Mel (or “Shorty” as I’m desperately trying to stop myself from typing) and I went to the same high school for a few years and we started arts or creative based businesses at about the same time. I’ve always admired Mel’s persistent and almost stubborn drive to push her business into new areas, both creatively and even geographically. Her hand made jewelry and other painstakingly assembled creations have been displayed and sold all over the country and as a creator she has been involved with a wide range of projects. Mel has taken some time out of her ridiculously hectic schedule to answer a few questions.
When and how did you start creating?
I guess it has always been a very natural process, my mother was a tailor, my father a rigger, My Grandad a painter and my pop a Woodworker, so I was always surrounded by some kind of building or creating. I can remember sewing when I was in preschool, with my mum teaching me. My youngest memory of creating something is threading beads onto a needle when I was about 4. I started Zezzy in 2004, after an extended time working with other local artists, I decided it was time to make money from my passion.
Why did you call your business Zezzy?
I’m not even sure! I basically set out to find a business name that didn’t already exist.
What are your favourite creations or products that you have made over the years?
Over the years, there have been so many, but I think honestly my favorite design is a necklace I made for my Grandmas funeral, it is a wire wrapped Onyx double point. I wear it almost every day now!
Do you prefer making things for yourself or to sell?
Neither, I guess I don’t necessarily only create to sell, but at the same time I don’t keep things for myself either, I enjoy making things to gift more than anything else.
What has been the most challenging experience?
I guess from a business perspective the hardest thing is promoting your goods, I relish the thought of having to approach locations and see if they want to become stockiest, which is why I generally don’t do it!
From a personal perspective, 2014 has been a tough year, after working on Zezzy for over 10 years, my focus has changed and coming up with a new direction has been a long term challenge, and continues!
What has been the highlight?
I think the biggest highlight is seeing people wear my stuff, especially if I don’t know them and I see them wearing something I’ve made, it definitely gives me a thrill!
Who (if anyone) inspired you?
As slack as it sounds, no one really inspires me, but I have definitely had some people who have really supported and pushed me. Kurt Saggers (The Cats Pyjamas) is one of those people, and probably the most influential, he has always appreciated my stuff, and given me constant creative interactions. In the early days when I struggled to come up with new ideas, or to maintain motivation, he was always there to get me amped up for creating. Pete Charlesworth (Peter Charlesworth Photography) is an absolute beacon of light, Pete keeps me going in a business sense, sometimes the hardest part about being a creative is working alone, and Pete helped me identify the quality in working collaboratively, he also gets my brain pumping with new ideas and side concepts, whenever we meet I leave feeling driven and fresh!
What is the most exciting thing you have learned?
After a few tough ruts I’ve learnt you have to keep going, if you get stuck creatively, you have to try new things, mix up your creative circle, be inspired by something new, swap mediums!
Want to be interviewed as part of this project? Fill out the form below.