Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I grew up riding horses in Tamworth, but am very much the city girl these days. I work four days as an event co-ordinator for a BEC, organising workshops for people in small business. My own creative business is currently squeezed into two days and then that leaves one day for rest and play.
Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?
My inspiration comes first of all from the God, the ultimate creator.
Where do you get your inspiration from when you design?
Broadly,my design inspiration comes from nature, travel and street style or filling the gaps in my own wardrobe. A recent collection references my trip to China last year and a couple of pieces are named after the friend I visited there (she now wears them, so the loop has been completed in a way). I designed the ‘Amelie Coat’ because I needed a winter coat and thought other people might too.
What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?
Quirky, quiet, patient, busy, creative.
Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
That could be a long story, I’ll make it brief! First job was at the Chinese restaurant in Tamworth, a couple of hours a week. I moved to Sydney and studied fashion at Whitehouse Institute of Design, then won the scholarship to study in Florence Italy for a year. I worked for a corporate clothing company for a while doing prints and graphics presentations. Then started Ampersander in 2005 with the assistance of the NEIS program. I have learned a lot along the way; from learning how people shop and what they are looking for to doing the less exciting things, like bookkeeping and reporting to the ATO.
Describe a typical day in your studio space?
A mixture of computer time; emails, facebook updates, market applications, out-and-about time; visiting suppliers or talking to stockists and making time; I currently do all my own patternmaking and cutting, some sewing. My favorite times are photoshoot days (seeing it all come together) or design talk evenings (for inspiring stories).
As a Designer, what is your biggest frustration?
Finding time to do everything as well as I’d like to!
Tell us about how you prioritise your work.
There’s always a few things on the ‘urgent’ list. Otherwise, I have to prioritise things like invoicing which means I get paid, or ‘planning/thinking time’, tokeep the ‘urgent’ list as short as possible!
Tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?
Visiting exhibitions, markets and design talks are great ways to keep up with what other creative types are doing. And of course, there’s Facebook.
What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?
Think about your boundaries, what’s important to you. Eg. I’ll work six days if I have to but I avoid working seven because I think rest is an important part of a healthy life.
What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?
There are a few places on my travel list, great for design inspiration!
What is your proudest moment so far?
Winning a scholarship to study in Italy was an important moment. More recently, its great when I see my pieces displayed in stockists windows. Or friends happy and enjoying wearing Ampersander.
Who do you most want to meet and why?
French couturier, Madeleine Vionet, a pioneer both in design and care for employees. Although, I’d have to learn to speak French and to have been around in the 1920’s
What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
I have learned and am learning daily to trust God in everything.
What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?
I’reading Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey. I am a reader of novels, when I have some time and named a collection ‘Mrs Booker and the Tea Ladies’ after a book club I was in at the time.
Do you have a special offer to the ArtSHINE community?
A FREE makeup purse (value $20) with any online purchase, until the end of August. Password; Artshine.
Where do you find you and your products?
up at various markets, join my facebook page or email list for the news.