Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ups & Downs

As 2012 winds to a close we can't say this year hasn't been without it's fair share of drama. The last few weeks especially have seen some rather full-on happenings - not least of which has been the destruction by fire of our  much beloved and much dependent upon dyehouse & heat setting company Bulace. This has been such a devastating blow to our already tiny industry - Bulace are one of the last remaining dyehouses in Australia who are able to process meterage and many local labels are dependent on their services.

We personally have used Bulace every single week of the last three years to heat set our fabric - not one metre of fabric has rolled off our table without passing through their hands. Of course we were shocked and devastated to hear the news, and it's only due to the generosity of another print house in Melbourne (Veronica Textiles) that we've managed to keep on trucking without too much delay. Of course we're all very hopeful that Bulace will get back on their feet and continue to be a crucial part of our local industry.

There has also been good news however. Last Tuesday, ourselves (and half of Kensington) caught the train in to Town Hall to sit in on a council meeting that would decide on the fate of our beloved Younghusband Wool Store - specifically a Planning Scheme Amendment to rezone our building from Industrial to Mixed Use so Younghusband could be gutted & 3 residential apartment towers built. Many people spoke up against the proposal, including Teegs, and we played this video produced (in less than a day) by the very talented Yong of Studio Limo (of course) and a little help from me:

And it is with very proud and relieved hearts that we can announce that council UNANIMOUSLY rejected & abandoned the proposal to rezone our building! This is fantastic news for Kensington and the greater creative community. Of course we don't know what the owners will do next, but for the time being we can all feel a little bit safer, hopeful and more confident about our future here. A very good Christmas present indeed :)

x Lara.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Open Studio this Saturday 17th!

Hey guess what? It's our very last Open Studio for the year THIS SATURDAY! How did that happen? I'll refrain from blathering on about how fast the year has flown by - we've all heard it before. Instead I'll just beseech you to come visit, say hi, have a cuppa and help us bid adieu to 2011!

xx Lara & Teegs.

Harvest Market this Sunday!

Yay, we're taking our Inklet range plus some other cute bits and bobs to the Harvest Xmas Market this Sunday. Last time Harvest had a market it was an explosion of awesome cuteness, nice people and good tunes, so we're excited to be a part of this one.

Hope to see you there!! xx

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Inklet colourways!

Hey guess what? We've got some brand new Inklet colourways up in the shop! We decided to go a bit bolder and also a bit more gender neutral. We're loving the red and almonds and just want to find little people to put in them! (so long as we can give them back).

Hope you like :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mobile & Garland kits

Yay, our garland and mobile kits are now available in the shop! Just in time for xmas :)

Suitable for any non-sewing folk out there who still like to make things!

Make Your Own Garland Kit - in Pink/Red or Saffron/Robins

Make Your Own Mobile Kit - in Pink/Red or Saffron/Robins

Hope you like! x

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Intern Tales: Gretta

We've had a lot of interest in our intern position lately & so we thought you guys might like to know a little bit about the lovely (for some reason always) girls that spend time learning new things with us here at I&S HQ.

Here's some words from Gretta on her final day with us - 'bye Gretta!

We'll miss you!
xx T

How did I, an Environmental Studies student from the United States, end up in the Ink & Spindle studio? A long journey! I’ve been in Australia since late August on a study abroad program. The focus is Sustainability and Environmental Action. Because it’s through an organization (The School for International Training) and not a university, my group was able to travel all around Australia. We did workshops about everything from sustainable agriculture to rainforest ecology to social change. What has stuck with me through the whole program is that sustainability can mean many things. Sustainability isn’t just about the environment; it’s about people and communities. Part of my program is a month-long independent study project (ISP). From the first week in Australia, we each had to develop a project- an internship, creative piece, or research-based project. When I heard “internship”, I instantly thought of Ink & Spindle! The only limits on my project were that it had to relate to sustainability (check!) and had to be in Australia (check!). My mom is an art quilter/fabric addict and had found Ink & Spindle on the blogosphere a few years back, so I was already a fan upon my arrival in Australia. When I approached Lara and Teegs about a possible internship, I was happy to find they were enthusiastic about the idea!

