There is something very special about sitting down to a meal when the table has been beautifully set. We usually think about laying a table for a special occasion, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Even a weeknight meal can become an event with a gorgeous table runner and napkins, and it doesn’t take long at all! We recently caught up with Michelle of YOU ARE BRAVE who creates a range of hand-printed textiles and decor for the home. Her table linens come in a range of colours and will add a sense of occasion to any table setting, any day of the week. Read on to discover how her business began and why her Great Aunt Mable is such a big influence in her life:-
- When and why did you decide to start your own creative business? I decided to start YOU ARE BRAVE over 3 years ago but it took me about a year to actually be brave enough to quit my full-time job in textile design. People often ask me about the name YOU ARE BRAVE, and it’s important for me to tell the story as often as I can because the lady who inspired it was not only very dear to me but also gave me the courage to believe in myself and to start my business. When I was a young girl there was a time when I was confused and struggling to cope. My best friend at the time was my Great Aunty Mabel, who never married and lived with us. She was one of those naturally spiritual people who had the ability to make everyone feel comforted and special. That day she simply said to me “You can get through this. You are brave.” I remember her words distinctly and I remember thinking – well if she believes in me, then maybe I should too! So, when I was thinking about starting my business and was unsure about many things, I remembered her words. She gave me a gift all those decades ago that I still use to this day.
- Tell us about your business – what products do you create, and why? I hand screen-print natural fabrics and make home décor products. I do it because I love pattern and I love fabric. I also love interiors and homes.
- What motivates you to run a creative business? I don’t really know what motivates me . . . something inside. I just know it’s something I must do!
- What has been the hardest lesson you have learnt so far about working for yourself? That I’m crap at planning. And that running a business is a whole lot more than just making beautiful things.
- Roughly what percentage of time do you spend on the creative side of your business? Only about 20% – unfortunately! There’s SO much else to do.
- What part of your business have you/or would you like to outsource? I feel like I’m constantly learning about being in business and I’m enjoying that. I think I might feel differently fairly soon though and that’s when I’d be happy to hand over the marketing, admin, shipping and finances to someone else. Especially the finances!
- What is your top tip for someone thinking of starting an independent design business? Plan! Don’t under estimate the power of planning. And have a clear idea of what your business stands for and why you’re doing it.
- What’s the most fun/satisfying part of your working day? I love it all!
- Who would you most like to collaborate with, and why? Ooh! I’d love to provide the all the fabrics for a hotel or resort. One day!
- What are you working on for the year ahead and do you have anything new coming up? I’m working on a collaboration with a furniture business that I’ve admired for a long time. They’re an Australian family owned company, and extremely lovely so I am looking forward to being able to share our venture together. Stay tuned! (Keep a look out on Instagram.)
Name: Michelle Kistima-Menser
Business name: YOU ARE BRAVE textiles + decor
Website address: www.youarebrave.com.au
Do you sell wholesale? Yes
Do you ship overseas? Yes