Close Up with Joanne King From Little Chillies

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

I design and run a children’s fashion label, with a ladies’ label in the wings.  I’m also a busy mum of two and a Doctor of Clinical Neuropsychology.

Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?

My inspiration to do what I love comes from internal forces.  My husband would describe me as obsessively driven, I wonder if I’m a touch narcissistic, but I think it’s just that I have a great need to accomplish something fulfilling in life and create my own success.

Where do you get your inspiration from when you design?

I love looking at images of old fashion icons, vintage pictures and fabrics, vintage paper dolls, trawling through Japanese craft books and keeping an eye on European colours and styles.

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?

Ambitious, driven, organised, friendly and talkative.

Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?

 I first worked as a cashier in a Game Zone while studying my first year undergraduate studies at University.  While I completed my Honours and Postgraduate studies I worked in a few different industries: hospitality, marketing, and sales.  When I finished my studies I worked in Australia and overseas as a Clinical Neuropsychologist in brain injury rehabilitation and neuropsychiatry diagnostics.  In the background, I’ve always had a passion for drawing, painting and designing garments – but only at a hobby level.  When I went on maternity leave with my first child, I felt free to pursue my creative passions and Little Chillies was born

Describe a typical day in your studio space?

Attempting to do bits and pieces between the mum duties during the day (meals, kinder drop offs, ballet, etc) but it’s very difficult and chaotic.  Calling a customer or retailer, packing an order, chasing up my maker, pattern maker and sampler are just some of the tasks I try and get done.  Typically I don’t officially start any ‘productive work’ until 8pm to 2am, the quietest and most efficient time to work ….. which gives me little time to sleep.

As a Designer, what is your biggest frustration?

Not enough time to focus on the aspects of the work that I love – designing.  Too much time, working in the business; administration, customer service, sales, marketing and warehousing. …..outsourcing required.

Tell us about how you prioritise your work.

I do what ever is most pressing at the time.  I’m terrible, no system, just chaos!  I’m working on it.

Tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?

Markets, pop up shops, and social media sites.  In particular, I’ve met a lot of good networks (and friends) through attending trade fairs (Life InStyle) and markets (Magnolia Square).
Life InStyle Melbourne 2012

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?

Give lots of thought and planning to the business and finances.  Outsource what you can, so that you have enough time to focus on the aspects that you love about the business.

What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?

Manage a successful business in both my careers as a neuropsychologist and designer, whilst maintaining a happy and healthy personal life.   Not quiet all there yet!

What is your proudest moment so far?

Personal: every time my kids do something new – it’s all just part of normal development, but as a parent you think they are the completely amazing.  Business: I don’t have one proudest moment as such, but an accumulation of them.  In particular, when customers provide great feedback on my garments and come back each season to buy more.

Who do you most want to meet and why?

The Dalai Lama. I love the psychology in Buddhist practice.  I also love his voice: he must be wise as he sounds just like Yoda when he talks.

What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?

You only have one shot in this lifetime and it’s better to have a good ‘crack at it’, than sit around dreaming or wondering ‘what if’!

What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?

Trying to start the first book of the True Blood series.  I find it hard to make time for myself to read. The only time I ever manage to finish a book is on holidays.

Where do we find you and your products? 

Stockist list
A Boy Called Basil
225 Lower Heidelberg Road 
East Ivanhoe 3079
(03) 9499 7876
Folly Shop
1410 Toorak Road
Camberwell 3124
(03) 9889 9058
L’Amore Events Boutique
315 Napier Street
(04) 3987 2303
Paulene Maree
101 Puckle Street
Moonee Ponds 3039
(03) 9375 2474
South Australia
Boo & Child
Shop 8 Stirling Mall
28 Mt. Barker Road
 Stirling 5152
By appointment 0447 755 580
The Infant Boutique
Shop 6, 136 The Parade
South Australia 5067
(08) 8331 3740
Footprints on the Beach
Shop 18 Peninsular Resort
The Esplanade
Mooloolaba 4557
(07) 5444 2100
Western Australia
Little Posh
Shop 28 The Mezz
148 Scarborough Beach Road
Mt Hawthorn Perth 6016
New South Wales
Shop 3b Bangor Shopping Centre
Cnr Yala & Menai Roads
 Bangor 2234
(02) 9543 1022
Bon Bon Trésor
283 Rocky Point Road
 Sans Souci 2219 
(02) 9529 4401 
Kristian Isabella 
Maternity & Newborn
Shop 2 / 22 Belgrave Street 
Kogarah 2217 
(02) 9553 7733 
Little Dream
Shop 6/427A Parramatta Road
Leichhardt 2040
(02) 9560 2311 

Marissa Belle Boutique
Shop 406 Castle Towers
Castle Hill 2154
(02) 9680 1029 
Sodapop Kidz Couture
South Africa
Don Don Kids Clothing
Donna Brooke-Leggatt 
By appointment 0845 861 225
Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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