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Handmade is Heart made and Soul made

I was scrolling through the internet the other day as I tend to do when I am procrastinating doing what I should, when I came across the statement “Handmade is Heart made”. It got me thinking as to just how true that statement is. I’ve taken it a step further and added in that Handmade is also Soul made.

But why I hear you ask? Well let me break it down for you.

I know for me as a maker I pour a little bit of my heart and soul into EVERY SINGLE item I make. It doesn’t matter whether its a $9 scrunchie or a $270 baby bag.

What I do, I do out of passion and love for my craft. Do some pieces feel like they are literally sucking the soul out of me. Absolutely they do.

If I’m working on a custom order and it’s a fabric that I don’t particularly like or am uninspired by, it takes so much more of heart and soul to create that piece.

If a pattern is not coming together the way it should, or I’m struggling with a new pattern (which is the case right now) then it takes up so much more heart and soul to finish that item. In all honesty though, sometimes they do end up in time out until they can behave, then if they don’t behave into the repurpose pile they go.

When I send an item out it’s always waiting with bated breath to see if the recipient is happy with their item and that it lives up to their standard.

I’m happy to say that over the last 11 years of business I can count on 1 hand things that haven’t gone quite right. Each time though it has been absolutely gutting and devastating. Of course if something DOES go wrong with your handmade piece in a short time period and it is obviously a fault I have made, then I am going to fix it. Remember, I’m only human so I do make mistakes.

As a business owner you are often told you need to have a thick skin to deal with complaints etc or people will walk all over you. As a handmade business owner that is incredibly tough to do when you literally pour yourself into your creations. It’s super hard NOT to take criticisms and negative feedback personally.

If you want to follow along on more of my handmade journey you can follow me on TikTok where I share a lot of what goes on behind the scenes of my life and my business.

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The road so far: My business journey

The past 11 years has been 1 hell of a journey. If you need the story into how my business came to be, then read my blog post “Where it all Began- The Fabu Couture story“.

I started this business 11 years ago. It obviously looked very different to what it does now. As I have grown and changed, so has my business.

From my humble beginnings with hand-stitched cards, through to softies, through to handbags, wallets, nappies and everything else, it has been a ride.

Business is tough, it doesn’t matter what your business is. Whether it is handmade like mine, or not, all business is tuff.

It took me from 2011 through to towards the end of 2018 to start gaining real momentum in business. Getting regular orders and regular money coming through the door. It was great. I loved it. I finally felt like all my hard work was paying off.

The First Major Hurdle Hit

Then in 2019 I fell pregnant with Maggie and ended up with HG (or Hyperemesis Gravidarum). If you don’t know what that is, it is extreme and debilitating nausea and vomiting throughout pregnancy. So imagine morning sickness combined with the WORST hangover you’ve ever experienced then mulitply that by about 1000 and live with it for 9 months, then you have some idea of how horrible it is.

As a result of this my business momentum came to a screeching halt. My husband at that time was working a permanent night shift and was working 6 to 7 nights a week. I was still working in the beauty industry and all of the caretaking duties of the older 2 (Xavier and Isabella) fell to me. By the time I got through all that all I could do was sleep.

I had about 6 custom orders on books when I first discovered I was pregnant and I am sorry to say, they took me way too long to complete. This hurt me a lot, it hurt my business reputation a lot. At the time though, I did the best I could.

Once Maggie was born, it took me a loooong time to recover my strength after being sick for so long, along with meeting the demands of a newborn.

At the start of 2020 I was ready to start dipping my toes back into business. And then the pandemic hit.

Along Comes Covid

My mental health took a beating. It wasn’t great to begin with (being diagnosed with and put on antidepressants while pregnant with Maggie).

I was lost, I was floundering. I was ready to give up on my business.

Then I had a conversation with a lady that set me back on the path.

Since August 2020 I have been working with Terri from Ten Thousand Dreams to create clarity around not just my business but also life.

Fast forward to now. Business is still tough. Am I giving up? No.

Is life good? Yes it is.

Have I considered closing my doors more than ever over the past few months? Hell yes

Am I giving up in defeat? Hell no.

Why?

