If you frequent our markets, you will have no doubt purchased an interactive gem from Sydney cult label TMOD. Entrepreneurs and label founders Georgie and Milenka’s enthusiasm and passion for their product is infectious and we think is one of the key factors for their growing success. We chatted with Georgie and Milenka back in 2010, when jewellery was their main focus and they had yet to introduce their extremely popular scratchy cards. Read on to learn how this incredible label has evolved and what you can expect to discover from them at our Sydney AW15 market this weekend.
We interviewed your label in 2010 here. Tell us how you’ve evolved as a label since then?
Wow, what a journey back in time! Since then we have evolved and developed TMOD into an expansion of stationery and enamel / adventure products, all which share the same philosophy of where we started: interaction.
We began with the jewellery, as in our interview in 2010 and now TMOD ranges include TMOD Adventure products, which are multifunctional enamel ware for the outdoor lovers. There are 8 enamel cups in the range, which include illustrated prints of handy tips for the wayward explorer including how to make pancakes and damper on a campfire with the recipe and measuring cup printed on the cup. Other cups include how to make a teepee, a daisy chain and how to tie a knot. This adventure range includes enamel plates with illustrated edible flora to forage, such as medicinal plants, edible flowers and edible weeds.
TMOD’s infamous greeting cards have grown from the scratchie card (of which 70 different greeting designs have been printed since 2009), to include wearable animal mask cards, temporary tattoo cards and now the latest are embroidered iron on patch cards. The concept has remained the same since the birth of tmod: to create cards and products with a playful nature and a multi purpose to encourage interaction and longevity of the product.
What has been some highlights for TMOD since then?
The TMOD Adventure range has fit into our outdoor lifestyles personally and we have therefore relocated TMOD out of the big smoke to the Central Coast (beach and bush area 1.15 hr north of Sydney). This has enabled us to create our studio in the bush near the beach, do lots of outdoor photoshoots and product testing, and most importantly lunchtime surfs. We have also travelled a lot since then, picking up international sales agents and distributors on our travels to trade shows in Paris and London. We now have TMOD represented globally in Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, and throughout Europe which is definably a highlight for us too.
How much time a week do you dedicate to your label and what does a typical day working involve for you?
The thing that we love about TMOD is that there isn’t quite a typical work day. One day we are installing a shop window, the next we may be in Melbourne or Sydney for a trade show. We hand make and build props, do photo shoots in the bush and design in our studio on our computers and our hand making table. However, the last year we have tried to work a 4 day week (never working Mondays) and sometimes we do a market over the weekend, like our favourite the Finders Keepers, of course. Otherwise it’s our local Avoca markets, or Newcastle markets. So yeah, it’s hard to describe a ‘typical’ day. Usually it does start with coffee and a group brainstorm, lunchtime looks like a picnic and swim at Terrigal beach and the afternoon is a lot of designing with some of the usual business keeping too.
What would be one piece of advice you would give a first time seller at The Finders Keepers?
Put a whole lot of love and effort into your display and merchandising. This is as important in selling your product as the product itself and it makes your whole brand have more integrity. Engage with people, have fun and don’t bring a chair, as you won’t have time to sit! Also, on a practical note don’t forget a float and it’s always good to use a newsletter to get email addresses etc so you can follow up your customers later with news and special offers. Make friends with the stallholders as it’s a lovely community of people that you share travels and the market vibe with every time. Signs with prices are good too, as sometimes people are too shy to ask.
Tell us something exciting that you have planned for TMOD this year [or next 12 months].
We are focussing on taking it back to the handmade and making some speciality ‘one – off’ designs ourselves in our studio. These include hand painted signs and pass the parcel as well as some other pieces coming soon.
Name one resource that your label could not live without.
The library. As soon as we moved to the Central Coast, the first thing we did was join the library. We love the tactility of looking through books and finding things in isles that you wouldn’t normally ‘search’ for on the internet. We find inspiration from old worldly children’s books and books on camping and nature and the great outdoors.