What makes you sad?
Crying children, a lack of chocolate, natural disasters on the news (I can't sit through the news most nights).

What can't you live without?
Did I mention chocolate already? The internet, my laptop, something to craft with and sunshine!

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