What is “Everyday Inspirers”?
Let’s meet Heather…
Today is another creative textiler… Heather inspired me when I spotted her “Eep”cushion… which I just had to have!
Being given a pair of matching pink “Eep” cushions… does a pretty bed make!
I was curious about this Skinny LaMinx… and asked her to share a bit more about what inspires her…
Ok Heather… Let’s chat…
Q. How are you serving the world?
A. Is it ‘serving the world’ to get to have lovely day, doing the things I like doing?
If so, what I do is make designs that my team and I produce and sell as textiles and stationery.
I have a beautiful shop in Cape Town, and two online stores, as well as a wholesale line, so the things I design and make are available all over the world.
It’s always a thrill to see my designs appear on fabric, and then to see them on an object, but I suppose the biggest thrill of all is to see people enjoying the things I’ve designed, getting pleasure and joy from them.
Q. What is your purpose / calling
A. I suppose I have always been pretty creative, and quite commercially-minded too.
As a kid, I was always dreaming up funny little things to try to sell to my school friends, like brooms made of pine needles, and knitted finger puppets.
I’m fortunate to have been able to turn something I enjoy – making and selling designs – into making a living.
Q. A quick recap of life before you found your calling
A. At University, I studied drama, english literature and teaching, and drifted into schoolbook illustration which, although it was a great way to improve my drawing skills, was quite a frustrating experience, as opportunities for genuine creative input were pretty thin on the ground.
I worked at this for 10 years – eventually doing a Masters degree in visual literacy – and then took a part time job as comics scriptwriter, spending my afternoons messing around with screenprinting.
I started blogging about the things I made, opened an online shop through ETSY, and started selling things online. Five years later, I had my own shop in Cape Town, a bunch of employees and a thriving business.
Q. What did you secretly dream of doing / what did you long to do?
A. I was never very clear on what I wanted to achieve in life, but I have not yet ever been in the employ of anyone, so I suppose I always just expected to do it my way.
Q. What was that Tipping point for you – that led you to make the change?
A. My husband gave me a piece of advice that transformed everything for me.
His advice was to stop second-guessing my choices and to trust my instincts.
He told me that my first decisions was usually my best one, and this really freed me up to trust myself.
I’m not the kind of person who has the gung ho spirit needed to launch a fully formed business idea, so most of my decisions have been made organically, over time (or by necessity, in a snap), responding to circumstances that arise, either over time, or in a pinch.
Again, the advice to trust my instincts has been invaluable. I do have good instincts! I was also advised by somebody that when a change needs to happen, I will know it, and that my choices will be to either make the change, or to quit.
Q. Tell us about the transition and what that moment [or moments] feel like?
A. I must use an analogy with my shopping style here, which is generally pretty diffident and non-committal… until I see exactly the right thing.
Then I will make my mind up in a flash and have no regrets as I know that what I have done is exactly the right thing
Q. Can you tell us about the little things you do, to keep inspired/creative?
A. I just keep my eyes open while walking around.
I love taking photos because of the way it trains the eye to look for compositions and lines.
I like to sketch, and sometimes feel the energy of a person’s pose enter my body and exit through my pen, onto the page.
I feel alive and inspired when I’m in my studio, all alone, with no deadlines and I’m making things just because I had the idea and have the time to execute it
I also have my ‘Making Friday’ habit, where I have made the rule that on Fridays, I drop everything and spend the day in my studio, working on fun, experimental, non deadline-driven projects.
It is hard to do, because sometimes it felt like I am wasting time, but it really helps me get back to finding what I enjoy about my job.
Q. Have you always been creatively driven?
A. I’ve always enjoyed making things and writing stories and practicising skills.
My years as a Drama student were very enriching, as so many of my pursuits – writing, designing, music and visuals – were required to be channelled.
Q. What are the three biggest lessons you have learnt since becoming a creative entrepreneur?
A. 1. Be generous towards other business owners and don’t be afraid to ask them for advice.
2. Find what you do best and employ people who are good at doing what you don’t do well.
3. Get yourself a fan in Summer and a heater in Winter – it’s horrible trying to work when you’re too hot or cold
Q. If you met yourself in 5 [or even 10] years from now… what would your life look like? what would you be doing?
A. I hope I’d be doing what I do now, with a happy, productive team, lots of time to travel, and plenty of time for yoga too.
Q. The quote I live by:
A. Charles Eames always used to say “Don’t let the blood show”, and I appreciate that nobody really needs to know how tough it is to do the thing you do. It’s what you DO that counts!
Q. For those who have an online store… what’s your one piece of advice?
A. Have a great website: I’d strongly suggest putting together a website, and learning to design it yourself, so that you can change and adjust as your business changes over time.
I find my blog, shop and website design really important for keeping an eye on what my business has been, what has changed, and what I want it to be
Q. any advice for someone who hasn’t made the leap into living their best life?
A. Just think about how annoyed with yourself you’ll be one day if you simply never get around to doing that thing you wish you did.
Want to connect with Heather?
Did you have any aha moments whilst reading this interview?
I loved the concept behind “making fridays” and designing the life you want to live… I think I need to inject more “play” time into my diary…
What stood out for you?
Ps… Want to get to know some of our other everyday inspirers?