What has amazed me about Melbourne is the creative community. During my time with Ink & Spindle, I’ve had the opportunity to go to the Melbournalia opening, Markit@Fed Square, and meet all sorts of awesome-sauce Melbournians doing and making amazing things. Seeing all the collaborating that happens gives me hope for the future! I’ve been reflecting a lot on sustainable consumerism and whether or not it’s an oxymoron. While consumerism has caused immense damage in this world, it is also at the forefront of environmental change. It has the potential to be an easy way for people to lower their impact. Lara and Teegs have worked hard to produce textiles that are sustainable from beginning to end. By sourcing organic cotton, they aren’t buying to a toxic industry that has led to 250,000 farmer suicides in India. By using water based, solvent free inks, they aren’t putting themselves and others at risk. The quality means durability, so their products last. While people may care about the environment, it can be really difficult to live your life sustainably. I struggle with it all the time, and I study it! It is important for consumers to have more sustainable options. It is equally important for young people like me to see that running a sustainable business is viable. The supply side needs to grow, and the consumer base needs to use its voice.

Besides learning loads about sustainable business practices and textile design, I got to get to know Lara and Teegs and all the other wonderful people in and out of the studio. I had adventures in Melbourne, often as a result of my poor directional skills. I got very inspired by Melbourne’s architecture, especially the colors and designs around Fitzroy, where I was staying. The result: some lino block prints of windows, door, and fences, and a print run of stenciled fences! I’ve completed a “Prismatic” quilt top from Kathreen Ricketson’s book “Little Bits Quilting Bee” from the fabric I printed. I will complete the quilting upon my return to the United States in a few weeks.

Thanks to Teegs and Lara for an amazing experience! Melbs, I’m sure we’ll meet again!

Gretta's lino cuts, she made some lovely art prints from these &
developed the idea further to create the design & handcut stencil
which she printed as a two colour separation below!

Quilt top completed! Didn't Gretta do a wonderful job??

Monday, November 28, 2011

Leuca is in the shop!

Yay, Lara's new Leuca print is finally printed, photographed and up in the shop!

No prizes for guessing where we did the shoot

And big thanks to everyone who popped by our stall at MARKit yesterday - was great to see familiar and new faces alike. We had a great day and managed not to spend all of our takings on all the other gorgeous wares for sale - though we did have a good crack at it.

xx Lara & Teegs

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


manysquaremetres - studios and exhibition space, Kensington

There are some spaces in our building that have just been crying out for some love for many years now. One of those is a vast, light filled, loft space across a bridge at the end of our corridor, above the Crumpler HQ.

Needless to say we have been very excited to see this space being recently occupied and transformed, under the hands of the manysquaremetres crew - Bridget, Jules and Cassie - all landscape architects by day.

Fitting name huh?

manysquaremetres - currently exhibiting GradEx

The corflute stud walls are a really nice touch. The whole space embraces brightness and lightness and has a wonderful contrast of old and new textures.

... and so long as I can stretch their generosity, this space makes for a great photo studio for our product shots ;)

manysquaremetres - studios and exhibition space, Kensington

Love it. Welcome to the building, guys!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Markit @ Fed Square

It's on again! Yaysies!!

We *love* Markit, it doesn't get much more Melbourne than this.. no sir!

Located in the beautiful Federation Square Atrium, we get the whole day to hang out with a bunch of ace Melbs-based designers/friends (and some from further afield!) and of course meet, chat & laugh with you guys!

It's definitely one of our favourite aspects of having I&S.. the excitement of *actually leaving* the studio and interacting with people that aren't us!

Come visit us if you're in town - and bring chocolate ;)

xx Teegs

If you come along, please introduce yourself -

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bex's Duvet

Bex's Duvet

When you've got a Kiwi intern in the studio who keeps saying the word "duvet"... after a while it kind of sticks.

