Thursday, July 1, 2010

I don't know.

So selling my dresses from a gorgeous gallery/shop space in the gorgeous Piper Street Kyneton sounded like a great idea at the time.

I think I have crafters inferiority complex dating back to my fine arts days at uni when the art vs craft debate waged strongly and you had only really made it when you had your work hanging in a gallery. Part of me desperately wants to have my work hung and admired in a gallery.

But I think the views of the world have changed in this regard since I went to uni. I think craft has been noticed and is appreciated. People like practical, useful things that are designed well. I think people are embracing home made, hand made and local and there is a new found respect for some very old crafts.

I think its time for me to move on with the times and let that inferiority go.

As soon as I started working on a range designed and made especially for that shop, I started doubting it. For some reason I started thinking more carefully about fabric and design choices rather than my usual process of letting the designs lead me.

The price thing bothered me. Once I took into consideration the wholesale/consignment price, they became quite pricey items.

As did the fact that I wouldn't be there to sell my dresses, to interact and explain the concept or to hear the feedback.

And once I had said I would sew up a range then I didn't really want to anymore. I wanted to crochet beanies instead. One each for my parents, one for my farm boy (pattern from here but hdc's instead of sc's), one each for my girls and some for their friends. It doesn't get much more crafty than that.

And then in the last few days I have started receiving email commissions from some of my favourite bloggers and I have realised that sewing for my family and friends will keep me busy enough and much happier.

So the range for the shop will have to wait.

And then maybe I'll work towards a summer market stall. Maybe.

Bren is going to tell me he told me so. He said I should keep it fun and not make it into a business in the first place. We already have a family business and three children and this is my hobby. He is right.

The Weekly Times article is out in this issue. You can read it here.

And the one about our farm is here.

Happy Thursday and keep warm out there. XX


  1. I hope you didnt have to admit to him that he was right! You should definately not have a complex. Your creations are beautiful -but if its the feedback that keeps you going, give etsy or madeit a whirl as an adjunct to your blog.

    Keep it happy which ever way you choose.


  2. Oh Kate I can totally relate to you right now! Follow your gut & your heart. It is exciting when someone wants your product to sell in their store, I agree, but as soon as I get an order I find myself getting busy with other things, i worry my work isn't good enough, (but then why would they ask for it) I'm not one for preassure. I like to do things in my own time when I'm feeling inspired, I've decided to do the same, keep it simple fill the odd order for friends & maybe pop some onto 'made it' or a market stall when I have a few to move. Enjoy your hobby - but know that your work is amazing, you have a great talent!
    ...didn't mean to ramble, gorgeous pictures by the way...

  3. Oh Kate, I love how you so freely put your thoughts out there for us, your own indecision and self doubt so familiar to so many of us, well certainly me. Sharing it all and your changing mind through blog land just makes you so warm and real. I love that third photo of your family BTW ... and as I'm sounding a bit stalkerish now so will just leave it at that ...

  4. You have the most adorable family!

    Following your heart is usually the best direction to take. Good for you!

  5. Wow - sounds like a brilliant decision made there!
    I must say, it is the huge commissions these places add on that really put me off doing it. It would be great to recycle, handmake etc but also make it affordable at the same

  6. What a wonderful article Kate. It's such a jard decision to decide whether to go down the stockist route or not. I've found the same thing - sometimes other things are just far more important (like family and friends and fun)!

  7. Whoops - that should be HARD decision, not JARD!

  8. Both of thoses articles are great. I noticed in your article you had said that you wanted to keep craft fun for you. Glad to see you are!

    If you get heaps of spare time (ha ha) I would like a pot holder for my kitchen wall ;)

  9. Power to you Kate (& to the Mr too). For fun is what it's all about & if you can make a bit of cash along the way then fabulous.

  10. Fabulous articles! Well done!

    I find the pricing thing really hard too. That can often put me off selling my wares, but in my case I just love making the little quilts so much and everyone I know already has one, so that's enough to keep me making them. Once it stops being fun, then I won't be doing it anymore.

