Elizabeth Jackson of Elizabeth Park Collections personally hand-knits and crochets each individual piece as per your custom order and goes to the extra extent to make sure that she uses 100% Australian Superfine Merino wool sourced from other small businesses located within Australia too. So we talk about how Elizabeth is fulfilling orders whilst meeting demands and what are her current marketing methods as a small business owner.
Great to have you Elizabeth, can you introduce yourself to us?
Thank you for having me! My name is Elizabeth and I am the head maker and creator at Elizabeth Park Collections. I am a single Mum of two growing, energetic boys; my eldest is 8 and my youngest is 6 years old. I first began the business after suffering from Postnatal Depression when my youngest son was 2 and a half.
A very close friend suggested that I should start making for clients as a form of therapy for myself and turn a hobby into a business. So, Elizabeth Park Collections was created! I never imagined it would grow to what it is today. I am truly humbled with how the business has grown and the amazing people I have met along this incredible journey so far.
You are offering personally hand-knitted and crocheted each individual order, how long does this typically take?
Each piece varies in completion time. Baby bonnets and booties are relatively quickly knitted, often in an afternoon whilst watching a movie with the kids. Whereas, larger pieces such as 2-metre scarves or cowls take approximately 4-6 weeks.
How are you fulfilling orders and what are your marketing methods as a small business owner?
I only take orders I know I can fulfil in a particular timeframe. Often I am booked out months in advance; even with Christmas orders, I am booked from September onwards. I do unfortunately have to turn clients away – as much as I don’t like to, but my little hands can only knit and crochet so fast.
My main marketing method is using Instagram. I believe it is an effective marketing tool with the right hashtags and tags. I am so very lucky that I have beautiful, wonderful clients who are happy to share their candid snaps of their pieces being used. I also like to show behind the scenes videos, to show the process that goes into each handmade piece. It seems to be a hit with the online community.
What is a typical day like for you?
Currently, I am working school hours in a day job, so now, my nights once the children are in bed are my dedicated making time. Often binge-watching tv series on Netflix whilst knitting or crocheting custom orders. I also love making on plane trips, though I have to be careful with some flights with my needles.
Who is the most influential female branding powerhouse that you admire and why?
Tough question, because there are so many but to name just one; Emma Watson. A young girl when she was thrown into the spotlight but has managed to navigate the perils of the showbiz world whilst still staying true to herself but continuing to study behind the scenes and evolve into a beautiful woman, becoming such an inspiration to young women all over the world. She has shown dignity and class, not had to bare her flesh to get public notoriety and has spoken out publicly despite the potential backlash from the world. I don’t have a daughter but if I did, she would be the inspiration I would want her to look up to.
How are you working on your own personal development?
When I have a few spare moments, I try to be kinder on myself. By listening to podcasts, music and taking brain breaks – walks or a dose of fresh air improves my mental health and wellbeing completely. I do try to get together with fellow crafty makers and talk business ideas with them. One goal for this 2019 year was to meet more local makers and so far, I’ve met a few!
The best lesson learnt throughout the business building so far?
Oh gosh, there’s a few, but one I suppose is, to be honest with clients. I am always honest about my timeframes and the products I use. I try to use 100% Australian Superfine Merino wool sourced from other small businesses located within Australia too. If a customer or fellow maker asks a question, I answer it. I don’t have any secrets on how I make pieces, I love to share the knowledge and spread the joy!! I have found some makers are very defensive about their methods or patterns – me, nope, I love to share that around! I probably over the tag in some of my photos but I feel it’s important that those tagged are credited for their hard work.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
Be yourself. Be true to yourself. Don’t follow the crowd, be unique by doing what you want and are passionate about. Find your own rhythm and stick to it.
In which areas are you looking to grow and expand within the next 3-5 years?
It’s hard to expand with handmade pieces as I don’t want to lose the quality control or ability to make each piece. I would love to be able to continue making pieces for clients, potentially making a living off it alone and not need the paid day job. One can dream, but there’s always potential there for the future. I could use a machine to knit pieces, but to me, hand-knitted it best. It ensures each piece is 100% unique and unlike the next. Making them in my eyes, truly bespoke.
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