Based in a seaside town just south of Adelaide, Kitty Came Home has been a staple in our community for over ten years now. Today, we chat with label founder Katrina as she prepares for our Adelaide market, opening this Friday night!
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to begin your label.
Katrina Weber (a contemporary jeweller) started the label with her first hand-sewn button clutch in 2004. She had lost her purse, and couldn’t find anything pretty and functional that was also individual and handmade in Australia. All of Katrina’s girlfriends wanted one, and so Katrina purchased her first second-hand industrial sewing machine and was quickly stocked by a number of select retailers. Katrina also opened our original website and then our online Etsy shop in 2009.
Katrina and her partner Farley Wright, (Jack of Many Skills), decided in 2010 to work together full-time, and the extra person-power enables us to participate in local and interstate design and craft markets, such as The Finders Keepers.
Today’s Kitty Came Home is the product of Katrina and Farley’s partnership.
What would be one piece of advice you would give a first time seller at The Finders Keepers?
One?! Research thoroughly before you leap in! Read the market’s Stallholder Manual (it’s full of useful advice) and if at all possible attend a market before participating to get a sense of the physical and personal environment, the standard you’ll want to achieve, and the customers. If you can’t attend, look at as many images of the market as your can find online.
Play shop! If this is your first market, fully set your stall up beforehand in the same sized space. Note how long it takes to set up and consider how it looks: can customers identify your business name, brand or label? Can they find the prices? Are your spare stock and personal effects tidy and out of sight? Do you have a safe place for your float? And how are you going to get into and out of your stall (i.e., not through a neighbour’s stall space).
Tell us something exciting that you have planned for Kitty Came Home in the next 12 months.
Stand still and die, or run and be fit: we have lots to achieve in the next twelve months.
We’re close to launching our new website, following which our aim is to blog about and promote Kitty as well as our community of fellow Australian makers and artists.
Our market stall is in the throws of getting a full redesign. We’re aiming for a simpler load-in and out (our current stall requires a lot of construction) along with a slicker look and even better customer service!
And in our spare time… we are pushing to renovate our large old shed so that we can move our production out of our tiny little house and finally have enough space to not have to pack up one task before starting another. Oh the resultant efficiencies! We can but dream!
Name one resource that your label could not live without.
Our Seiko flatbed industrial sewing machine is central to Kitty Came Home. We purchased it second-hand from the lovely guys at Temono (our Melbourne leather making friends). Its reliability and excellent stitch quality help us to produce the best product that we can.
With the near total collapse of manufacturing in Australia, particularly the rag trade, it isn’t easy to find good equipment and service support, so we feel very lucky to have acquired such a lovely machine. It sits in pride of place in the centre of our semi-circular studio window, flanked on each side by our trusty old Pfaff industrial free arm and post sewing machines that we use for some specific product sewing tasks.
Tell us about your favourite product from your collection.
Our favourite product has to be the bi-fold clutch, our current best seller. It was the first product that we created entirely together and it marked a generational leap forward in our design and product range. The ideas we discovered and learnt through its creation inform all of our subsequent design, wherein we seek to fully utilise our materials for their functional as well as aesthetic qualities.
The teamwork involved in creating our first bi-fold remains in play as it actually takes all four of our hands, engaged in a careful choreography together, to make each bi-fold. We greatly value and appreciate the personal involvement entailed in hand-making as it ensures that each item is something we truly care about – making each individual bi-fold turn out the best that it can be.