  11. Yipppeeeeee!!!! Great choice. There is time love..we will get more time...LATER...just not quite yet!!! Oh....WT Article...brilliant!! Love that shot of bren with the chook on his sholder! xx

  12. Firstly, I hear you with the Art v Craft issue. I too did a Fine Art degree and Craft was a 'dirty' word, it really was. Apparently it just didn't rate as worthy......I didn't agree even then but always kept my opinion to myself. Craft is so cool, I love craft and I love art.
    Secondly, don't think that your things are not worthy, they are amazing and unique. That is what needs to put out there in the shops. People are starting to understand the value of handmade items, particularly ones using upcycled and vintage fabrics. I thought that when you get an order and don't want to complete it was just part of the process. It is for me anyway and happens every time. I figured it was my short attention span and the need to always start something new. Anyway, I just wanted you to know you are not alone and that you are a super talented chick!

  13. Oh, that horrible P word - Price. I have such an inferiority complex too over putting too high a price on goods. Especially when you wholesale. You need to cover your costs, and a little bit of cream on the top is nice too. But then when that is doubled - sheesh! Who is going to pay THAT MUCH for THAT!

    What tangled webs we weave ourselves into!

  14. I hear you totally about the whole retail thing. Since starting out I've moved away from doing shops, ( except mikes, who are friends ) and doing a market and having an etsy store, I really love the feedback and contact with people and enjoy more freedom I guess to do what I want to do. the personal interaction is what makes it so special and nice
    It's all about what works for you best and is fun and makes you happy anyway. xo

  15. Good on you - staying true to yourself is the right thing to do in life and in business. Opprtunities will always be there for talented people like you, and in the mean time you've got lots of fun to get with! Nic x

  16. I just wrote a really loooong comment and then the connection dies... don't you hate that!
    in a nut shell what i said was:
    I initally needed the validation of selling things in shops so i would feel like mine was "good enough too" as I have always felt inferior to people who are formally trained in something creative, like mine is not as good because I didn't get taught how... silly I know... now I have realised at the same time as everything got busy and Chef said to me when he saw me stressing over an order " isn't this suppose to be fun?" that my wares are good enough and people do like them.

    I like the idea or a little peice of me and my handiwork being somewhere on the other side of the world making a little one happy.

  17. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your post, a lot of the doubt and decision are very familiar to a lot of us I guess...What makes you (us) happy is the most important isn't!Enjoy your choices, and congratulations you have a gorgeous family with you :)xx

  18. Good for you I say go for the fun every and family!

  19. I agree with all the above posts. Don't do it if you're not enjoying it Kate. Gorgeous photos. xx

  20. i say go you great post and having fun with family friends and craft sounds to be fulfilling enough x

  21. Go with the flow and do what's right for you. Great articles Kate, have a great weekend...

  22. yep.. i agree :)
    and i dont have my newspapers yet...drats. x

  23. You definitely shouldn't have any self doubt at all. But alas, we all do....we all feel our crafts aren't good enough. But you know what, all creative people do have these doubts. My husband is a very clever Art Director/Writer in the advertising industry and he has exactly the same doubts as you and I. Even after all of his International Advertising Awards! And one last thing, I just love, love, love your blog. Thanks so much for your inspiration and thoughts.

  24. You must enjoy it for the long run, so if you really wanna keep on trust your heart

  25. Hi Kate,
    I've been really enjoying your blog, just thought I'd let you know and that I can really relate to how you feel. I've been making skirts and dresses to sell at Salamanca Market for the last 4 years and as much as it's been really fun meeting new and inspiring people it can get pretty crazy and exhausting at times and easy to forget that you really enjoy creating. So this year I decided to take some time out, focus on home schooling one of my boy's and have fun again! It's been the best thing I've had more ideas for new work along similar lines and I'm enjoying myself! That being said I think markets are a great way to go and brilliant social fun especially for those of us who don't get out much, I hope you get to have some of that. xo

  26. I'm hearing ya Kate. I used to crave people to want to buy my creations and now that people are asking I am kinda like I am so flattered but I like it that it is just for my family..... what to do?? Good Luck with your pursuits :)

  27. Dear Kate,
    Oh you make a girl think, (and make a girl smile at your super sweet&cute pictures while she reads)
    My eldest sister is the curator of a craft gallery in England. She did a whole lot of fancy fine art related degrees and masters at the V & A in London and now treats craft as "art" .. I worked in retail for ages and studied visual merchandising and although that isn’t what I do to earn a crust any more, I look at some shop windows and layouts and see "art" .. I look at a row of hanging mugs in a kitchen and see "art" .. (I also hi-jack your blog's comment section!)
    I am not sure what I am trying to say – I think I am trying to applaud you, and say I totes agree.
    Crochet beanies onwards and leave those [pestering inferiority complex thoughts at the bottom of the compost heap.

