Katie Bennett lives in beautiful “sunny” Nelson in New Zealand, land of the long white cloud! She has 2 sons, Jeremiah or “Jem” who is now 2.5 years and Knox who is 9.5 months.
When pregnant with Jem Katie struggled to find clothing that was unique, funky and quirky – just like her! So she started to make her own, it turns out Katie had accidentally stumbled upon a gap in the market for punk baby clothing, and a business just naturally grew out of her hobby!
As a mother of boys Katie finds it frustrating that there is so little on offer for the boys, so loves to create things herself, and of course Katie can’t resist the cute girls stuff either!
It was a pleasure for us to take the interview with Katie Bennett who shared some interesting facts of her biography. We wish you a pleasant reading of Katie Bennett success story and viewing of her quirky punk baby clothing.
CB: I started screen printing all in one bodysuits and tee shirts for Jem whilst pregnant at age 27. I have always been a creative person, (I am a jewellery designer by trade) and had taken a short 24 hour screen printing course when I was about 22. Like my jewellery designs, my clothing just naturally comes from within. I am not influenced by others work, I generally set out with an idea of what I want to do, start creating and the piece just creates itself, never ending up how I originally envisaged, but always better I think! I can never quite explain where the ideas come from, or how they quite come to life, but it just feels like such a natural process!
AP: Do you have any formal education in your sphere or were you self-taught?
CB: I have never had any formal training, I worked as a jewellery designer right through high school until now (that’s for half my life!), and once I had children I started playing around with making clothing for them and it just kind of took off from there.
I had done a 24 hour screen printing course a few years ago and this is what i originally started out doing, printing tees and all in one bodysuits. From there I slowly taught myself to sew through trial and error and with help from my Mum and Nana who are both great sewers. I slowly added dresses, skirts, pants, hoodies and other items to my range.
AP: How would you describe clothing you design?
CB: I make only baby/toddler clothing at the moment, and only punk clothing, from ages newborn to 5. I am constantly getting asked for larger sizes, which I will happily custom make if possible, but I don’t stock past size 5 as I feel I have to draw the line somewhere! I feel my clothing is quite individual, it is definitely targeted towards one specific audience, which is my fellow punkers. Skulls are not everyone’s cup of tea, especially on babies clothing, but I’m not trying to be macab, I just think skulls are cool and fun and it’s what I love to do!
AP: Would you consider yourself as an expert in this sphere?
CB: I have been at this for around 4 years now, and I feel like I am still ‘growing’ as a designer every year. I feel like I am constantly out doing myself, and learning new things everyday which helps take me to the next level. So i don’t know if you can ever be an expert in any field as trends/people/technology change, the world is ever changing and so are we!
AP: What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to create Punk Baby clothing?
CB: I do a lot of screen printing and I can’t draw to save myself, so here my savior is photo shop which I use to create my prints digitally, I then have them transferred to screens by my local screen print studio. Other than the screen printing I do a lot of sewing.
AP: What is your success formula?
CB: I think putting in a lot of hard work is essential. It is hard to get much done with 2 such young children, it takes a lot of late nights and constant attention to your work whenever they are sleeping.
It takes alto of sacrifice, I don’t work when my children are awake, as they grow so quickly I don’t want to miss a thing! So any moment they are asleep you will find me printing and sewing, it means I don’t get to do much for myself, and my house is a mess ha-ha!
I also think customer service is a key. My customers are everything to my business, without them I wouldn’t be able to do what I do, I love to make them happy and they are really a great supportive bunch of good people!
AP: Is there someone who helps you in your creativity?
CB: Without the support of everyone around me, I wouldn’t be able to do this at all!
My husband is my number one supporter, he puts up with me sewing at all spare moments and late at night, pretending I am listening to him when he is talking and I am really just doing something else, like emailing customers, loading new photos to the shop or sewing!
My parents have also been amazing, lending me money to launch my new lines and my mum even helps me sew!
My children are my inspiration and without them my life would have never headed in this direction.