What inspired you to start your business?
I actually started my business as a bit of a fluke. I have always loved handmade. My Nana has been a knitter, painter and quilter (and now also jewellery maker) for as long as I can remember and my mum was always a bit crafty as well, so it’s probably in the blood somewhere. I started making clothes for my middle daughter when she was a baby and made a few soft toys and things too, but it was only in my “spare” time as I was working full time as well (in my past life I was a lawyer). Then when my son was born in 2011 I decided that I wanted to take “extended” maternity leave and finally spend some time with the kids, which also meant more time for sewing. I had been following and buying from a number of handmade pages on facebook for quite a while before then and one of them was holding a charity auction for a cause that touched my heart, so I asked if I could donate something, even though I wasn’t a “business” and was accepted. I got such amazing feedback and my items sold for MUCH more than I would ever have dreamed (some very generous bidders!) and I had a number of people asking, pushing, prodding me to start my own page… so I did.
What is your handmade business all about?
Creating gorgeous things to (hopefully) be loved by little and big kids alike.
What do you enjoy most about your business?
I love that I get to spend all day, every day, with my two little monkeys and that I am constantly learning from and being inspired by all of the wonderful fellow handmaidens that I have met on my journey.
What is your favourite product to make?
I think anyone who follows my page will see that I have a VERY soft spot for making “Wonderland” dolls. I am a bit of an Alice addict But in general, I love making my dolls. I still enjoy the softies and clothing, but I always feel like my dolls have more of “me” in them.
How did you learn your craft?
I did a little bit of sewing with my mum as a young teenager, but never really anything too technical, so basically I am self taught. I have read a number of books and often find them useful to teach myself new techniques, but I am also one of those people that finds it really hard to follow a pattern. Not because I can’t, just because I constantly think I have a better/quicker way to do it.
What handy hints do you have for people who are starting up a hand-made business?
Make friends. I know it sounds silly, but having friends who are also in the business is not just fantastic for the moral support, they are there to bounce creative ideas off of and will help you get your business out there. People on the outside often see the competitive side of handmade, but under the surface you might just be lucky enough to stumble across those people that will support you even though they may be in competition with you. I have been extremely lucky to stumble upon a number of them from all over the world and while I haven’t met many of them, I am proud to call them my friends.
What plans do you have for your business in the next year?
New patterns, the return of some old favourites and getting as much done between now and July when we’ll have a new baby in the house and my sewing time will be cut shorter than it already is!
Monkey Hugs is celebrating being on the blog with a 20% off sale in store NOW until the 21st April 2013
Visit Monkey Hugs on Hand-Made.com.au