Sunday, February 28, 2010

While I was Gone...

Tara, one of the lovely women behind Scoutie Girl, was kind enough to feature Trove's newest Grafica range in a fabulous post!

It was great to see the big spike in website visitors and to get a tonne of wonderful feedback from Scoutie Girl readers and it put a real spring in my step!

Thanks, Tara. x

As an aside, any indie business owners or bloggers who may be reading this, I highly recommend reading Tara's personal blog Write Well, Create Often. Tara really knows her stuff and posts frequently with tips, advice and suggestions on how to improve your business' online presence. It's on my must-read list!

We Came, We Saw...

We kicked its arse!

Back home from our very first tradeshow - Life inStyle - and am thoroughly exhausted. But elated.

The whole experience was fabulous. The people I was fortunate enough to exhibit near, the buyers I met, the things I learned, the orders I took - it was all incredible and my head is still spinning.

I had hoped to take some more shots of the amazing labels and displays in First inStyle (the emerging label display space that Trove was exhibiting in) but it totally slipped my mind. But here are a couple of fairly ordinary shots the Trove stand.

I will be back later to share some more about the show and the past week, but for now I have six days worth of laundry to do and a house in desperate need of a tidy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Some Calm...

Before the storm.

I love weekends.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Last night I had nightmares.

Nightmares where I realised 2 minutes before the tradeshow opened that I left my stock at home.
Nightmares where everyone laughed at me.
Nightmares where I forgot to wear pants.

I may be over-analysing here, but I *think* I'm feeling a little anxious.

Happy Monday to you! xx

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Sneaky peeky at one of the concepts for the new collection, tentatively known as 'geometric'.


This is just the first step in getting the new collection under way, and was more about playing about with a brand new technique. I'm so so so pleased with the results though that I just want to dive head-first into designing the entire collection RIGHT NOW, but of course can do no such thing.

Life inStyle is my current focus and today calls for:
- Picking up printing (catalogues, linesheets, order books)
- Finishing display design
- Finishing fact sheet to go with buyer's pack
- Tagging each item on display with price, code, colour etc

And I also found out during the week that I've been accepted into the quarterly Handmade Market in Canberra, which I've heard is a fantastic market for both buyers and sellers. The first for the year is on the Sunday 28th March (10am - 4pm), so I also have that to look forward to and plan for.

Aside from that, it's the weekend soon! Family days! Swimming lessons! Gardening!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I don't know about you, but I've come to the realisation that I wear clothes. Not outfits.

I used to love putting together an outfit in my head - the right shoes, jewellery, bag etc. Now I usually put on a pair of shorts in summer (but I have made an effort this year to get into more skirts. It's been mildly successful) and jeans in winter. Various tops and a necklace or a ring if I'm lucky.

I miss wearing outfits, and I've resolved that this year I'll make some kind of effort each week to wear something a little put-together.

I have to admit, I'm frequently inspired by other bloggers who post their outfits (heart charlie, jena at modish, elsie at A beautiful mess) and would like to think I'll post some of my own outfits throughout the year. But I'm not making any promises. I am quite camera-shy.

But in light of this new-found sartorial enthusiasm, I went out and bought a dress. Well, it was an online purchase so I didn't actually go anywhere. But it was well on sale ($210 down to $40) so it's got that going for it! The label is Sophomore and I found it via Heart Charlie.

Good for autumn maybe?

We like to garden.

(Although not very well, by the looks of the sad, sad grass).

In my defence, this is the front yard which has remained virtually untouched since we moved in. In October. 2008.

The back yard is starting to look fantastic though. Really.

I have to plant some more perennial herbs (sage, mint etc) and put in some more native groundcovers before the end of summer. Then we plan to clear out the entire back section of the garden (if it's full of weeds and the dreaded rhus trees, I guess you can still call it a garden?), put down a slab of crushed granite in one corner, build a big frame to grow passionfruit or wisteria on, build a wood-fired pizza oven (or a fire pit) and convert the rest of the weeded garden into a mini orchard.

Not much really.

Current Challenge

The back is on the mend, thankfully, and after another session or two with the chiro and a couple of visits to the accupuncturist (who is on holidays. how rude!) should see me back to normalish.

So now that I can stay in the one position for more than a minute, my mind has turned to my display for Life inStyle.

