Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Handmade Love

Tell us all about handmade love?
Handmade love is a haven for quality Australian handmade. It is a place you will find the most sought after and beautiful handmade items from some of Australia’s most talented and creative artisans. A place where you will find the crème de la crème of Australian handmade.  Our aim is to promote, support and encourage those in the handmade industry to sustain and boost their WAHM business by offering affordable prices for advertising and a cleverly researched market audience. Handmade Love has wonderful capacity to broadcast handmade businesses through our website, blog, advertising, business directory and product reviews – all in the one place.

What inspired you to start handmade love?
Handmade Love was born from my Love of handmade.  Last year I became quite disheartened with mass produced commercial clothing and items for my children and wanted something beautiful and unique for them. Children each have different personalities, their own little style and flair – something discouraged by commercial clothing, the same piece seen over and over again on many. Children are beautiful and expressive and handmade affords a quality unlike any other. I was frustrated with spending so much money on commercial brands that would inevitably fall apart. With this in mind, I began to spend time trawling facebook, etsy and madeit, searching for the perfect handmade items for gorgeous children.
From my initial beginnings, my search then turned to home decor, art and in fact anything handmade – it became quite the obsession! 
After researching for a period of time, I began to purchase some lovely items, building rapport with many WAHM’s, many which have grown into wonderful friendships (which evidently shows how many handmade items I have acquired!). After seeing the incredible quality and love that has gone into these items, I became a HUGE supporter of handmade. I decided to run my thoughts past a few of my favourite handmade ladies, the idea to promote and grow the best of the best handmade all in one spot and, received so much love and encouragement. Its such an honour to be welcomed into the handmade community with open arms.

What are you hoping to achieve with handmade love?
For me, I would LOVE to increase the awareness of how beautiful handmade items are in the general community, on behalf of those who create handmade. My aim is to have people see, much to their surprise that, handmade items are far more superior than commercial items. Each item is made one at a time with love, attention and detail. Many hours go into handmade pieces and, the quality and designs are to a totally different standard than those made in chain stores , there really is no comparison.  I'd also like those who create items in our handmade community to have more belief in themselves. Many feel as though they are constantly having to defend themselves with issues such as pricing - more often than not many hours go into each item and yet items are listed for a price well under what is reasonable. For me, just having the general community be more aware of the handmade industry, the standards and have a greater understanding of these businesses would be an ultimate goal.

Tell us about your handmade showcase?
The handmade showcase, showcasing the beautiful designer fabric “Sophie” by Moda is the first of what we hope will be many more showcases to come . I was honoured to be approached by a group of WAHM’s to hold the showcase as a means to invite the handmade community to Handmade Love and am very grateful for this opportunity. The idea behind the showcase is to promote and showcase the works of all different WAHM's and those involved in handmade industry. By using the same collection of fabrics, it allows us all to see the creativity of each designer. We can see how each designer puts their own inspiration into practice on their items and, opens the door for the general community to find handmade businesses that speak to their style and tastes, that perhaps they have not heard of before. It gives them the opportunity to see first hand their work and the opportunity to purchase something unique that they may never have had before. 
The response to this showcase has been overwhelming. With over 100 entries and many more to come, it has been an amazing success so far. Unfortunately there have been some delays as many ladies purchase their fabrics from the US and the fabric has taken a little while to arrive but, with many more items being emailed daily we expect to have in excess of 100 beautiful items available to showcase. 

Your first handmade showcase has been such a success, do you plan on more down the track?
With the instant success of this showcase, and the wonderful promotion it is creating amongst the handmade community, I plan on hosting 2 showcases in the coming year. There will be a few alterations made to ensure a smooth and more efficient process and, once details are finalised I will most certainly make an announcement on our site.

How are you managing to juggle home/work and your new venture?

Ahhhh the juggle! Well, so far I am living and surviving on very little sleep. I am currently working part time 3 days a week as well. One might say that launching a website and running a showcase within a week of each other is not ideal! The moment I am up I am checking emails and posts on our facebook page before work. I then check emails again on my iPhone during lunch, come home and have another quick check. After the dinner/bath/bedtime routine which is generally anywhere from 6-30 til 1030 (my almost 3 year old thinks sleep is for the weak LOL) I jump on the computer, check messages and update facebook. Most recently my time is taken up replying to emails and loading pictures for the showcase. I like to ensure I have answered all emails and questions before closing off for the evening.
I have found this situation is not ideal so, after the showcase I plan to set some strict work hours and write the majority of my content with scheduled posts. For me, the hardest part is not just working from home but trying to find the balance for my family and my business. I guess for all of us that’s the million dollar question so, if anyone has the answer please feel free to share!

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