Tag Archives: bluecaravan

Meet Di Stitt + GIVEAWAY!

With a love of fashion and a vision to support economic development in African communites, Di Stitt created ethical fashion & accessories label One Colour. Di tells us how starting her business was simply a walk in the park… 

{Magdalene Coat}

 One Colour is an ethical fashion, accessories and gifts brand sourcing mainly from Africa.  The primary aim of our business is to create sustainable employment in Africa, which will ultimately have a positive impact on extreme local poverty. With on-going employment people can make plans for their futures and the futures of their family.

Our range is unique, not just in our shared vision, but through sourcing and producing within Africa we have created an ever evolving range that has an African edge and is made with integrity.

{Abigail PVII Dress}

 In 2007 we met a woman in South Africa who said “I don’t know why we fight each other. If you cut us we all bleed the one colour” – she was telling us about the difficulties they face in her wider community, and this conversation has had an enourmous impact on me and my own family – and was the seed that saw the birth of our brand One Colour. One Colour stands for the innate sameness that lies underneath the colour of our skin.

One Colour could be described as timeless and elegant, with just a hint of Africa.  I design the range in Australia with Libby Andersen, and we design with the Australian woman mind.  Because we source almost everything from within Africa, we are also influenced by the beautiful, vibrant traditional fabrics and beading techniques. We are equally inspired by the amazing, dignified women who work to make our products with love and care.

{Lizabeth Dress}

How did we start the business? The business ‘arrived’ early one morning after a brainstorming session with the family as we were walking through the Botanical Gardens in Brisbane…

Did I mention I’m a U2 tragic? I was inspired by reading a book by Bono (U2) whose wife started the clothing label Edun – which was founded on a commitment to encourage trade with Africa. I also had several conversations in the preceding years with missionaries in Africa who had witnessed first-hand the positive power that employment can have on helping to raise people out of poverty. It is very satisfying to know that One Colour is more than just another label, we are part of a growing number of designers demonstrating our commitment to Africa.

My advice to emerging designers? Keep your vision front and centre. It’s easy to get distracted by all the other things flying around.

one colour

 {Judith Skirt}

To ensure the authentity of our vision with One Colour I work hard to establish relationships with those I partner with in Africa. We travel to Africa every year to see for ourselves that people receive a real living wage plus entitlements and that they work in a clean, safe environment.

I am also looking at ways to incorporate more sustainable or organic fabrics into the next and subsequent ranges. At the moment the range is made with cotton grown by small scale farmers in Africa. They rely on seasonal rains rather than intense irrigation to grow their crops, which is good know, given that cotton is one of the thirstiest crops around.  I also want to introduce eco-friendly fabric dyes but have always felt that it’s best to start with what is happening already then to develop as the opportunity or capacity arises.

one colour

{Women making the One Colour toy collection}

I was a personal assistant in a past life, then had children (now teenagers) so was a full time mum. I enjoyed creative writing and did a bit of feature article writing for our local newspaper in the Hunter Valley. 

When I’m not working I’m hanging out at home with the family, reading, catching up with friends, having coffee or drinks wherever with whoever, travelling, playing piano, gardening…

I can’t live without a place to retreat to.

Right now I’m listening to Jazz Masters – Louis Armstrong, Stan Getz, Count Basie.

My top three blogs are Ecouterre, Design Africa and De-Co.co.
Visit One Colour

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 // GIVEAWAY //

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Di Stitt and One Colour are giving you the chance to win this gorgeous Magdalene Coat valued at $110!!

one colour

HOW TO ENTER

1 entry = Head over to our Facebook page and “SHARE” the competition with your friends. Way too easy!

2 MORE entries = Head over to the One Colour store then leave a comment on the Facebook competition post telling us which piece you would most love to see in your wardrobe.

I know which one I would like…

Entries close THIS Friday 16th Nov. 5pm sharp!

  GOOD LUCK !

Interview + Hand Bag Giveaway!

Meet Jenny Spring of brag bags australia. We had a quick chat with Jenny this week about building her ethical business and the inspiration behind her eclectic range of beautiful bags. here’s what she had to say:

We create handbags for the woman who enjoys her individuality and who wants to feel a sense of connection to the things around her.

