Five Questions With Claire Ritchie

Written by Claire Ritchie
on 04 June, 2019

Sometimes stallholders come into our lives with such contagious colour that we have to find out more! With her cheerful textiles featuring stand-out prints Claire Richie is just that.

Designed and made in Brisbane, we can’t wait to see what Claire Richie has in stall for us this June 21st -23rd – until then read below and let the rainbow wash over you. PLUS (spoiler alert) she’s also chatting ‘doing what you love’ as part of our second instalment of chinwags with frankie LIVE from the Finders Keepers stage in Brisbane. Stay tuned for more one that!

Tell us about your print label and your journey so far. How did you come to be a seller at Finders Keepers?

I design and make a selection of artwork, accessories, clothing and homewares made in small batches, brought to life through colourful and bold prints. I have always enjoyed making and creating and it’s been a part of who I am from a really young age. I always knew that I wanted my work to be something I loved doing, and something I was passionate about. So I have been determined to build a business around just that! The last few years have been really shaping what I can offer and building on the values I hope to communicate through my work. I now feel like I want to share this with more people and Finders Keepers has a great audience to do just that!

Your designs are so colourful and bold, we feel like you must bounce out of bed in the morning or charge up in the Brisbane sun! Where does the energy and inspiration for your designs come from?

Haha! I wish! Well the sun here certainly does make you feel energised! I grew up in Perth so it feels very familiar. I am constantly taking in the world around me, soaking up all the colours and textures. I think it’s safe to say that most things in my world inspire my colours, family, friends, flowers, strolling around op shops. The colours just seem to pop out and come to life in my eyes! I’m one of those people who gets distracted by a butterfly and ends up half way down the street trying to follow it. Colour makes me happy and I feel I can share that happiness through my work.

Tell us about your creative process. Why is conscious production so important to you?

Something I have noticed about my process is that each different practice fuels the other. For me, I can’t just do the sewing, I need to design the print as well. I am a part of each of those stages and that’s important to me. This is the link for me to consciously knowing and understanding how each stage works and how much energy is going into one single product. This is what I feel people have lost touch with. Clothing is so readily available and even disposable that we don’t value our clothing. We don’t see these products as handmade as they are being produced in such high volumes. Everything is handmade, just how many hands have made it? Creating a bridge between consumers and small thoughtful brands is a chance to show people how to value and look after what that have.

I think as I’ve done markets I’ve grown more and more passionate and conscious of the time it takes to make something and so I am more inclined to spend the money on something that I really like and treasure.

How do you seek out objects for your own home? Is there a Finders Keepers designer you’re excited to visit?

Ooooo, well I am a die hard op shopper. I have a crazy amount of wooden bowls and vases as evidence! They just seem to keep appearing! There is a good mix of second hand pieces floating around the house, along with some beautifully made local wares. I think as I’ve done markets I’ve grown more and more passionate and conscious of the time it takes to make something and so I am more inclined to spend the money on something that I really like and treasure. Also if it make me feel happy then its a winner! There are definitely a lot of makers who I can’t wait to meet! I’m interested in seeing Paper Hand’s and Erin Lightfoot’s work.

What future goals do you have for your small business, do you have a five year plan?

My plan is to keep making art, in whatever form that may be, and keep sharing it with others. I have a young family who I love spending time with, so I would like to do that as much as I can, while still having a good balance of work and solo fun times.

Bonus Q from Xero! If you had to look back now, what would you say are three top things to look out for during that first year in business?

1. Don’t spend money on things you don’t need right away. It’s really exciting when you first start out and you will want everything to be perfect, but this will come with time and hard work.

2. Planning your time- week to week and the year ahead. This can be really helpful not just for the business, but for the much needed down time you will need!

3. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Out source where you can and get friends and family to help out. I still run ideas and artwork by my nearest and dearest and it can really help if I’m feeling stuck.

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