Kirsten is the founder of Neon Vintage, a Brisbane based homewares label that focuses on collaborating with talented artists, producing an eclectic range of textile based homewares. Since 2012 Kirsten has been creating and evolving her range of homewares currently sells her pieces online. The exciting new range of homewares focuses on the collaboration with talented artists, producing an eclectic range of textiles exclusive to neon vintage. I was lucky recently to spend a wonderful afternoon with kirsten at her home in Brisbane, – a beautifully decorated place where there’s a perfect balance of family home, carefully curated home furnishings and studio. We chatted over a coffee about being your own boss. Learning how to wear many hats, outside of the creative. The PR person, project manager, material sourcer, accountant, etc. Today she shares a bit about how she started down her creative path.
How did it all start?
Kirsten: “For a while I had been making and selling cushions using the vintage fabrics I had been collecting for years, but over time this was just not challenging enough and I was itching to be more creative. I wanted to create something that I would LOVE to have on my couch. The cushions had to be different to others on the market, expressing a vision and style that was my own but would also appeal to others. The 80’s are a huge inspiration with their bold clashing patterns and vintage vibe. I’m also in LOVE with tribal textiles with their geometric patterns. So I wanted this to shine through with this collection. I picked a theme and tried to get immersed in the culture and let the vibe of that culture run through the collection…so Love Zambezi was born… inspired by African safaris, tribal paintings, textiles and bright bold African fashion. My other must have for the brand was to create high end, excellent quality, designer cushions that make a real statement and tell a story, like a piece of artwork. Each cushion has a signature panel which can be arranged to be seen or not seen, giving a different look depending on the angle. Almost referencing the earlier cubist movement, which had a similar intellectual component.
If you could give 2 golden nuggets of advice to someone who’s wanting to start an etsy or/online store what would it be? Starting with Etsy is a great stepping stone to an online creative business. There are so many fab tutorials to get the basics down pat. But the two points I would make would be:
1. OUT OF THE BOX – create something different that no one else has done.
2. SIGNATURE STYLE – create a signature style and always keep this in mind whilst developing and designing new products.
Tell us a little about yourself: I know its daggy but I still love Kylie Minogue….Locomotion was one of the songs on my very first mix tape…..Hits of 87′ (I think)…correct me if im wrong! For me the good life is sitting back watching my two sons play together….it doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing…the simple pleasure of two little human beings interacting and letting their imagination run wild together helps me to really be in the moment, in whatever I’m doing. My house is TOO SMALL for our growing family and expanding business, it drives me NUTS sometimes but i always have to remind myself that there are people worse off than us with very few possessions so this makes me thankful that at least I have a roof over my head. I’m Happy when I’m in the moment of creating, listening to music and getting down to business with my sewing machine.
What does a typical day in the life for Kirsten involve?
Waking up to two hungry toddlers needing breakfast NOW. Whilst they are eating breakie I TRY to look at my emails. Then it is time to get everybody either ready for daycare or a morning session at the gym. If it is a gym day, we then head off to the park to let my little monsters run some much needed energy out of their system. Then it is time to head home where it is allocated sleep time or at least quite time….fingers crossed….while I try to get either some orders packed, emails sent, sewing, cutting, researching done……hmmmm well this is good in theory. Then the afternoon is generally playtime in the pool or under the sprinkler. After the boys are in bed I’m straight on the computer until 11ish. If the boys are in daycare for the day, im pretty much pedal to the metal with my sewing machine, listening to music really loud….cause I can! My other half would put my daily routine into another perspective……SLEEP, WORK, BOYS, EXERCISE, WORK, REPEAT
Tell me one thing most people don’t know about you: I have a sister born on the same day as me but she is 8 years younger.
What local talent or designers are you loving right now? Ive just become part of the Fashion Incubator program so I’ve come across some amazing Brisbane talent lately. So Im loving Erin Lightfoot for her gorgeous geometric ceramics and House of Cards for some fun 80’s style prints. Also im obsessed with Jasmine Dowling and her Graphic Designer aesthetics and dreamy typography.
What is Brisbane’s best kept secret? The Rabbit Hole Cafe….The best coffee and super friendly.
Neon Vintage cushions can either be worked in together or they can be used as the hero piece on the couch/bed, with some block cushions used as their sidekicks! Or you could have a different look by flipping the cushions around and showing the other panels. Each cushion totally unique from the others, but still keeping a common bond throughout the line to connect them and tell their story.