A brag bag not only provides you with a beautiful artefact, you are also tracing the bag’s journey from the hands of an artisan to it’s resting place on your shoulder.

Knowing the story behind the object is like having the bragging rights to it. There is a growing awareness and hunger in our Western culture to move away from the mass-produced and toward the handmade.

All our products are designed by us in WA, and then handmade in small workshops in Vietnam. We know and respect the people we work with and do not haggle on price. Employees are treated with respect, and paid fair wages with good working hours and conditions.

A lot of the work is carried out in small outlying villages, allowing the embroiders and artisans to earn a good income and remain in their village – which is so important in maintaining community life. We have been working with the same groups for over 5 years and we incorporate some of their embroidery into our products, as we want to honour their unique skills.

We design specifically based on our customers’ feedback, and we incorporate this feedback into the next range. We change our range each season to maintain exclusivity and  all of our products are handmade in limited editions. We believe this business approach sets us apart from others.

I used to be a corporate software account executive in Seattle, USA! And before that, a teacher. Eight years ago we moved our young family from the USA back to Australia. The move prompted me to consider a career change, and I was eager to run my own company. When my friends introduced me to someone looking for a business partner in a handbag company I jumped at the chance. Three months later, we dissolved our partnership and I took over as owner of bragbags australia.

My advice to young designers is to keep a business focus along with the creative side. To think of what you want your business to be known for and how you want people to talk about your business.

My friends would describe me as determined, idealistic, a big picture thinker, enthusiastic, mother.

I’m the hockey coach and the scripture teacher. I want kids to choose their faith based on information (so I welcome lots of questions, although I struggle with the answers). And I’m travelling whenever I can, whether it is to Vietnam, or with the family.

I couldn’t live without my kids.

I’m listening to anything from Bocelli to Toto (ugh, my husband’s influence there!).

The blogs I read are springintosales.blogspot.com (this is my little sales business that I’ve just launched to help other small business owners get their minds around selling) and themogulmom.com (corporate mums unite!)

The last ethical product I bought was some clothing made for me in Vietnam. I can’t wait for it to arrive! My friend has a tailor who is so talented and makes up anything I want. I have several silk shirts that I love wearing, they are so comfortable and beautiful to wear. She has made them all!

I’m currently writing a course on “Selling to Women”. I think we do such a disservice by not really understanding how women want to be treated. I am running my first workshop at the end of August (in WA) and hope to have a little blog with some downloads. I want to help artisans who have built a lovely little business, but feel overwhelmed when it comes to selling to build a skill set so that they can, in turn, build a customer base of loyal and enthusiastic followers…

// GIVEAWAY //

**ENTRIES NOW CLOSED**

Jenny has given us this most gorgeous little Leather Pouchette (with bonus button cover) to give away to one of you!

It’s valued at $99, and comes in red, black and cream.

HOW TO ENTER

1 entry = Just leave a comment here telling us which colour you would like!
2 entries = plus head over to Brag Bags Facebook page say ‘Hi’, and tell them that we sent you!
3 entries = plus ‘Like’ us on Facebook

GOOD LUCK!

interview: erin.k jewellery + giveaway

Local Melbourne designer Erin Kilty shares with us her love for technique, diversity and beauty through eclectic jewellery label erin.k.

Experimenting with new ideas and looking for ways to incorporate sustainable design into her work, Erin has just released her latest range of upcycled laminex jewellery…


To celebrate the launch of her new range, Erin has given us this super cute upcycled laminex owl necklace to give away to one of our lucky readers.

Just leave  a comment here to be in the draw.

Good luck!

Jen x

Meet Chrissy Foreman C… and a giveaway!

 

A Chat with Chrissy Foreman and her Nostalgic Feeling…

Plus a little Pre-Christmas Giveaway!

A self-confessed tree-hugger, Chrissy Foreman C and her label ‘My Nostalgic Feeling’  are  all about vintage inspired fabric jewellery and colourful nature based artworks. A mix of nostalgia, beauty and sustainability form the basis of Chrissy’s creative practice…

Hi Chrissy. Thanks for the chat…Tell us a bit about your work.

