Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
My name is Beatrice Lanser, but most people call me Beattie. I grew up learning arts and crafts from my mother and grandmothers and learning how to draw from my architect father. When I was old enough I studied a Bachelor of Design in Fashion and Textiles graduating with Honours in 2003. I have worked in Sydney with various fashion designers and also in London for a gentleman’s shirtmaker. When I was brave enough I started my own Fashion label in 2008. I design and make all the garments. The textile designs I also design and they are handprinted in Sydney. I am passionate about life and love and beauty. I live near the sea and go ocean swimming regularly, it expands my mind and connects me to the earth.
Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?
I love creating, making, learning, and selling the clothing I make. Each part of the business is fun and challenging and I get so much joy out of doing it. I believe every human is unique and has a gift to give the world. My parents have had their own business for 22 years so their insight and guidance has been really helpful.
Where do you get your inspiration from when you design?
The world around me: my friends, vintage fabrics, handpainted crockery, architecture details, the sea, gardens, indoor plants, travels to other cultures and movies that make my heart sing.
What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?
Colourful, Creative, Hard working, Friendly, Unique
Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
My first job was colouring in my Papa’s architectural plans for his council applications. My sister and I would sit at his table in his home office and colour in about 10 copies of each plan, the coloured pencil had to be not too hard and not too soft and had to look beautiful and neat within his design. I guess that honed my love for design, colour and working within the lines. It gave me a love for hand drawn and made things. After studying fashion and Textile design, my first job was with Sandra Thom a Sydney Fashion designer who learnt how to drape in India. Everything was made by a team of four people including myself in a small room above a shop in Paddington. Each piece was absolutely unique and contained a variety of vintage fabrics in natural fibres and all handstitched together with quilters running stitch. This influenced me immensely and I have gone on to make my own range of clothing that shows my love of handstitching, unique textile patterns and graphic line work.
Describe a typical day in your studio space?
I get into the studio, which I share with my parents and their big Golden Retriever Gladys. I check my emails, update my blog, and depending on what needs doing I design garments and textile designs, sew stock, test new patterns, handstitch finished clothing. I like writing lists so before I even get to the studio I have a coffee and write a list of things I want to achieve today. Sometime this gets done and sometimes not but it is a good way to get me in the right headspace for the day.
As a Solo Artist, what is your biggest frustration?
Being on my own and trying to a “master of all”! I have a few friends who work in their own studios so we sometimes skype each other to get through our days with a bit more hilarity.
Tell us about how you prioritise your studio work.
I find that setting goals or time frames that need to be met, to be really helpful. I really love the whole process of making, so I find it really satisfying to make the garments and then the handstitching is quite theraputic. I sell at Paddington markets each Saturday, so this is incentive enough to spend a lot of PRODUCTIVE time in the studio to make sure I have stock to sell to my customers.
When did you discover that you can make a living out of your artwork?
I have always been told that if you work hard you can do whatever you want. It was amazing when I discovered that people wanted to buy the clothes I had made and one thing led to another. I have been lucky to find something I love doing and had the courage to go for it! Now it is just continual hard work!
Can you please tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?
I am really blessed to have a lot of friends who are creative and in the art and design world. They are constantly inspiring and pushing me to new levels both creatively and practically.
I love going to check out exhibitions, Small boutiques, craft and design seminars, reading my favourite fashion and design books.
I regularly attend independent Designer markets such as The Finders Keepers in Sydney and Brisbane. Not only is it a great place to sell, but the community of designers and artists is really amazing.
Being quite old fashioned it may be surprising, but I also find the internet and blogs to be a pretty amazing network for me to speak to my customers and fellow designers around the world.
What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?
Be you. Have a go. There are a lot of people who talk about what they want to do, but not many who actually do it. It does take great courage to put yourself out in the world on show and be truly you, but the truth is that only you can do what you can do. So why not do what you love!
I also remembering getting overwhelmed as my brain catapulted too far into the future. I found that by starting small and having achievable goals was most helpful to me. So instead of saying I am going to design a whole collection and sell it and manufacture it and ect… I just said I make this one dress, in 2 colours and my own textile print and see how it goes. I knew I could do that. And I did and it has grown from there.
How did you get involve with The Interwoven exhibition and why?
My screen printer Steve from Screenhaus, told me about it and so I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to show my designs in a gallery space and to meet people from the design community in Sydney.
What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?
I really want to have my own shop, a boutique where I work and sell my clothing designs. I want to connect with my local community, be able to swim at the beach before work, have friends drop in for a beer after the shop is closed. I would love my designs to be sold in Paris, London, New York and Tokyo and I would get to travel to these places regularly to check up on them.
What is your proudest moment so far?
Seeing someone on the street, who I didn’t know wearing one of my dresses.
Who do you most want to meet and why?
On all my report cards at school it said Beattie isn’t afraid to ask questions. So, I would love to meet God. Seriously, I have a lot of questions.
What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?
I am reading a mook [a cross between a magazine and a book] called Dumbo Feather, pass it on. It is interviews with 5 people who have the courage to follow their dreams. It comes out quarterly and I absolutely cannot recommend it enough. The stories don’t make you want to be the people who are interviewed, but be yourself and make your own unique path. I am also reading The Captian’s Verses by Pablo Naruda a Chilean poet. Beautiful.