The next crafty person in the hot seat is Monda of Monda Loves fame.
1. What is the name of your business and how did the name come about?
The name of my business Is Monda loves…
Monda was a nickname I was given as a child (by my sister) and so it just seemed appropriate to use this name for my blog and shop. I refer to myself as Monda, and I love what I do, so the name Monda Loves… just emerged quite organically really.
2. Tell me a little about your business – what is it that you make and sell and where are you based
I make and sell softies and accessories, embroideries and stitched paper collages. I like repurposing old fabrics, wool, paper etc and giving them a new lease of life as something entirely different. A wool jumper becomes a softie, and old envelope becomes a texture in a paper collage etc. I am based in Berkshire, where I live with Mr Monda and our two baby cats.
3. What inspired you to start your business?
I’ve always been a creative type. In school I was always more at home art, design and technology and cooking classes than I was maths and science classes. My parents are both pretty creative too – my Dad is a writer and photographer and my mum can turn her hand to pretty much anything creative, so I suppose you could say it’s in the genes. I studied Design Crafts at Uni (Textiles and Ceramics), and despite not having a very creative day job, I needed a creative outlet, so started making and selling my work.
4. How long does it usually take for you to complete a piece?
I can make my softies in about 3 hours (depending how complex they are). The little postcards I’ve been making recently usually take about 40 mins each.
5. Where do you work?
Spare room – see pic below…
6. What would be your dream project?
Tough one – I have many many dream projects.
One current project which I’d like to complete soon is a quilt made from Mr Monda’s old cotton shirts. I have a nice little stash of them waiting to be cut up and turned into a snuggly quilt for our bed.
I suppose my ultimate dream project would be to write and illustrate my own children’s book. The idea has been brewing in my head for the last couple of years but I haven’t quite found the time for it yet.
7. What is the most challenging piece you’ve ever made?
I was asked by a work colleague to make a Vicky the Viking doll for her nephew. I was really excited about it initially but got so frustrated with it in the end. I was pleased with the result but could have thrown it out the window on more than one occasion whilst making it!
8. What is your favourite thing to do when you are not crafting/working?
I love cooking and baking, and this year I’ve also started growing my own fruit and veggies – which I find strangely relaxing and therapeutic. I’ll definitely be growing more next year.
9. Who are some of your favourite crafters/artists/designers?
I love Janet Bolton’s multi media embroideries, Oliver Jeffers and Gemma Correll‘s illustration, and Jasper Johns paintings. I could have listed a whole bunch of people here though – especially some of the bloggers I have ‘met’. There are some very clever people out there.
10. What inspires you / where do you get your inspiration when you are designing/creating your products?
I get inspired by lots of things – everyday objects and how they sit together, colours, photographs, flickr, magazines, greetings cards and wrapping paper…
11. What are your favourite blogs and what online site do you visit a lot?
Print and Pattern has to be one of my fave blogs.
A crafty online site I like is isak
A non crafty site I am addicted to is eBay – I’ve found some great stuff on there.
12. Where do you source your materials/supplies?
Ebay and boot fairs (old), local craft shop (new). I shop online quite a bit, mainly because I don’t have that much time to get out to the shops.
13. How do you balance your day job [if you have one] and your crafting enterprise?
It’s hard. In reality there are just not enough hours in the day for both, and the day job is a guarantee for my mortgage so it always takes precedence – sadly this is very much a head over heart thing. It’s amazing what you can achieve though if you just make the time. You do need a lot of passion and determination. If I’m not motivated I might just jump on the laptop and have a dig around in flickr and get a bit of inspiration.
14. If you could have any super power what would it be?
I guess that I would want to be like Hiro Nakamura and freeze time so I could have more time to follow my creative endeavours whilst everything else just stands still. I’d just put on some music and make lovely things. Perfect.
15. What is the last book that you read and enjoyed?
I’m reading ‘a spot of bother’ by Mark Haddon (who wrote ‘the curious incident of the dog in the night time’). I’ve had it for ages, but have only just started it – I don’t know why though because it’s really good!
16. What is the last film you watched and enjoyed?
Employee of the month – it made me laugh a lot!
17. If you won a million on the lottery tomorrow what would you do with the money?
I’d buy a nice big house where I can live with Mr Monda for the rest of my years. Maybe I would even build my own house in a big plot of land. It would be big enough for at least 3 children, dogs, cats, maybe a pet sheep or some pigs. It would have a nice big garden so I could grow all manner of fruit, veggies and flowers, and it would have fruit trees. It would also have a separate studio big enough for me and Mr Monda to work in – he could have one end and I’d have the other. I would volunteer to work for a charity – maybe RSPCA. I’d give my family plenty of money too. My parents could retire without worrying, and my brothers and sister could have enough to live out their dreams.
18. Where can we find your products for sale or see you products online?
I have two online shops at the moment www.monda.etsy.com and www.monda.folksy.com
Later this year I will also be taking part in Handm@de Oxford in November and at Reveal in Henley-on-Thames in December.
19. Any advice for other crafters out there who may want to start their own business?
The process of making, creating and experimenting is a continuous one.
Don’t be put off by things that do go according to plan or don’t sell as quickly as you expected them to.
Don’t be reluctant to sell things you’ve made that you may not absolutely love – not everyone has the same taste.
Promote yourself – get a blog, offer freebies, approach shops, and get out there and meet people.
If you have an online shop, fill it regularly. (I’m not so good at this, but when I do it, I have better sales).
20. What is your favourite recipe – savoury or sweet – care to share it?
I’m loving toad in the hole at the moment.
6 best quality sausages – outdoor reared if you can afford it
Splash of oil
115 g plain flour
3 free range Eggs
285 fl oz milk
Mix eggs with the milk, and then whisk into the flour until you have a smooth batter. Put in a jug and leave for 30 mins. Put sausages into an oven proof dish, with a splash of oli (olive or vegetable) and put into the oven at 200 degrees for 30 mins. After 30 mins crank up oven to 220 degrees, and pour in the batter. Cook for 15-20 mins. Don’t open the oven at all during this time as the batter will flop. Serve with veggies and gravy. Perfect!
Many thanks Monda for taking the time to answer all my questions.
All photographs taken with kind permission from Monda’s online shops/blogs.
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Do you want to get featured on this blog? ‘Milomade 20 Questions’ is going to be a regular spot on my blog which will showcase other crafters/designers/artists who work predominantly with recycled, upcycled and reused materials. If you are interested in getting featured then please get in touch.