I’m Anthea, I live in Port Lincoln, South Australia, with my husband and two kids (8 and 10 years old).
I design and sell sewing patterns for soft toys, children’s clothing, bags and accessories, and whatever takes my fancy really!
I also create patterns for applique designs and have a large range available – mostly designs for children but a few are suitable for adults.
I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember so I guess I must have started quite young. My mum is a sewer so I’m guessing she taught me but unfortunately I can’t remember my first experience at the sewing machine. I remember making my own Barbie Doll clothes and things for my dolls house when I was a kid – I still have some of them actually and my daughter plays with them, however they’re a bit average looking!
I did sewing all through high school and still remember some of the great tips my teacher taught me. I haven’t had any formal training as such but I’ve done a lot of research myself and have basically learned through experience, and trial & error.
In 2008 I began selling my creations online, under the label Angel Lea Designs. I soon discovered that my passion lay in the design process rather than the repetitive sewing of items, so I decided to launch my own line of patterns. My patterns are easy to follow and include detailed step-by-step instructions, which are backed up by photographs, making them achievable for even the beginner sewer.
I have my own website and in addition to ArtFire I also sell on three other online venues. I have paper copies of my patterns in my local craft shop and am aiming to get my patterns into more bricks and mortar shops.
At the moment I’m working an office job 3 days a week so there’s less time to devote to my business, however, it is still going along nicely and I’m slowly adding new patterns to it. Something I need to learn is better time management skills so I can fit in everything I want to do!
My patterns are easy to follow and include detailed step-by-step instructions, which are backed up by photographs, making them achievable for even the beginner sewer.
I’ve had five patterns published in craft magazines which has been great for business and getting my name out there. I was lucky in that the magazines approached me after seeing my products online. My latest pattern, for Homespun Magazine, was the sole cover star which was super exciting, and I received a lot of great feedback about it. I was also a contributor to Hat Shop, a book of 25 hats under the Design Collective banner from Stashbooks.
I’ve had five patterns published in craft magazines which has been great for business and getting my name out there.
Currently, my bestsellers are my Eva dress (a girl’s tie-top pinafore style dress) and sun hat patterns, and my applique patterns are always really popular as well.
I have found that the best way to attract customers is to have really good photographs of your items.
I had a professional photographer photograph some of my items and I found that it made a big difference to sales of those patterns, and also to the overall look of my shop.
As already mentioned, I think photos are the most important part of the listing. They’re the first thing buyers see when they visit your shop. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to take great photos I would consider getting a professional to take the photos for you. Obviously this would not be cost effective for one-off items, but if your items are re-listable, (i.e. you make and sell the same item again and again), I definitely think it will pay off in the long run.