FK chats to Clare about her gorgeous Brisbane based label Zillpa, which was born out of Clare’s need to create and express.
Tell us a bit about Zillpa and what we can expect to discover?
Launched in 2012, Zillpa is a home-wares and accessories label. What began as a bit of fun, playing around with some rope, developed into an exciting journey of discovery. I came across an old quilting technique which involved stitching fabric and rope together. My mind suddenly opened up and I saw so many possibilities that I could create. I have focused on creating products which have a minimal, clean and fresh feel to them. The current collection includes bowls, dishes, tableware, hanging baskets and bags.
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
I grew-up surrounded by crafts and creativity, which sent me in the direction of studying graphic design and fashion design. I found myself working for a fashion label in Brisbane, which made me realise that I wanted to work towards my own dreams not someone else’s. I quit my job before I even really knew what I was going to do next. Having no secure job pushed me into making sure my own business was a success. And here I am, a year and a half later, with a full-time business! I may be working 80 hour weeks but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What inspires your work? and what keeps you motivated creatively?
I’m inspired by everything around me; people, nature, colours, shapes, anything! I really appreciate getting emails from customers who love their products and tell me how they are using them. I got one from a lovely lady recently who said she’s going to use her baskets to carry her knitting projects around the house and garden. I also love custom orders, they make me think outside the box and usually inspire a new product to add to my range.
What is your workspace like? and what is your creative process?
I have recently moved into a new studio space which has a shop front attached. I had been working out of the spare room at home but needed more space. My new studio has heaps of storage and a huge table to pack up orders on. There is a lot of raw timber and white, which gives a nice bright, crisp feel to the space.
My creative process usually involves a lot of experimenting with different shapes and colours until you get that ‘a-ha!’ moment when everything comes together.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
The whole admin side of my business is a challenge for me! It’s been a steep learning curve… book-keeping, creating a website, GST etc. Time is also a challenge – it’s difficult when there is only one of you, I have so many ideas and plans but there are only so many hours in a day. Though I’m now in the exciting situation of needing to hire a production assistant.
I love having something that is all mine, working for myself is the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it’s also the most rewarding.
What aspirations do you have for your label in the future?
I have big plans for Zillpa this year. I’m currently working on some fabric designs which will grow my product range to include cushions, aprons, tea-towels. I’m also looking to expand the Zillpa family and get some help in production and admin. At the moment I have a collaboration in the works with the lovely Pippa from Ouch Flower and would love to work with other designers to create some limited-edition collections.