For those of us who are sewing challenged, Rebecca Montgomery is an absolute treasure … Her gorgeous “softies” (personalised kiddies’ cuddle toys) and children’s clothing are absolutely gorgeous! You can check out Mini Monty online, if you’re interested in individual items for the special little ones in your life …
Hi Beck. What brought you to the Port Macquarie area, and what’s a bit of your family background?
I moved to Port Macquarie 11 years ago for work. and met my husband here.
We then moved to the Hunter Valley for his work. We decided to come back a year ago, so that we could we could have a better quality family life in such a wonderful town. We are very blessed to have family up here and hope that in time we will be able to convince our other family members to move up here with us.
When/how did you learn to sew?
When I went on maternity leave from full-time employment five years ago, my mother thought it would help keep me busy if I learnt to sew.
I made a very wonky baby dress and became obsessed with getting it right, then followed my obsession to continue to sew and create. I was lucky enough to have an amazing neighbour – a talented seamstress – who would help me anytime I needed. My mother used to sew me handmade clothing for me when I was young, so it’s been lovely to do the same for my girls.
I’ve been lucky enough to build friendships with many other handmade business owners; having people who understand the time, effort and love that goes into any handmade product really helps.
What was the inspiration behind starting your business, Mini Monty – and where did the name come from?
I always had a fascination with handmade products and upcycling and once Abigail, my daughter, was born, I wanted to share my creations – so decided to start a small Facebook business. Mini Monty came about due to our last name, and the “Mini” being my daughter.
What are some of the items you most like to create/sew?
I love making the personalised softies and toys, as they are all unique and never the same. I also love to make special occasion dresses; my customers usually have an idea in mind of what they are looking for and working with them to create the perfect occasion dress is very fulfilling.
The fabrics you use in your children’s clothing are gorgeous! Where do you source them from?
I love to source my fabrics from different places, sometimes online, vintage shops or local fabric shops. I also have in the past had customers who have sent me fabric that holds sentimental value to them, to create something special for their little ones.
How do you come up with the designs for your items?
I love using vintage patterns; they are always challenging, but spot on with sizing and produce a high quality finished product.
I also use Etsy, as it is great for instant downloads with fantastic instructions. I recommend anyone wishing to venture into learning to sew to use Etsy for patterns.
My personalised softie design is something I drafted years ago, and it is an
original. If I was more patient, I would create more original patterns; however, I love spending all my spare time sewing, rather than drafting.
I always love to research vintage kids’ clothing for ideas, as a lot of the fashions come back time and time again.
Pinterest is always a favourite for research, on what is trending overseas.
Sometimes I will buy a fabric, and it will sit there for twelve months before
I know what I want to make with it, and some fabrics I will purchase, wash and sew, all in one day.
Who are some other creatives’ work that you admire, and why do you like them?
I would be here all day if I listed some of the pages I admire and follow! But my favourites are Avas Grace by Mel on Facebook; her work is amazing, and she was a wonderful help when I was just starting out. She gave me lots of helpful advice.
ware_ doll on Facebook is also a amazing designer from overseas, who always captures her creations perfectly.
Georgie Porge is beyond talented, and I always love to see her work pop up on my Facebook feed – and a bonus is she also sells patterns on Etsy.
Naughty Shorts on Facebook is just so talented; she also creates with vintage upcycled fabric and makes the most beautiful dresses and tops. I always want to spend up big when she releases new items for sale.
What are some of your best selling items?
Best sellers would be my personalised softies, girls’ dresses and summer rompers.
Customers love to be able to influence a product to suit their individual style. I try to focus on products that are unique and something a little different.
What are some ideas you’re currently developing?
I am tossing around the idea of gift hampers with a variety of personalised handmade baby/kids’ gifts. I am also looking at some different options in personalised toys – maybe something with unicorns (per some not so subtle requests from my daughter).
Where can we buy your creations, or contact you to find out more?
I sell directly through my business Facebook page, Mini Monty, and my big cartel store, www.minimonty.bigcartel.com
I can also be followed through minimontythreads on Instagram.