FK chats to Melanie of beautifully considered bags & accessories label, A Thoughtful Spot based in Melbourne.
Tell us a bit about A Thoughtful Spot and what we can expect to discover?
A thoughtful spot is a Melbourne based label that offers a limited range of bags and accessories made from salvaged and vintage materials. The current range includes luscious leather clutches and casual totes made from vintage french linen, as well as some fun tassels to mix things up. All the bags are designed and made by me (Melanie) and are influenced by a commitment to style and function.
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
While I studied and worked in a completely different area (psychology), I did complete and Honors in Visual Arts and being creative has always been an important part of my life. I have always made things for friends and family and always dreamt of translating that into a working business. So, a couple of years ago, when friends began asking me to make extras of items I had given them so that they could give to their friends, the business was born. With input from family and friends an initial product range (which has been refined over time) was put together and off I went.
How has your creative style developed over time? and what inspires your work?
Over time my personal style has developed, which has of course influenced my creative output. Certainly the product range has evolved and has been refined to reflect this, and also adjusting to feedback from customers, as well as just keeping an eye on which products were selling best. Simplicity is always an underlying theme as I personally don’t like too many embellishments or lots of hardware.
I am excited every time I go to my leather supplier to see what colours and textures I can find. The materials are a large part of what inspires the design, seeing how they work in the machine and the level of structure I can get out of them. Fashion is obviously also always inspiring.
What is your workspace like? and what is your creative process?
I share a home studio/office with my musician husband, so there are guitars, amps, leather, cutting tools and sewing machines fighting for dominance. As a result, my workspace tends to spread throughout the rest of the house. There is a semi-controlled chaos that seems to persist no matter how many times i attempt to impose order.
I’d like to say that everything begins with sketching, then mock ups to decide the best design eg; how should the pockets be inserted or the handles attached, but sometimes I’m too impatient and just try things out; which leads to both good and bad results. The materials will also dictate the design to a certain extent.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
Working from home poses all the usual challenges – no set hours and fitting things in around the kids, the dog and household chores. All that can be a negative, but is for the most part, a positive creative environment for me. I enjoy being able to sit at my machine whenever I feel inspired and having the luxury of spending my hours doing something I really do enjoy.
Having no business background and getting my head around work systems and financials has been interesting. I think on the whole, the challenges are similar to those faced by anyone starting a business – How do you do everything? I am lucky in that I have a terrific group of friends who either run their own businesses and give thoughtful and considered advice, or those who give me constant feedback as customers.
What can we expect to see from A Thoughtful Spot this season?
As Melbourne’s summer seems to have gone on forever, there will be some remaining summer colours and items – brights and metallics, as well as the new Autumn/Winter range of deeper, richer and more textured leathers. My favourite linen tote bags and some brand new linen pouches.