I love to make fabric-infused artworks and jewellery with an emphasis on environmental sustainability, quality and nostalgia…

What / who inspired you to take this direction?

Just about everything I see, hear, smell, taste and touch! I’m inspired greatly by nature. I’m also strongly influenced by my memories and feelings which I think brings a sense of flow and organic movement to my works.

Most of all, I’m inspired by beautiful patterns, vintage fabrics, dynamic colour combos and almost anything granny, eco and nostalgic.

How would you best describe the look or aesthetic of what you do…

A little bit contemporary, a little bit vintage, a little bit whimsical, a little bit tree-hugging.

All the products on Bluecaravan are ‘ethical’. Can you tell us about the ethics of your product?

Oh my ~ this questions excites me! I LOVE the opportunity to make my work as eco-friendly as possible across the board. It’s taken years to find the right products, but it’s been worth the wait! I make sure all my items are packaged and displayed using quality recycled/re-usable materials wherever possible, and all the fabrics I use in my jewellery and artworks are vintage and/or ethically sourced.

My new Art Prints range are printed on fine art paper made from sugar cane by-products – meaning that they’re both archival and made using renewable energy resources. It feels so great. I’m also waiting to receive my very first designer fabrics printed onto organic fabrics using vegetable inks, so stay tuned for that!

What did you do before starting your business?

In 2000 I left my job as a preschool teacher and decided to travel and study visual art. Since then, I’ve spent the last six years working as a community artist, running workshops, painting murals, having exhibitions and hoping to empower people about the power of creativity, expression and connecting with others. I moved into jewellery last year after my love affair with fabric, art and hugging trees all finally merged into one.

What are you doing when you’re not working?

My work is my love, so it’s rare that I’m not working or thinking about working in some capacity! In the glimpses between, you’ll usually find me eating, reading, in the garden, walking, doing yoga or rummaging through op-shops for the perfect piece of fabric.


What is in music player right now? No cheating.

I’m a radio girl. I flip between Triple J (cool indie music) and 4BH (old grandma music and power ballads). The sad thing is, as a result, I can pretty much rattle off all the upcoming festivals in the same sentence as quality retirement and funeral homes.  :S

Reading?

The Natural Way To Better Babies’. I’m reading up on natural ways to make a lovely place for my future bun!

What was the last ethical product you purchased and what do you love about it?

I just bought a gorgeous twisty-woven recycled fabric brooch from Mary Elizabeth’s little cube at Bleeding Heart Art Gallery and Cafe in Brisbane. I’d been eying it off for weeks. I always love supporting another artist’s beautiful work.

I’m also a regular at Reverse Garbage in West End, Brisbane. I’m always excited about the quirky things I’ll find there!

Who is your favourite other Bluecaravan seller? Why.

I’m pretty smitten with Little Thing’s gorgeous hand-embroidered clothes for kiddly-winks (and their mums).  I love them because their garments are colourful, floaty and so beautiful, whilst being ethically produced at the same time. Win-win in my books!

What are your aspirations for the future?

Professionally, I’m ready to focus more on creating new designs, artworks and prints, and turning them into a vibrant organic fabric range. An assistant would be awesome!

Personally, I’d love to move to a beautiful place amongst nature with a veggie patch and a huge studio and chickens and children running around my feet….


*GIVEAWAY*        *GIVEAWAY*        *GIVEAWAY*

Chrissy has given us this gorgeous vintage fabric necklace to giveaway to one of our lucky readers! All you need to do is go to our FACEBOOK page and leave a comment for your chance to win. GOOD LUCK!

Another little GIVEAWAY to keep you ticking…

OK Folks, this will be our last giveaway for a few weeks. Surely you can’t resist…

This gorgeous Flock Clock is compliments of the lovely peeps over at HoneyBee

Shannon Fricke has been so generous in hosting these fabulous giveaways, so go over to her blog, become a ‘follower’ to enter, and leave a message to show some love…

See you there, and good luck!