This is our second post in a series of featured makers. We aim to introduce our makers one at a time and give you a bit of a behind-the-scenes story and insights to their practice. This week we would like to introduce:
First up. Who are you and what do you do?
I am Tonya Miles a first generation New Zealander descending from a long line of ‘make-doers’.
I was born in Napier, I raised my daughter in Napier and I am STILL in Napier (half of me is fiercely proud of that fact and the other half is horrified and somewhat embarrassed).
habeo is my knitwear label and I spend every spare moment designing garments, some I have kept for myself to add to the stock at The Department of Curiosities and Fine Things and others are released as patterns so you can knit it yourself.
Inspiration is everywhere.
How and why did you get started (instead of getting a proper job like your mother told you)?
I have a proper job – a full time one!
I was taught to knit at age 8, as a young adult I knitted alot for myself, then I stopped. My Step-mother got me going again as a form of therapy. Socks, she made me knit socks!
I got asked to knit a few baby things for friends and so I launched TreeHouse and produced baby knits, I sold via felt.co.nz and a few markets as well as doing a few commissions. But something was missing.
May 2013, I was fiddling with a poncho for myself, I had a plan in mind and it worked out great, a combination of sewing with knitted accents cue *light bulb* moment. This is what was missing, designing my own stuff; and so the vision for habeo started. I launched on etsy.com on 20 Oct 2013 and was part of The Dept on opening day.
What was the first thing you made?
The very first thing I made for habeo was a replica poncho like the one I styled for myself. Purple plaid wool fabric with a crocheted collar and vintage doilies.
Who or what influences you or inspires you?
I am inspired by the wool I find.
My stash of wool is almost uncontrollable, but I will spend many hours fondling these wee balls of colour and texture and day dream about how they can be used. It is an addiction.
What is your favourite part of making?
They are many moments of joy when I’m working with wool but to be honest, its the excitement of the next knit that keeps me going . . . you know, when you are 3/4 the way through your current project and an idea pops into your head/you see a pattern/wool that just HAS to be your next project . . . yeah, that. That ‘next knit’ keeps me going.
How do you market your business?
I use facebook, my blog, etsy and pinterest to (hopefully) help create a following for habeo
What tips do you have for others starting out in this game?
Read, research, plan, read some more, plan more and then do some research.
There is a vast world beyond the making if you actually want to earn some money.
The place I have learnt the most is from the etsy blogs.
If you could gift one of your creations to anyone living or dead. Who would that be and what would you give them? Why?
I have never thought about this, but . . .
I think if Stephanie Pearl-McPhee was to accept and wear a pair of my socks or if Kate Davies wore one of my hats while walking Bruce (her dog) around the Scottish hills I’d be a blathering idiot for weeks!
Do you have any new ideas on the drawing board?
I have a knitting pattern due for release, its a cross-over vest – I’ve got to finish the writing bit, the knitting is done.
World Domination! How will you achieve it?
World Domination? Oh I thought you said Wool Domination!
I don’t think I want to dominate anything. My plan is to tread lightly on this earth and knit.
What is next for you?
A book of knitting patterns is probably the biggie
I also am working damn hard behind the scenes to make habeo thrive and I think the coming seasons are going to work in my favour 🙂
Thanks for sharing your time and giving us an insight to your brand. We look forward to seeing your development and growth. Habeo can be found online here and on Facebook as well as on felt and etsy. You can view their creations in-store at The Department of Curiosities and Fine Things in Napier, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.