What to do when a hobby goes wrong? Grow a business.

Dear Mabel Handmade's clay jewellery,
handmade in Australia by sisters Kylie and Lisa.
I am proud as punch to say I was one of Dear Mabel Handmade's first customers.

I met the lovely duo behind the jewellery brand at some small markets on my annual family summer holiday a few years ago. And my sister and I couldn't resist the fun of their designs!

Sisters Kylie (an interior designer) and Lisa (works in homewares) have rather accidentally grown their business substantially since those markets, labeling Dear Mabel a "hobby gone wrong"!

"We started experimenting with clay over four years ago when Kylie was pregnant with her fourth child, Mabel," Dear Mabel Handmade co-founder Lisa says.

Dear Mabel Handmade at the Brisbane
Finders Keepers markets in December 2015.
Note the cute planter made with clay scraps!
"We started small, very small by selling to friends. We were so afraid to put our products out there - our first market was in a tiny South Australian country town. We were blown away by the response and haven’t looked back."

"We are daughters of a mother who attends craft group every Wednesday no matter what, so I guess you could say creating has always been in our blood."

Reducing the waste produced from their jewellery designs led Lisa and Kylie to develop a whole new set of products.

"When we first started out we were finding we had a lot of scraps which seemed like such a waste, so since we’ve created many products that use these scraps such as Christmas decorations and planters," Lisa says.

"We source our supplies as much as we can locally. Most importantly we drag family and friends into our ‘sweatshop’ at every opportunity, so it doesn’t get more local than that."

Playful jewellery by the sister duo behind
Dear Mabel Handmade.
Sourcing locally - as many Australian businesses know - isn't without its challenges.

"It’s always been our aim to keep our product affordable. As we source most of our supplies locally it’s hard to compete in the market against other companies that source their supplies from overseas and those that import their product," Lisa says.

But that's not holding these mum-preneurs back.

"We are currently working on some other products and accessories that use mediums other than clay and silicone, so you’ll have to watch this space…" Lisa says.

I can't wait to see what these creative siblings come up with next.

-  Ash


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