What do you do?
I am a designer, teacher, blogger, and all-round “creative type”
What motivated you to become a designer?
I always really enjoyed art at school, but sometimes struggled with the freedom of it all. Graphic design seemed to have more “rules” to stick to, so I guess that called to me more. I studied technical drawing in college (graphic design didn’t exist as a subject back then!), and from there went on to obtain my bachelor of Graphic Design at UC.
What was your first job?
First job ever? Hungry Jacks in Civic, making $4.88 an hour.
How did you get involved with the handmade community in Canberra?
I’ve been making and selling jewellery in various mediums since 2003. Over the years it has evolved enourmously. I wanted to sell at the markets but there were already so many jewellery stalls there. I bugged my husband to buy me a button making (badge) machine for a present, for a long time. When I finally got one I started making lots of magnets and badges, and with these, applied for a stall at the Handmade Markets in early 2010, and was accepted. My first market was incredibly nerve-wracking, but I think I’ve got them down-pat now. From there my range has slowly evolved back to include jewellery, but I do focus more on brooches now than I would have, had I not bought the button making machine.
What is the most popular class you’ve run, and why?
Definitely the resin jewellery class. People go nuts for it, and it is so satisfying to go away with an awesome bangle and ring that you have made yourself, mostly one of a kind when you get into the colour mixing!
What is a typical day for you?
Days are never typical around here, I’m not organised enough and I have a 9 month old, so every day is different! Here is what an ideal “productive” day would look like:
- 7am – drag myself out of bed, feed the baby, make tea for me and coffee for the husband, have breakfast
- 9.30 – baby goes down for a nap, I catch up on facebook, hopefully knock out a blog post, maybe read afew blogs if I’m lucky, work out what else needs doing for the day
- 11am – baby wakes up, we have a play session and hang out for awhile, if I’ve got a lot of work on he gets to play on the ground next to me while I work on the computer. Baby gets lunch, more play, then back to bed around 1.30.
- 2pm – I remember I haven’t had lunch and try to rummage up something. Then I’ll be working on either client design work (websites, posters, fliers, business cards, more websites), or my own stuff (designing pieces, peeling, sanding, glueing, assembling, packaging, photographing, editing, tagging, addressing etc etc). It’s sometimes hard to juggle which facet of the business needs more attention, it’s something I need to work on.
- 3pm – Husband’s mum arrives to mind the baby, I re-stock my workshop kit and leave for a 4pm workshop at Shop Handmade (Once a week)
- 6pm – meet husband, head home
- 7pm – dinner & bed routine
- 7.30 – Work some more, usually on facebook promotions for my next markets
- 10pm - bedtime
Of course everything goes out the window if the baby is sick, very hard to get anything done then!
Graphic design or handmade – which is your favourite?
It always changes. Right now, handmade. But I love being able to do all the branding, promotions and marketing for myself and my business’, I have total creative control, which is awesome.
What’s it like being a first-time mum and running a business?
A bit crazy. I am extremely lucky Rafa lets me carry on, business as usual. He’s not a terribly needy baby and sleeps well, so I have a lot of time to be able to actually get stuff done. It’s the juggling act of working & spending enough quality time with him when he’s awake that is hard. Really hard. I have to keep reminding myself that I am actually working from home, it’s not a hobby, and if I was working out of the home, I wouldn’t be with him at all.
A favourite thing to do in Canberra?
Drive along William Hovell Drive in the afternoon, it is so beautiful.
Who are some designers/artists/creative people who have inspired you?
Business-wise, my role models are Rochelle from Summerblossom, Sophie from That Vintage, and Cat from Be Loverly. Rochelle is living the dream, she works for her brand full-time, has a studio space, employs a few people now and sells at so many markets all over the place! Sophie does laser-cut jewellery also (in a much different style to mine), and has the greatest market stall setups, she really inspired me to create a beautiful space to sell my goods in. And Cat works from home with her little munchkin 3 year old and her baby also, 1 day younger than Raf. She has such a gentle soul and does the mama/work thing very well.
Trash television. We don’t have foxtel, because if we did, I’d be glued in front of it watching terrible, terrible reality tv shows. Once it’s on in front of me, I can’t look away. It is shameful.
Your favourite place to get a meal?
My own kitchen. I’m not a great cook, but I think it’s important (for me) to try!
Favourite phone/tablet app?
Instagram, hands down.
Last book you read?
Hunger Games Trilogy, I think.
What’s your motto?
If you want it, go get it.
What advice would you give to young people who want to start their own business?
Research, research, research, hire a good graphic designer, and go for it!
You can follow Mikaela’s creative adventures on her blog.