Because I absolutely love what I do. Sewing is my happy place. This is just a rough patch that my business is going through right now.

I’ve done it before, I can do it again.

You’d better believe it.

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Taking the hassle out of Mother’s Day Shopping

Mother’s day is rapidly approaching. If you are lucky enough to have a mum who drops hints at what she wants then its hassle free. If not, let me tell you how Fabu Couture can help you this Mother’s Day.

No, this is not going to be yet another gift guide, this is all Fabu Couture related.

Aside from the fact I have our Mother’s Day Release happening this Friday April 22 at 7pm (check out the sneak peeks here. I also have a huge range of items already in stock in the shop.

There is something to suit all budgets and tastes. On the lower end I have key fobs, coin purses, fold over pouches and of course Isabella’s earrings.

  • key fobs

In the middle I have a large range of wallets available as well as pouches, clutches and some handbags.

On the higher end I have our signature sets and some larger handbags (just no one buy the Jetsons set otherwise I’ll be stuck on what to gift my mum; she’s been hinting for it since I made it lol); just joking there, if you want it then by all means buy it, I’ll come up with something else for my mummy dearest.

  • handbag and wallet set featuring The Jetsons
  • handbag and wallet set with a girl on front in a purple colourway
  • handbag and wallet in a black harry potter print with white writing

I have swear items for the mum that likes the 4 letter words and no swear items for the more conservative mum. Plus the new items that will be being released on Friday night.

What I have planned for Friday sits more in the middle ground cost wise. I won’t say much more than that. If you want to see some some sneak peeks, then you’ll have to head on over the FB event and click going. I’ll be showing you all what is coming there this week ahead of Friday night. As with anything, if you see something you like and you want it, you need to buy it as everything is One Of A Kind.

So go ahead and spoil mum with a Fabu Couture piece for Mother’s Day.

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Are Handmade Gifts Better?

Are handmade gifts better? For me, that is easy. Hell yes they are better. Others may not think so. Let me tell you why I believe that you can’t do better than gifting handmade.

First of all when you are buying handmade, you aren’t just buying an item. You are buying a piece of the makers heart and soul. We literally pour everything into our pieces. Our blood (sometimes-pins are sharp), sweat and tears.

There is also the fact that when you buy handmade, you aren’t helping some rich CEO buy yet another flashy car. Instead you are helping a mum/dad/parent put food on the table, give their child dance lessons. Or swimming lessons. Or sport activities.

Handmade gifts are also quite often unique and one of a kind. This means that no one else is going to have the item you have gifted or even received. This is especially true when you buy a piece from my shop. I know it also goes for many other creators too.

A handmade gift truly lets the person know you have thought long and hard about the perfect gift. It takes nothing to go buy a gift card or anything from a mainstream shop. Buying handmade can sometimes take time to find the perfect item from the perfect business.

There are so many more reasons to gift handmade next time you have a birthday or any celebration that requires a gift. If you don’t where to start looking google is your friend. Search on etsy or send me a message and I can send you in the direction of some of my favourite makers.

While not everyone is going to appreciate a handmade gift, I still believe that they are far superior than mass produced.

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The Real Cost of Handmade & why it’s worth it

Have you ever thought about why you pay so much more for a handmade item then mass produced? It doesn’t matter whether its a cake, cookies, jewellery or handbags. Handmade is always that much more.

Why is this though? Well let’s break it down and have a look at it.

When you buy a handmade piece you aren’t just paying for the materials. You are paying the creator for their time, their passion, their years and years of perfecting their skill.

There is a story that circulates around Facebook periodically. I do not know where it originated from so I can’t credit it, but I’m going to share it here for you all.

“A customer wanted to purchase a beautiful wire wrap bracelet and spotted an artist who did absolutely amazing work, but she charged a good price too.

The customer thought the artist’s price was way too high so she approached the artist and in quite a brusque fashion stated, “I want to buy a bracelet from you, but I think you charge too much!”

The artist was a little taken aback but replied, “OK, how much do you think I should charge?”

The customer replied, “I think you should charge X much, because the wire will cost this much, and the clasp this much, and the cabochon this much. I even factored in the price of your pliers.”

