Textile designer, Ali Benyon runs her design business, Cheeky Pickle from her tiny studio on the Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne. She is incredibly passionate about design, pattern and texture, she loves to create visually exciting and tactile art, using her unique style and favourite technique of stitching into paper.
Cheeky Pickle is all about fresh, modern and contemporary design and we just love these gorgeous little hand made items…who doesn’t love something that is made with so much love!
Here’s our chat with Ali about starting her own business and her advice for people doing the same…
Tell us about you and how Cheeky Pickle started?
“At the tender age of 18, I was first introduced to a sewing machine on my Foundation Arts and Design course in my home town, grey and rainy Manchester, in the U.K. At long last everything made sense to me, my creative ideas were suddenly realised and I’ve hardly been away from a machine since.
A Textile Arts Degree, an established Textile Design career, lots of travel, two gorgeous kids, a tired hubby, a scruffy dog named Dougal and many years later, I am still using the sewing machine as the main medium for my work. However, I now work from my little design studio on the Mornington Peninsula, in gorgeous Melbourne….where thankfully, it doesn’t rain so much!
I am truly passionate about design, pattern and texture and I love to create visually exciting and tactile art pieces. I find it hard to literally stay in one place for long, both physically and with my design ideas, and am brimming with new and fresh concepts every day.
Because of my gypsy ways, Cheeky Pickle is a real eclectic mix of designs. However, I try and inject the same fresh, simple, bold and contemporary base notes in to all of my work which thankfully my customers seem to love.”
What has surprised you most about starting your own business!
“I started Cheeky Pickle about two years ago and what has surprised me the most is my own determination to make it work. I knew running a business from home with a couple of children running around wasn’t going to be easy, but I had no idea just how much hard work and how frustrating it would actually be. Having very high expectations doesn’t help either!
At the beginning I really struggled with working alone and decided to reach out to other handmade artists in the way of a series of chats on Facebook. The chats grew and strong friendships and connections with other artists were made. This really helped me to push my ideas forward and gave me the confidence to carry on.
Soon after I turned this much needed support in to a series of blogs. The blogs were extremely popular and once again I totally surprised myself as I had no idea that I could actually write. Not only that, but people wanted to read what I wrote! It still baffles me now!”
What’s next for Cheeky Pickle?
“As my children grow and head off to school, my time is being spent more and more on the business. Already I can see that my work is maturing and heading off in to new directions. Textiles is the next area I would love to conquer. So look out for Cheeky Pickle tote bags, Tea Towels and cushions! I also continue to write and have been asked to write a few magazine articles, which really excites me.”
Do you have some advice for our readers?
“If you are heading in to the handmade world and have decided that you want to turn your dream in to reality. My advice would be to walk not run. If you are determined, don’t stress, your time WILL come. Others may seem to be taking leaps whilst you are still on baby steps. Don’t worry, be happy for them, get your head down and stay on your path. It WILL happen. I would also suggest making connections and networking with others in business via facebook/Twitter and other social networking tools. If it wasn’t for my FB buddies, I would have given up this business malarkey a long time ago.”
More pics of Cheeky Pickle products:
Thanks so much Ali…love love love these gorgeous pieces. We can’t wait to see the next installment of your products! xxx
To read all of the inspirational blogs mentioned, head on over to Ali’s Blog