The Travelling Kimono is the beautiful creation of two big hearted Sunshine Coast friends Janelle Rawlins and Tara Willersdorf (J & T). These two women have been so supportive of Grass Roots and are strong advocates of the Sunshine Coast.
GRB (Grass Roots Boutique): What do you love about working and living on the East Coast of Australia and does it influence your designs?
J & T : The early sunrise allows for our days to begin early, and the beautiful weather and coastline allows for us to pursue activities daily that are vital to who we are and what we enjoy doing, such as starting the day with a surf and a coffee. Working on the east coast allows for us to continue doing the things we love to do, whilst still having the time to productively deliver our successful brand, The Travelling Kimono. Been surrounded by such a beautiful community that wants to support us, does play a major role in influencing our designs, to ensure we can produce the best designs we can.
GRB: How did Travelling Kimono come to be, what lead to you creating a fashion label?
J& T: During one of our causal runs along the beach, Janelle expressed interest in designing a clothing line. Before either of us knew it, we were talking designs, sizes and most importantly how we could create products that were handmade and NOT massed produced. This was hugely important to us, so that we could feel proud of the whole production process, and not just the final product. Within weeks we were designing and planning our first collection.
GRB: What are the pros and cons to working with a business partner who happens to also be one of your best friends?
J & T: We have become like sister. Our ability to be brutally honest with one another, whilst constantly motivating each other, and being each others greatest support group, provides us with a strong, unified counsel through out our business endeavours. We also have similar interests, and most importantly values, with many of our ‘business meetings’ taking place amongst the waves or sipping a hot cup of coffee, our jobs are honestly the best in the business.
GRB: Tell us a little about Travelling Kimonos manufacturing process and what about that process is important to your label?
J & T : Our aim was to produce aesthetic, one of a kind handmade garments made and designed with love. We really focus on ethically sourcing our fabrics and make sure we look after the lovely ladies who hand cut and sew our designs.
When we first started this adventure we wanted to make a difference – it didn’t matter how big or small, but it was important that we could at least allow for our business to help support other lives. The world is no longer ignorant to the big brands exploiting children, animals and the environment through the production of their products. We wanted to turn the leaf within the fashion community and allow for our brand to benefit rather than harmfully impact others through ethically designed and made garments. These decisions have allowed us to feel proud from the creation of our products and allows us to share our design process with joy.
Men and Hien, two sisters over in Vietnam are the heart and soul of our manufacturing process. The designs we create as a team are provided to these ladies, where they take their time to create the beautiful hand made garments we deliver today. These ladies have become apart of The Travelling Kimono family and without them we would not be where we are today. Men and Hien have engaged with other members of the Vietnamese community, and our creative network has began to grow, allowing for our business to have a greater positive impact in their community, in that we are able to provide more families with work and income.
Grass Roots is all for supporting new designers and creative minds. Any final advise for anyone just starting out now?
Find an amazing support team, friends & family, you will need them.
And remember - If the plan doesn’t work change the plan, not the goal.