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?
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.