Living in Darwin isn’t for the faint of heart. The most northerly of Australia’s capital cities, Darwin boasts beautiful beaches complete with the occasional salt water crocodile and a wet season to rival the tropics. But for Etsy seller Jen from Mijentto, this pioneer outpost is the type of place where “you just never get around to folding up your chair.”
We caught up with Jen to learn more about her handcrafted fashion business.
Tell us about yourself, how you discovered your passion for sewing and launched your business:
I started sewing in school, then as a teenager sewing became more of a necessity. When I travelled around Australia, of course I took my sewing machine with me. We settled in Darwin 26 years ago, and I just couldn’t find what I wanted, there wasn’t a lot of range in Darwin then. It was also hard to find good quality and I’m conscious of not buying low quality items, so I sewed my own.
I was stocked in shops and did markets, mostly sarongs and purses, then found Etsy through a graphic designer friend.
What is one bit of advice you wish you could have told yourself when starting your business?
Just to go for it. Don’t be too reserved, and be aware of your pricing. You need to consider your wholesale cost
What makes your craft different?
It’s my wardrobe online! It’s the things I want to wear, I like simple lines and putting my own twist on things. When you’re selling online, things need to have an easy fit, and being in Darwin, they need to be cool and loose.
Run us briefly through a typical day in the life of you:
When I get a day in my studio, I start with exercise, because I’m usually sitting or standing all day when I’m sewing. I do start with a plan but it usually goes out the window! I do any orders I have first and then start playing with different ideas and new fabrics.
What do you love most about living in your town/city:
The ease, and the outdoorness. Seeing Darwin grow over the last 26 years and become more eclectic and diverse and more metro, more cosmopolitan
What are your favourite places to visit in your city?
Darwin Ski Club, it’s next to the museum, and they have live music, The waterfront at Old Stokes Hill Wharf, and the Deck Chair Cinema during the dry season where you can eat, drink, see the sunset over the bay and watch a movie, it’s really lovely. I also love getting out of the city and going bush.
What is the best part about selling on Etsy and living in Darwin?
Being in Darwin and selling online opens up a whole new world. I can be more courageous online (markets are tough sometimes), and there’s so much supportive feedback and a great community. Connection through disconnection, I guess.
Although, the weather in Darwin makes it tricky because it’s too hot to ever model anything with long sleeves
What would you recommend someone pack when going on holiday to Darwin be?
Singlets, t-shirts, lightweight, comfortable dresses. Just really casual. Your bathers and sarong, and a hat and block out of course!
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