"Bex how's your duvet coming along... I mean doona... damn it!"

Bex has been working on this masterpiece for the last few months in between doing work for us. We all knew the result would be fantastic. And it was indeed. We just love the fact that she took a bunch of offcuts and scrap fabrics and turned them into something amazing.

Bex arranging pieces


Nice work Bex!! And thanks for being an awesome intern :)

P.S. - thanks again to manysquaremetres for the location!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy 11:11:11 11/11/11 !

At Ink & Spindle we have a thing about 11:11. If we ever spot 11:11 on our phones it's always a race to text one another or a friend with a similar appreciation for the number before the time ticks over to 11:12.

Today though. Today is extra special. To show our appreciation we dragged our fellow Younghusband neighbours out onto the street for a tribute to this once in a lifetime moment in time - 11:11:11 11/11/11

Bex, Sass, Teegs, Gaby, Georgia & Joel

Being an 11 is just soooo tiring...

Hope you caught the moment!

xx Lara & Teegs

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New happenings...

Look who just arrived in the studio. He's new, attractive, has a lot of potential for awesomeness and is more than 6 foot tall. What more would a girl want?

'Leuca' by Lara Cameron

It's our new 'Leuca' screen of course. We can't wait to get this one on the printing table.
Much excitement.

'Leuca' - screen detail

Meanwhile, today we printed 20m of a gorgeous custom colourway for some curtains - our Large Birch print in Olive on our Hemp/Yak basecloth. LOVE it. Love how the texture of the Yak shows through the translucent ink. Looking forward to seeing this made up into curtains in a local Kensington home :)

Large Birch in Olive on Hemp/Yak

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Busy times here in the studio as we prep for lots of pre-xmas events! There's Melbournalia (launching this Thurs evening, come along!), The Design Files Open House, MARKit @ Fed Square, Mathilda's market and an Open Studio here at the I&S HQ all before the end of the year. Hang on a second, didn't we decide to do LESS markets this year? Hah!

To keep things interesting we decided to launch a couple of new kits! Here's a sneak peek:

Exciting! Will let you know when they're up in the shop!

x Lara.

P.S. - Thanks to Manysquaremetres for the location!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Melbournalia Fancy Goods & Postal Service

As if that's not the coolest name ever :)

Check out this fabulous new pop-up shop happening in a few locations around the city in the lead up to Christmas - we've got some cute new kits & also some pretty cool, very Melbourne, new Inklet colourways!


Come along because it's ALSO MY BIRTHDAY! Have a drink with me :)

xx Teegs

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Unexpected niceness

Sometimes we are just blown away by the volume of unexpected generousity, kindness and support we receive from people out there in the world. The other day I wrote this brief blog post about feeling a little uninspired & lost, and in response quite a few people emailed and commented with perspective shifting advice and feedback.

But by far the most amazing response was from a very warm, generous and thoughtful woman named Carmen, who sent us this amazing package. Each item was wrapped individually & beautifully, with a card attached explaining it's significance and origin. And everything came in pairs. But of course it was the letter she wote that was most touching.

(Help Japan ceramic birds by Shin Shin)

Thank you Carmen, for reminding us that creating and sharing beauty is both worthwhile and appreciated.

x Lara.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just a reminder...

... that this coming Saturday is our combined Open Studio and very civilized 3rd birthday celebration! There'll be champagne! And cucumber sandwiches! And cake! Amazing cake by these talented ladies.

on Saturday
the 15th DAY of October
11am - 1pm

in our beloved studio at 206/10 Elizabeth St, Kensington

There will be a printing demonstration at 11:30, the usual shop setup in case you want to peruse the fabrics, and then we shall break for tea, cucumber sandwiches, champagne, civilized conversation and CAKE!

