Talya Goding is the founder and designer behind Made With Love-Cards And Crafts, an online business selling beautifully handmade invitations, cards and party supplies. All of the items she sells are personally handmade in her home studio in Coffs Harbour in NSW.
She is passionate about her business and the creative process, as she explains:
“I love working with customers on a per-order basis as it gives me the flexibility and control around my schedule (such as working around my health issues), but I also love custom orders for the unique requests that get to be created. I also love that my work allows me to express myself creatively and that it is so dynamic – the challenge is to create each piece as different to the last order. To offer authenticity to my clients and my brand, no two orders are the same; they could be similar requests but I always endeavour to make each order individual.
Another way I make my work unique is through incorporating my love of composing poetry into every invitation created. This is through creating a unique verse/poem that helps to set the excitement and theme of the party. It is one thing that customers find really memorable about my work!
A new product I recently developed is a range of “will you be my bridesmaid?” invites, offering a unique and memorable way of brides-to-be asking their bridesmaids and the all-important Maid-of-Honour to be in their wedding. A lovely way for the bride to invite her friends to be in her bridal party.”madewithlovecardsandcrafts.com.au @madewithloveAU facebook
Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
Throughout my life I have experienced a lot of adversity and hardships and learnt to cope through using creativity as a coping mechanism. I have a love for art, writing (songs, poetry, stories), music/singing, and with my biggest passion being craft – particularly paper crafts.
The six months leading up to when Made With Love (MWL) was founded had been a rather stressful and overwhelming time.
I was married in July 2010 and a week later learnt that my dad had been diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer and that it was a rare inherited form called Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP for short) which has a 50/50 chance of being passed on. This type is so rare that only 1% of all bowel cancers are caused from FAP.
It was confirmed through blood tests and colonoscopies that I too had this condition and began seeing specialisits to discuss what the future held.
I wasn’t coping very well and had found no help through seeing counsellors but rather finding therapy in creating with paper such as handmade cards, and it was on valentines day 2011 that I created a card for my husband who suggested turning my love and passion into a business venture.
I knew there were a lot of people already doing handmade cards (online and at markets) and as my love was always more for birthdays and invitations (and after realising there was a gap in the market) decided I would focus my business on creating unique and handmade invitations focusing on children’s birthdays.
I believe every life is worth celebrating and really am passionate about creating unique pieces with the aim of creating a WOW factor for guests.
Please explain your business model
I create and sell unique custom handmade invitations, cards and party supplies. I sell these online both through my facebook page and also through my website. I work closely with customers to ensure their order is not only unique but it is what they love!
I have also recently started working with businesses and charities to create handmade cards suited to their branding either to be sold as a fundraiser for their respective charities or given to customers as a Thank You’s or Congratulations.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next three months?
The most exciting thing at the moment was recently celebrating three years since MWL was founded!
As for what I am working on at the moment, it includes a range of invitations for various clients – some include a mermaid theme, racing cars, jungle themed and more!
Other commitments I am working with are contributing a chapter to a book targeted to entrepreneurs, being a regular DIY coordinator for Where the styled things are, and also working on writing a book about my story and journey of starting a creative business at 19.
I am also releasing a new site/blog called feeling Ostomistic, which will be focused on sharing my story and journey around my various health issues (such as living with: a permanent ileostomy after having my bowel removed last year due to bowel cancer, stage 4 endometriosis, acute recurrent pancreatitis and more). I will also be sharing how this affects different areas of my life. I am hoping this will help support and empower other young people living with illness.
How do you make ideas happen?
I am a rather determined to make ideas happen and won’t give up trying until it works. Some instances could be new product range or design.
I often find that when I am working on a custom design and if there is an idea I have in my mind and try putting it to life that sometimes it doesn’t always work first or second go, but I don’t give up until it works. And when the idea and design comes to life it just makes me love what I do more!
What does your typical day look like?
My days are usually pretty full on from the time I wake through to when I head off to bed. I don’t work typical 9-5 hours I work almost all day!
I think it is important to have a schedule of what needs to be done/achieved that day which really helps with productivity and time management.
I also take regular breaks which help me to stay focused on the task at hand.
Most nights I work up until around 4/5 am and some nights I work right through to 9am if I am on a tight deadline.
People often think I am crazy for the amount of hours I work and lack of sleep but I love being busy!
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?
I found when I announced to family and friends that I started my own business that most weren’t very supportive and were pretty discouraging. Most told me that I wouldn’t last more than two months, others said it was a stupid idea with the worst being someone saying “your work is [email protected]#t and I wouldn’t buy your products so others won’t either”.
Their lack of support only made me more determined to work harder to prove them wrong, which I have!
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
I have been thinking about a subscription service where customers pay a fee and in exchange they receive some DIY card projects to make card kits.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
I believe business plays a pretty massive role in society and in creating social change. I know there are people out there like myself who struggle working a ‘normal’ job due to health issues and being an entrepreneur and your own boss can help make the world of difference to someone’s life, whether it is financially or spiritually by providing self worth.
I have struggled for years with depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorders, which at times have affected how I coped with adversities and was rather difficult. I was lucky I could use my mental health as a strength – and the reason I started my business – and everyone noticed the biggest change in myself within weeks. I use my business (and being so busy with it) to cope with what is going on and it deters my focus away from thinking and dwelling on it. I know I am not alone in that, and I hope I can help inspire others to follow their dreams and turn their passion or idea into a business.
Speaking of affecting social change, is there a particular charity you’d like our readers to support?
YES this is a fantastic idea! I would love to support CanTeen!
CanTeen have been a massive support to my family after we lost my Dad to his cancer battle in 2012 (he was 41), when we (my siblings and I) became members. Canteen have been so supportive especially for myself after I had my bowel removed when I was 22 because of bowel cancer. I know firsthand how import the work and services they provide are, and have met and developed some great friendships with people my age who have been affected by cancer.
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
Well of course the first would be my own 😉
I am loving a site called she shopped (which is definitely going places) and Lucy the director is amazing to work with and so supportive of unique ideas!
And Build a Little Biz is another great site helping others build their business in an authentic way. The resources are so incredible and helpful!
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?
I have a dream and that is having my own studio (external to my house) where I can create, host workshops/classes and meet with cliental – which is in my 5 year plan!
But the immediate future opportunities I would love to have help with marketing, social media management (more in increasing engagement) and help with photography – I really would love to find someone to work with who can really capture the awesomeness and wow factor of my products!
I also have been trying to find (without much luck) sites or courses to help with writing more: in helping with blog writing and learning how to write in a way that tells your story, but also is inspiring and empowering to others.
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?
I have a large social media following, but a low engagement rate. How can I improve this as nothing I have been doing is working and I would love to have a raving social media following/exposure!
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
I love a local Indian Restaurant called the Taste of North India down at the Jetty in Coffs Harbour.
We thought it would be cool to crowdsource an annual prize to award to the interviewee’s choice (each person interviewed gets one vote) winner for the year’s best interview. Are you willing to kick in a prize?
Yes I would love to chip in for a prize, I don’t know what it is that I can offer but I know I would love cash or social media help!