Meet the gorgeous Donna
From Kiss My Patootie
Can you share with us your background before children…
When I first left school, I started an apprenticeship to become a hairdresser. After 3 years of this I felt I needed to take a break and explore my surroundings a bit. So I moved to Nth Queensland and lived as a barefoot hippy for awhile. I did lots of different jobs like bar work, sales and kitchen hand work. I pretty much lived a life of freedom. A few years after I moved back to Brisbane I started working as a bar manager in a night club in Fortitude Valley. Through this, I did a lot of work with local and international bands. My life revolved around live music, staying out late having drinks after work and sleeping most of the day. So as you can imagine, having kids was a complete life changer for me. There was defiantly an adjustment period, but now, three kids later, I couldn’t be happier.
How did Kiss My Patootie come about and why?
Ever since I was a kid I have always been very creative, doing everything from painting, sculpting, crocheting, tie dying and candle making. A few years before I had my first child I taught myself how to sew. There were some complete disasters involving recycled curtains and doilies that I still wore with pride. When my first son was born (my sewing had drastically improved by then), I found it hard to find colourful and unique clothing. It was a sea of pastel. So I started to make kids clothes.
I nervously approached a shop in Brisbane called Gooble Warming to see if they would sell my clothes on consignment. Luckily for me they said yes. I went on selling in their shop for another 12 years. Over the years I have branched out and have sold in shops from Melbourne to Cairns, The Woodford Folk Festival, countless markets (I’m currently at the West End Davies Park market every 2nd week), and I also sell online through ebay, etsy and madeit.
At first it was just a hobby for me, but as my kids got older and I had to think about going back to work, I started to think about Kiss My Patootie as a business. Now over the last few years it has really taken off. It is the best feeling being so passionate about my work.
I love the name – where did it come from?
This makes me laugh to think about it, but my husband was bouncing around the house being silly, wiggling his bum and saying ‘kiss my patootie’ . I guess it just stuck. I thought it would be a perfect name for my kids clothes since at the time my trademark was to put stars or hearts on the bums of the clothes I made. It has proven to be a success as it always gives people a giggle and they remember the name.
What are your most popular products ?
My most popular products have always been my boys shorts, girls pinafore dresses, monster purses and also my pencil rolls.
In the last few years I have started making ladies skirts and screen printed t-shirts as well which are starting to sell even better than my kids clothes.
All of these and more are available for sale in my online shops. For those of you who live in Brisbane, I sell my creations in Handmade Highstreet (Annerly), 5 Quirky Cherubs (Mitchelton) Cool Shirts (West End) and The Ipswich Art and Craft Cottage (Ipswich). I am also at the Davies Park market at West End every fortnight.
How do you juggle working and your family?
When my kids were young it was very difficult so I would do most of my work when they were asleep. Now they are all at school I have more time to sew. I treat it as any other job and spend the school hours sewing. After dinner when the kids are all occupied doing their own thing, I get in another hour or two of work. I pretty much grab every spare moment I have.
Do you think parenting is different from when you were raised? How?
I don’t really know, as everyone has there own style of parenting. My parents were quite strict and I guess I am in some ways too. I think a big difference I’ve noticed is that when I was a kid, the adults were always referred to as Mr or Mrs, and now kids call adults by their first name. I think this closes the gap a bit and creates a different relationship between kids and adults. I like this because I notice that the ‘grown ups’ seem more approachable to kids when we are all on a first name basis.
Have your self expectations changed since having your family? For better or worse?
Before I had kids I had very definite ideas about how I would raise my them. I thought I would raise them in the same lifestyle that I was living (travel, music concerts etc). When they came into my life I realized that it’s very hard to plan for until you actually experience what parenting is like first hand. I can’t say if my self expectations have changed for better or worse, just different to what I had expected. I don’t think my eyes were fully open to parenting until got there myself.
Do you have a wonderful resource that you discovered once you became a mother? A book? A blog? Person?
When I was pregnant for the first time, my all time favourite book was ‘Up The Duff’ by Kaz Cooke. She answered all of my questions and made me laugh about all of the gory details about pregnancy. For a year after my first son was born, I did feel very much alone. My husband and I were completely new to this parenting stuff. Our families were very spread out so we didn’t have a lot of help on hand. When I met a friend who also had a son a bit older then mine, we hit it off instantly. She became my go to person when I needed parenting advice.
What is one thing you swore you would never do as a parent – and now do!
(eek!) I swore I’d never yell at my kids. I used to look in judgement at the mums that would yell at their kids and think ‘I will never do that’. As I now understand, as awesome as being a mum can be, kids can really test your patience and bring out the best and worst in you.
Can you walk us through a typical day..
My day starts at 6.30. I do the usual mum things… make lunches, do a quick clean up of the house and kitchen (which usually looks like an explosion from dinner the night before), hassle the kids to hurry up and then sit through the traffic to both the primary and high school. After that, my day varies greatly. I am either sewing, cutting out fabric, screen printing, driving around to the shops I sell in to restock and change things around, computer work (bookwork and listing items in my online shops), taking photos of my new items and editing them or hairdressing. I’m also a qualified hairdresser and work from home doing this as well. In the afternoon, I pick up the kids and they do their homework. A couple of afternoons each week, we then head out to either swimming lessons for my daughter or kung fu for my boys, then home to cook dinner. After dinner, the kids retire to their rooms for TV or computer games and I have a beer in front of the TV. If I am feeling up to it, I might even cut out some fabric for the next day of sewing. I know it sound like a crazy busy day, but I love what I do and that helps a lot.
A tip for all of us on keeping it real….
Don’t be too hard on yourself, love what you do and live your life to the fullest
Where can we see more of your gorgeous creations and follow more of your journey?
website – www.kissmypatootie.com.au
facebook – www.facebook.com/kissmypatootie1
ebay – www.stores.ebay.com.au/kissmypatootie
madeit – www.madeit.com.au/kissmypatootie
etsy – www.etsy.com/au/shop/kissmypatootie