August 19, 2008



It's been a bit of a slow start to the day - which has actually been quite nice!

Today I am really pleased to welcome Shelley Gardner and Paula Mills to the Design Alphabet.

While living miles apart, Shelley in New Zealand and Paula in Australia, these two sisters still manage to create a fantastic range for their Sweet William store. I interviewed Shelley last week and she filled me in on how these two creative gals work... here's the goss...

Your name: Shelley Gardner and Paula Mills

Your Location: Kapiti Coast New Zealand and Melbourne, Australia

Your Website / and

Your and is my personal blog is Paula's blog is

What is the name of your business? Sweet William

What are the origins of your company name? My sister and I live apart, but we both thrive on creativity, so we decided to put our heads together and came up with 'Sweet William' (named after our big fat Persian cat we both loved while growing up). So this is all about things we love - from drawing, to sewing, crafting, print making, doodling and sketching.

What do you create? Paula is the designer, illustrator and loves to create with pen and ink.I'm a sewing and making kinda girl and I'm producing lovely softies at the moment inspired by my sisters drawings. Hopefully this will lead to lots of lovely creative things to add to our shop.

What do you find inspiring about the location in which you live? I am fairly new to New Zealand (from South Africa) and I am really enjoying the lovely community spirit. I belong to a craft group called "Little Gem Session" and they have truly inspired me. Melbourne is an exciting and vibey city.

What else inspires you? / Where do you get inspiration for your projects? I love looking through books that are amazing - textiles and culture, and craft books. I am also into the net - I wont deny that blogs are very captivating. I will get a big kick out of textiles and anything haberdashery. Lovely things from a bygone era also make me twitter.
My sister loves pattern and colour - She can't get enough of it - and would die in a monochrome world! She is influenced by pattern and colour everywhere - from nature to wallpaper.

If you have a ‘day’ job, what is it that you do? Teacher (re-training at the moment)

What keeps you creatively motivated? I have become addicted to craft markets - Craft2.0 and Pataka market are great fun and I love selling directly to people - the face to face interaction is a rush. I have quite strong views about providing alternatives for the consumer who wants more than factory mass production with all its nasties.

How would you describe the NZ craft / design scene at the moment? Hot! its great to be part of such buoyancy. New Zealand is so small - and that is a challenge in terms of market - but what it lacks in population it makes up for in enthusiasm.

What advice would you give to someone starting a creative business? You need time, lots of time to make your goods. Don't be afraid to start small. Just start. Join up with a friend - it will boost your confidence and make it more fun.

Thank you so much Shelley for sharing how you and Paula create together!

shop at Sweet William on Etsy
shop at Sweet William on Felt
read Shelley's Blog
read Paula's Blog


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the feature. Its always good for the 'ol ego.

Paula Mills said...

Great -thanks for the interview! Great blog!