by guest contributor Fina Tejada
Australian landscape architect Caitlin Klooger is the owner and designer of PippiJoe. Her independent textile business blends love of nature through the design, use of natural fibers, and ego-friendly inks. Caitlin, who is also a mom, has been selling on Etsy for three months now and already has sold over 100 items. Amazing.
1. Can you give me a brief description of your business?
I design and print fabric by the meter and dabble in a few other crafty projects. My background is in Interior Design and Landscape Architecture. I like that what I’m doing now links neatly with my past design experiences and could be used in those applications. I spend a lot of time with my kids drawing and playing and thought that some of what we produced was perfect for repeat patterns. I loved the idea of creating something that other people could interpret and create new things from. I searched online and found others who were doing the same thing and was inspired to give it a go myself!
2. What did you do before you started your business?
I am a Landscape Architect, so I design and project manage the construction of gardens and outdoor spaces, public and private. I worked full time before my son was born 3 years ago and went back to work until my daughter was born. In addition, I have been picking up freelance projects along the way. I finished up a landscape job recently and now want to scale it back to devote more time into developing my textiles while still looking after the kids! Whew! There just aren’t enough hours in the day! Luckily drawing and coloring is something we can all do together!
3. Where do you sell your products?
I opened a shop on Etsy about 12 weeks ago. I think Etsy is a really diverse and supportive crafty community. There’s just so much out there! So many creative people! I was drawn to it because so many sellers had blogs and I like to get to know the person behind the craft.
4. What can you tell me about your international customers?
I find it amazing that my fabric has made its way from Melbourne to places such as Europe, Canada and the US. It’s a big thrill – I can’t wait to see what people make from it!
5. What do you consider is the best way you’ve attracted customers?
I have a blog, which I keep updated with my creative adventures and photos of developing designs. I think it’s nice when you know the journey of a product. Hopefully, people like reading that and in turn are interested in my fabric!
6. Where do you see your business in the next few years?
Ooh it’s all so new now, but I would love to branch into housewares, maybe a few clothes and other crafty things. New avenues keep opening up and who knows where I’ll be one or two years down the track. I would like to keep it simple until my children are at school when I will have more time to devote to developing a range. It can be a bit of a juggle!
7. How do you stay motivated?
I haven’t had a chance to lose motivation! I’m motivated by the fact I can do this at home and hopefully, one day, actually earn a steady income from it while being around for my kids. They are my best creations!
About the contributor: Fina Tejada owns Miss Fruitfly, an indie lifestyle company featuring artwork and home accessories. She is also a blogger who loves to cook, is a closeted reality show junkie and supports independent designers. She will be posting on the Indie Fixx Guest Blog featuring international indie crafters & bloggers to find out what motivates them creatively, how they started their businesses and how they approach the U.S. market. Fina will be posting periodically on Thursdays.