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Join Gold Coast artist Kat Kalindi – a specialist in graphics, surface pattern design and illustration – to make your very own tote bag. We’re super excited to round up the kids and stamp out some style on a DIY tote with this cool, creative Kat! This is one of many workshops coming our way and it’s all part of a major exhibition, Coming into Fashion that kicks off at Gold Coast City Art Gallery this month. We asked Kat about her career in the arts and here’s what she had to say…

What was your inspiration to start your own business?
Definitely having my kids! I have a boy Tyler (aged 9) and a daughter Juniper (aged 7), I needed the freedom to work around their life, so I could spend the most time with them.

When did you know the timing was ‘right’?
I had been an in-house textile designer for many years before having kids and I planned on going back 6 months after having my son, however I found it really hard to leave him!  I decided if I could fit in freelance work and develop my illustration business around his life we might just be okay.

How did you make your big break?
Gosh I don’t know if I have ever had a BIG break! I think as an artist having a big break means having a steady stream of commissioned work and some lovely regular clients, I’m lucky to have some nice regular clients in local kids swimwear company www.sunemporium.com and cute baby goods company www.kippins.co. Developing these relationships is important and helps me to also grow my design business, which I’m excited to say involves working for other Aussie brands and just this year having my own range of fabric released with Spotlight stores www.spotlight.com.au. I will have another range released near the end of the year – which is space themed and great for boys, I know it’s hard to find nice fabrics for boys, so i’m really happy they selected this collection.

What was your training prior to starting your own business?
Before going serious with my own business I did graphic design and then moved into textile design, however on the side I always did little freelance jobs while I was working full time. I think that it’s super important to build up your side hustle while you are already working – before cutting out that main income, if you can help it. Also there are so many awesome courses online, I am a fan of doing workshops and courses to build my skills in areas I’m interested in, that I think might further my business.

kat_kalindi_studioWhat are the biggest challenges of being a businesswoman?
Doing the ole ‘work/life’ balance isn’t always easy really! If I have deadlines on a job, it requires me to work when the kids go to bed, but I find after I’ve picked them up from school, done arvo tea, homework, dinner and then bed routine – i just want to flop in the couch and relax too! Another challenge is discipline!! It’s easy to get distracted when you work from home, where you don’t have a boss peering over your shoulder, so having your daily goals is a must, to keep you on track and stop the mind wandering!

What is your top tip for maintaining a work/life balance?
My top tip that I’m loving lately is MEAL PREP! I am no expert on this yet, but even just pre-chopping veggies (our favs are broccoli, cauliflower and carrots). Having them in a container in the fridge ready to go, has saved me a few minutes at dinner time and made it easier to get more veg into the kids. I’m more likely to cook them if the chopping part is done. I don’t know if this relates to work/life balance – but I find as a Mum I might work on fun illustrations during the day, but i’m still thinking about my kids and their health,  so having these little things humming along helps take a teeny bit of pressure off.

What is your biggest learning since starting your own business?
It has taken me a while to figure this one out, but the best thing I think you can do when you are starting out, or even if you are established – is to have some small goals and big goals and then plan for your day, week and month a good ‘to-do’ list that helps you get to those goals quicker!

What do you do in your spare time to keep yourself sane?
Who said I was sane? Haha, ok. Well, funny thing is that I really love to draw or paint in my spare time, which in turn still relates to my work! My other spare time activity is having an exercise night with some girlfriends one night a week. I can’t stand the noise of gyms, but I want to move my body, so doing this is a chance to catch up and get fit. Also netflix series! TV is so good these days – hello Outlander!

What’s one thing other women should do who are looking to start their own business?
First things first, keep your current job, or at least go part-time if you can. You want to have a nice little steady income, enough to pay your bills and groceries and save what you can before calling it quits and starting your biz, I would recommend having at least 3 months worth of savings as a buffer would be nice. While working your job, start doing online courses, the internet is filled with amazing gurus – learn about social media and marketing, you want to do these things yourself first, or at least have an understanding of how they work, before you outsource it, or hire an agency to do these jobs for you.  Also, I just want to add – make sure you have your biz goals, and then chunk down some strategies to get you to those goals. Sorry, I know you said one thing, but I can’t help it, I like to share what I’ve learnt!

Tell us a bit about the workshops and why people should come along?
This workshop is going to be TOTE-ally awesome for kids!! I’ve crafted some super rad stencils that I know will appeal to both boys and girls, I’ve already had my toughest critics (aka – my own kids) give me ideas on what kids would like! I will teach kids different pattern formations, how to apply the stencils and paint for best results. There will be a wide range of designs to choose from and every kid will walk away with their own unique tote bag that they can re-use again and again!

ArtLab | DIY Tote Bag with Kat Kalindi
Saturday November 11, 2017
10am-11am (5-10 years) $10
1pm-2pm (11+ years) $15
Tickets // www.theartscentregc.com.au
Join Gold Coast artist Kat Kalindi to make your very own tote bag. Stamp out your style with your own hands, designing and creating something you can take home to wear, use, and talk about.

To find out more about Kat by visiting her website www.katkalindi.com or follow along on Instagram www.instagram.com/katkalindi.

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haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.