Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Maker - Macandroma

Say hello to Fiona, the creative brain behind the label Macandroma.

Do you come from a creative family Fiona?

As a child my mother had a workroom. It was a room full of craft, sewing, knitting, spinning, crocheting, doll making and crammed with things! I would watch and assist her in creating whatever project she was working on at the time. Regularly, she would be sewing and I was allowed to help with the sewing machine, then create something out of the scraps.

I made little sleeping bags for my dolls, blankets, pillows for my teddies, occasionally clothes for my dolls, but they weren't the best! Mum still has a workroom today in a different house, and it is still brimming full of things and she still sews.

My Dad has always been creative too. He is lucky in the sense that when he sees something, he can normally create it. More in the line of construction or electrical engineering. Dad is also a great trouble shooter when it comes to creating things. He created my keyring racks from his own design.

How would you describe your work?

My work is a combination of what I envisage and what is on trend. I have a bit of a crush with beautiful fabric, but the item needs to be practical.

My main lines are hand painted wood bead necklaces, hand painted key rings, rice and lavender filled eye pillows - heat cool packs and beautiful clutch bags. I also love to paint and sew, creating from scratch.

Has your work evolved since you started?

Yes, enormously. I first started making key rings. In fact, the key rings didn't sell that well, then someone said 'can you make me a necklace?', and I said 'yeah, why not'.  

So I moved on from there. I have found since, that the items which sell well are also the items in which I love creating. Clutch bags, lavender eye pillows, hand painted wood bead necklaces and key rings are Mac and Roma's most popular items.

How did you start selling on Etsy?

In the beginning, I started asking around my Brisbane friends who I knew crafted, how to go about selling online. They all said, Etsy! I thought why not.

It took me forever to set up my site because I didn't have any clear picture of what I wanted. I tweaked it and I am now happy with it. I also wanted to set up my own site so I used Big Cartel.

Who or what inspires you?

I get inspiration from so many different things. The colours in nature, the weather, the ocean, the beach, my favourite colours.

If I see something and I love the colours, I have to make a necklace with those colours, seeing something in a shop, making necklaces and clutch bags to co- ordinate with outfits.

Do you reduce, reuse, recycle as part of your creative process?

I try to reduce, reuse, recycle. If I have purchased some fabric and have left overs I will always try my best to use those leftovers in my other pieces.

Describe your studio?

My studio or art space is my dining room table and a small area surrounding it, it is a mess at times but most of the time I know where everything is. I can see trees and the sky outside my studio/dining room.

I keep all my paints in a large container, my brushes in another, my beads in separate bags showing which size they are, my fabrics are piled up in pieces to be made, pieces to be finished and finished pieces.

My brain cannot function if I don't have everything in the correct place, I like to be organised to be able to get my pieces finished.

Do you have a favourite thing to make?

At the moment, my favourite thing to make is our new clutch bags. I love the pretty colours and trims and especially the exotic tassels.

How did your business name come about?

The name, ummmm well, that's tough. I had been tossing up between a couple of names but nothing ever made me think, oh, that sounds cool.

I thought it should probably have Roma in it, being my surname. Then I thought hang on, my maiden name and married name, Macdonald. Together, as it is part of my childhood and part of my adulthood in which I am creating these pieces.

Where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months?

I would like to expand my wholesale market and start selling to small shops and boutiques.

I want to keep evolving and creating pieces which are gorgeous, practical and sophisticated at the same time but I want to keep the fun in it!

I also intend to attend the BrisStyle markets in various locations.

What’s your top tip to others wanting to break into the creative market?

My top tip is 'have the courage to do it'.

I have been slowly losing my hearing since I was 24 years old. When I turned 40 I had my first cochlear implant and then had the second one in January 2016. Since then my confidence has returned and I felt that I was able to face the outside world again.

I felt that if I had the courage then I could create my own business and I did it, but I was so scared of failure. If you don't try you won't know, if you have failed or not. I thought it's better to try than to not try.

Can you describe your typical creative day?

It usually involves having a plan of what I want to achieve for the day. Having a plan, not necessarily written down but using that plan of getting things done and not finishing until I have finished what I wanted to do.

I set achievable goals most of the time.  For example: yesterday, I finished sewing nine clutch bags, including cutting the lining.

