Where are you based?
Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia. I work out of our home which is great for me as I’m a stay at home mum. Working from home allows me to do all things I need to do as a parent and also work. I love my commute which is just down the stairs!
How did you come up with your business name?
I wanted to choose a name that meant something to me. So Ben & Jess is named after our son Ben and our sweet Jack Russell Jess. Both of them have stolen my heart forever. I just love them to pieces and everynight I tell my son that “I love you to the moon and back”.
A bit about your passion for your craft …
Paper is my passion. The possibilities with working with paper are endless and there are so many beautiful scrapbooking papers available that it makes my head spin not to mention the ribbon and accessories.
How long have you been crafting for?
I think I was born with a pair of sissors and needle in my hands. My mum loved to sew and she also managed a fabric store so I was surround my fabric and craft from day one. She always encouraged and inspired me to be the best that I can be and I feel that this is reflected today in what I make and sell. There is a little bit of me in everything I sell.
How long have you been selling your wares for?
I started selling my handmade items at markets around Sydney in 2008. Clients kept asking did I have an online store and that’s how Ben & Jess came about.
Do you craft part time or full time; or is it purely a hobby?
In the beginning Ben & Jess was just a hobby but I am working hard towards making this my full time job. For the majority of my life I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do – it’s taken a while (I’m not revealing my age) but I’ve finally found a job I love!
Why do you craft; and what would happen if you didn’t?
Crafting for me is a part of my everyday life. I enjoy the whole process of coming up with designs, selecting supplies, making and interacting with clients on bespoke projects. If I couldn’t craft I would definately write. I have lots of ideas for stories I just need to put pen to paper or is that keyboard now that we are in the age of technology?
As far as your craft is concerned, who in your life is your biggest influence?
My immediate family would have to be the biggest influence. They are all crafty in their own ways, painters, sculpters and photographers. I couldn’t have started Ben & Jess without their love, encouragement and support. I’m also inspired by how Kath Kidston and Donna Hay have gone forward in their chosen career.
If you were to try a new form of crafting, what would it be and why?
I would love to try Millinery. The idea of cutting and piecing together hats for individuals sounds interesting.
What is your favourite or best selling that you make?
My favorite item would have to be my Little French Dress Garlands. I got the idea for these while I was watching the movie 27 Dresses. The best selling item is my hand stamped Party Favor Bags followed closely by my Happy Birthday Banners.
What was the last handmade thing you have purchased and from where?
I just purchased a mothers day card and some bookmarks from Seasonal Delights on Etsy. They’re in the post and should arrive any day now.
From top left –
1. Owl Happy Birthday Banner Happy Birthday Banner – featuring sweet happy owls alternated with green and white polka dots. RRP $19.50.
2. Hoot Hoot Owl Party Favor Bags Hoot Hoot Owl Party Favor Bags ~ a fun and easy way to hand out lollies and at the end of a birthday party. Different colour bags available. Custom designs welcomed. RRP $3.00 for 6 bags.
3. Babushka Party Favor Bags Bubushka Party Favor Bags in pretty pink. Different colour bags available. Custom designs welcomed. RRP $5.70 for 6 bags.
4. Little French Dress Garland Hearts & Swirls Little French Dress Garland. Five hand cut paper dresses beautifuly strung together with soft organza ribbon. A pretty decoration for any girls bedroom. Made to order welcomed. RRP $19.95.
Tracey from Ben & Jess
is giving away to one lucky reader a Bespoke Perfect Party Kit valued at $37.00. The bespoke perfect party kit includes: 1 x Happy Birthday Banner in the design of your choice, 12 x Party Favor Bags in either brown, white, pink or lime, and 12 x Co-ordinating Cup Cake Toppers. Your perfect party kit will come fully assembled all you need to do is have the party!!
To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on the bottom of this blog post or send us an email (at email@example.com – subject: Ben and Jess Comp) telling us which of the four items pictured above you love the best (see competition rules below). Entries close Thursday, 31st March, 2011 at 5 pm. The winner will be announced Thursday evening on our Facebook fan page as soon as comments are counted, etc. Good luck!!! Please note that Handmade Cooperative members are not eligible to enter.
Handmade Cooperative – Australian Handmade 4 Kids Competition Rules: The competition is open to all Australian residents (except Handmade Cooperative members). * Simply enter by leaving a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject: Ben and Jess Comp) to let us know which one of the four items promoted above is your favourite; * Entries close 5 pm Thursday, 31st March, 2011. All email entries will be posted as comments on the blog. Each valid comment will then be assigned with an entry number. A computerised random number generator (http://www.random.org/) will be used to randomly select the number of the winning comment. An announcement of the winner will be added to the bottom of this blog post on the following Thursday once the competition has closed, and posted on our facebook fan page wall, and the winner will also be notified by email. * Handmade Cooperative members are not eligible to enter.