The current challenge:

Fitting my entire wholesale range (three collections) into the First inStyle display space, measuring a whopping 108cm x 60cm.

That is approximately this size:

I am a very hands-on, visual learner/thinker (if I ever have to type something out, I first need to write it in full, by hand, and then type it out. Uni assessments were a bitch!) so I decided to get my head around the challenge in the only way I know - I spent a good couple of hours figuring out the best way to use the space by shuffling boxes about and imagining different props/risers that I could use.

Then I measured and drew it all out:

Then I tried to source risers that fit my requirements (probably should have done that first), then I discovered that said risers would cost a ridiculous amount, so then I had my own made up.

They arrived this afternoon and look fantastic, so I will show the set up tomorrow.

(I know I'm a massive nerd, but I have had a couple of people ask me about my preparations for the tradeshow, so I thought I'd show a little of what's been happening.)

Aside from that, I've been doing really boring things like getting my stock levels sorted out and documented so that I know exactly what's on-hand when orders are placed, as well as writing out my production process in full to develop accurate delivery times (info I already had stored in my head, but having it on paper will make the training process so much easier when I hire some help this year).

Rather excitingly though, I have also been working on the new jewellery collection (samples on their way) and the newer than new, very exciting home accessories line! Jewellery is absolutely my passion, but the techniques I use and the aesthetic of my work lends itself to bolder, more decorative uses too, and I've been working through the how's and the why's for a long time. It's great to be getting somewhere!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I have hurt my back. Bad.

And that means I can't sit at the computer (or anywhere for that matter) any longer than a couple of minutes at a time. So blog posts will be a little thin on the ground for the next while. Sorry!

This, of course, is fabulous timing. Sparky is flat-chat at work, Isy is STILL teething, I have a million and one last-minute things to do for Life in Style and I'm in the middle of building my inventory to an acceptable level after the Christmas Decimation.

Excellent excellent.

I hope you have a much better week!
Brooke x

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Speaking of Gorgeous...

Sally has started stocking the most delightful range of little'uns clothing by Brusselsprouts and I have decided that this. dress. is. gorgeous.

Little Isy and her blue blue eyes will look scrumptious in this peacock dress.

Gorgeous, no?

Creative Overdrive

This year will be the year that I learn to sew. Something. Anything really. I'd be happy to sew straight. Just some straight lines in fabric. That would be tops.

The jewellery started out as a hobby but has passed that stage (rather significantly) and now I feel I need a hobby-hobby to stretch my creative muscle in another direction.

I'm currently inspired by Ruby at cakies and Rachel from Smile and Wave and their effortless crafty-mama chicness, as personified in these gorgeous sewn love notes from Ruby:

I'm also smitten with the chevron print that's popping up all. over. the. place. (I know, maybe a little late to jump on that bandwagon). But it's such a classic print that I can't help myself.

As I think I mentioned a while back, Sparky and I plan to paint a canvas or two to decorate the new living room and I'm thinking something like this, from Jess at Make Under My Life might be a go-er.

I think we'd go grey or *maybe* a matte silver though.

I'm feeling very creative at the moment. The timing is a little poor though as preparations for Life in Style are at a fever-pitch. I'm sure it'll stick around until March though...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Give it away, Give it away, Give it away now!

To celebrate the launch of the new website we're having a giveaway!

All you need to do to enter is sign-up to our newsletter (there will be no inbox bombardment - just one newsletter every 6 weeks or so, where we'll tell you of sales, new stockists, VIP-only discounts and upcoming events) and you go in the draw to win one of two prizes - a Small Neckplate of your choice or a Brimming Necklace of your choice.

Tweet about the giveaway and we'll give you another entry. Lovely!

Entries close midnight (AEST) Thursday 25th February, with the winners notified via email on Friday 26th February.

(If you're already signed up for the newsletter on the new site, you have an automatic entry.)

More Good Things

Firstly, and most importantly, I made a BRILLIANT discovery over the weekend:

Cadbury Creme Eggs are back! And to celebrate, we ate some.

Secondly, and ALMOST as important, here are some fairly ordinary shots of the new packaging. (They will ship out with the perennial favourite black waxed cord around the box, and sometimes a pretty paper band, but you get the general idea).

I really do love the packaging though. Very pleased with the simplicity of it.

