Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Super Mum :: Allison from Lark

Once you have children you become even more aware of how important it is to take care of this world we all live in. We can all make a contribution by being resourceful and seeking out ethical products for our families. Allison from Lark makes that job easy-peasy for us by stocking some of the loveliest handmade, organic, fair trade and recycled products I've seen (including her own gorgeous handmade toys and accessories).

What sparked the birth of the Lark brand?
I’d always wanted to start my own business and being on maternity leave with my sons provided the time, creative energy and determination I needed to finally get started! Where do you find inspiration for your products? From my own childhood, history, vintage children’s illustrations, travel and the craft blog community.
What is it about making stuff that you love so much?
I have always made stuff. I love planning a project, sourcing the materials, working and working on it until you really love it. And even better when you give it as a gift or sell it in a shop and somebody else loves it too!
What’s your most treasured item that you have made? The baby quilts I made for my sons when I was pregnant with each of them.
What’s on your to-make list at the moment?
Many, many things! Our home still needs basic things like new curtains and cushions, as we moved in and renovated the house but kind of stopped when I became busy with Lark. My husband says ‘just go and buy some curtains’ but I couldn’t, I have to make them myself but that involves finding time and just the right fabric! Also I want to make some new quilts for my sons, this time using their baby clothes. For Lark, I am currently knitting up samples for new animals in our vintage toy range (based on vintage knitting patterns) and thinking about Christmas.
And how did the online shop come about?
When I started Lark I had no idea that I would actually be able to sell my things through other people’s shops, so I started my own little webshop. It has been there since the start. Last year I started to represent other indie designers and their lovely things are also now available in my webshop.
Tell us about the origins of some of the things in your shop? All of the Lark products are handmade, and many products from the other designers too. All the badges, mirrors and hair accessories are made by me with the help of some local friends; all the knitting and sewing is also done locally, except for the knitted toys, which are made by women in Bangladesh. I’ve been working with this amazing group of people there for four years now — their organisation has Fair Trade certification and our support has helped to build midwife centres and schools in rural villages.

Who are some of your favourite handmade artists at the moment? Too many to mention! I have been fortunate to get to know some amazing makers around Melbourne through their blogs and various craft markets and I adore their work. These include OneGirl, Twiglet, RicRac, Angela White of Sew Your Own, Betty Jo, One Red Robin and Maiike. Also there are some really talented local designers working with surface pattern design, like Aunty Cookie, Blink and Kristen Doran. And my friends Kate and Steph (together we have recently started the Daylesford Makers’ Market) are both incredibly talented makers!
What do you think it is about handmade that is hooking people (especially mums) these days?
I think people have become more aware of the ethical and environmental issues involved in mass production, they like to know where things have come from, whether it’s food, toys or skincare products. So there is a bigger market for artisan products and that has created an opportunity for creative people to start small businesses.
Why do you think the craft scene has become so popular? Because it’s lovely, fun, friendly and very flexible. For me, living in a country town, it has been a great way to meet like-minded people.
What's happening with Lark this year?
Well, it’s very top-secret at the moment but this may be the year that we finally open our own little shop… also, I’m working on a new charity knitting project that we hope to launch next year.
Where are your favourite places to shop for kids?
At independent shops where the owners support local designers and sell lots of one-off and original products. Also craft markets, op shops and from other mums (why buy new when you can recycle?).
What products you are loving in Lark at the moment? From Lark I love the Knitted Cornish Ware Tea Set and our Vintage Fabric Balls, they are both very cute.
The Dumpling Dynasty kits are also a favourite.
And the super-pretty Belle & Boo range.
It's hard to single out favourites from Lark. Go and have a browse right now and you'll see for yourself. Three things I'm loving are the Belle & Boo prints (I'm thinking "treehugger" for an upcoming birthday in this house), vintage story book coaster sets and the DIY Clothkit overalls.


Kate said...

i just had a great window shop at her store, there are so many nice things and it is great they are all handmade

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs