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    Category Archives: event notes

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    CWC event with Harvest Textiles – a round-up

    On Sunday 6 November 2011, over 60 creative ladies gathered at Harvest Textiles‘ studio workroom in East Brunswick to hear Lara Davies, Emma Byrnes and Jess Wright talk about their flourishing textile product and designer workshop business.

    The girls were super-organised (much to my delight!) and prepared an in-depth but casual presentation, complete with slideshow.

    It quickly became clear that these girls are some of the nicest and smartest businesswomen on the block. They each bring a unique skill set to the table – Emma’s background is in journalism, design and animation, and this sees her in charge of the business marketing, communications and the Harvest blog & website, while Lara’s experience in teaching, arts retail and her fine art skills combine with Jess’ commercial graphic design experience to bring their product and textile designs from concept to reality. The girl’s core values – sustainable practice and a flexible working environment (Emma, Lara and Jess each have children under the age of 5) – are inbuilt into their business model and help shape every new project they embark upon.

    They sang the praises of Craft Victoria‘s mentor program in helping guide them when setting up their multifunctional studio space, allowing it to remain flexible as they expand and grow. Finding the studio space wasn’t a quick or easy process, but their perseverance paid off. The studio now has a retail space (which has housed a number of short-term ‘pop-up’ retailers this year, such as Popcraft and Monolog), studio spaces for fellow artisans such as Dawn Tan and Emily Green, the gallery/workroom where they hold regular classes, space for their 11-metre yardage printing table, AND a fully-functional kitchen and dining area, perfect for events or just keeping the kids fed and happy!

    Harvest have a lot more exciting plans in the pipeline for 2012. But you’ll have to stay tuned to their blog for details…

    In the meantime, enjoy these snaps of our post-talk afternoon tea, provided by Tea & Sympathy. There was lots of chatting and networking to be had over cups of black assam, a tasty green tea and a soothing lemongrass & ginger tea. Thanks Angelina and Jen for treating us!

    Thanks to Michelle for these photos!

    Our book launch will be held at Harvest Workroom too in a couple of weeks, so if you’re keen to check out the space for yourself, join us!

    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: event, event notes | Comments Off
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    Photos from our CWC event with Shelley Panton at Frankie & Swiss

    We were lucky enough to have photographer Alex Parker at our Creative Women’s Circle event last weekend, and I’d love to share with you some of her gorgeous photos of us setting up on Saturday morning…

    The entrance to our host venue, Frankie and Swiss!

    Morning tea ready and waiting.


    Shelley sets up a display of her hand made stone ware, and a selection of artisan wares that she stocks in her Middle Park store.

    All photos above by Alex Parker. Photos below by Tess McCabe.

    Shelley starts her talk by telling us about her early days as a stylist and events coordinator, and when she first found a love for pottery.

    Later on, Shelley walks us through a selection of her own work and explains how she chooses the artisans wares that she stocks in her shop.

    Thanks again to Shelley for speaking, Michelle and Jacqui for hosting, and Alex for the photos.

    If you’d like to come along to our next Creative Women’s Circle event, sign up to the mailing list (at left) to receive an invitation. This event was sold out after just one week, so it pays to be quick!

    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: event, event notes | Comments Off
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    Event notes: Beci Orpin

    It was a sold-out affair at our June CWC this past Saturday. Beci Orpin was a fantastic speaker, and with a slideshow of her work and work-in-progress/studio photos behind her, she gave an honest and often amusing talk about her career path to date. If there was a poster child for the saying ”Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”, Beci would be it!

    Here is a little re-cap:

