Kara Smith

Kara Smith | Email | Website

Where and what did you study and what year did you graduate?
Associate Diploma Graphic Design, 1993, TAFE NSW.

Where did you head after graduating?
I spent fourteen years as a graphic designer and illustrator working all over Australia.

When did you launch your own business?
In July 2007 I left full time work to head out on my own.

What motivated you to start your own business?
It was initiated by the response I got from making my handmade handbags. It started out as just a bit of fun but kept going.

How would you describe your business to someone who didn’t know you?
Delicious handmade accessories made out of vintage, retro and recycled fabrics, buttons and buckles.

How would you describe the products you design to someone who hadn’t seen them?
My handmade handbags and scarves are created from my own patterns and designs. The bags, including the lining, are made with fine recycled and vintage fabrics. These are matched up with lovely old buttons, brooches, belt buckles and fabulous trims – all recycled of course!

What are the most challenging parts of being a designer running a small business?
The most challenging part is having the time to do everything yourself from sewing and creating the bags to uploading to web and promoting them to dispatching, knowing what to put up as first priority, problem-solving, cash management and bookkeeping!

What inspires your design projects?
Everything and anything. I have been inspired by the curve of a beautiful vintage armchair, to creating a bag based around a single art deco brooch. Sometimes I can pick up a fabulous old coat and marvel at the detail on the buttons and pockets. This then creates the ball rolling for something different to happen to the next bag.

What are the next steps for you?
I have just introduced my 10totes range, which are ten totes released exclusively at a time. Each is made from very lush, recycled fabrics and is perfect as a hold-all, baby bag or for anyone that likes to keep it all in one place.

Published 15 July 2008.

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