Artist: Lara Cameron
Shop: Kirin and Co.
Web site: Lara Cameron
Location: Melbourne, Australia
What do you create?
At the moment I'm creating a range of hand screen printed textiles. I come up with the designs and colourways and get a professional screenprinter here in Melbourne to do the printing. They're great!
How did you come up with your company name?
Back before I thought much would come of it I randomly named my blog "kirin notebook". Kirin means giraffe in Japanese, and I like giraffes and all things Japanese! When I came to opening my etsy shop I thought it'd be best to keep the name similar to my blog. I called it Kirin & Co because I have a thing for business names with ampersands in them and I thought the Co. part sounded old fashioned and cute :)
When and why did you decide to start your business?
I'm originally a web and graphic designer by trade, and I started off my craft blog as a place to post the random creative stuff I was doing on the side - drawing, gocco printing, jewelery etc. About a year ago I started experimenting with pattern design, and got some really lovely feedback from my readers. I enjoy the mix of creative and technical skills that pattern design requires, so I decided to pursue it. Then, early this year I decided to take the plunge and get some fabric printed. I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to sell it - I had no idea of the demand for such things, but the first small batch sold out overnight and I was so excited. And it just went from there :)
Where do you get your inspiration for your projects?
All sorts of places, but most recently from all the wonderful craft and design blogs, and from wondering around the streets of Melbourne.
Which of the tools you use is your favorite?
I suppose I personally don't use many tools to make my fabric - the screen printers do all the hard work! But I've always been a huge fan of Adobe Illustrator - the software I use to create the patterns. It's perfect for this sort of design work and has heaps of nifty features to discover that make the whole process of step + repeat a lot easier.
What keeps you motivated?
Seeing all the fantastic things that people make with my fabric! That has to be the highlight of the whole process. That I'm making something that other creative people can take further and turn into wonderful things, which they can either enjoy themselves or on sell to other people. It's great!!
How do you get the word out about your work?
Almost completely through my blog, and other people's blogs. Yay for the internet :)
What is your main goal for the next 6-12 months?
Not quite sure at the moment. I'd like to come up with some great new designs, and also print on some new fabrics - something with more texture like linens or hemp, and in some nice colour combinations like white ink on robin's egg blue.
What advice would you give to someone starting a creative business?
Definitely keep a blog, and try to update it often. I've also heard this saying about the key to success in design: "output output output!". Don't get stuck on trying to make the single most fantastic design or artwork, just try lots of different things and put it out there. It's so easy to get stuck, you have to keep the momentum going, and you'll only ever improve on your last piece. Sometimes I feel that you have to get the crap ideas "out" before the good ones come along.
Who are some of your favorite indie designers/artists?
Jen Corace, Ashley G, The Black Apple, Kristen Doran (cheeky beaks), Shannon Lamden (auntie cookie), Heather Moore (skinny la minx), Lisa Congdon, AbbyJane from While She Naps. I'm sure there's people I'm forgetting!
What country would you like to visit some day?
Japan definitely. And I will be soon - in a couple of months. Yay!!
What's your definition of a perfect day?
A sunny day spent walking around my lovely city, being inspired, drinking chai in a cosy cafe somewhere, coming up with some new design/craft ideas :)
Thank you Lara!