Grow and thrive: the seeds of a creative lifestyle

Grow and thrive: the seeds of a creative lifestyle

For 15 years, Felt has provided a place for Kiwi makers, designers, artists, and craftspeople to pursue their passion and grow their businesses – and if you’ve ever thought about making and selling your own products, it may be the place for you too.

As you browse Felt, you’re seeing the work of hundreds of creative Kiwis, each promoting their own work independently, but working together in a supportive community. Have you ever wondered how someone takes that first step into selling their work on Felt?

Every Felt seller has a story. For many, the journey began with making beautiful things for family and friends, discovering a demand for their work, and finding a way to turn their passion into a business. Many are mothers who use the flexibility of Felt to run a small business whilst caring for their family. Still others started out selling at markets and ventured online to expand their business, or started a Felt shop as they completed their training and looked to establish an independent creative career.

Maybe one of these journeys sounds familiar to you, but however you arrive, the benefits are the same. For each of these creative people, Felt has provided a low-risk, low-cost platform to test the water online, learn, and grow at their own pace, surrounded by a supportive community.

Elizabeth Berge started her shop Zippitydoodah in 2009 while rehabilitating from an injury, and hasn’t looked back. A skilled seamstress, she’s sold a huge range of different creations on Felt over the past 13 years, including bunnies, brooches, and doorstops. She says Felt allowed her to “start out small, trialling products to see if I could create a viable business.”

During the pandemic, Elizabeth has been able to sustain and diversify her business thanks to her online presence, continuing to make sales from her core range, and designing and producing a range of face masks to sell through Felt. “During Covid [restrictions], my Felt sales kept me afloat financially when retailers were shut, and markets cancelled.”

After 15 years of building trust, experience, and knowledge around supporting and working with New Zealand makers, the Felt team understands the unique challenges of starting, maintaining, and growing a creative business, from confidence and motivation to pricing and production.

“Felt has had a huge, positive impact on my life. Without their support, I probably would not have taken the leap forward with my jewellery, nor had the success that I currently enjoy.” With three Felt shops on the go, Jo Gibb has plenty of experience selling on Felt. “My first sale was a really special moment for me. From there, it has been a fabulous journey with truly amazing customers, wonderful suppliers, and oodles of support from the Felt team. I feel so grateful to be part of this fantastic community.”

Establishing core values of sustainability, inclusivity, and craftsmanship has been key to fostering a supportive community and creating an environment in which Kiwi makers thrive.

Designer Cat McKay did a little happy dance when she had her 1000th order through her Felt shop Natty. “Felt has been so great at championing New Zealand made, it’s a one-stop shop for anyone, and you really get the feeling that customers who buy through Felt are big supporters of New Zealand creatives. It’s so encouraging as a small business to get that support.”

A creative journey can be intensely personal and sometimes lonely, and it’s daunting to show your work to the world. Felt is a supportive environment in which to do exactly that, surrounded by other makers who understand the challenges, customers who appreciate the value of your work, and a local team on hand to help out when you need it.

Illustrator Sarah Greig sums up the first step: “Just do it! Putting your work out into the world is the hardest step, but once you have done that, you will realise that it wasn’t so hard after all. Then you’ll be ready to take the next step and the next…”

 

Take your first step »

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *