Producing jewellery under the name Odi Design, Audie Wilkinson started her first business as a pre-teen. We spoke to Audie about where she gains her inspiration from and what gave her the courage (and drive) to be an entrepreneur at such a young age and how she continues to develop her range.
What were your first inclinations toward being creative? Was it always a part of you or was there a pivotal moment?
I think I've always had it in me, and the environment I grew up in encouraged it to flourish; with each compliment my confidence grew, and I'm talking from a very young age, whether I was painting or sewing or making beaded items people would comment positively on my creations.
You started selling jewellery at a very young age, looking back what motivated you to go to an university student market when you were only eight?
I think seeing my dad do stalls at market days selling samosas. I guess I thought why not do a stall with my creations and with the family already being there I was able to set up and do the stall knowing they were close by needed.
I had a friend that joined me with her creations; at a young age we both had that creative, and entrepreneurial, mindset and we were both strong willed! We were always dreaming up things together. She is now a successful photographer!
Do you think this give you the confidence to push your creative boundaries and take more risks as an adult?
Yes. The fact that adults were actually buying my creations was a buzz! But I always had really positive encouragement through the years. I had parents that nurtured and supported my creativity and that allowed me to develop confidence and a sence of self. I think there were alot of small pivotal moments that kept the flow but a major turning point was in first year of high school. I had a very encouraging art teacher that believed in me, he asked me to create and enter a piece into the Telecom phone book cover competition in Dunedin, I made the 20 finalists. I still have the piece of art and framed award, and it carries on my mind. It was a great moment.
Based on conversations we’ve had in the past you don’t have a set studio space, working from the garage and dining room table - without a set space how do you get yourself in the ‘zone’?
I'll have a moment when I just feel like creating and sit down and design or just make and get right into it. We have moved around a bit and I seem to just adapt and work where ever I can, music or something will trigger me into the zone often, but also I have store orders to fill and like to always have new designs to present to keep things flowing forward, also knowing the task is there I'll set to work right away. I don't like letting people down! I just love creating, it's my happy place.
I have done a few things to help my work space with our current living situation, I purchased a big side board with drawers that's by the dining table which keeps things tidy and organised, and in the garage I have a big desk where I do the messy work like sanding and soldering. Keeping things tidy makes it easier to work, clear space clear mind! In saying that I can create alot of mess fast, but then I clear it up at the end of the day so we can use the table for dinner!!
How do you go about designing a new collection? Is it a single piece that inspires a collection or do you have several pieces in mind at any one time?
Usually a piece follows on into a collection, sometimes I just create random lone pieces and then later I get inspired to transform it into more or another piece. I'm not really like a lot of jewellery designers in releasing a collection, I design as and when I feel the urge and produce pieces all over the place rather than one big collection released every now and then.
Finally, what does designing mean to you? Is it therapeutic? An outlet? A compulsion? A career?
It's something I have to do. Definitely a compulsion. It's where I channel my energy easily and freely. It's something I do that isn't forced it just happens, I don't think I could ever give it up. It has naturally turned into a career and full time job but I am also supported by my husband. He has always believed in me and supported my creativity. We have kids and I'm a at home mum (have been for 11 years) but I also help run his business. Before becoming a mum I worked a job and did the jewellery on the side, lots of hard work and many hours.
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