Today we have the pleasure of getting to know Linda from Blue Jacaranda a little bit better, so Linda…
Tell us about your business:
In my Blue Jacaranda shops on Etsy and MadeIt I sell original designs hand printed on art cards, ACEO and t-shirts, stretched on canvas and as PDF files to print at home. I also have a line of upcycled burlap items made from coffee sacks, such as pillows, pencil rolls, bookmarks and cards.
What inspired you to start your business?
I am an art quilter, and quilts take a lot of time to make, so between quilts I enjoy making small fabric items (postcards, bookmarks, pencil rolls). In July 2010 I decided to try and sell these small items, and discovered that they sold quite well!
Is there an interesting anecdote behind your business name?
I am originally from the Netherlands and moved with my family to Brisbane in March 2007. In October of that year I saw the jacarandas in bloom for the first time and fell in love with those gorgeous lilac trees. When I started my business in 2010 the name Blue Jacaranda immediately came up – a combination of these trees and my Dutch background (think Delft Blue). Later I discovered that the tree is actually called Blue Jacaranda!
What is the most satisfying part of what you do?
I love doing custom orders. Making something that someone else had in mind, and then hearing it is just what they hoped it would be, is a great feeling!
Have you tried something in business that didn’t work as planned, or on the flip side – worked out better than expected?
Yes, I have tried things that I thought would be a success but weren’t, and had other things sell much better than I had expected. I guess it shows that you just can’t predict the market! (or is it just me that is lousy at it?)
What would be your best tip for someone thinking about selling their handcrafted goods?
Make sure your prices are right! Don’t forget to include a decent hourly rate for yourself. People looking for bargains have plenty of places to go – you want to aim your products at people who can appreciate that they are handmade and not factory-produced, and who are willing to pay for that.
What is your favourite item you make?
I love my Kookaburra Word Art print, especially framed in an embroidery hoop!
Any personal or business highlights in the last year:
In September I was given the opportunity to attend the Artful Business Conference here in Brisbane. It was an amazing experience; it has not just provided me with the tools and knowledge I need to take my business to the next level, but also changed my mindset and considerably expanded my network.
3 things about you (not business related) that people might not know:
- I grew up in a women-only household (my mother, grandmother and me) and now I am the only woman in a family of five! (my husband and me and our three sons)
- My mother and grandmother were both accomplished seamstresses, but as a child and teenager I was not interested in sewing at all. It wasn’t until I was expecting my first child in 2002 that I started knitting, making baby clothes, quilts etc.
- I can’t wink! Just can’t close one eye at a time.
Thank you Linda, it has been a pleasure meeting you, the maker!