Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi I am Jacquie. I live in Cairns, North Queensland with my daughter Violet. I am the owner and creator of Lil Birdie. We live in an old Queenslander cottage close to the centre of town and Violets school. So far I have avoided going back to a traditional workplace since Violet has been born and I am ever so grateful that Lil Birdie has been so well received both locally and online and this has allowed me to continue pursuing a creative business.
Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use?
I hand design, draw and cut appliqués using the latest release modern designer fabrics. My process is to then bond and sew the appliqués to the requested style of onesie or tank/singlet top and then embellish with all manner of ribbon, buttons and rosettes.
Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process?
I like to spend a while researching and then mocking up my designs on paper before finding fabrics to suit. Many designs are prompted by custom requests and develop from there. I am always revamping and refining my designs to keep them fresh. I am inspired by bright colours and patterns, new fabrics and all those online tutorials that make me feel inspired and overwhelmed at the same time.
How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art?
I was about 14 when I started to take art seriously. I signed up or a tafe life drawing class after school (not realising that it was drawing nudey people!!), a couple of years later our family moved from Melbourne to Cairns and I spent the last two years of high school in an intensive art program prior to attending the Queensland College of Art in Brisbane. I didn’t stay long as adventure called and I went off to work on a boat that sailed from Cairns to Thursday Island each week. After that I spent another ten years or so wandering around living in Seattle and New Zealand and seeing a bit of the world. I always had an artbook and some form of craft on the go everywhere I went.
After returning to Cairns in 2000 I had a successful café for 6 years and not long after that was blessed to have my daughter Violet. Staying at home with my baby and having time to play around with crafts again led me into jewellery making and markets and then expanding into what is now Lil Birdie.
How did you come up with your business name?
Honestly a bit of desperation! My market business was proving successful and I kept being asked for a business card. I was sitting in Violets room trying to get her to sleep and I was just looking around at stuff trying to make up a name. I realized that we had been given a lot of bird related things (including 2 lovebirds, 2 budgies and a canary) since she had been born and I just decided on Lil Birdie.
What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?
I have a close group of crafty friends and we often bounce ideas off each other, but other than that its mainly online tutorials and browsing fresh supplies. Sewing classes are definitely a goal for this year.
What's your best advice for someone starting up?
Think like a retailer and sell the dream. The most successful stores are very good at this. Make your store as attractive as possible, plan ahead for the season and keep things fresh. Focus on you brand and photography and always keep improving. Listen to your customers and use statistics as they will point you in the right direction. Excellent customer service is a must, you expect it in a bricks and mortar store and our online customers expect it too.
Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?
Promote yourself as much as you can but keep your online posts fresh and newsworthy. The internet moves fast and you have only a small window of opportunity to hold potential customers attention. Advertise as much as your budget allows.
Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way?
I have learned from being in business for years now that the profit is in the small things, it’s the extra $1 that you charge that adds up over a year. It’s in keeping your spending tightly controlled and your pricing accurate. You have to have an idea of what percentage of profit you are aiming for and charge accordingly. Set yourself a goal to achieve each year with regard to your profit margins, it will make you think twice when being tempted to spend.
What do you like to do besides creating?
I enjoy a relaxed lifestyle. I like to exercise each morning, have coffee and wine with friends, go on holidays and adventures with Violet and dabble in photography. I would love to see more live music but nights out are a rarity these days.
What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website?
Favourite music: I love to listen to new finds on Spotify, the Augustines, Emile Sande, Kings of Leon, Powderfinger, Eddie Vedder (dream man!)
Favourite TV: I don’t watch much tv but I love Survivor and Californication. I can be tempted to watch the room reveals on the Block too.
Favourite Book: I will read anything but boring classics and I appreciate a good autobiography especially if it is a rock n roll one.
Favourite Website: A Beautiful Mess and A Well Travelled Woman are my two favourites.
What would be your perfect day?
Waking up on holiday in Paris or New York with some cash in my pocket and a day to explore. Add in some family and friends, good food and wine and a hip hotel and I would be in heaven.
Who is your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words?
Smukie - is my favourite at the moment. I love her fabrics, colours and the imaginative twist that her products have.
lilbirdieshop visit store
11 June 2014