In creating "A Box Of", not only do I want it to be the "go-to" place for beautiful, unique & thoughtful gifts but also a place that supports women who, in following their dreams, are making their dreams their reality.
Today I'm chatting with the lovely & talented Kathy Holden of L&T Design Co. Kathy is the creative designer who we collaborated with for our first Stationery Subscription Club Packs. We also have many of her gorgeous products in our gift boxes. Kathy is a North Queensland local & her path to digital design has come via a very interesting route. Meet Kathy...
Tell us a bit about yourself
Originally from the Sunshine Coast, my career has been in education, initially as a kindy teacher and then as a primary school teacher. Our identical twin girls were born in 2004 at 27 ½ weeks, which, while amazing, was a very tough introduction to parenthood. The girls’ start to life made me reassess my career and prolong my leave from the education department until my return in 2012 in a part time capacity at my base school in Brisbane.
From teaching how & why did you get into digital design?
As well as loving being a stay at home mum, my creative drive has always been strong and has taken many turns. I have always loved making my own classroom resources, which I was often asked to make for friends classrooms as well as my own. I then started making greeting cards using stamps for friends and family, this moved into selling them at markets in Brisbane and in my own online store. I had designs published in Australian Crafting Magazines, and also taught weekly classes in card making in Brisbane at a popular Scrapbooking Shop.
In 2013, we made the move to Townsville chasing a quieter lifestyle to raise our girls. As my greeting cards became more popular locally, I made the decision to move over to digital design. For the first 6 months, I was printing all of my cards at home, cutting the cardstock, scoring the card, handfeeding each card separately due to the thickness, it was a big job. As the orders got bigger, I made the decision to trial my printing through a local printer and am so glad I did. Since this change, my range has increased to include stationery items, Baby Milestone Cards, learning resources, décor prints and a much larger greeting card range.
All of our items are printed locally in Townsville which is something I am pretty proud of, to be able to support other local businesses in doing what I love, especially in our current economic times, is a pretty awesome feeling. All the folding and packaging is done by me…and occasionally the girls until they get too bored, which is natural when folding and bagging up 1000 cards at a time!
When did you decide that it could be a viable business for you?
Testing the waters in a new town can be a little scary, in 2014, a dear friend that I made through teaching at a local school encouraged me to take some samples of my cards to a local baby boutique in Townsville. It was good advice, as they loved them and became our first ever stockist, and still exclusively stock our cards, décor prints and Milestone Cards. This gave me the confidence to branch out and market our range to other businesses, as well as participating in the local Renegade Handmade Markets on a monthly basis where our range has been very popular. Our designs are now stocked in various locations around QLD and NSW, as well as online in our own store. We have also had some interest in our designs from International stores.
Where do you find inspiration for your beautiful products and designs?
I get inspiration from the every day… a fabric that I see, a flower, sometimes just an idea to do something that is different, a favourite saying. My style is very minimalist, I like clean lines and order over chaos. Less is more.
Do you have a favourite from your product range?
I love our Milestone Cards, all of them, I can’t pick a favourite set. Milestone Cards weren’t around when my girls were born, they are such a beautiful way to keep precious memories. When my customers share their photos of their little ones alongside our Milestone Cards on Instagram and the like, it just makes my day.
How do you manage all your personal and business commitments? Any tips?
I don’t sometimes! 2016 was a particularly tough year on many fronts, with a lot of juggling taking it’s toll. 2017 is all about new beginnings for me and mine. I have stepped away completely from my teaching role this year after a less than ideal experience, and am taking a little breather from teaching while I focus on nurturing my family, myself and the growth of my design business. I have a sign up in our kitchen which has become my mantra, “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”. It’s the reason we moved to Townsville in the first place. I am making 2017 about focussing on the things I love and so far, this has made the juggle of both personal and business very easy, as I am doing what I love. A patient husband and children is helpful too.
What advice would you give someone starting out in their own business?
Don’t compare your idea of success to others….I actually need to listen to this myself! Try and enjoy the little moments of success, they are yours and yours alone, the first sale online, the first stockist, the first market, they are all pavers on a much bigger path.
What's next for you?
If 2017 continues to behave, I intend to focus more energy into building my range and retailers within Australia, and hopefully internationally.
As a Townsville local what's your favourite part of Townsville?
We love The Strand, Saturday lunches at The Watermark are almost a weekly event!
What are you currently reading at the moment?
You may not want to publish, but I believe in complete honesty… I am reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F#$@” by Sarah Knight. It’s a great little read, as well as being helpful in giving you tips at assessing what is important in life and what isn’t, it’s good for a laugh;)
Thanks so much to Kathy for sharing her story with us, she is quite an inspiration plus we love that she is 100% a local small business.
To check out our interview with Who'd Have Thought the duo behind the fantastic Sprout Pencils we stock have a read here.
Are you following a dream?