· How did you get started?
I have always been an avid crafter (like the age-old, recent saying goes, ‘I was crafting before it was cool’), and my life-long creative outlet has always been painting. That is, up until about 4 years ago, when I introduced a little grey kitten into my life, called Robbie. It became apparent very early on that Robbie was also an avid painter, taking every opportunity to chase my paintbrush strokes and pounce on canvases (he even used a few of my paintings to help with his teething issues at one point). Concerned that the paint wasn’t any good for him (or my white carpets, for that matter) I decided to retire my paintbrush. This all seemed good and well in theory, but of course within minutes I was already jumping at the bit, ready for a new project. So that’s when I decided to teach myself a new skill – how to cover buttons with fabric, and then how to turn these buttons into jewellery. ‘My sense of fashion and style might even improve in the process’, I thought to myself. But after I pressed that first fabric over a cover-button, I knew it was going to be so much more than that. It was going to become an addiction and I was going to love every moment of it (particularly as it also feeds my fabric addiction in the process). Early on, my main platform for sharing my little fabric-covered treasures was Etsy.com, but in more recent years I’ve also been embracing Canberra’s incredible market scene. Every Sunday my creations can be found at the Old Bus Depot Markets now, which has been such a great joy, and I’ve had to opportunity to connect even more closely with a number of other Meeting Place creators there.
· What is the story behind your name?
ZoesButtonEmporium was named after me. How can that be, you ask, given that my name is Peta. This may seem silly, but when I was first starting out on Etsy I was concerned that people online might not know how to pronounce ‘Peta’ without hearing it first. If those same people were anything like me, this would make it harder to remember the shop name to find their way back to it again, or to tell their friends about the great finds they came across. I was putting a piece of myself into every creation I made though, so I thought it was important to keep a piece of me in my store name. Zoe is my middle name, so it seemed fitting. As all my creations feature fabric-covered buttons as their decorative frontage, incorporating buttons into the name also seemed a must.
· What are you working on right now?
Peak market season (the absolute best time of year) is just around the corner and getting closer by the minute, so over the past month or two I have drastically stepped up the production of my handmade fabric covered buttons in anticipation – every spare moment right now is going into super fun new creations, and I can’t wait to offer them all to local market-goers at the Meeting Place ACT Market on 2 December!
I’ve also been experimenting with a few new design ideas and the results have been amazing! Ever since I first opened my store on Etsy almost 4 years ago, I’ve been making all of my little creations using circular cover-buttons. A new and different idea that I’ve been toying with is square shaped buttons. I think they’ll make great cufflinks and stud earrings! Those of you who know my creations will know that sometimes I like to take a picture and spread it across two earrings, so that half the picture appears on each earlobe. Ove the 2016 holiday period I’m going to be extending this design approach and releasing a range of brooch sets.
· What are your top tips for newbies who are thinking about doing their first market?
1. Love what you do – don’t do it just because you’re good at something, or because you want some extra pocket money. When you love creating and you love hosting your stall at markets it never feels like a moment of work, it just feels like pure joy and pride in yourself and what you accomplish. Being a creator and a market stall holder will take up a lot of your time, brain space, creativity, and energy though, so if love isn’t there, it won’t work out in the long run. Also, people will love what you create more too, and they will adore you for doing it.
2. Start now – don’t wait until everything is absolutely perfect. It doesn’t have to be, and it may never be. Put yourself out there as best you can, and have fun with it. You will grow as you go. I’ve been doing markets for a few years now, but for every single stall that I host I learn something new – a better way to display things, a more time efficient way to set up, taking on customer’s suggestions on what they’d like to see in my products. There are always opportunities to grow and learn.
· Is there an Etsy store you’re crazy about at the moment?
LLLDesigns by Amanda – https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/
Amanda is such an incredible inspiration, super fun, and a wonderfully supportive member of the Meeting Place ACT team, which is where I was lucky enough to meet her. I own at least a half dozen of her amazing jewellery creations (ranging from cloud shaped earrings to glittery cactus brooches), and I’m sure before long I’ll have a half dozen more – she has a spectacular wooden deer that I have my eye on right now actually. Definitely worth visiting her at one of her upcoming markets, and at her Etsy store –
· Where do you pull inspirations from? What inspires you?
I have two main sources of inspiration for my creations – the materials that I work with, and the beautiful people that I create for.
I will only create using fabrics that speak to me on some level (by making me smile or laugh, think, feel, or giving off a ‘have to have’ vibe). I’m a self-confessed fabric addict (and a fabric hoarder), but I’m very particular with my choices. The images/patterns have to be the perfect size, and the quality and thickness of the material has to be just so. Due to the ‘fussy cutting’ nature of my pieces, that’s critical. But even more importantly, as I create each individual piece, I like to imagine them being worn on real people, just like you.
· How can people follow your journey? (Insta, FB, blog, website etc)
Website: If you’re not able to stop by the markets but you’d like to have your own piece of ZoesButtonEmporium goodness, you can stop by my Etsy store at www.zoesbuttonemporium.etsy.
Instagram: I am an Insta-addict! You can find me on Instagram at @zoesbutton_hq or www.instagram.com/zoesbutton_
Facebook: I like to use Facebook to share my upcoming market dates, so if you’d like to know where to find me, definitely stop by www.facebook.com/
Blog: My store’s motto is ‘where jewellery and joy are made’ and so I have also recently created a blog to share some extra blingy joy at www.zoesbuttonemporium.
· Where do you work from? (home studio, kitchen table, rented space etc)
Due to the tiny size of my supplies, materials and tools, I am able to create my jewellery anywhere that I happen to be! For the most part I make my tiny treasures in my home studio while I binge on super fun tv series (Vampire Diaries, Nashville, Game of Thrones, the Borgias – just to name a few), but on weekends I also like to take a little ‘carry-on’ kit to my besties and make pieces while we hang out and watch movies together.