FK talks to Lara of Sydney based stationery label la rara. Lara creates limited edition screen printed stationery and had her first Finders Keepers experience at the Sydney markets in December.
Tell us about the world of la rara and what products you create under your label?
la rara is a range of limited edition screen printed stationery. The range mainly encompasses greeting cards but also encompasses notecards, notebooks, gift tags, framed prints and social stationery. I also do quite a lot of bespoke work for wedding invites and baby announcements. Each piece is designed by hand and using a computer and then each item is screen printed individually. Due to the nature of the process, only about one hundred editions of each design is created and each is slightly different and unique from the others.
What is your background and what inspired you to start your own label?
For the previous seven years I worked in public relations for galleries, museums and theatres. I was so lucky with the places I worked and I loved it. However, last year I decided to have a break from that and see whether I could turn my hand to something more creative. I’ve always enjoyed drawing and making things. I had recently bought a Gocco screen printing machine and so it begun…I had no idea of where the venture would go but it slowly grew to being a proper online business and I haven’t looked back.
How has the journey been so far and what have you learnt along the way?
It’s been an incredible year! This time last year la rara didn’t even exist and it is so exciting taking that leap and creating a business from scratch. It has been quite an organic growth and it still feels very early days. Everything is constantly evolving and growing so I never, ever get bored. I love working from home and the independence that brings. The satisfaction of creating designs that people like and want to buy is so rewarding. I don’t think that novelty will wear off. Like all new businesses there have been ups and downs especially financially, but I have learnt that it is essential to have confidence in what I am doing and just keep going.
What inspires your work and where do you search for inspiration?
I find inspiration in a great variety of places. It may be from an illustration in an antique book, from a wedding blog, from a Japanese magazine or a textile print. Often, I just create a design that completely fits my personal taste. For example, if a friend has just become engaged and I make a card that totally reflects how happy I am for them – I can then make multiple editions which I like and luckily, other people do too!
How was your Finders Keepers experience and how has it changed your outlook?
Finders Keepers was amazing and bustling with exactly the right demographic! One of the biggest challenges has been finding the right people to buy my stationery and they all were there at Finders Keepers. It exceeded even my wildest expectations and I even stayed up all night screen printing more stationery for the next day. Having such a positive response was a huge encouragement and confirmed to me that I was on the right track. Crucially, the amount of sales I made meant that I could invest some money back into materials and equipment so that I can continue to develop the la rara brand.
What new things are you working for and what can we expect to find in 2010?
At the moment, I am working on several custom orders and developing my new website. This year I would like to expand the bespoke side of la rara, find lots more stockists and carry on expanding my business and range.