When Helen became a parent for the first time, she very quickly realised how overwhelming it can be, especially in purchasing the right products for young children. There is so much available on the market that it’s difficult to know what’s needed; it’s not uncommon for disconcerted new parents to end up over-spending on unnecessary items.
“I was one of those parents! With my firstborn we ended up with multiple vacuum-sealed bags full of items that were barely used and worn by the time she was two,” Helen says.
When she became pregnant with her son, Helen realised she was more conscious about her purchases. She found herself wanting to find practical items that had multiple uses and were beautiful. However, she also realised there weren’t many items for boys that didn’t have trucks, dinosaurs, and superheroes all over them. As a result, Helen ended up making a capsule wardrobe for her son and found that she spent way less yet was still able to use higher quality materials.

“I then looked at everything from his swaddles to his nappy bag and started creating products that would make my life easier as a parent. The big thing I kept coming back to was quality over quantity,” Helen says.

Making the jump to small business

Helen has always had this passion for sewing, along with the creativity to drive it. In fact, she’d started a slightly different side business while working as a travel agent. Unfortunately, COVID-19 impacting the travel industry suddenly meant she was on stand down, with no idea of when — or even if — she would have a job to go back to. Suddenly, for the first time, Helen had the time to reset and research what she truly wanted her side hustle to become. She soon relaunched her small biz with new products and watched her business grow.

“Thanks to amazing markets like Perth Makers Market, it was an easy decision whether to return to my previous job or to keep following my dream.”

Helen sources all her fabrics from local Aussie small businesses, on top of designing a lot of her products from scratch. She cuts and sews everything herself in her hope office, and creates as much as she can in-house, including clothing labels and packaging.

Advice for new makers

When asked if she has any advice for anyone entering the handcrafted scene or looking to start their own business, Helen says research is key.

“Spend a good amount of time researching your ideal clients, your point of difference and how you plan to grow your business. This will save you time and money in the long run if you need to change direction because it’s not working.”

Helen believes the challenges of online competition and social media have been among the toughest she’s had to face as there are always more businesses popping up online every day — all showcasing similar items.

“I have tried to create different products or use different fabrics to keep that point of difference, but I am also a people person — the transition to social media and online platforms has been a bit more challenging as I like to show my products and have a conversation with people.”

Building community at markets

Helen believes the Perth Makers Market has been a huge reason she has been able to grow her business into what it is.

“(The Perth Makers Market is) such an amazing place to showcase my creations on a regular basis and grow an organic local following,” she says.

When asked what her favourite thing about the market is, Helen claims “(It’s) everything! The customers are always amazing, and I love seeing the regulars every market (even when it rains)!”

What's next for HelenMade Creations?

Helen tells us she has some super exciting things in the pipeline, most of which will likely be launched after Christmas. Her goal is that the business will continue to grow, and she hopes to open a small pop-up stall or boutique somewhere down the track.

Helen is offering a 15% discount for the HelenMade Creations online store for our readers. Use the code PMM15 at checkout for this exclusive deal!