In terms of other good things:

Sparky and I watched two (TWO!) movies uninterrupted over the weekend. We watched District 9 (loved it, despite feeling vaguely ill throughout 60% of it - it's a little creepy) and Adventureland (also loved it - very cute. but not nearly as cute as Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. If you haven't yet seen this, SEE IT! You must. It's cuter than cute. Plus it has Michael Cera in it. Win-Win.)

We also went out for dinner with my folks. I know, not exactly a raging Saturday night, but it was lovely to be out in a restaurant, talking grown-up things, having a glass of wine.

In terms of other not-so-good-things:

We've had huge amount of rain in the mountains over the past 72 hours and as a result, the studio flooded. The newly laid carpet is drenched and anything that was on the floor (display items, packaging, shipping desk, sign used for markets) is now also drenched and mostly ruined. Tis a big bummer, for sure, but thankfully the new packaging wasn't out there and had this happened before the Great Studio Clean Up of 2010 it would've been a whole lot worse.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend, with more good than bad!

B x

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Good Things

As far as weeks go, this one feels as though it's been quite terrible.

There's been much angst from the little one (teeth giving her a lot of bother), the weather's been humid and atrocious, the doggy is driving us crazy with her mad landscaping skillz and I've been struck with a moderate case of the blahs.

But when I look at it, there have been so many more ups than downs. And I'm talking good ups.

- The new packaging arrived. And as I said on Twitter, " little label is growing up. first shipment of 'proper' packaging just arrived. looks incredible." I'll post some images shortly.

- I got myself an iPhone! Sure, everyone's doing it, but I am an Apple lover and my phone was on its last legs, so I conformed. And it feels good.

- I received word from the fashion editor of a big newspaper that there will be a feature on my jewellery come March. This as a result of a media push I did a couple of weeks ago.

- I brought together my thoughts and ideas for the next collection (see previous post). It's still very much a work in progress but I'm getting more and more excited about it every day.

- The lookbook and linesheets have been finished for Life in Style and will be printed next week.

- I was approached to apply (and did apply) for a new mentoring program that Australian Fashion Partners are putting together, called Fashion Business Boot Camp, which will take the participants through a number of topics that relate directly to small labels trying to establish themselves in the Australian fashion industry. The topics will cover marketing/sales, business planning, cash flow management, strategic planning, range development etc. It sounds like a great opportunity and I'm hoping that it will herald the beginning of the next stage for Trove.

So I guess, it really wasn't a bad week at all. Just the old mindset needed a shake-up. And the weekend is going to be fab-u-lous.

Isy's got swimming lessons, we have dinner (out! in a restaurant! with other adults!) on Saturday night and Sunday will hopefully see us visiting some friends for a beer and a chinwag.

So things ARE looking up. Which is good.


While these may not look like much, these teeny little chicken scratchings done in about 3 minutes at my cramped desk are the culmination of at least 2 months worth of mulling over. I've had some ideas in my head since well before Christmas that I wanted to incorporate into my next collection. (Yes! Next collection! Already! I haven't even taken Grafica to a single tradeshow yet.) And one night they crystalised in the old brain and I just had to get them out.

Next day I was in touch with my plastics guy, who is a real gem and quite creative too, hence more than happy to work with me on some new techniques, discussing the options. The samples are on their way and I should be able to test a few ideas next week. I am so excited! The creative fire has been relit in my belly. It's been a while, and it feels good to have it back.

So much of my work-time is now taken up with administrative tasks, marketing, media, sales and production that I don't have a lot of time to play around and experiment, so it's a wonderful feeling to have a new inspiration rolling about in the old head.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Picnics & Fun-time Photos of Strangers

Over the long weekend last week Sparky, Isy and myself headed off to the national park that is not five minutes drive from our house for a picnic. (As an aside, this was the first time we've done this since moving to the mountains over a year ago. Shameful, isn't it?)

It was such a welcome break from the painting and the tradeshow prep I've been throwing myself headlong into for the past month. Just to step away from the computer, switch off, drink a beer, go for a wander. It was lovely!

I took my brand-spanking new camera in the hopes of playing, but my battery died not long after we arrived. This is what I managed before it did though:

It was so quiet and green that day. Just a handful of people camped out throughout the whole area. Blissful!

And in the 'Makes Me Smile All Goofy-Like' file comes this gorgeous shot from another of my favourite blogs, Cakies:

What a wicked little family unit! This was their New Year's Eve party and I have to say, I'm a little jealous!