Monday, January 23, 2012

Discovered: NZ Creatively Crafted

I love discovering all the amazing talent out there in internet-land, and especially enjoy finding shops based in New Zealand.  So today's post is on another great fabulous find ... and it's based right here in lil old NZ!  Come read about Sara of NZ Creatively Crafted and her Kiwi soft toys.

Tuatara Soft Toy

Please tell us a little about yourself 
I am a married mother of two teenagers and I live in Wanaka New Zealand. Up until March 2011 I was the manager of a local Library. This was a great job, very diverse and I had the privilege of working with some very caring, funny, knowledgeable, supportive women.

I have always (from a very young age) wanted to have my own business... something crafty as I have always been drawn to hands on knitting, spinning, fabrics... you name it I gave it ago.. but the timing was never quite right... and I couldn't pin down exactly what it was I wanted to create.  That is until early in 2011 when a friend of mine in America let us know she was pregnant, so I looked around our local towns for a "just right" toy and became frustrated and disheartened to see how many of our iconic toys are imported from China or India.. what happened to "made in NZ"?

Well I knew that I could make something life-like, safe, and fun and I found some wonderful faux fur fabrics and made my first Kiwi soft toy. It looked great (even if I say so myself) and when I showed it off at work prior to shipping it to my American friend - the response was very moving and positive and I had SO much fun creating that the idea began to blossom.
Online I found a free polytech course for "Business Ownership" and this made me put all my ideas into perspective and I found out that I could do this as a business and so I made a couple more kiwi - Brown ones at first, then I found a similar fabric in White  so I created the next Kiwi, and had an idea for the pukeko... I made 3 of each and in November I paid to have a site at a local stall and I sold  all but 2 on the day!  This had me hooked, and so I handed in a months notice to my boss and on March 4th 2011 I officially became my own boss!

The time was right!!

What/who inspires you in your creative process?
My inspiration for my creative process is from my love of/for New Zealand wildlife. Inspiration is found when looking at our endangered New Zealand animals and birds.
CreativelyCrafted donates $1 from every toy, puppet or handcraft I sell to further breeding programmes for NZ endangered wildlife.

What is your favourite thing to make and sell?
My favorite item to make.. well the Kiwi soft toys would have to be my favorite as I started my whole business around making one of these. By the end of the sewing, stuffing and hand detailing each end up with a personality of its own.

What’s your favourite item currently in your shop?
The Pukeko Puppets would have to be the favorite item in the shop as it is one of my line of interactive hand puppets. It is bright and cheerful and easy to use and they always create smiles from people looking at them - helping people smile may seem like a small thing but gosh it feels good :)

Pukeko Hand Puppet
Tell us about your hobbies outside of crafting
Outside of my business I love to knit, quilt and I keep active through my Karate and my kids.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go & why?
My family and I would love to head to Egypt at some point - if it settles down and if we win the lottery :) It is a place that is filled with history and myth and what's not to love about the pyramids right!

Thanks so much Sara for sharing with us. NZ Creatively Crafted's shop can be found on Etsy ... so head on over and see more of her gorgeous, authentic Kiwi soft toys. 

Monday, January 16, 2012


It's had to believe that already we've reached the middle of January 2012. From my perspective our holiday has flown by - although it was an incredibly relaxing month.  It rained most days, but we still managed to relax with friends around the BBQ, go for walks in the park, head to local cafes for coffee or lunch and generally laze around as you do over a summer holiday.  
(Cozy I knitted for our teapot)

But all too soon it's time to get back to a normal working week!  I'm looking forward to this year and have already looked at ways to grow Maxies Knitwear in 2012.  We all want our business to grow ... to increase our sales, to connect more with people and (for me anyway) to knit stunning new creations! So this year is a year of  trying things I didn't try last year ...connecting in different forums and teams; trying different yarns and different patterns. 

But with all that there are two thing that will remain the same in 2012 ... I'm going to still be knitting and it's still going to be lots of fun!  Have a fabulous week and if you are still on holiday ... enjoy! xx