Ted and Tootvisit store
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hello everyone. My name is Larnie and I am a Perth gal. Before starting Ted and Toot, I was a bridal coordinator, a waitress, a primary school library officer, a mental health support worker and a university student (studying psychology and juvenile justice). I have three crazy little monkeys; Mani aged 11, Ella aged 4 and Elias aged 2. It has been a delight being a stay at home mum.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use?
I design and hand make children's clothing, bags and hats. I try to make sure my range is unique and different to what is already on offer. I particularly like working with cotton, linen, corduroy and lace. I love pretty trims and bright colours.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process?
I love vintage styled clothing and I take some inspiration from fashion in bygone eras. I believe children’s clothing should be practical and easy to wear while they are playing and I design all my clothing with this in mind. My greatest inspiration is colour and texture. I love the feel of different textures. Colours and patterns really draw me in. I know what I like and when I see it, ideas start swilling around in my mind and a new project emerges.
I start with a sketch of my idea on paper. I then develop a colour palette or brainstorm ideas for patterns etc. and go on the hunt for the perfect fabric. Once I have the fabrics selected, I draft a paper sewing pattern based on Australian standard sizes. I then get mums to test the finished product for me and provide feedback on the fit and style. I use the feedback to tweak and modify my designs before creating a new garment. Once the pattern is perfect, I start sewing. Each garment, I make in limited numbers so I can keep the range unique and fresh.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art?
From a young age I did a lot of silk ribbon embroidery, tapestry, painting and drawing. My life very much revolved around arts and crafts. I started sewing when I was 15 years old. I did a few sewing classes and soon began making evening dresses. I made a lavender halterneck gown, which I hand painted an intricate design cascading down the dress with a super fine crystal glitter. I wore the dress to a function and was approached by a modeling agency who asked me to design and make the gowns for their catwalk shows. I wanted the opportunity more than anything, but I turned it down as I didn’t feel like I had the experience to take on such a huge task. I regret turning it down!!! After that, work took precedence and the opportunity to create dwindled. But….the spark never left! And starting Ted and Toot, was a second chance to follow my dream.
How did you come up with your business name?
I hate it when people ask this - why, because it is very personal for me and a bit funny!!!! My eldest son has severe ADHD, he is very bright and very very active. He struggled to concentrate and focus at school and the teachers thought he needed to be in a special needs school. My husband and I knew they were wrong. Frustrated, my husband blurted out “he is a smart kid, he’s no special ed Ted”. He is my special little teddy bear and the smartest most caring child I know (he just sat the gifted and talented test at school - I knew those teachers were wrong), and well the nickname “Ted” stuck. Then “Toot’ came along, second child, a little girl, angelic and perfect, she looked like a china doll when she was a baby...beautiful. But she had a tendency to toot from her bottom, she would clear the room. People marveled how a baby so sweet and feminine could be so stinky. When I opened my store, my husband and I agreed it had to be called Ted and Toot.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
I love a challenge and I love learning new things so I have relied on the internet heavily to learn how to take photographs that are not shockingly bad, how to edit them, and what makes a great product shot. I was completely clueless when I started.
I have joined a few mentor groups which have helped me understand the importance of branding, packaging, advertising, social media and so on. Last year I did a course on pattern drafting so I could improve on my current skill set and to learn new skills, which I am using to expand my range in new ways. I am currently doing a course to digitalise my hand drafted patterns so I can create PDF sewing patterns.
In the coming months I intend on launching my PDF Sewing Pattern range and I am adding a new range of designer party/flower girl dresses to my Ted and Toot store. I am so excited!!! I can’t wait to show you all :)
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
• Don’t give up
• Don’t worry what everyone else is doing
• Don’t compare your products with others
• Never stop learning or striving to be better
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
Link, Link Link!!! Don’t wait for people to find you. I snap up every opportunity that comes my way. If someone wants to write a blog, put your hand up. Look for magazine callouts. Every time someone mentions your store a few more people know you exist. I pay for Facebook advertising, magazine advertising, Madeit advertising. If I make a new product, I contact blog page owners and let them know. Make sure you use every media outlet there is…..Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, Email marketing, Forums, Blogs, Handmade websites. Shout it from the roof tops!
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way?
I started my business as a hobby. Then I hit a point where I decided this was going to be my business, my income, so making that transition was bigger than I anticipated. Working out how to price my products correctly factoring in all expenses was a real eye opener.
What do you like to do besides creating?
Hmmm answering this question just made me realise that apart from being a mum and creating….I don’t do much else ha ha. Time to get a life maybe! My goodness that would take away from creating time and we can’t have that. :) Seriously, I love to read and when I am not creating or nagging my kids...you will find me hiding in a quiet corner with my e-reader.
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website?
• The Cure (I know daggy!)
• Sons of Anarchy (it appeals to my rebel side ha ha)
• The Block
• How to Train Your Dragon 2
• The Apartment
• Tuscan Rose - Belinda Alexandra
• The Rangers Apprentice series - Robin Hobb
• Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
• Fabric.com (for obvious reasons)
• Madeit ;)
• Create and Thrive
What would be your perfect day?
Unlimited supply of coffee and chiko baby lollies on a desert island with my e-reader (no kids, no husband ha ha - at least for an hour or two).
Who is your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words?
Hooly dooly this is hard….just one! Um
Rainbows and Whimsy - Her accessories are blingy, unique, funky and sooo super cute!
TedandToot visit store
3 February 2015