Friday, November 27, 2009


One of the poop things about being a 'creative' is the grand ideas that you get and are so so interested in seeing through that a) you don't know which to do first, and b) whatever you're supposed to be doing is either resented or ignored.

Here are the things right up there on my 'WANT-TO' list:
  • Write a novel.
  • Write & publish a making and patternmaking for t-shirts book.
  • Learn to draw.
  • Start making bags.
  • Consume every bit of interesting fiction there is. (I just finished the audiobooks of the Harry Potter series.. I seriously feel like a little bit of me has died because it's over.)
Anyway, here I am in the middle of a pile of flyers that need halving for Fair@Square, orders that need posting, fashion show dresses that need descriptions to be written, and an application that needs filling out. It's not that I don't want to do these things, it's just that - well, think of the possibilities of the next couple of hours. Endless.

Of course there are many more awesome things than bad about running a creative business. I suppose I just always want more. I think that's a good thing, though, in the scheme of things.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

fair@square, peppermint and summer dresses

Next month I'm going to be showing several dresses of mine at the fashion parade of the Fair@Square Festival. It's at Fed Square in Melbourne on Sunday December 13th from 11am-7pm and all about embracing all that's ethical and fair trade.

As well as the fashion show, there's going to be panel discussions and workshops - t-shirt reconstruction, screenprinting, hat-making and kids craft activities. Plus you can shop for fair trade and ethical goods from over 50 vendors. I won't be selling, I'm just going to be presenting at the fashion show. Come along, if you're in the area! It's sure to be heaps of fun and educational, too.

The festival is being sponsored by the wonderful Peppermint Magazine, among others, which makes a good segway for pointing out that I'm in the latest issue, yay!

(click to enlarge)

I thought I'd show you some of the one-off dresses I've been making lately. I haven't decided which to present at the fashion parade yet. Your thoughts would be lovely!

Which do you like best?

Friday, November 20, 2009

inspiration: boo radley

I wanted to show you what I've been making lately but Tim keeps running off with both our cameras for his volunteer work at the AYCC. They're a bit different in style to the tshirts up in my shop at the moment, because I've included more lace, more detail, more flowiness, and they're all one-offs.

It's so stinking hot here in Melbourne at the moment that sleeves are too much to bear, so I've been making light and flowy sleeveless tops and I'm going to start on summer dresses today. Pictures to come!

I'm having difficulty working out which method works for me best: sticking to styles or creating one-offs. Styles take more effort to prepare, but once prepared they're easier to make up. One-offs can often be a headache as they can be quite challenging and time-consuming. And sometimes they don't work out. But they are more interesting to make. I guess I'll just make some of each. Maybe the one-offs can be samples that I'll make up into styles if they're well received.

On another note, here's a local designer samples outlet just down the road from me that I entered for the first time and I was so impressed by the collection of interesting pieces - there's very few 'trendy' items there, just timeless goodness. If you live in nearby I really recommend it because the prices are very reasonable too. It's called Neo Rococo and it's at 269 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn.

They stock a Melbourne label called Boo Radley and I have been feeling very inspired by the pieces I saw. I checked them out online afterwards and found that the styling wasn't my cup of tea, but I think the work is so much better in person. They have a very good eye for interesting details.

And! Boo Radley is having an end of year summer sale at their warehouse in Collingwood. Everything below $50.
Thursday Nov 26th to Sunday Nov 29th
Boo Radley Warehouse: 114-118 Campbell Street, Collingwood Vic 3066 (off Johnson St.)
9:30 am to 5pm

Yay for local talent.

Friday, November 13, 2009

things i wish i knew before i opened shop

I just got this wonderful recycled wood sign custom made for me by William Dohman on Etsy. I've had my eye on his signs for a while now, but only just found cause to get one. It's to remind me of my goals, to help me stop being hard on myself, and to remember to keep being aware of and working on my 'stuff' (issues I have that stop me living how I'd like).

I've been thinking a lot lately about how I work and what I've learnt. I've been making more of an effort to notice and improve what doesn't work for me, thanks to Havi. But I've learnt lots all along the way since I started last year (it feels like so much longer than that).

Here are the things I wish I knew before I got myself into this whole Heidi & Seek shebang.
  • Be nice to myself.

  • Don't run away from difficulties. Question them, write down thoughts and feelings (non-judgmentally) and figure it out.

  • Free press is way more useful than paid advertising. And keep in touch with publications.

  • Make things. Make new things. Constantly. Give visitors new things to look at as often as possible, and keep it consistent.

  • Listening to audio books while sewing keeps me focused (currently working my way through Harry Potter, I'm at Order of the Phoenix).

  • But listening to myself about when I need breaks is better than burning out and getting frustrated.

  • Don't do things that make me feel stressed and uneasy, but do do things that are a bit outside my comfort zone if I think it'll be good in the long run.

  • Don't make important business decisions quickly. Considers the risks involved first and talk it through with someone. Let it sit for a week or two before deciding.

  • File emails like I would files on my computer. Don't be afraid to delete mass emails. File emails as soon as I've read and dealt with them. Keep my inbox tiny or close to empty, with only the 'to-do' emails in it.

  • Don't check blogs in my Google Reader every time I get a chance. Do it when I'm taking a break if I feel like it, and don't worry about not keeping up.

  • There is a remote control for my camera (I found one online recently after thinking they didn't exist) and it makes photo shoots so much quicker!

  • Instead of editing each picture in Photoshop individually, set up an Action with Levels, a little Curves, Rotate and Resize, Save and Close. Then automate the entire shoot's folder to save to a 'fixed' folder within it. Then it's just a few clicks, and a wait for Photoshop to create the finished photos.

  • Blogging for the sake of blogging doesn't work. Blogging with a purpose and my unique voice works much better.

  • It's best to have a light, non-busy background for photos. When I started, I took pictures in front of a brick wall that was quite distracting.

  • In terms of social networking and 'getting your name out there', it's best to do a few things well than do many things without much dedication. It's also better to concentrate on the enjoyable ones.

  • Get out of the house regularly. Find ways to work elsewhere for a little bit, like a cafe, or at least just take a walk.

  • Don't spend so much time looking up handmade business tutorials. I kept doing this long after I felt I wasn't learning anything new. The time is better spent sitting down with a pen and paper and working out what will work best for my business.

  • Choose a label name that means something to me and what I hope to achieve. I came up with Heidi & Seek long before I had a real business idea, but just stuck with it because I had the domain name. I'm not going to change it but I wish I'd chosen something more expressive of my ethics.

  • Don't start watching a horrible, addictive TV show halfway through a work day, despite the break I'm on. I'm looking at you, One Tree Hill (which has since been boycotted on the grounds of excessive clicheness).
I could probably think of more with some extra time. I still have so much to learn, but I'm grateful that I've come this far.

If you have a business, perhaps you'd like to make a blog post with the same title as this one? Be sure to post the link in the comments section, I'd love to read them!

Friday, November 6, 2009


I'm done, I'm done! And so excited. Check out my relaunched shop at and let me know what you think of my new direction?

I've got five styles. Come meet them.





Oh Bow

It's interesting how completely different the same style can be with the different fabrics used. Though, I sometimes have changed up the styles a tiny bit to fit the fabrics.