After 6 months selling on Etsy I decided to delve into the craft scene a bit more by starting a blog and doing craft markets. I was very anxious, thinking no-one would like what I do and that I'd get laughed out of the crafty arena, labeled as nothing but a try hard hobbyist. Alas, my craft was accepted with open arms. People loved it, and I found many new friends in the crafty world, both online and in real life.
After a year of doing markets, a fellow maker from New Zealand Polly Pratt introduced me to an amazing little co-op in Brunswick called Olive Grove Studios.
It was a retail space, that represented the work of 8 designers and they were looking for one more.
I was very excited by such an opportunity, but scared by the prospect of taking that next step. I didn't know if I could sell enough to make my rent each month and I didn't know if I could commit to making hand made for a living instead of a hobby.
'What if i lost interest'....'What if people got bored of what I did'...I drowned in 'What ifs' for a while and didn't respond to the call.
But a month later I rang the shop asking if they were still looking for someone...they were.
I quickly grabbed one of everything I do, shoved it in a box with a cover letter and dropped it off hoping the members would take me on board.
Thank god, they did.
And so the next part of my journey began.
Selling my craft in a retail space. Where I set the prices, did my own displays and I got to work in store once a week keeping in touch with customers, fellow members and the crafty community. Bliss.
I was down at the Grove for nearly 4 years and loved having the opportunity to learn more about myself and my label. It was an amazing opportunity and taught me so much about the business side of running a crafty space too.
Sadly in 2013 after Olive Grove having been around for over 14 years, the founder decided to take a step back from retail to focus on her teaching.
Which left me in the position of wandering what to do next.
Getting a real job, 9-5 working for the man seemed the only option. One that did not entirely fit or inspire me. So when I found out the space at 159 was up for grabs to be turned into something new ... my mind starting ticking overtime. I knew I couldn't do it alone so began a big period of talking and pondering the possibilities with my crafty friend Anna.
We threw caution to the wind and decided to create our own space.
A home for our labels, Finki and Polly Pratt.
Our new shop Ruby's Nest, was born ... Jan 2014.
It was so awesome to build something from the ground up, create our own look and inject our own personality into something.
Each week the space evolved and grew into something we just loved more and more.
As the end of our 2 year lease approached it was decision time again.
We both grew as individuals and designers and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to have shared a shop space with Anna/Polly Pratt.
Alas... life was to change yet again. Just when thought I had it all sorted out.
Anna was lucky enough to have landed a small shop and residence whilst on a hunt for a new home to house hubby and her new baby on the way.
Life for her was taking a whole new direction which meant that by default mine was too.
Once again I was at a crossroads in life, being forced to make a decision as to which way my life was to go.
Knowing the rent of our current premises I really didn't think it was an option to go it alone, so I started to contemplate leaving the creative life and heading back to the 9 to 5.
I honestly sat on this for a while and it just made me feel so heavy and down on life.
I started to look at smaller shop spaces closer to home, convincing myself I could go back to markets and work parttime on the side.
None of this sat well with me.
So I pushed it all aside for 2 months, so I could just get on with life and hope that something would pan out.
Allowing myself to fully be present at the shop with no expectations or decisions made about the future, made me realise it was something I really enjoyed doing at a deep, core level.
Creativity is at the heart of what I do and having people engage with that, to want it and need it, is so fullfilling.
I've always been passionate bout representing the work of others too.
Helping new designers get there products out there and giving more established designers an outlet for their work.
So thinking about a small shop was no longer an option ... because how could I fit the work of a crafty community into a small space.
Dream big hey! Why Not.
So begun a period of seeking advice from accountants, bookkeepers and business mentors to test the viability of staying at 159 and going it alone.
Easy is not a word I would use in describing the decision making process and easy is not a word I would use to describe the job that I had laid out before me ...
but I have never been one to take the easy road.
I'm not afraid of a challenge and I believe with all my heart that if you come from a good place, with heartfelt intentions you are on the right track.
Back it up with a bit of hard yakka and 110% commitiment and you have a wonderful foundation from which to spring board life in any direction you want.
So began, the next phase of my life ...
In Dec 2015 I opened my own shop space called 'Finki'.
Representing my handmade range, along side the work of over 40 independent designers, makers, jewelers and artist.
It was so exciting to take this step and bloody scary too !
Its not all crafty parties and fabric shopping ...
if I want to sell 100 items a week to pay my rent I need to be able to make 100 items a week to sell.
So its a huge balancing act to keep it all afloat.
One only made possible by the artist/designers and makers who bring awesome stock my way each week and ofcourse the community of customers who support our work and keep the dream alive for all of us.
I used to think in terms of 'I' and 'me' in life ...
only to learn that in life and business it is all about 'us' and 'we' ...
'we' as a community of makers and 'we' as conscientious consumers.
It takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to run a successful business.
So thank you to all of you.
My village, my tribe.
Running my own shop is a dream come true and I hope to be doing it for many years to come.