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madeit designer spotlight MozzieandMac

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Cori and I live on the outskirts of Newcastle with my wonderful fiance Ryan and our two gorgeous kidlets Jack and McKenzi (AKA Mozzie and Mac). We also share our house with a pygmy bearded dragon named Ruger.

I coached gymnastics from my teens until we moved to the Gold Coast a few years ago (we’ve since moved back again), and I still miss it. But since then I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with the kids and work on my sewing skills.

madeit designer spotlight MozzieandMac

Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use?

I sew children’s clothing and the occasional softie, as well as making some hair clips and jewellery. I use cotton in all its forms - voile, lawn, poplin and drill. I love shopping for fabric and can spend hours trawling the internet or wandering the shops looking for the perfect piece. At the moment I’m very taken with big, bold florals and fun geometric prints. I adore new and vintage buttons and embellishments, too.

Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process?

All of my designs are pretty much made to suit my own children. Jack prefers low-fuss clothing with a touch of fun and quirkiness, while McKenzi adores frills, embellishments and accessorising.

I love the ‘aha!’ moment that comes with a new idea and my favourite designs are those that are the most unique. I like knowing that there's nothing else quite like them in the world and I frequently search the net to make sure of it! I make life difficult for myself by only using my own patterns even though I have absolutely no training in pattern-making! Creating something new often involves a lot of trial and error, especially when it comes to sizing. Then it's the fun part - selecting the right fabrics for the design, or vice-versa.

My range is still fairly limited at the moment, but I have a box full of not-quite-perfected projects as well as a big list of ideas that I still want to try!

How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art?

I think I’ve always been creating something on a small scale. My mum has had a variety of crafty hobbies and I usually had a go at whatever she was doing. I loved art at school but have to admit that I never took it very seriously.

I’ve always loved to sew, but it wasn’t until after Jack was born and I discovered the world of children’s fashion that I decided that I really wanted to get into it. I pinched my mum’s sewing machine and bought an overlocker and started out making simple items for the kids. The first things I made were santa sacks for my kids using only an overlocker and hours of handstitching (which I'm not very good at) and so I'm slightly surprised that they're still together!

How did you come up with your business name?

Coming up with a business name is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It took me months! My first pick - a username I've been using since my teens - was already taken. In the end I went with my kids’ nicknames and now I wouldn’t change it for the world. And of course the kids love that they have a "label" named after them!

What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?

My mum, first and foremost. She taught me the basics of sewing when I was about eight and is the first person I go to when I need to learn a new technique, even though she no longer sews herself. My mother-in-law and my aunt are also both incredibly helpful, and I’ve just discovered my local quilting shop, where the owner has already taught me a few clever tricks.

Then there's the internet, which I'm constantly searching for new techniques and inspiration. I'm addicted to Pinterest in particular, which has such a phenomal array of clever ideas that I've now picked up the habit of studying every object I come across for alternative uses!

What's your best advice for someone starting up?

Go for it! Be proud of your product - the quality, the design and the effort you’ve put in. Good images are crucial for getting your products noticed on a web-based site, so experiment with lighting, backgrounds and layout until you find the right combination. Then get it out there for the rest of the world to see. And be patient. In this industry, success rarely happens overnight.

Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?

I think that you’ve just got to put yourself out there. I’ve seen sellers find success with such a variety of methods that it’s difficult to know what is going to work best for each individual. Certainly take advantage of social media and the word-of-mouth of friends and family, which don’t cost a cent. I have a Facebook page (facebook.com/mozzieandmac) but I am otherwise hopeless at self-promotion!

Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way?

There’s a lot of them! Most recently, though, I’ve learned not to work using the production line method. I know that it's how many people do it, but I lose interest quickly when I’m repeating the same task for hours. It may not be the most efficient way of working, but I get a lot of satisfaction from each completed item, and that gives me the motivation to move on to the next. It also probably explains why I usually only make a few items from any particular fabric...

What do you like to do besides creating?

I love to hang out with friends and family. I also like camping, shopping (especially op-shoppping) and exploring new places. I’m a massive bookworm too, although I have to seriously restrict my reading these days: once I get stuck into a book it’s impossible to get me out until I’m finished, and nothing else gets done in the meantime!

I occasionally find a gym where I can bounce, swing and tumble, and I’ve also just started archery which is something I’ve always wanted to try. I'm now on the hunt for my own bow!

What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website?

Music - I like a variety of Metal, Rock and Aussie Hiphop: Metallica, Guns ‘n’ Roses, The Hilltop Hoods, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Herd (especially Jane Tyrrell’s voice!)

Television show - I rarely watch tv, but I have every season of The Big Bang Theory on dvd. I also love NCIS, and Puberty Blues is one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. Outrageous Fortune is also great for a laugh.

Film - Juno, The Mighty (the only movie that can make me cry) and Shrek - which I swear was really made for the grown-ups!

Book - I generally prefer historical fiction, but most of my favourites fall under the genre of Fantasy, such as The Mists of Avalon, The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. My absolute favourite books are the Into the Wilderness series by Sara Donati. I'll also read any history book relevant to whichever historical fiction that I'm absorbed in.

Website - straightdope.com, pinterest.com, madeit.com.au, and ebay.com.au. I'm also discovering the wealth of documentaries on you-tube

What would be your perfect day?

I’d start with a rare sleep-in, and wake in Paris to a yummy breakfast. I’d spend the day with my family, preferably exploring some historical sites or ancient ruins - maybe London or Pompeii. Then we’d head to a tropical island for a relaxed dinner with our friends and family on the beach. I’m ignoring the logistical issues, of course.

Who is your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words?

oopsidaisi - for her unique designs and gorgeous fabrics

Mozzie and Mac visit store

3 December 2012

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