Fiona discovered that combining her love for design with her passion for numbers was the formula needed to create baby knitwear label Millésime Baby! Three years after the label’s inception, we chat with Melbourne based designer Fiona about her Finders Keepers journey.
Find Millésime Baby at Melbourne AW18 Finders Keepers this 13-15 July
How did you come to be a seller at Finders Keepers?
I started Millésime Baby a baby knitwear label in mid 2015, although I had been knitting and designing baby knitwear for well over 25 years as a hobby interest and also whilst completing Commerce studies. I was taught and encouraged to knit as a child and would never stick to a knitting pattern, always creating my own twist. So my love for design just grew from there and I am sure my love of figures and numbers has helped me along, I am forever calculating.
Our philosophy is that hand knits are ‘forever’ pieces if cared for correctly, as they will last a lifetime. Intended to be handed down from generation to generation, and if lucky enough be called an heirloom piece. The current collection sizing is from newborn through to 4 years.
Previously I hand knitted all the pieces to order whilst working part time. The collections are now hand crafted via ethical Fair Trade in South America. We have a team of talented artisans hand knitting each design.
We believe in ethical fashion, sustainable fashion and also eco-friendly fashion. The fibres used to hand knit our range are all natural fibres. The collections are made from 100% Pima Cotton or 100% Alpaca, both are the most luxurious and soft fibres and are of the highest quality, found local to our knitters.
My first Finders Keepers was Sydney and I have since been involved in 2 more, with Melbourne coming up to make 4!
Talk us through a typical day in the life of Millésime Baby
I am currently full time and my days are not too structured. I am juggling all facets of the business, packing orders, financials, administrative tasks, business planning, designing collections, liaising with fair trade manufacturers overseas, social media, photography, emails…. the list goes on!
The huge benefit of being self employed is the ability to seek balance! Some days I start late but work until the wee hours, other times I am up with the birds and take the afternoon off. I work from my studio space and two other allocated rooms at my home and I also get a scenery change most weekends down on the coast, I do a lot of my design work down there.
Any advice you would give a first time seller at The Finders Keepers?
One big piece of advice is to setup your complete stall space at home beforehand and photograph it. You then have this to refer back to on set up day, it has been a life saver for me every time. I also pack everything up from that practise set up to ensure nothing gets left behind!
I also try to arrive early so I can browse the market and get to know other stallholders. These markets are very social and lots of fun!
Tell us about your inspiration for creativity?
Inspiration started with my nieces and nephews, two of them are my current muses. Many of the garments I design are named after them all. I also draw on inspiration from almost everything I see, all the colour and texture in my surroundings is a constant inspiration to me. I am torn between the love of bright colours and the more neutral tones, so this doubles the amount of possibilities. With my passion for hand knitting forever evolving, I don’t think the inspiration will ever be lost.
I admire so many labels at Finders Keepers, way too many to mention here. A highlight for me is getting to meet the creators and to see their product. I love listening to their stories and how they got to be where they are today. You can see the passion in their eyes, I always walk away inspired.
What goals do you have for your business over the next five years?
To continue to keep heirloom hand knits alive. The next step is to create bigger sizing’s, catering for a wider age group. Wholesale is also on the horizon and then to go International would be the ultimate dream.