Interview conducted by Fatema Sitabkhan
Photos supplied by Kimberley Ezis of Cute2Hoot
Kimberley Ezis is the face behind Cute2Hoot – a proud South Australian business that specializes in creating beautiful and colorful accessories for kids and adults alike.
Her unicorn headbands instantly caught my eye during the Gathered SA Style Challenge, and after seeing how her accessories could easily be adapted to suit almost anyone (regardless of their age), along with a personal fascination with unicorns, I conducted an e-interview with her to get a better understanding of her beautiful little business – have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you tell me a bit about yourself, Kimberley?
Kimberley: I am 36 years old, work part time at a bank as a loans/service consultant, am a mum of a gorgeous 2 year old, and step mum to a beautiful 12 year old. I have always been creative – with my career background mostly in travel, I got to create people’s travel itineraries. After having my daughter almost 3 years ago, I took the leap into creating accessories and clothing, and could not be happier!
Tema: What made you decide on opening up your own business?
Kimberley: It just evolved – I had so many hair clips for Grace, and got so frustrated that I couldn’t easily see what to choose from. So I started out by making the hair accessory organizer board, and then after many people saying what a great idea it was, it started expanding into making them to sell, and of course hair accessories were the next to be added. Since then, I have grown to include a range of unique boys and girls clothing. Most items are custom made, and I love being able to create limited pieces.
Tema: What is your range of products that you offer via Cute2Hoot?
Kimberley: I make hair accessories such as hair clips, and popular unicorn headbands, dummy clips, zippered & lined tote bags that are perfect for kids library bags, and even for adults, and baby & kids clothing. My mum also creates some adorable crochet beanies – perfect for the coming cooler months.
Tema: While your products may primarily cater to the children’s age group, how do you feel about these products translating into the adult market as well?
Kimberley: I see the Unicorn Headbands and Tote Bags are currently very popular in the adult market. I have had dental assistants and aged care workers in particular, who purchase the Unicorn Headbands, and so that is definitely a little buzz for me to know that my creations bring happiness into those environments! In time, I would love to be able to expand into some adult clothing, as I feel there is a gap in handmade teen/women’s clothing.
Tema: What do you think was one of the biggest challenges of setting up your business from scratch?
Kimberley: Being able to just get off the ground, and the back-end work that goes into it. From bookwork, to photography of products, management of online store and social media – currently I do it all myself, as I haven’t taken out a loan to get the business going or invested big funds. It is fully self-sufficient at the moment, and I am now getting to the stage of looking to outsource some of those tasks, in order to free up my time more to create, as that is where my passion and strength lies.
Tema: What do you hope for your customers to experience from purchasing something from Cute2Hoot?
Kimberley: Definitely when it comes to the hair accessories, they are little pieces of love, and each time little girls get to pick out their bow for the day, I hope they have the same smile on their face that my little girl does. I am sure one of the best parts of her day is getting to choose what bow she wears each day! For my clothing customers, it’s about knowing that the item has been handmade with love and care, and that it will last a lot longer than cheaper store-bought items, and also that they are unique items. I usually only have between 1-10 of the same style/fabric made, so minimal chance of having that ‘oh no’ moment with your friend wearing the same outfit!
Tema: What is it about being a South Australian / local brand that makes it all the more special?
Kimberley: I think because customers can meet the creator, talk to them in person about what they would like and know that they are supporting someone in their dream. For me, it is the handmade aspect that makes it all the more special – that I sit in my office or in my home, and create the item from start to finish.
Tema: What are you hoping for 2018 to have in-store for you and your brand
Kimberley: Definitely further the expansion of products; in terms of clothing. I would like to develop my own website, and see an increase in sales. I would love to be able to get Cute2Hoot to a stage where I can do this full time and as a stable source of income, rather than a hobby.
Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like your customers to know about Cute2Hoot?
Kimberley: I love custom orders and I will always give anything a try! I love when customers share their photos of my creations in use – it really is a warm and fuzzy moment! When you buy handmade, you really are supporting the creator, and we really do a little happy dance. Every order puts a smile on my face, gives a new challenge, and I am so proud of every item I create.