Yay! Hope to see you there... I mean here. :)

xx Lara & Teegs.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Everybody loves a good Before & After

Flowering Gum in Red Orange & Stone on upholstery weight organic cotton/hemp

Hello! Hope you're all out there enjoying the fickleness that is Melbourne weather. Right now we're mid thunderstorm with crazy lightning flashes outside our windows and thunder rattling the glass. All this after stepping outside our doors this morning without a cardigan.

Anyway, I've been meaning to do this for ages (how often I find myself saying that) but I'd like to share a couple of Before & After's with you! Well that's not entirely true, I don't have a before shot of the armchair but I'm sure you all know what a beaten up armchair clad in a chunky 70's wool looks like. Above though is the lovely upholstery weight fabric that we printed for this job, and below are the wonderful results courtesy of Jacqui from Reissued!

Fler Armchair by Reissued - Flowering Gum in Red Orange & Stone

Fler Armchair by Reissued - Flowering Gum in Red Orange & Stone

Next up, this pair of foot stools horridly clad in uninspiring vinyl. I picked up both of these during a crack of dawn trip to the Camberwell Market. So early and chilly that the vinyl was wet with condensation. But how beautifully they were transformed...

Vinyl foot stools from Camby Market

Foot stool in Robins Egg Birch, reupholstered by Reissued (of course)

Foot stool in Snow Wrens, reupholstered by Reissued


x Lara.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday in the studio - Amy prints

Another Friday, another intern making awesome things.

Amy's been interning with us for the last two weeks. An architecture grad who's thinking maybe designing houses isn't her thing, maybe textiles is her true calling.

During her time here, whilst she wasn't cutting fabric, cleaning screens, wrapping parcels and making us tea, Amy did a hand cut stencil print and made herself an awesome fully lined drawstring bag:

Amy's drawstring bag & stencil print

And today she hand cut two more stencils to make a 1+1 = 3 colour print of a hare:

One plus one equals three - Amy's hand cut stencil print

Yay! I love it when interns come here and help us out but get to take away something they've made. Nice work Amy!


Our 3rd Birthday / Open Studio October 15th

Hey wow! We're turning 3?! Am I the only one who feels like the last 3 years have flown past? Geee...

So it turns out that October is filled with birthday parties, (including a VERY special birthday party for my VERY special business partner *cough*turning30*cough*) so instead of throwing yet another bash just for I&S, we thought we really ought to act our age & have a lovely sedate luncheon/open studio.

Well we are 3 now, after all.


*posh voice*

Lara & I cordially invite you to attend our
on Saturday
the 15th DAY of October
11am - 1pm

in our beloved studio at 206/10 Elizabeth St, Kensington

There will be a printing demonstration at 11:30, then we shall break for tea, cucumber sandwiches, champagne, civilised conversation and CAKE!

How delightful.

*end posh voice*

So please come along to help us celebrate - I plan on making Lara wear a party hat, it'll be worth coming just for that..

xx Teegs

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Formula - or 'how to price your wares correctly'


[update and disclaimer] This post has received a lot of feedback in the comments section which is great! I'm glad we're all talking about this difficult topic. But I do want to add - this formula wasn't meant to be perscriptive, merely a guide. Adapt it to suit your situation. I've added more comments below in red :)

It's crazy how often the topic of pricing comes up in conversation around here.

- It might be triggered by our frustrations with a comment on a blog about how such-and-such beautiful, bespoke, handmade item is 'too expensive'.

- We might be throwing around business ideas & offering advice to a intern or friend who wants to start a small business.

- Or we might be discussing a new venture for our own business (such as Inklet), trying to figure out if a product is actually viable to produce and sell at a reasonable price.

The thing is, pricing yourself correctly is HARD. there are so many things working against you when you're a small, local business trying to sell your wares. Like the fact that 99% of the products in your marketplace are manufactured overseas with poor ethical & enviromental standards and sold at a price that you'll never be able to match. And the fact that in your own community there are people who will operate at a loss on a hobby basis because they don't depend on the income from the business. And because people as whole have a mindset that cheaper is better and haven't been educated about the 'real cost' of their purchase.

