Miss L Fire recently had a virtual catch up with Jas, founder of the amazing accessories brand, Wicker Darling, one of our featured brands in our Valentine's Giveaway, to get a little more insight into her creative life.
We’re so happy you’re part of our Valentine’s prize basket! Thank you!
Your purses are just amazing and unique – WAY above and beyond ‘just’ vintage inspired pieces. How did you get started making such unique and no doubt, massively difficult designs?
I’ve loved quirky, novelty bags since my teens, but it was only in my late 20s that I started to develop a real love for vintage and wicker - and especially figural wicker - designs! A few years back, when I first dyed my hair pink, I decided the obvious choice for my next purchase would have to be a wicker flamingo. I spent months googling and generally on the lookout for one, with no success whatsoever, and it basically went from there. I just figured if I wanted (but couldn’t find) a wicker flamingo, I wouldn’t be the only one. I had some experience working with manufacturers on clothing, and figured it couldn’t be too different. I was wrong, it was an entirely different experience - I’m almost glad I went into it so naively, because if I’d known all the challenges I’d face along the way I’m not convinced I’d have gone through with the idea!
I was always told ‘don’t go into business with a friend’…but you guys seem to be doing great with that! What are your top tips for a harmonious (especially in lock-down) work place?
It’s very much just my business, but I work in tandem with other women who have their own businesses and expertise, and who I’ve chosen to work with because of their experience! At the end of the day, when it comes to Wicker Darling, the end decisions are mine, but if I’m working with someone because they have more experience and knowledge than me, there’s a reason for that - and I defer to their judgement!
Is there a company / brand that you admire & why?
SO MANY. So many. Any small, female owned business. People can be very dismissive of women pursuing a small business - friends and family, but also potential customers (how many of us have heard ‘I could do that myself’ or ‘but why is it so expensive?’ when people view our work?), and there can be a bit of a condescending attitude towards what we do as being a cute little side hustle for pocket money, casually run on the side. I honestly admire anyone who makes the decision to turn an interest or passion or years of training into a business of their own.
We’ve all been locked down, on and off this past year….what’s the first thing you plan to do once the world opens up again?
I’m based in Melbourne, Australia - we went through a LONG stretch of lockdown (March through to November!), but happily that has come to an end. I thought I’d race out with big plans, but in the end I’ve just been so happy to go and do the little things - going to the mall, having brunch with friends. Mostly just catching up with friends in public places (it’s such a relief to get out of the house for more than an hour!). Once the world opens up again, travel! We had to cancel a trip to Japan last year, so I’d like to reschedule that!
What’s the best movie or binge-worthy TV show that you’ve seen recently?
I’m on the Bridgerton bandwagon! There was also a really cute Australian show on Stan (an Australian streaming service) called ‘Bump’ - I loved that. I think we could all do with more fluffy, uplifting entertainment after the year we’ve had!
If you could name one ‘dream’ celebrity, alive or dead whom you’d love to see wearing your designs, who would that be?
Queen Elizabeth II. She always wears such bright colours, flawlessly matched top to toe. I can see one of our flamingos paired beautifully with one of her pink coats or dress jackets, worn in the crook of her arm.
Tell us what’s on your ‘to do’ list for 2021?
We have a pretty amazing line-up of new designs coming out this year, if I do say so myself, so finding opportunities to share these new designs and test-run them in public is on my to do list. More picnics, afternoon teas, and cocktails with friends!
Check our more of Jas's incredible work on the WICKER DARLINGwebsite, and be sure to enter our Valentine's Giveaway HEREfor a chance to win a Wicker Darling gift card, plus other amazing prizes from each of our partner brands.