The final price the customer calculated was a lot less than the artist’s original price, but she said, “OK deal. You will get your goods in a week.”

The customer was very pleased with herself and couldn’t resist telling her friends what a fabulous deal she had negotiated, how smart she was and the she would have a gorgeous new bracelet in a week .

A week later her parcel arrived in a lovely packaged box. She opens it and inside is wire, a clasp, a cabochon and 2 pliers.

Angrily she contacts the artist asking, “How could you do this to me? I asked for a bracelet and you sent me wire, a clasp, a cabochon and 2 sets of pliers!!!!!!”

The artist replied, “My dear you got exactly what you paid for, if you think there is something missing then you will need to pay for it.”

The moral of the story, when you buy handmade you are not just buying the materials, you are buying the artists, time, love, effort and dedication that goes into making your pieces.”

While this example speaks about a bracelet, the same principal can be applied to ANY handmade item.

Remember, when you buy from a small business you are helping a mum/dad put their child in dance lessons, or swimming or sport. Not helping a CEO buy another Ferrari.

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Why you should choose a Fabu Couture custom

Have you been thinking about commissioning me to create a custom made piece but aren’t sure?

Let me tell WHY you should and more importantly exactly WHAT you get when you opt for a Fabu Couture custom piece.

Firstly we work together on deciding on which style of bag/wallet is going to suit your needs.

Once we have that sorted I ask you a series of questions to determine what fabric prints you might like (of course if you already have something in mind you are more than welcome to share it).

Then I send you through some photo options of fabric I have on hand, OR I do some research to see what fabrics are out there that will suit. We repeat this a few times until we hit upon the perfect fabric choice for you.

I then get to creating your Unique, One Of A Kind piece, keeping you updated on progress as I go along.Once completed I send you photos for final approval and then your item is lovingly packed up and shipped off to you to use and enjoy. Sounds good hey?

If you need some inspiration then head on over to our shop and see what’s available. To give you an idea our signature sets are made up of our most popular handbag and our most popular wallet.

What are you waiting for? Time to order your piece today.

If none of the designs that are currently in our shop take your fancy then head on over to our Facebook page and follow for when new designs are release. Alternatively send us a message with what you are looking for.

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What people say about Fabu Couture

Have you ever asked yourself what people say about their Fabu Couture items?

Well wonder no more.

“Such wonderful customer service, communication and care. Incredible attention to detail and outstanding quality.Am the very proud owner of a truly unique and personalised wallet; in which my Autistic daughter was allowed to participate with creation. As well as gorgeous handbags, wallet (for Mr 5) and little soft toy – daughter uses as resource to help her cope in stressful social interactions like school assembly.☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆”

“Amazing products. Absolutely love my new purse and so does my 18mo son. Great response to my emails. will definitely be buying again.”

“Lovely customer service and I absolutely LOVE the button hair ties!!! they’re super cute and I’m so excited to show my daughter, she will love them too!”

We would love to hear your feedback too. You can leave us a review on our Facebook page, or on our Google My Business listing.

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The Balancing Act, Staying Sane and Happy

People often comment to me “I don’t know how you do it all”.

Sometimes I wonder that myself.

A lot of the time, the balls I’m trying to juggle get dropped, and that’s not always a good thing.

So what is it “All”. Let’s list them.

I’m a mum (3 kids, and 3 fur kids-human kids are 16, 10 and just turned 2).
I have a husband (who is like a 4th kid a lot of the time).
I have my business.
I work 3 days a week in a shoe store (danger, danger lol).
I am studying (part time, online) my Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Digital Experience and Interactive Design through Curtin University.

Now if life is smooth sailing, I can usually manage the juggle quite well, it’s a balancing act, but I can manage. However, throw me a curve ball and it all goes to hell in a handbasket.

Take recently for example. It’s been a couple of huge months.

This study block I have 2 units instead of my usual 1. We had a death in the family. I had extra shifts at work thanks to staff being out sick and it being the Carnival of Flowers. Then hubby and I both got sick (just colds, nothing major). Then throw in a sick toddler, and well all the balls came crashing down and the stress levels went through the roof. During all this time I had some pretty big assignments due. Oh and Izzy and I had a market that we had 2 weeks to prep for. Then there was the release that happened just a few days ago (make sure you check it out here.)

