Hello handmade world!
It has been a bit too long since our last blog post and we thought it was about time to pick up our blogging game. And what is the best way to do that? Featuring makers, of course!
Who is the first maker we are featuring this year? Sheree, from Polly Collective.
It is quite likely you follow Sheree on Instagram. She is known for her love of polymer clay, clay workshops, and of course, her entertaining Insta stories!!
Enjoy reading her interview...
Who is the face behind your business?
It's just me – Sheree, designer and maker of contemporary polymer clay jewellery, and teacher of skills based polymer clay workshops. Photographer by trade, chatterbox all the time and lover of colour and scribbler of patterns. Wearer of black and white stripes, red lippy and the usual top knot aka mum bun! A creative from way back when scrapbooking was life and photography was my obsession. I hale from the central north island in NZ, I moved to Melbourne nearly 5 years ago with my husband and haven’t looked back. A little over a year ago we became a family of 3 adding a cheeky little babe to the mix which has taken my girl boss life to the next lev!
How did your business start?
I am a photographer by trade, when I moved to Melbourne I worked as a full time photographer for the website carsales.com – this pretty much killed my love of photography. I needed a break from the grind so I hunted for a “little hobby” to allow me to get back my creativity….along came polymer clay. I was shopping on Etsy and found this beautiful jewellery which I had never seen before, then began the obsession and the evolution of my business. It started with me spending months and months teaching myself the craft. I attended a workshop that was terrible and made me vow to learn everything I could so one day I could deliver an amazing skills-based workshop! And then, pretty much with a whole lotta hustle, I started to develop and evolve my business.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a girl boss starting or wanting to start their own business?
Be authentic and develop your own aesthetic, originality will always reign supreme.
How did the idea of running polymer clay workshops evolve?
It began before my business was even thought about. I attended a polymer clay workshop, I had been teaching myself, researching and learning all about classic techniques for months, I was looking
for a workshop in contemporary polymer clay making. The one I attended was a total fail - the teacher had no clue what she was actually talking about and I remember thinking – if I ever get good
enough I’m going to teach amazing workshops! I got caught up in developing my business and learning more as well as working full time as a paper pusher! When I got pregnant with my daughter I had a little more time on my hands so I developed a workbook and plans for a workshop that was 100% skills based and hands on. I advertised them on my Instagram and website. I did maybe 4 little workshops at home, before I felt confident enough in my ability to teach before I approached our local workshop specialists WORKSHOP MELBOURNE – who just happened to not have any polymer clay workshops….the rest is history, I started with 10 people in my workshops to now having classes
of 24 that sell out every month!
What inspiration do you use to develop a new piece of jewellery?
My collections basically start as a necklace, and they expand into earrings, studs and a range of different combinations using that colour way. I use nearly anything as inspiration – from my best friend to my daughters PJs, the weather, or how I feel. Sometimes colours just call to me or I will think up colour ways whilst I’m rocking my daughter to sleep…my mind is saying blush pink and navy with a hint of mustard…..I will then jot them down and keep them in my colour way bank.
How has attending regular markets impacted your business?
I now have a permanent shared spot at Rose Street Artist Market in Fitzroy, Melbourne. I started out casual and grew to LOVE the environment and meeting my customers in person, I also have a little
time to myself away from mum life – even just one day can make you feel refreshed!!! I get the opportunity to meet amazing makers, but most of all my customers know I’m there every weekend and they love to pop by and say hello! The impact on my business – it’s a bit more hectic if I’m honest, I struggle sometimes to keep up with my stock levels so my website will suffer every now and then, but it's worth having the exposure at such a great little market.
What are your future plans with Polly Collective?
Right now I hope to expand my workshops to include Brisbane and Sydney and streamline my workflow so I can do more wholesale!! I do have something super exciting that I will be announcing in the near future which I have been working on for months, but for now – mums the word!
What other handmade businesses do you look up to?
There are literally too many to list – but if I have to name a few…Hello There Cheeky, Kenzie Collective, Winter Bloom Design, Girt Squad, Feeling Kissy, Jeff McCann, Plain Jane, Gimme Stitches, Haus of Dizzy….as I said the list goes on. Not only do I look up to these amazing makers, but I support them, buy from them/dream of buying from them and love them!
How has the Instagram community effected your business and your workshops?
I have grown my little business organically via Instagram, I started with one follower and that was myself!! I have met some of my best friends in this creative community, I find it to mostly authentic and supportive….but I will be honest I hate the algorithm and the fact that you see maybe 10% of the amazing accounts that you follow. Also I mean insta stories are life – that’s my fav part of my day!
To view Sheree's range and workshops, you can find all information on her website.
Also, for constant entertainment and some behind the scenes action, you might want to give her a follow on Instagram.
Thanks for reading x