I first met Naturally Craft Brand Manager Emma Drew at the Gathered SA markets late last year and was instantly intrigued by her elegant designs of Christmas Gift Boxes that you can easily assemble in no time. The craftsmanship of the woodwork was what won my heart over, as it had the following appealing characteristics that were bound to start up a conversation around its:
- Prime quality
- Precise laser-cut design
- Pretty appearance
Having purchased the Christmas House and accompanying it with a set of LED seed lights to get into the festive season, it was the perfect addition to a grand Christmas feast that was heartily enjoyed by the family last year.
With the upcoming Gathered Design Market in Hahndorf from December 13 – 15, 2019, I had a Q&A with Emma about her anticipations around participating in the market as a stall holder – have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, Emma?
Emma: My name is Emma and I work for Auszac, an Adelaide-based business that supplies Balsa wood and (more recently) plywood at both a retail and wholesale level. With the abundant supply of Balsa wood, some early ideas I had while learning to use our new laser machine developed into a small range of products that had great feedback from our traditional “modelling” customers.
Tema: What made you decide to open up your own business Naturally Craft?
Emma: The laser-cut shapes and kits we were developing did not fit our current customer profile and we needed to target our range to a completely new customer group. So, we decided to branch off from Auszac and start Naturally Craft. Naturally Craft was officially launched in early 2016 by the team at Auszac Pty Ltd.
Tema: When Naturally Craft progressed from being a concept to a reality, what were the key principles that you based your business around?
Emma: One of the aims of Auszac is to provide balsa wood from sustainable-managed forests, and to follow methods that ensure that we leave a minimal amount of carbon footprint! It was only natural that one of the key principles we wanted to base Naturally Craft around was to source natural, environment-friendly, and sustainable products.
Tema: How did you decide on what Naturally Craft was going to offer to your customers?
Emma: This is still a work in progress, and we are continually looking at updating and expanding our range. The Gathered market has been a great way to talk to people and find out what they want and like about our craft products. We have increased our range from basic balsa wood projects to plywoods for laser cutting, plywood kits, boxes, natural jute twine, burlap, and cotton bags, as well as custom manufacturing and a laser-marking service.
Tema: What do hope for your customers to experience when purchasing from Naturally Craft?
Emma: We want people to give craft a go by making it easy. Whether you’re looking at sourcing raw materials for your own project or are using one of our kits, taking the time to make something can be fun and rewarding, and it is often much more meaningful when given as a gift!
Tema: What do you think helps Naturally Craft stand out from the rest in the industry?
Emma: Our main focus is not selling finished products, as our products (for the main part) need assembly and your own creative touch to finish them off. Each kit or project; when completed; will be hand crafted and unique.
Tema: What have you found rewarding about being a small-scale business in SA?
Emma: The people! I love chatting to people about their projects, and seeing our regular customers!
Tema: What have you found challenging about being a small-scale business in SA?
Emma: Our biggest challenge is time – or rather, the lack of it! Getting our name and products into the market place, along with sourcing new products and marketing is a full-time job that has, out of necessity, been squeezed in to parts of the day that are not taken up with work from our main roles within the parent company Auszac.
Tema: How did you get involved with Gathered SA?
Emma: Gathered Design Market was one of the first markets that we got involved with, and we had such a great time and response from the customers! Having attended our first ever Gathered Market in November 2017, we mainly try and participate at these markets in December (with the festive season right around the corner!), even if we can’t do any others.
Tema: How has the experience of being part of the Gathered SA family been like so far?
Emma: Like any market, there are some long days involved, but Jenna organizes these efficiently and professionally. There is a lovely feel to the markets, and chatting to the other stall holders makes it feel like one big family.
Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like us to know about you and Naturally Craft?
Emma: We offer custom manufacturing and a laser marking service – from unique wedding invitations and stationery to custom plaques and laser cut items for your business, home or event, contact us with your idea and we will help you with your creations.
You can visit Naturally Craft at the Gathered Design Market from December 13 – 15, 2019 from 4pm – 10pm at the Thiele House in Hahndorf. Entry to the market is free and there is plenty of free street parking available nearby.
11 Emanuel Court, Melrose Park, South Australia
With thanks to Jenna O’Dell from Gathered SA for the interview opportunity
Interview conducted by Fatema “Tema” Sitabkhan
Answers and images supplied by Emma Drew // Naturally Craft