Since the very beginning, we've always tried to price our textiles correctly. If it wasn't for the wonderful book Craft Inc., we might never have known about The Formula (as we have dubbed it), and by now we would have worked ourselves into the ground.

But fortunately we did know about The Formula (said with a reverent tone) and would like to share it with you today:

The Formula (guided by this book) and made pretty by me

What do you reckon? Sounds pretty full on, huh? All those x2's! Well let me tell you, those x2's are there for a reason and without them we wouldn't be here writing this post to you today.

Let's break it down:

Cost price
Your cost price is the cost of your time (or someone else's) plus the cost of your materials.

Time cost
If you're doing the work yourself you need to pay yourself an hourly rate. We calculated our rate based on what we'd have to pay someone else to do the job for us. Because if we got bigger, that's what we'd have to do. Make it a realistic figure. For us it's $20per hour. You might be able to work to a lesser figure, that's fine. If you outsource, remember to factor in any time you need to spend liaising with or managing your makers.

Material costs
These are your direct material costs, not equipment or setup. For example, we factor in the cost of our basecloth, our inks and our heat setting, but not the screen exposure.

Wholesale price

Your wholesale price is your cost price, doubled. Why double it? Because you need to cover all your overheads! Your rent, electricity, equipment, etc etc etc. If you were paying someone else for their labor then you'd be making nothing for yourself if you didn't mark up the price. Update - double might not work for everyone, everyone's overheads are different, but the important point is that you need *some* markup here. If you material costs are very high then double might be extreme, though it's important to remember that high material costs come with high investment and risk, which you should be covering yourself for.

Retail price

Finally, your retail price is your wholesale price, doubled. Again, why doubled? Because retailers will typically need to mark your goods up by 100%. That sounds extreme, but a retailer also has all of their overheads to cover, plus they have to factor in losses from goods that don't sell. Update - 100% is the standard for *our* industry. If your industry has a standard markup of say, 50%, then you can work to that. Do your research and find out.

The important thing to note is, you need to sell at the retail price (or close to it) in your online shop and at markets. Even if you don't wholesale yet. For three reasons:

1) Because when the time comes to start wholesaling your goods, you can't be undercutting your wholesale customers.

2) Because there are additional overheads involved in playing the role of retailer yourself - packaging costs, shop fees, time to photograph & list items, market stall fees etc etc.

3) Because you're potentially doing the rest of the handmade industry a disservice if you don't.

That last point is a crucial one. And a tough topic. On the one hand, it's important to acknowledge that not everyone can launch into their small business selling at a 'proper' retail price. And one could argue that it's those stallholders with more affordable handmade items that help keep our handmade marketplace a thriving and dynamic one. But on the flip side, other businesses who have set their prices at a sustainable level aren't able to compete. For example, a fully lined zip purse made from our fabric with the above formula would need to be sold for around $35. How often do you see these being sold at markets for $15 or less?

One last thing
Whilst we're here, let's just take a moment to reflect on how the above formula applies to a $15 t-shirt from a large chain store. Considering that some large retailers have markups of 200 or 300%, how much did the person who sewed that garment get paid? Society seems to be more educated about battery hens than their human counterpart.

We hope this post has shed some light for both customers and other business owners alike. We figure if we're going to selling fabric for $96 a metre and t-shirts for $45 then it's important for you to understand where those figures came from. And we hope you'll think about this post when you next think of someone's wares as being 'too expensive', or when you find you next 'bargain' in the stores.


Inklet onesies! Studio photography courtesy of Rebekah Lyn Photography

Cuteness of cutenesses, we finally have our Inklet onesies up in the shop! Yay! Some things just take a little extra time to get perfect, but we're so happy with how these have turned out :)

Inklet onesies! Studio photography courtesy of Rebekah Lyn Photography

Needless to say, all our onesies are locally & ethically made, using 100% organic cotton printed in our studio :)

Extra special thanks to Tai for loaning us Leo for our shoot, he is the cutest little man.

xx Lara, Dana & Teegs.