Designer Interviews – Custom Made

Custom Made’s eclectic range of jewellery is always a customer favourite in the HZ shoppe, so its designer Anna Butler was a natural choice for our next Designer Interview!

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Aimee talked to Anna about her process and her inspirations, and received some wise words for aspiring designers.

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How did you get Custom Made started, and do you have any advice for other people who want to start their own business?

I started Custom Made when I decided to leave my job as a Menswear Designer. I had always wanted to work for myself so decided to make the leap. I was lucky because I worked freelance as a designer for a couple of years also so I could balance that with growing the business.

There comes a time when you need to make the leap to just the business though if you want it to grow. I think that pretty much becomes apparent when the time comes. It did for me, and talking to pal that also run small businesses I think it’s pretty common. Advice? Well, you need to really believe in and have a passion for what you are making/selling. Believe me its bloody hard work. There will be times when you feel like giving up BUT you just have to keep on going. NEVER GIVE UP!

Also now there are so many good resources for info on selling, wholesale, making social media work. So much more information than when I started Custom Made. At the end of the day though working things out for yourself are very gratifying.

Oh and I cannot stress enough KEEP ON TOP OF YOUR ACCOUNTS. If you are discovering at the end of the year you haven’t made any money its too late to do anything about it. Know what’s gone into your bank account and out on a daily basis. As soon as I started doing that by business flourished.

Also cost your products correctly. Never ever be a busy fool.

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Can you tell us a bit about your manufacturing process?

All Custom Made products are made/assembled in the studio. I have an industrial sewing machine and overlocker. All our purses and clutches are designed, pattern cut, cut, made and finished in the studio. With the jewellery, lots of our items are constructed using laser cut acrylic and metals stampings. I design all the jewellery pieces, they are cut by a laser cutter and then assembled in the studio. I have just added a new big long assembly desk. It’s great to work at and my cat has her bed at one end so when I’m alone in the studio I still have company! Spending time making jewellery is a great way to spend the day.

How do you come up with ideas for new designs?

I always find this question really hard to answer as it’s different for each product and collection. With the laser cut acrylic jewellery I spend a lot of time making shapes in illustrator and playing with colour. As I said I use cut acrylic shapes and metal stampings. I usually print out sheets of shapes I have drawn and lay metal pieces over them. I am very inspired by colour and shape and spend lots of time playing with both.

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Are there any other designers or artists you find particularly inspiring?

I really love Scout Editions. Everything about their work is beautiful. Beautiful colours, and beautiful artwork and products.

Do you have a favourite item in the Custom Made collection?

My current favourite is the Curve Necklace. They are so simple but the contrasting colours in each makes them. They are also very satisfying to make! They have also been super popular so I’m very happy. I still, after all this time love that fact that I make products and people buy them and wear them. It still blows my mind and makes me happy.

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What does the future hold for you and Custom Made? Do you have any exciting plans lined up?

I’m always on the look out for exciting projects and events. There are a few things in the pipeline that I cant really talk about at the moment. But I just want to keep doing what I do and just keep making Custom Made better. Every day is a school day.

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Our thanks to Anna for sharing an insight into her beautiful designs!

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