Today, I’d love for you to meet Bec Davies – the founder of Madeit.com.au. For those outside of Australia, Madeit is kinda the Aussie version of Etsy… but with its own heart and mission. Bec is based in the idyllic seaside town of Yamba, NSW, and today she shares her journey towards building the premier online handmade venue in Australia.
Can you take us on the journey of your creative career path so far? I know you’ve worked in a number of different fields…
After High School I went to photography school for two years. The course was very commercial and while I love taking photos, the thought of working in a studio wasn’t for me. I worked in the industry for a couple of years before moving to London for a year. On my return I enrolled in Bachelor of Visual Communication (Graphic Design) and returned to my Year 10 work experience career path.
When you launched madeit, were you working a full-time job, or were you already making a living from your own creative pursuits?
I was working full-time in a design studio in Sydney and left not long after we launched madeit. I knew my heart was with madeit and if I couldn’t give my full-time 100% then it was time to move on. I worked as a freelance graphic designer from home and while running madeit. My main client was a welding company and while the work was far from creative it kept the money coming in while madeit was growing.
Did there come a time when you had to make a choice between madeit and other creative pursuits (or your day job) – and how did you make that decision?
At the start of last year I decided I would work full-time on madeit. I loved working on the website and the work was increasing so I thought it was time to take the plunge. I also started to lose interest in my graphic design clients and once again, to be true to my clients, I let them go and madeit became my sole job.
Again, if you stop loving your job then it’s time to move on! People said, “Oh you should keep your big graphic design clients” – but my heart wasn’t in it, and I knew I was making the right decision.
I know you recently brought some employees into the business – how did you decide that it was time to take this next step?
Taking the step to employ was due to a tragedy my soon-to-be hubby Jayc and I faced in December last year, when we lost our daughter at 28 weeks. I wish I could have given another answer to this question but sometimes in life you are faced with such a tragedy, and to be truthful to my daughter Izzy I will never stop mentioning her.
Jayc was going to take this year off and be a stay at home Dad. Instead, I asked him to join the business and take over the support and technical side of the business while I got myself physically better. I have been working limited hours and slowly after 10 months I can feel the excitement and love return for my work.
Jayc has been a great help in the business. He has brought a different set of skills to the business as he was an application software developer in a previous life! Handing over some of my work has also allowed me be more creative – both in my business and personal life. I want to do a pottery course, draw in the spring sun, and explore printmaking more. I’m yet to achieve these but they’re on my list.
Now that both of us are working in the business we can’t believe that I previously did all the work. I guess when you do everything yourself you do an ok job, but when you have less jobs to do then you can do your jobs really well. We’re noticing the benefits of us both working in the business, like having the time to implement new changes and try new marketing ideas.
Jay’s sister Tian also has started working for us on a part-time basis. She looks after the forum and has taken on more of my work so I can be more creative and have time to do interviews like this! Oh, and Tian runs madeit on the weekend – yes, I recently had my first weekend off in 4 years!
What do you believe have been the key factors in making madeit a success?
• Lots of hard work – I have a theory that if you put in the hard work you’ll be successful.
• Clear communication to our customers – no matter if the news is bad we always opt to tell our customers, as generally people are very understanding with the truth.
• Always thinking the website can be better – this has pushed me and will continue to push me to come up with new ideas. We can always be better!
• The working partnership of my partner Jayc & I (mentioned above) – tech guy meets creative gal.
• Wonderful customer service – it’s easy to be polite and punctual to the people who pay your bills.
• Love what you do – the last but very important factor, if you love it success will follow. Yes I love my job! Don’t just start a business because you see someone else being successful. The above factors are some of the reason why businesses are successful. Remember, it’s not just about the idea!
Do you believe this is ‘it’ for you – or do you see yourself taking on different creative projects in future?
No this isn’t ‘it’ for us. Jayc wants to be a cheese maker, so being the entrepreneur I am, I’ll be working on making this happen for him. We would also love to own a small farm with a farm gate store and I would also like to be a letterpress printer. So many ideas!
Do you believe that creative entrepreneurs such as yourself can ever settle in the one project – or do we always need to be working on something new?
Gosh, no! As you know Jess, the brain doesn’t switch off once you have an idea, which means we creative types have numerous projects on the go. Not great for time management but hey, it allows us entrepreneurs to get some sleep each night!
One of my sellers once told me “You Snooze You Loose” in relation to an idea I had a number of years ago but didn’t act on. This statement is very true as now I see the design everywhere. Oh well – on to the next idea…