Do you have a favourite quote?

Stay positive, work hard and make it happen. (My note: if it doesn't happen, try again a different way.)

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

Delicious soy candles with amazing scents. They just keep giving.

Where can we find you online?

Mac and Roma has an online store at:

Why did you become a BrisStyle member?

I thought they would help to increase our profile and also there are many benefits such as the great market locations and numbers of shoppers.

Why do you craft?

I guess because I love using my creative side. I see items which I want to use in everyday life and see it made up into a finished piece. I can see the finished piece and I want to achieve it.
Thank you Fiona, it was lovely to learn more about you.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Monday Maker - Baby Bubba Steps

Hi Charlotte,

Were you creative as a child?

Yes, very creative. I was always thinking outside the box. My Grandmother and mother were very creative too. They sewed a great deal of my clothing as a child. I thought I was the coolest kid with a halter top (that my Mum made)!

How would you describe your work?

I design from 'real life'. I make ergonomic baby accessories that fit with my mission statement, "Making parenting....just a little easier".

I believe we all have our own talents and refuse to mimic other maker's wares. As my work takes shape, I mull over designs and ideas in my head until my artistry has exactly the feel that makes it complete.

How did you start selling on Etsy?

I heard about Etsy from other market vendors and after much reading of guidelines and well documented sales advice, decided this was the perfect handmade marketplace that had the ability to feature my Baby Bubba Steps - Bubba Gear in just the right environment for the exposure I aimed for, and in such a professional platform.

Who or what inspires you?

Literally my fabrics provide my daily inspiration. I imagine the happy faces of Mums and Dads as they pour over my brightly coloured bibs and burp cloths until they have found just the right one for their precious little one. I just love seeing those satisfied faces when they find it.

The person who inspired me to sew was my gorgeous mother-in-law, Diana! She always had several projects on the go. Her sewing room was a minefield of pins. One never went in without shoes!

Do you reduce, reuse or recycle as part of your creative practice?

My designs are deliberately created so as to minimise wastage, yet to be ergonomic. Nothing goes to waste.

Even my offcuts from bibs have become environmentally friendly reusable face washer pads.

Describe your work space?

I took over my daughter's granny flat style bedroom when she joined the Navy. I have cubby shelving and tubs for storing small pieces of fabric. I have over 20 entire bolts of fabric in my stock.

I work mostly off a 2m by 1.2m table, elevated on bricks to give me an ergonomic height. I keep fragranced candles in my work space as well as a photo of my family to remind me I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.

What is your favourite thing to make?

Pretty hair bows and fluffy head bands. I love seeing little girl's faces light up when they see them!
Everyone deserves to feel pretty.

And how did you come up with your business name?

A male nurse I work with calls everyone Bubba as an endearing name and he made me feel so special so I wanted to share that feeling with others. Baby Steps, is intended to fit in with the different items I make for the different stages of Babyhood. So we get Baby Bubba Steps.

Do you have a tip for others wanting to enter the Creative market?

Do your research!! Ensure you have an original idea. Shoppers always 'vote' for you with their wallet.

What is a creative day like for you?

A short walk into my sewing studio where I sit at my 'desk of creativity' and the juices are flowing.
If I already have a lot of stock I like to take out pen and paper and just draw, letting my imagination go. I always have 4 or 5 ideas on my "shelf".

Do you have a favourite quote?

'It's not done until it's fully done, and doesn't look 'homemade'.

What kind of music do you like to listen to while creating?

Please don't judge - I listen to very old funky music from Magic 88.2

Do you have a favourite handmade item you have bought from someone else?

A set of makeup brushes in a purpose made roll up travel case- from a BrsStyler at the Ipswich Rail Museum.

Where can we find you online?

How long have you been a BrisStyler and how did you find out about it?

Almost two years now and I found BrisStyle through an online search of Brisbane Markets.

What made you join BrisStyle?

I think it's important to have a sense of 'belonging'. The world is so 'me first' and I think people gain a greater sense of self and purpose when they belong to a group of likeminded crafters.

Every single market, I meet new crafts people and learn from them. I also share my knowledge.

Why do you 'make'?

I have a difficult time looking at things during Mall Shopping without thinking "I could make that better" so crafting is a natural.

Well thank you Charlotte.