Somehow, I’ve managed to get all my assignments in on time. We survived the market. The release got done in time (although I didn’t market it as much as I usually do which has led to an almost non-existent release, but that’s ok).

There’s been moments of stress, frustration and tears but we made it through.

Here’s to hopefully a slightly less insane month again.

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My Creative Process; The Big Secret

I often get asked about my creative process and how I choose my fabrics. The big huge secret is that there is no process. Shock Horror. How can there be no process?

CHOOSING THE FABRICS

Initially when I’m choosing fabrics I go with what I’m attracted to and what I like; OR it is fabric left over from ordering it in for a custom order.

When it comes to then turning the fabric into stock, well then it gets a little bit trickier. Sometimes I’ll get a bit of fabric and it screams to be made into a certain style. These ones are easy.

Other times I find that while I love a fabric I just can’t decide what it should be made into it. I have some fabrics that have been sitting in my stash for years just waiting for the inspiration to strike.

Then there is the fabrics that are insanely popular and to be honest I get sick of creating with them so I hide them away and take them off of being available. I find if I don’t particularly like a fabric or if I’m sick of creating with it then I get bored and procrastinate and get side-tracked way too easily.

The other side of the creative process then is to match up the linings which for the most part is easy. The harder part is matching up contrasts if required. Do we go leather, vinyl, cork, glitter vinyl? What colour do we go? Do we go with a colour that tones in or do we go with a contrast colour? This stage of the process can often take longer than choosing the fabric and pattern can. With wallets do we stick with all fabric or do we do fabric and leather/vinyl/cork/glitter vinyl? This last one though is often determined by how much fabric is left.

WHAT COMES NEXT

Once the patterns, main fabric, lining fabric and contrast fabrics are chosen I get stuck into making the magic happen. I cut, interface, sew, photograph and then show you all what masterpiece has been created. If you follow me on Facebook you will also often be lucky enough to get some sneak peeks of what I’m working on. Otherwise head to the shop at 7pm on the 14th of each month to see what’s new.

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Where it all began- The Fabu Couture Story

One of the questions I am often asked is “Where did it all begin?”. I grew up with a very crafty mum. As a dancer she was often tasked with sewing my costumes (thanks Mum). She also did a lot of cross stitch.

Way back when I was about 10 years old she taught me how to cross stitch. For years that is all I did. I loved it. I still do, although I don’t get to do it as much now as I did back then. That was where my love of crafting started.

In Highschool I did Home Economics as a subject. One of the units in it was textiles and sewing. Would you believe me if I told you I HATED the sewing component. I made a backpack and it fell apart within a matter of days. I swore and vowed then that I would NEVER touch a sewing machine again.

Fast forward a few years after the birth of my eldest. Mum and I attended a craft group on a regular basis. Here we learnt about stitching cards, I quickly got a bit hooked on it. During this time mum also learnt to quilt. I stuck with cross stitch for the most part.

Then one day after seeing mum’s quilts I asked if she thought I could ever make a quilt and if she would teach me. Well that quilt sat half finished for about 12 years lol.

Life took me over. Hubby and I bought a massage clinic and we had another kid. As part of the massage clinic we bought in and sold heat packs and we could not keep up with the demand, so we had the bright idea of getting a sewing machine and making them. Mum to the rescue again with a very basic machine and teaching me how to do it. So much for never touching a sewing machine again hey.

After my middle child was born I started fairybutterflycardsandcrafts as a way to sell all those handstitched cards I had accumulated over the years.

From there I started to make some softies and I loved seeing their little personalities emerge.

Then I found a pattern called the Necessary Clutch Wallet through a sewing group on Facebook. I just had to try it. Well attempt 1 ended in the bin and took me about 3 days to make, BUT I was hooked. I loved it.

From there I discovered all these wonderful bag and wallet patterns and well its led us to here today.

During the Covid lockdown of 2020, I switched my focus to making cloth nappies (thanks to birth of my youngest child) and while I enjoy making them and seeing all the cute prints adorning baby butts, the handbags and wallets is where my passion truly lies.