    • Beci didn’t have a clear idea of exactly what she wanted to study after high school, but she loved drawing and eventually found a course in textile design at RMIT which she became very passionate about. She worked hard and began to develop a distinctly bold graphic style.
    • Early in her career, a keen interest in skate culture and streetwear (which was only a tiny subculture in Australia at the time) meant she was ‘in the right place at the right time’ when new fashion labels such as Mooks, Mossimo and M-One-11 started in Australia.
    • During trips overseas she would make an effort to meet people whose fashion and design work she admired and leave a portfolio sample with them… this led to ongoing work with New York designer label Built By Wendy and streetwear labels in Japan and the USA.
    • In designing clothing and accessories for her own labels Princess Tina and Tiny Mammoth, she is inspired by people on the street and in public and what they wear, rather than other designers or catwalk trends.
    • Other early fashion work for PAM and Dangerfield came through friends and her strong portfolio of work.
    • These days, Beci’s main line of work is commercial illustration and graphic design including branding for small businesses and more corporate graphics work through her agents at the Jacky Winter Group. She likes that the ‘business side’ of this work is taken care of by her agent.
    • She enjoys advertising work for the challenging and interesting client briefs, and thrives on a tight deadline.
    • Having her own line of products keeps her creative juices flowing (she always has lots of ideas for new things to add to her range!) and she sells them via her online store and wholesale.
    • She loves participating in gallery shows – not to sell work, but rather to experiment with new ideas and enjoys the challenge of developing her own brief and seeing it to completion.
    • After a recent job art directing for children’s performer Justine Clarke, Beci is keen to explore more lead art direction roles.
    • Her strong portfolio and distinct style means she is now in demand to produce work that looks like her own style.
    • Beci is extremely committed to her work and loves being busy, and thinks she often creates her best work under time pressure. But, she is careful to structure work around time for her family.
    • She admits it is tricky to juggle working while caring for her two sons, but she loves her work and is okay with late nights and not a lot of sleep!
    • She believes young designers and illustrators who are just starting out should do as much work as possible to build a strong portfolio, even if it means doing it for little or no money (but be sure you’re careful about not being ripped off).
    • Beci loves that her ‘job’ doesn’t feel like a job, and deems herself very lucky to be able to do what she loves doing every day. 

    On behalf of everyone who attended on Saturday I’d like to say a big thanks to Beci for her generosity of time and advice to our group. We also raised over $200 for Stephanie Carello and her SIDS & Kids Victoria pledge.

    For more insight and reflections on Beci’s talk from our attendees on Saturday, check out these recent blog posts by Penny, Kirsten and Madeleine.

    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: event notes | 1 Comment
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    Nic MacIsaac event notes

    Photo by Katie Preece – her gorgeous photography of the Paddington Magnolia Square market was the backdrop of Nic’s CWC presentation (view more here)

    Yesterday’s CWC event, featuring guest speaker Nic MacIsaac (founder of Magnolia Square), was a big success! There was a tonne of positive feedback received at the meet up and afterward via Twitter. Thanks to all who attended, joined in the discussion and of course a HUGE thanks to Nic for her honest and engaging presentation.

    For those who were unable to make it on the day, here are some of the words of wisdom I collected  from Nic:

    Don’t be scared to commercialise your creativity… we all need to make a living, and why not make money doing something you love?

    Be clear and upfront with yourself about the objectives of your creative business… does it make economic sense? If all you derive is creative satisfaction, are you okay with that?
    Take your business seriously and it is more likely to become a serious business.
    The way you present your products and business ‘brand’ has to be spot on - good graphic design and photography is essential, whether you are promoting yourself to customers or people who can help you build your profile (like market curators).

    Keep your products fresh and unique, and always innovate… As you start to develop a customer fan base and become known to market curators, they will want to see new things from you often.

    Have a point of difference if you decide to launch products that are currently ‘trendy’.
    Don’t measure the success of design/craft markets based on how much cash is in your pocket at the end of the day. Take into account that you’re marketing to a large number of niche customers… and take stock of the number of new mailing list subscribers, retailer/wholesaler interest and the possibility of visiting stylists or press/bloggers taking an interest in your work. Markets are also a great way to build a community and network of other makers and small business owners who can provide you with invaluable support and advice.

    Be proactive about building a customer baseHaving a mailing list or database of your customers and supporters from the beginning is crucial to developing loyalty and engaging with your target audience. Have an item that interested people can take with them, and use to find out more about you.

    Ask customers how they heard about you. It is a good way to measure the effectiveness of different advertising/promotion & PR streams.
    A website is as important as having a business card… but don’t feel you have to have a huge detailed site and spend a lot to make it happen – quality over quantity in terms of images and content.

    Did you come along to the talk on Saturday? Please share anything you learned or found enlightening with us!

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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: business tips, event notes | 1 Comment