Clare is a 28 year old absolute BABE of a mum from Brissy. She likes unnecessary amounts of cake, rainy days, floppy dog ears and her son's 9-tooth grin. But don’t we all! Clare highlights two major stresses for makers: we spend half our day trying to post three decent instagram pics, and that admin is the DEVIL.
Four features down, and our Fat Mango features have all shared the same success: managing a full time instacareer (and successful online biz) instead of the 9-5 routine of life! Maybe one day Fat Mango will take the brave leap our other maker friends have taken, leave our full time teaching careers and take over the insta world… but until then, heres another 9pm blog post!
Clare, April 2016
I started Bon Maxie officially in September last year (2015). I have always been a drawer and painter and have painted commissions for quite some time. I'd become quite busy with my job and stopped painting. When I had my son (he's now almost a year old), I was at home feeling out of my depth and just plain lost. I picked up my paintbrushes again and did a few portraits here and there. Then work picked up. I started feeling like I was regaining a bit of myself back again as I got busier and realised that I could probably make a business out of my art. So with 6 weeks left of maternity leave, I gave myself a deadline to open an online store!
My day is usually all over the place - I have good intentions to lead a scheduled life, but that just never happens! I try to clean the house first up in the morning during my son's nap, then admin work. Then when he's awake, we're playing and I sometimes work on some orders for a little bit if Max is content on the floor. Then lunch and errands/shopping/post office run - then back home for more naps and admin work (why is there so much admin?) - then 4-7pm is walking, bath time, dinner and bedtime, then I get into hardcore painting and packing! I try to avoid the computer at night as it tires me out but I'm often up past midnight in the zone. I've gotten a lot better at just stopping and going to bed recently though as I'm a grumpy lady the next day with lack of sleep.
I really love painting custom portraits - they're so personal and there's always a special story behind the photo. It's also really cool knowing I'm on the only one who can make that product in that particular style!
Best and worst things of being a girlboss:
I feel like I spend about 5 hours a day trying to post 3 Instagram photos - and I haven't even properly tackled Facebook yet! I constantly have about 15 things I want to get done RIGHT NOW, so I never quite feel relaxed or on top of running my business. There are always 20 more product ideas in my head, and I get really impatient that I can't launch them then and there. And self doubt. That's a downer. On the flipside, I love the sense of achievement when I walk into the post office with my orders and most of all, I love happy customers - online shopping means you don't often see the face of your customers, but it's so amazing when I receive a happy email after they've received their order.
Thoughts of giving up?
Nope. I'm only in the early stages of Bon Maxie and I've got too many ideas to give up! Although sometimes I feel overwhelmed when I have lots of orders due, I know exactly what I need to do to get through them, so I just take the next logical steps to do so, and I'm back on track to feeling in control.
Instagram has really opened my eyes to the amazing stores and creators out there - my inspiration is all of them. There's a huge community of Australian artists and business owners who've started from the ground up, and seeing them pursue their passion makes me feel like I'm absolutely on the right track to treading my own path.
I do stalk a lot of stores' Instagram pages - I really love what Lecky does (fluoro acrylic frames), I think the Interior Motives poster hanger is genius!
I really truly absolutely love every single one of my customers. Honestly. That and I sometimes post gobbledigook comments on people's pages, but it's because I'm falling asleep - if you've received one, that's why!
There are a lot of different types of products in my store, and they start from $8 and go up to $165 - custom portraits start at $60 depending on size and material and are priced depending on how many people are in the picture.
Make sure you check out Clare's website, http://bonmaxie.bigcartel.com/, especially to read her 10 things about her... hilarious!
If you think you've got what it takes to be the Fat Mango MAY Feature, flick us an email!