  28. I quite agree with your man I'm afraid. I've done that before and really wish I hadn't. A hobby is no longer a hobby if it's work. Enjoy it the way it is. I find I only enjoy what I'm doing when it's my creativity ruling what I'm doing. I hate orders for things. It turns me right off.

  29. Go you ... keep crafting fun x
    p.s. Love the pics. The last one had me laughing out loud.

  30. i totally get it, i don't know either. i just like to make handmades for my littles and to gift people who love handmades. i feel that would be lost if i opened an etsy shop.

  31. Oh Kate, I love your reflective posts. You must do whatever is right for you. I'm sure you will :)

  32. You should definitely do what you feel you should do, and what you feel you can do and can handle. Your blog is wonderful and I'm glad you didn't stop writing it (I wanted to comment the other week with your dilemma post, but my laptop was being silly).
    I love reading your blog and love seeing all your wonderful photos :)

    Lee x

  33. Great decision. Sometimes the heart and head just can't get their act together but it is nice when they arrive at the same place and at the same time.

  34. I am absolutely with you Kate. My online shop is a 'when I feel like it' thing because otherwise I find the love all goes out of it. Do what you love hon! :) Kx

    p.s. Love those photos :))

  35. Great pics of the farmer and the girls.
    I really like his jumper too.
    You could put some beanies and frocks -don't you just love that word-on Madeit to get a feel and just create what you wish.
    Your gut instinct means alot.

  36. Man I love your photos. Am glad you're keeping it fun - plenty of time to do the other stuff later when the smalls are less small.

  37. You're right...if it doesn't feel right then don't do it. Whatever you do you have you have to love doing it otherwise you just end up hating it.

  38. Don't you hate how when you have to make something it takes all the fun and creativity out of it!!! I only make a few things on order and the rest is sold on a 'This is all I have, take it or leave it' condition. Keeps the passion alive :-)

    I love the photos...Bren with his girls, and Bren with his girls (the chooks). Isn't Pepper adorable in that skirt :-)

    Enjoy your weekend :-)

  39. I get what you're saying, I Love the beanies and I love the photo of your man with the chooks. He's a spunk! And you rock!

  40. Good for you Kate !!It's all about balance in life I think.
    Lovely photo of your family in their winter woolies. Getting very hot here now so I feel quite envious !
    Louise x

  41. I have often been told by friends to put my things on Etsy - but I want to make things because I enjoy it, not as a job!!

  42. Hi kate! this is my third try to leave a comment!!!!! I understand what you mean about selling your craft... I sell my craft all over the North Island of NZ (it never makes an appearance on my blog though!) and it can take the fun out of it when it becomes a business! markets are where it's at, and there are no pesky markups! My badges wholesale at $10 each and some shops in the cities sell them for $25 eek! Craziness! Enjoy your craft... and what constitutes a line? you've made 2... even one more is enough to start in a shop if you were still considering!?
    Wrap was completed, but I just felt awful in it... I made the armholes too low so it became a fashion statement I wasn't prepared to make! So I gave it to my mum and said "here Ma, if you like it, have it... if not, can you please frog it for me?!!!" he he she likes it, so all turned out well! I'm going to have a break on the crochet clotinging front for a bit! have a lovely weekend! Look at that... I've nearly written a comment as long as your post!
    Blessings from Alice and raymond XX

  43. good on you kate for arriving at the decision that is right for you and yours. your man looks like such a good man. i love the wt shot of him. enjoy your gift of amazing craftiness. well done you

  44. I'll cheer you on no matter what you do.

    Ps. What a good lookin family!!!

