Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).
hi we’re monie.ka & james a.k.a. WORKING CLASS HEROES and our website is www.workingclassheroes.eu
I’m ‘made in austria’. born and raised in a little peaceful village in the countryside. I met james over five years ago, just after graduating with a fashion design degree in vienna. soon after I packed my suitcase and moved to london to be with my soulmate. since then I’ve worked as a designer for several fashion companies including vivienne westwood and I’ve also worked in renowned advertising creative teams in vienna and berlin.
I’m ‘made in england’ and grew up in a small town near the yorkshire dales up north. I started springboard and highboard diving at the age of 10 and was a national team medallist for over 10 years. my background in diving sparked a passion for traveling which is reflected in my creative work. Since graduating with a visual communication degree I’ve worked as a graphic designer and art director in various international advertising agencies. If I’m not designing then I’m photographing with my hasselblad camera.
last spring we decided that advertising was taking over our lives and we took a timeout in australia in the form of a 6000km roadtrip. six months later back in austria we bought two new apple laptops and wanted to dress those fragile beauties in the most protective yet smart and beautiful sleeves you can find on earth. the spirit of WORKING CLASS HEROES started right here.
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
the first thing I can remember making was a hiking stick when I was around 5 years old. I collected a branch in the woods near our house, stole a pocket knife from my parents and started carving flowers and patterns into the stick and well, into my index finger – a scar will always remind me of the love, passion, blood and sweat I put into my first “proper” handmade item ;o)
I’ll have to ask my mum… oh right apparently it was a cross stitch sampler on a pinkish square. oh dear that’s pretty embarassing. what else? a little clay monster that held paper clips. a little better. guess I should have made something up for this question.
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
our inspiration lies deep within the english and austrian roots. we are very much inspired by the olden days, when people lived their lives much simpler and with more passion. things were designed with heart and showed a real craftmanship. the cars, the buildings – even the smallest safety pin was designed with the utmost attention to detail.
What are your favorite materials?
we love love love leather – aniline leather to be clear. the touch, the smell, the structure. it just can’t get better than this. plus we’ve found the perfect combination for our current range by juxtaposing felt with the aniline leather, both materials work so well together making our products completely different to anything else in the same market.
What have been the most valuable lessons learned from other artists on Etsy?
find your strength before you start a shop. stick to your style and only sell things you love entirely…
… and how to make scrumptious brownies!
Why should people buy handmade?
handmade items are one of a kind and each has a personality. you’re buying an item with a soul. plus you are making the creator of the item super happy ;o)
What features/services would you most like to see on Etsy?
the only improvement we can think of is something which is already in development: seller statistics. etsy has opened a worldwide window of opportunity for us and if it stays like it is now we’ll have no complaints.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
we really love working, designing, creating and surfing the internet. one big thing in our lives is music – every moment has a soundtrack. plus going for walks and hikes in the austrian alps refreshes our brains and creates space for new ideas. and another big thing that connects us: traveling – exploring and taking pictures in and around the back streets of the world.
Read any good books lately?
I’ve got to turn this question down. everytime I start reading a book my mind drifts off into my own imagination. I prefer magazines about psychology and science.
I’ve just finished Innervation a great book by the english author and newspaper columnist guy browning about redesigning your life for a smarter future.
In ten years I’d like to be…
we want to have a renowned and established lifestyle label famous for it’s good quality with a cool and affordable bag and luggage range, homewares and much more.
can’t wait to travel with our first WORKING CLASS HEROES suitcase :o)