Today we chat with pioneers of the handmade revolution High Tea with Mrs Woo, founded by three sisters all the way back in 2004!
Read on for an insider glimpse into the workings of a successful indie business, and of course be sure to pop by the High Tea With Mrs Woo stall in Melbourne, 14-16 July at the Royal Exhibition Building.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to begin your label.
We’re three sisters – Rowena, Juliana and Angela – designing and making clothing from our studio-workshop, and selling beautifully-made goods from our flagship retail store in Newcastle.
It all began as a hobby back in 2001 when we ran a vintage clothing store whilst studying at University. We thought it would be fun to play shop and not worry about getting proper jobs at the time! When we decided to take it a bit more seriously, we launched our clothing label High Tea with Mrs Woo in 2004. And here we are still.
Our values and practice continues to be the same today as when we started this work – we are part of the making process, taking time and thought to produce garments that are long-lasting, using materials and creating designs that are appreciated for their craftsmanship, wearability and materiality, making them worthy of care and enjoyment for a long and useful life.
What would be one piece of advice you would give a first time seller at The Finders Keepers?
It’s so exciting to be a first-time seller at FK! Hmm, it’s hard to think of just one piece of advice 😉
Don’t be shy to ask for advice from the organisers or approach fellow stallholders to workshop stall setup concerns. Employ a good friend or someone you can trust to help you out during the market period – you need toilet and lunch breaks! Be happy and grateful to be part of such a vibrant community.
Appreciate and enjoy your own efforts and of those around you. It’s this collective energy and hard work that’s created this culture and opportunity that we can all benefit from.
Tell us something exciting that you have planned for High Tea with Mrs Woo this year.
There’re always projects in the pipelines! Though you’d think with four kids under the age of 3 under our wings and strapped on our backs as we work at the moment, we’d be taking on less projects – just purely with the time squeeze on productivity! Ah!
Anyway, one project in progress that we can share with you is that we’re working on a new website design with the creative team at Headjam. We’re improving the way customers view our designs and shop from us on their devices. It’s been a huge process so far but our excitement is really growing now as we inch closer and closer towards the re-launch of our website. Watch this space 🙂
Name one resource that your label could not live without.
Besides regular intakes of chocolate in various forms and sharing in family feasts on a daily basis, our label could not live and would not exist without the three of us sisters and the unconditional support we receive from our collective family.
We were born in Malaysia and that’s a deep part of us. We’re connected to family and heritage but rooted in home and place here in Australia. We’re a very hands-on, very food and cooking oriented family where discussions and good times are always had around the table. We eat and cook, and talk a lot! That’s a big important part of our being that inspires and is infused in what and how we make High Tea with Mrs Woo.
Tell us about your favourite product from your collection.
All three of us can agree that we love designing and making dresses. The completeness of a dress, in construction and wearing, is just so satisfying!
One of our favourites in the range at the moment is the Inconsequence Dress in Dijon Spots. It’s one of our signature styles that we make in seasonal fabrics. We’re completely in love with the double-gauze cotton we’ve used on this dress – it’s beautifully soft and so comfortable to wear. The earthy mustard colour with a cinnamon spot print doesn’t suit everyone, for sure, but it’s just so lovely and great for those who can wear it 😉
All images unless otherwise credited are by High Tea With Mrs Woo.