  45. I can so relate, everytime I try and do 'business' it's just not the same as creating for the ones you love!

  46. Some mighty fine looking head coverer uppers in them photos there.
    Kate, I believe doing what comes naturally is the best direction of which way to take yor creativity.
    Keep it fresh ... There are enough chores already in our lives.

  47. I love the photos, what a great shot with the hen and you with that great it!

  48. When it isn't fun anymore, then stop. Before you got in too deep, you came to the realization the fun would be taken out of it. Seems to me you've a full life and that your craft is your respite. Stay with us!
    p.s. I used to have a whole kitchen wall full of crochet pot holders and it looked like the quilt "Grandmother's flower garden." I loved it! I smiled to see yours on your wall.

  49. I am sorry for all those shop goers missing out but so excited for you and your lovely friends who get commissioned pieces :) And your wall is looking lovely!

  50. first off...that photo with the chicken of Bren's shoulder is really cute! :)

    I can understand what you are saying...I was going to start a market stall selling some badges and other home made things at a market...but then I went to the market and felt like I just wasn't going to make the cut. I hope you can feel content with your decision AND...HAVE FUN with your craft...because you are obviously in my opinion VERY talented! x

  51. Both great articles. The way your work evolves and takes form, often changing from something to something else, reflects the "inner" you .. I can very much appreciate how you would like to tell the evolving story of where your pieces come from, and I know to me personally that would mean so much more than to just buy something from a place. My sewing is more form of R&R, that little piece of me and yes I've pondered doing a market, but I love to sew for my children and my friends and I think that process would be tarnished for "having to do it" rather than just doing it when "i want to ... Great articles :) Fox Lane is heavenly!

  52. Just found your blog. Love it and am following ♥
    I couldn’t agree with you more …. Business can take the fun out of anything. I think you are very wise to keep your fabulous crafting for yourself, family and friends. I was in a similar situation recently and your article reaffirmed my decision! Thanks so much,

    Dolly Donations: Sending Love, 1 Dolly at a Time!

  53. Kate - you rock. Lovely to meet you on Saturday, you are exactly as genuine as I had pictured. I know you'll make the right choice in this... just keep putting your love for craft before financial validation, and you'll probably get both!

  54. :) I feel the same way - I have toyed with the thought of opening a store (and might do it on a small scale - but I really am most happiest making things for my little family and friends:)

  55. I have just read your article in the Weekly time (I know I'm a bit slow) I to live on a farm(dairy) and have three wonderful girls. I know what you mean with your craft and the fun in it. Go with your heart and create what you enjoy doing and keep it fun.

  56. Yayyyyy brilliant decision Kate ;-) Ecstatic that you're keeping the fun in the creating, no fun when the cash is lining someone else's pockets. You're a wise woman, remind Bren of that ;-) He's a star isn't he? XO

  57. I love that post. the photos speak a thousand words, but the words are so elequent and honest and much like what goes on in my head often. All the best with the thoughts as they continue to progress.

  58. You are so right. Its one thing I've been working on this year. Winding back and making things for the people I love. Not easy when every second magazine I open has a certain someone I went to uni with and her amazing stuff... But really, fame and fortune and the gallery shows can wait. Good for you, Kate. x

  59. You make me want to get my knitting needles and crochet hook back out, that is if I can fit it inbetween my sewing machines. Oh, and by the way, I think I will have to dig out those little girl patterns again.

    Marion Prime

  60. A difficult decision to come to I suspect. Good on your for making the right decision for you.
    Don't lose sight of how important it is to look after yourself, and keeping the pressure off can be an important part of this. You already have lots of pressures in your life, family business, three children and a home. HUGE pressures.

  61. Its a tough one. I did wholesale for a bit and was lucky enough to be picked up by a couple of cool little shops. But it got too much. Too much work and at the wholesale prices I was literally making a couple of dollars on each tee-shirt. And as much as I love craft, 2.00 for all that work was not worth it. So I had to overcome my ego that was telling me to keep my designs in that store and give it a rest.

    PS - great Weekly Times article - I was raised reading that paper, as all country folk are...


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