Lifestyle & Culture

Handmade Creatives

Feeling a little lack-lustre lately? Lacking motivation to get creative? Well get inspired because Josie Small looks at some fabulous small creative businesses operating during COVID.

COVID-19 has left a lot of creatives in the dark about the future of their employment. On top of this, UON recently announced that they were cutting the BCI Program from 2021, leaving a lot of current BCI and MCI students, as well as creatives working in the Hunter region, uncertain about their future and where they fit in during the current restructuring of the workforce. Luckily, there are a few local creatives that have been proactive during these trying times, many of which have established small businesses that they promote on Instagram. Take a look at these small creative businesses and become inspired once more!


Scents by Soph (@scentsbysoph_)

Scents by Soph, established by Sophie Hanlon, is a candle business specialising in handmade Australian soy wax scented candles.

Sophie decided to open up this Instagram business during the initial stages of the COVID lockdown back in April. “I was keeping myself busy by trying a range of hobbies to keep me sane. One activity I tried was making some candles. I posted it on Instagram and before I knew it, friends were asking if I was selling them. I had absolutely no intention to sell the candles I made – it was purely to be keeping busy during iso (and make the house smell nice).”

Although starting a business wasn’t the initial plan, Sophie is glad she did.

“Like I said, I didn’t really have any intention to sell my candles so when I offered them to friends and family, I couldn’t really keep up with the demand. However, it was definitely worth it as it kept me busy and inside during COVID.”

Something that Sophie has learnt since opening her own business is to not bite off more than you can chew. “It’s always good to set goals and have something to aim towards, but don’t over do it. Don’t stress yourself out – especially over what i[s] meant to be a fun little hobby.”

And finally, something that Sophie has learnt since opening @scentsbysoph_ is to, “Pick something that you enjoy doing and also something that people will love buying” in order to be successful.


Picked for Purpose (@picked.for.purpose)

Picked for Purpose is an Instagram page run by Taylah Hodson, where she sells dried floral arrangements.

Taylah initially started this page because she has a passion for dried flowers and creating individual decor pieces. “I started this as a little side business for family and friends who were asking me to create them some pieces after seeing some arrangements I’ve had around my house for the last couple of years. But then word of mouth spread and I’ve had more and more interest. So alongside my nursing career I had started making arrangements.”

When asked if she thought that opening up her own business was worth it, Taylah replied with, “Yeah definitely, especially being an online based business, during COVID it has given me a lot to do and keep busy during these hard times. It’s been an exciting journey that’s given me confidence and a feeling of empowerment knowing I’ve achieved this business. It’s become a lot bigger than I ever imagined.”

Since also starting her own business, Taylah has also learnt that one of the most important things that you need to do is back yourself!

“I would always second guess myself and stare at the one single arrangement for hours and continue to change it up. Now I know that people like what I’m doing and I’m a lot more confident on my work!”

Taylah also highly recommends that if you are looking at starting your own small business selling creative goods, that you should definitely give it a crack – “It may be amazing, it may not, but at the end of the day you tried, you worked hard and gave it a go, and you can leave knowing you have no regrets.”

View this post on Instagram

Those peach tones 😍

A post shared by P I C K E D For Purpose (@picked.for.purpose) on


Tegs Makes (@tegs_makes)

Another small business owner is Tegan Bakic, the owner of Instagram business Tegs Makes. Tegan sells handmade macrame decor and accessories.

Tegan’s reason for wanting to open up her own personal business was due to the fact that she adored her craft so much that she wanted to show off her work as well as sell it. “I’ve always loved creating and crafting so I decided to try macrame last year and fell in love with it. I was originally aiming towards selling at the markets but with everything that’s happened this year I’ve had to keep it mostly online!”

When Tegan was asked if she thought that opening up her own business was worth it, she instantly replies with, “Yes! I’ve only become more motivated and passionate about it as I go!”

A key point that Tegan also makes about opening and running your own business is that there is no business if you don’t make it your focus. “I haven’t stopped making since I started my first macrame and I’ve had to learn a lot in that time, not just with macrame but social media, photography, editing, pricing and branding.”

When asked about any recommendations for someone starting out, Tegan straight out says “Just go for it.” But again, also make sure that the business is your focus.


Designed by T (@d.esignedbyt)

One of our fellow Yaks, Tara Louis, also manages her own online business! She specialises in painting terracotta pots with unique hand painted designs, as well as painting on acrylic paper and canvases, and creating digital artworks -“I’m all about making art affordable for the everyday human.”

Tara’s reasoning for deciding to run her own business came around whilst in her final semester of her Communication degree.

“I have always loved art and was once upon a time going to pursue a career in art (I wanted to be a curator). So I decided to build up an Instagram and following so that I could see what it was like to create something from the ground up in the hopes that it would help me in my comms career. As well as allow me to create art in my spare time!”

When asked if she thought Designed By T was worthwhile, Tara couldn’t stress enough that it most definitely was – “A lot of the people I know had no idea that I was creative or artistic so it was cool to be able to share that with people publicly. To have my designs or creations in people stores or homes is the coolest feeling in the world and I never thought that it would happen! I think people um and ah and give up before it event starts because they’re too scared things won’t work out, but who cares, if nothing comes of it then you have learnt a lesson instead!”

Tara also talks about how – even though at the moment this is a little side gig for her – much work actually goes into running and managing your own business.

“I have learnt that it’s like a full-time job and it requires a lot of time and energy. I do this side hustle alongside work and study so it has been interesting to see how many different roles you have to play in the one business.”

And finally, Tara recommends to those who are enquiring about starting their own business to, “Make sure you’re doing something that is a reflection of yourself and do something that you will thoroughly enjoy because when it’s taking up all of your time you want to be able to enjoy it!”

Feature Image by Tara Louis, Founder of Designed By T. Used with permission, no changes made.


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