Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
I work from home and normally try to work during school hours. Other times, I allocate (when possible) around an hour before dinner and leave the weekends to hang out with the family. With the present situation, time is scattered, so I try to do as much work as I can in blocks of 2 hours. Sometimes I might start later, other times I can squeeze in 4 hours straight, sometimes I find myself doing a couple odd hours on the weekend too.
The drive: What challenges have you overcome?
I believe the biggest challenge of all has been logistics. In order to keep everything in Australia and relatively close enough, I had to do a lot of testing and research. Being based in the Mid North Coast in a small town means it can be very difficult to find the right machinery, quality standards, eco packaging, delivery and material supply. It can be hard to tie everything together and for it to flow nicely. That alone took a lot of time, frustration and a lot of white wine consumption (haha). In two years, I went through 7 fabricators – every time I had to adapt the CAD drawings, change plywood thicknesses by a few mm and tweak details to suit their CNC machine and programs. Dealing with everything from a distance was definitely a steep learning curve. At the end of the day, I’m happy I’ve persisted.
For better or worse: What are the pros and cons of running your own business?
The biggest pro is having the freedom to brainstorm, design, create and develop products for collections. Also, to be able to have your own schedule. I absolutely love the design process – to me it is like a giant playground where time stops. The cons are having to wear too many hats and you can spread yourself thin. Also, the cost of prototyping, the hours invested before a product is out, the risk of losing yourself in designing and not attending properly to other matters like marketing, and keeping an accurate balance of everything as it can strain your income.
Hopes and dreams: What next?
To keep designing and creating products. I would love to experiment and/or collaborate with other designers, just to mix things up a bit, and maybe join forces in some sort of a project, trying different mediums like textiles and wood. That would be fun!
Also, I look forward to going back to trade fairs and markets and socialising with the public and creatives who are curious about our furniture.