About Liana

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Brisbane, Australia
My studio is located in Brisbane, Australia. For the past 10 years I’ve been enjoying creating jewellery designs from an array of mundane materials. Tupperware and knitting needles have remained a firm favourite. My designs have been published numerous times, graced the shelves of many wonderful galleries and stores and been worn by those whose aren’t afraid of colour and attention. All of which I am very grateful for. For several years I’ve also been fortunate enough to work with many businesses as a coach and workshop facilitator.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Art Of Selling Pet Rocks, And Other Business Lessons Learnt


Business seems to be in my blood. My parents migrated to Australia from German and Italy, as did many of my other family members. The majority of them at some point started their own businesses. There was jewellery (lots of jewellery!), building, raising Quails, selling sunglasses and of cause Tupperware (if you didn't already know it my mother was a Tupperware Lady for nearly 20 years, hence all the Tupperware jewellery).
Since I'd always been a bit creative and loved to build my bank account, when my Aunt suggested selling my wildly coloured pet rocks at her sunglasses stand at Paddy's markets, I was all for it. It was the seventies, so pet rocks were in! I must have been about 8 at the time, maybe younger? I remember clearly that we had to play with price a bit to get the sales and how I needed to make a sparkly and attractive sign. I also remember how exciting it was to receive my first stack of 50c pieces. I had made something and sold it. It was all very exciting! It still is!
As a teenager I was asked to bake cupcakes and biscuits for my parents friend's cafe. I was right into experimenting with baking at the time so this pleased me no end. But soon I realised that my yogurt kumquat cake wasn't a big hit and that the customers only really wanted large chocolate chip cookies. That didn't satisfy my creative needs but did lead to a lot more reorders. 
As a gift I painted a Waratah on a t-shirt for my Mother, who was a Tupperware Manager at Waratah Party Sales at the time. Soon after every Tupperware Lady at Waratah Party Sales, wanted their own t-shirt. I soon learnt that painting one shirt at a time was taking way too long, so I started asking for at least four shirts before I painted them. My hourly rate soon skyrocketed!
Running three little home based creative businesses, all before I finished high school taught me a few things. Some things I need to remind myself of even now.
The thing I learnt most, was that no business starts off perfect (or probably ever becomes perfect). You have to be willing to look at it objectively and make changes if you need to along the way.  Also, do the most creative things, but maybe also have that chocolate chip cookie in your range. The thing that you don't have to explain, that just sells.

Did you have any early experiences of business? If so, what did you learn? I'd love to hear.

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