Our Local Stories with Kate Alen from ‘the katie collective’

by NillumbikConnections
6 mins read

Many of us wish we could be creative and make and design cool things, well Kate from the katie collective has that down pat! She works from her home studio around her day job designing the most spectacular wood burned products for the home and personal use with the most unique designs! These are so perfect as a gift or something special for yourself, and what makes them so special is how unique each piece actually is.

Let’s read on and learn more about this interesting story on how the katie collective wood burning/pyrography business came about, Kate’s future plans and how we, as a community can support her. 

About Kate

Kate lives in Diamond Creek with her partner and puppy Buddy. Not surprising, she’s always had a love for creating and design and of course they were her favourite subjects all through school. She was clearly very talented even then, one of her VCE artworks was displayed in an international gallery! After secondary college she went on to study Textile Design and later obtained a Diploma in Interior Design.

Working in an office environment doesn’t stop Kate creating on the side, it’s a great outlet for her.  She creates in many different mediums, such as painting with watercolours, wood-burn designs, hand drawing mandalas with ink, as well as furniture restoration and interior and digital design.

the katie collective

At the moment Kate is creating a unique collection of beautiful homewares and giftware with designs permanently hand burnt using the art of pyrography. Her current products include bangles, bookmarks, cake stands, cards, coasters, earrings, magnets, placemats, serving boards, spoons, stools, trinket boxes and wall art.

All products are hand-burnt original designs which make them really special as they can be customised, and no two pieces are the same. The wooden items are either handcrafted or sourced from Australian suppliers, Kate then creates a design and hand burns the design into the wood and then depending on the items end use, some accessories and different finishes are added, such as a protective lacquer on the placemats or the felt inside the trinket boxes.

The current collection is all about pyrography/wood-burning, however the works will grow to incorporate other mediums in the future.

Starting out

Kate says she has always needed a creative outlet and loves to keep busy, no matter where she is or what she’s doing. When family, friends and colleagues began reaching out and were loving what was being created, they wanted to purchase items themselves. It made sense to turn Kate’s much-loved hobby into a business.

It was really exciting for Kate to take this to the next level and share her art with the community, visiting different locations and setting up market stalls, meeting other makers and all the customers!

As soon as Kate decided to officially set up the business, her name and branding came to mind almost instantly. Her nickname is Katie and her love for the colour green and mandala design all just came together! It was all meant to be! Kate or shall we say ‘Katie’ wanted to incorporate the word ‘collective’ because there are many mediums she plays with and, as mentioned, in the future the collections will include watercolours & ink prints.

Business progression

Kate started creating on her dining table and officially selling her products in December 2020 where she had her first market stall consisting of a small set up with serving boards. Fast forward to nearly a year later and she has turned the spare room into a little studio and now offers over 15 different products. The katie collective includes homewares, giftware and accessories and now has a large market set up! This year, 2021 saw the addition of the website and online store, where buyers all over Australia can shop online and have flexible buying options like Click and Collect and Afterpay.

Some challenges along the way

This year has been full of challenges for many people and Kate is no exception. She needed surgery in March which was when she started the online store as she was going to be out of action for a while and wouldn’t be able to do markets. When Kate recovered and was ready to get back to markets, sadly Victoria’s Covid restrictions shut down the markets. It’s been a massive challenge for Kate having to focus more on online advertising and virtual markets.

Many rewards along the way too

Kate’s most rewarding moments have been crafting and supplying items that are being gifted for very significant occasions such as anniversaries, engagements and weddings. Every time Kate’s email dings with a new order, or a customer tags the katie collective, Kate celebrates and does a little happy dance! She says it’s very rewarding to create pieces that people add to their home and personal spaces.

Would you do anything differently?

“I honestly don’t think I would do anything differently. I follow my heart. I have learnt so much and mistakes and hurdles along the way teach you and make you stronger. I think especially in the last 18 months, it has taught us that anything can happen, and you need to roll with it and adapt and you’ll figure it out along the way!”

What you may not know about Kate!

We now know a little more about Kate and the katie collective, but here is something you may not know. Kate suffers from a chronic illness, which makes the process of designing and creating very therapeutic for her!

She also has the cutest quality control officer – her Jack Russell ‘Buddy’! He loves to hang out in the studio, keeping Kate company while she designs and he sleeps on Kate’s lap!

This is Buddy!

We can all support this creative and beautiful lady and her business, the katie collective.  When the local community chooses to buy from a small business instead of large chain stores, you’re supporting a real person, a family and our local economy. It’s the best support any small business can get. Even if you cannot purchase from the store, there are so many ways you can still support small business such as: following, liking, commenting, and sharing on social media, to recommending and referring the business, visiting markets, and leaving reviews! Please follow the katie collective on Facebook and Instagram to see more of these unique designs and products.

Thank you Kate, we loved getting to know you!

Read more from our Articles here. And if you’d like to write for us or work together on an article as Kate and I have done, contact us to chat.

Thank you for reading, we hope you loved learning more about this beautiful local business. Feel free to leave a comment for Kate below.

Click here to see other local businesses listed within our online directory.

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