|Amy de Putron and Meredith Watherston of Homegrown Gifts|
It's begun....The Christmas countdown. Twice this week I've heard people discussing it's just 11 weeks until Christmas and last time I popped into Coles I spied gingerbread houses, chocolate coated cashews, candy canes and lots of red and green. Surely the Christmas carols on repeat can't be too far away. So with this is mind and to prevent the mild panic which starts about this time when people start frantically hunting for presents, I thought I'd profile lovely local company Homegrown Gifts. Launched by best friends Amy de Putron and Meredith Watherston the pair decided to created beautiful baskets filled with the kind of gifts they'd like to give and receive. With many products in the baskets created by Australian artisans, some of which I've profiled on the blog, Amy and Meredith's selection criteria is based around creating gift packages which have heart, soul and originality. From birthdays and special occasions to baskets tailored to children, foodies and gardeners, there really is something for everyone. To checkout the entire range visit the Homegrown Gifts website here.
How would you describe yourself ?
Busy, blessed, creative, homey, outdoorsy.
What was your childhood dream?
To become an artist, composer, performer or florist.
What led you down your current path?
My transition into motherhood saw me long for a creative job I could do in my own hours. Being a Mum means you have to work around your children and 9-5 didn’t suit me and my family. I felt like I was all the time doing things for other people and I needed to do something for myself.
I was developing a passion for living an eco-friendly lifestyle, along with my sister-in-law and long term friend, Meredith, who became my business partner. Together we developed the concept and philosophy behind Homegrown Gifts – a gift website specialising in eco-friendly gift ideas, created by talented Australian artisans.
We wanted to deliver a truly unique gifting experience where the recipient is taken on a journey when discovering each item within their gift through delicious smells, interesting textures and beautiful design. We wanted to move right away from mass produced items, wasteful packaging that is damaging to the Earth, and items that people have no interest in keeping. Our gifts have heart, soul and true meaning.
How do you go about selecting the products for your hampers! What is the criteria?We look for products which are produced using sustainable, ethical and environmentally conscious methods that don’t compromise on style or quality. Most of the products we choose are handmade by talented Australian artisans. We look for organic options where possible and natural materials. And we have to love it! The products must also fit well, within the theme of the gift basket both visually and functionally.
What do you love most about what you do?
Working with my best friend and the fact that we can work when and where we want to. I also enjoy the variety in running my own business. I have had to learn how to do a lot of different things which is very interesting but not without its challenges. My work is also a real creative outlet for me.
Where do feel most inspired?
I feel most inspired when I visit great farmers markets and design markets where I can meet the artisans who create the products we love. Talking to them face to face and finding out how their products are made really does inspire us to put the perfect eco-friendly gift basket together.
Who do you admire?
I admire our suppliers – that is why we choose them. They are very talented people and I would love to be able to do what any one of them does. They are using their passion and skills to make beautiful flawless products with their hands – this I admire.
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Buying from small businesses means that products are not always available so stock control can be tricky but it is part and parcel of what we do. It is also difficult to manage the workload when so many things need to be done at once and there are only two of us to do it. We do what we can and we make sure we are always enjoying ourselves and, first and foremost, our customers are happy.
What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
I pinch myself when I remember I have two healthy beautiful children, a very supportive husband, and the ability to put some things on hold while I establish my own business.
What are your top sources of inspiration?
I am often inspired at family gatherings. I love watching everyone enjoying time with each other, enjoying good food and celebrating. We are usually outdoors at my parent’s farm on the Sunshine Coast or at our family holiday house on the Fraser Coast. This really represents what Homegrown Gifts is about. We also love native flora. So four things; family, celebrations, food and nature.
Do you have a dream creative project?
To spend more time on decorating my home.
What are you currently coveting in the world of design?
Top quality Australian handmade goods – I see something new every day that I love.
We are working on building our product range to offer gifts for all occasions. We currently have a great selection of birthday gifts, thank you gifts, housewarming gifts, and baby gifts. We are also building up our corporate client base. We feel we have a lot to offer businesses looking for unique corporate gifts that will show their clients not only how much they appreciate them but also that they care about the environment.
When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Cook- Something that takes more than 15 minutes to make.
Read – I try to get off the computer and read a magazine, usually Peppermint, Home Beautiful, or The Collective. I usually have a novel on the go as well.
Watch- My children playing outside during the day and TV with my husband at night.
Create- Something with my son to take for show and tell.
Listen to- Usually Triple J.
Dream about- Taking Homegrown Gifts to the next level.
Look forward to- Always my next holiday!