Sitting at the meeting point of the Swan River and the southwest coast, Western Australia’s capital city Perth boasts beautiful sandy beaches as well as stunning bushland. Paula from TinyTextilesHandmade describes it as the kind of place where there’s lots going on, you just need to know where to look.
Etsy recently visited Paula’s studio to learn more about how she started her business, and how she balances her Etsy shop, her kids and her 9-5.
Tell us about yourself, how you discovered your passion & how you launched your business
My grandmother became a refugee as a child, and undertook trade as a seamstress as a young woman in Alexandria. She moved to Scotland after marrying my grandfather and they immigrated to Austraila together some time later. But my grandmother always had a sewing machine, and so my Mum always sewed, and so I always had a sewing machine. I did little bits through uni, hemming for myself and friends, and then I had kids was on maternity leave and that gave me the time to really explore it.
It became a business with encouragement from both my friends and from strangers. I started making handmade kids clothes when we were in Perth, and then moved to Hopetoun for 6 months, where I had time to sew enough stock to launch my business at the local market. Originally I was really motivated to keep making so I had enough stock for markets, and then just kept going.
One of my friends (Eclectic Bambino) also sells on Etsy and she suggested it to me, Etsy is great because it offers a broad choice of items.
One piece of advice you wish you could have given yourself
Don’t sell yourself short. A hobby just needs to pay for itself, but as you grow you need to account for the whole business.
What makes your products unique?
I like the idea of everyone having something handmade in their wardrobe. A lot of people do kids clothes, but I try to adapt the classics and source interesting fabrics to put my own twist on it.
What’s a typical day in the life of you?
I start by trying to stay in bed for as long as possible, but am usually up around 7am, and the kids have already gotten into the bed at some point. On a school day everyone gets up, gets dressed and has breakfast, and then out the door (Paula works as a PE teacher). Then it’s home, dinner, baths and bed. Between 7.30pm and 10.30pm I can dedicate the night to getting through certains tasks. On the weekend it’s similar but instead of school there’s swimming lessons, football and fabric shopping.
What do you love about your town?
It’s relaxed. There’s lots of outdoorsy stuff for kids and new parks to explore, as well as national parks and the beach. Local markets are becoming more popular as well.
What are your 5 favourite places to visit in Perth?
- Fremantle is a great place to explore and get lunch
- Perth city has great shopping, and is great for kids at Christmas. We love going in to see the lights
- Maylands has recently had lots of cafes pop up, and Maylands street festival is always fun
- Indoor play centres
- The bush & national parks
- The gym
Best part about being on Etsy and living in Perth
There’s a great community of Perth Etsy shops, which is growing as handmade is becoming more popular and people are shopping more ethically. Being on Etsy is great because if you’re at markets and someone wants an item you don’t have with you, you can just send them online, which means it’s easier for them to find you again as well.
What would you recommend someone pack on a holiday to Perth
Walking shoes, hats sunnies, and anything you might need after 9pm