Creating Success around the World
Creating Success around the World
The worldwide blog hop tour, that introduces you to creative people from all corners of the globe.
G'day everyone! My name is Dyani and I am the proud owner of Little Deer Creations, a small Aussie business that specialises in unique handmade & eco-friendly paper products. At least that's who I am now. This time last year, I was a stressed-out Anaesthetics Registrar, slogging my guts out doing shift work, long hours on call, studying for exams and struggling to retain my sanity in a career I just wasn't suited to at all, and desperately wanted to quit. Eight months ago, after a lot of soul-searching, I did just that, and now I'm an
I'm honoured to be featured in this blog, and hope you find some of my story interesting. If you want to learn more about me and what I do, or to see more of my products, please visit my website: www.littledeercreations.com.au or check out my blog: Little Deer in the Doghouse
What do you create?
I have dabbled in many different crafts, but papercraft is my true passion, and this is what I focus on with Little Deer Creations.
I make eco-friendly stationery items, such as writing sets, journals, notepaper cubes, greeting cards, gift cards and tags, bookmarks and other decorative items. All my products are handmade using recycled or second-hand materials. All my cards are designed to be reusable, so they don't have to end up as landfill.
I make a lot of my own paper using traditional hand-mould techniques, from junk mail, office waste and other scraps, and I also use other papers that have been ethically and sustainably produced.
I never use new forest-milled paper, nor do I buy so-called "recycled" paper from companies that continue to destroy and pollute the environment to produce their other products.
I love rummaging in op-shops and places like Reverse Garbage for interesting bits and bobs I can use, and have even found great uses for the inside lining of our frozen vegetable packs, and other things most people would simply throw away.
Why do you create?This is a hard to question to answer.
I have always been creative, and ever since I was a toddler, I have been making things. My finger-painting sessions were legendary!
I love playing with colours and textures, and I get a great sense of satisfaction out of designing and creating something from scratch.
I guess I create because it is who am.
In past years, as my studies and career took up more and more of my time and energy, I had less opportunity to satisfy that creative desire, and it was horrible. Since ditching my professional life for a creative one, I am starting to feel whole again. It probably sounds crazy, but that's how it feels to me.
Do you sell your creations? If so, how, where, and is it profitable?
I currently sell my work at market stalls and online. I have an online store on my own website and I also sell items on Madeit. So far, I have only had a handful of online sales. Most of my sales have been from my market stall. I attend a market every Sunday, and also try to squeeze in a few other markets when I can. I love the interaction you get with customers at a market, and, particularly with my products, I find it helps if people can see and feel your work up close.
I can hardly say it is profitable - some days I barely make enough to cover the cost of my stall, and I wonder why it is I'm doing this, but I have only been selling at markets a few months, and it seems as though things are starting to pick up, so I remain hopeful!
What mistakes have you made, or what lessons have you learned?
Too many to count! This whole process has been a steep learning curve for me, and I still haven't reached the top of it! For me, it's a matter of constantly trying new things to see what works and what doesn't. I have no previous training in business management, accounting, IT, marketing or advertising, yet as a sole trader, I am taking on all of those roles. I tried to read as much as I could, talk to other sellers beforehand, to help me prepare, but it wasn't really sufficient.
Starting a business, and getting it established, especially in this field, in this economic climate, is hard work. A lot of hard work. There are so many little things that need to be sorted out, which I hadn't even considered when I first started on this journey, and it has taken me much longer than I expected to even come this far.
You can't rely on word-of-mouth alone, unless unlike me, you have a thousand friends who are willing to sing your praises! You have to work on actively promoting your business, through various means. In addition to my website, I also have a blog, and a Facebook page, and am now learning how to use Twitter. In doing so, I am starting to increase my exposure, and become more widely known, but there is still a long way to go before I'm a household name! LOL! I'm now looking into more formal advertising and promotion (albeit on a small scale!)
I have also come to realise how important it is to have a recognisable brand, logo, or business ethos, and I am glad that I spent some time working on this before launching into the business of selling stuff.
It gives me a solid foundation, and acts as my guide. I can make all kinds of different products, but the ideals and core beliefs behind them will stay the same.
What, to you, is success? Have you achieved it yet or are you on your way towards success?
I used to measure success in terms of financial security, or achievements such as passing another exam. But I have come to realise that it is much more than that. To me, success is being able to live comfortably without compromising your values or who you really are. It's about being truly content.
In terms of my craft, success would mean seeing Little Deer Creations grow into a more widely known, highly-respected business. I'm a long way yet from making a living solely from my creations, but that is my dream.
It can be very challenging at times, being so passionate about the environment, and wanting to keep my business as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible. It would be so much easier (and cheaper!) to go to the local craft store and buy an armful of patterned papers and fancy embellishments to use, or to have my business cards printed on glossy card at ridiculously cheap prices. And it can feel so disheartening when the market stall across from me does a roaring trade selling the latest craze of cheap, unethically-produced, imported gadgets or toys that the customers all take away in oversized plastic bags. But I am passionate about what I'm doing and determined to make a difference, even if it is a small one.
So what's next?
At the moment, I am busy stocking up for Christmas. I have at least 2 markets each week for the rest of the year so have lots to do! I have also just been approached about stocking some of my items in a new store opening at the end of this month, so will soon be expanding into retail outlets! This was something I had been considering, but had not yet really pursued. I'm a little nervous, but also excited about this next step, and hoping it will generate more sales.
I have big plans for Little Deer Creations next year, including some very different products, and other ventures but that's classified! You'll have to stay tuned for that! I'll also have to start looking for more work in the new year (unless my business suddenly takes off!), so I'm sure I'll be busy!