This week I had the pleasure of finding out more about the Byron Bay based brand Copper and Cross. Now we all know how crazy good Byron is at producing amazing creatives.. well Laksmi is no exception.
The creator behind these woven handmade crosses, she is as refreshing as the designs themselves. Laksmi takes old school creative art and blends with modern colour palettes and appeal. Think Bohemian and Mexican with a modern twist. End result is a unique handmade piece of art which is perfect hung from the ceiling, placed on a wall or even used in plant pots and vignettes.
Copper and Cross is soon to be stocked in retailers but for now Laksmi sells her creations via her website www.copperandcross.com.au and you can also follow her creative journer on Instagram here..
Tell us a little about your background?
Before starting Copper and Cross my main interest (and torment) was creative writing. It’s all I had ever imagined doing vocationally but strangely, directly alongside my sense of fulfillment and purpose was a wearying feeling of guilt and pressure – the unfinished stories, the juggle between inhabiting the physical world and the intangible/storyteller world, especially as a mother – led me to pursue a more physically creative outlet (which I had no idea I was capable of!).
I had actually set out to make a plant hanging but on a whim and a whimsy I got out some paddle pop sticks (yep, the prototype!) and made a “God’s Eye”. The cross shape grew around it, as did everything else.
Where did the name Copper and Cross originate from?
The name (my name) “Laksmi” was suggested to me by a few and was the frontrunner for a while. Technically I could see the appeal but it was a bit cringe for me. Growing up in the hippy place, with the hippy name, the hippy parents, on the hippy commune has been a strange beast. Without going into detail, certain practices done in the name of spirituality had caused me to have a difficult relationship with it all.
I try to strive for genuineness in all aspects of my life. I pour love into my products. I pour good intention. I honour the tradition of the product I make. But I didn’t feel comfortable ascribing my name, my background to the brand.
In the end, I was forced to suddenly decide and it just came out. I make crosses. I use copper. I liked the C alliteration. Great.
Do you have a favourite product you enjoy making?
I have a new favourite every week! It usually depends on what orders I’ve just had – it’s always satisfying to rotate through a range of styles. I LOVE when I start to see the patterns become a whole. It’s still a shock every time – oh, that worked again! And adorning …. Feathers, copper, pom poms – that’s a lot of fun.
Have you always been creative?
I mentioned already I was very invested in creative writing but was positive I lacked a visually creative capability. The first thing I set out to make with my hands (about a year ago) was a pallet coffee table. I figured that it WAS possible to learn the skills required. I was determined. I’m a tiny woman – look more like a small child, but I trawled the Industrial neighborhood, dragged pallets home, sanded, borrowed my step-dads drill, stained, got glass cut and I made the exact table I’d set out to make. I think that experience made me fall in love with creating, with seeing something tangibly come together.
What have been the highlights of Copper and Cross so far?
There are highlights that have been a success for the business and highlights that have been a success for me personally. Anytime there is any feedback on our products – that’s a highlight. It’s an honour every time somebody chooses our products; to have them beautify their house with it, to make people happy and feel that resonance.
To have people love what you love to do is an expanding, humbling experience.
It’s a very vulnerable-making venture – putting your passion and labour on display, you really have to get over yourself, but making yourself vulnerable (and I felt this magnified when becoming a mother) is like some kind of gateway to feeling connected to the world. It floods in.
We are still so new so the milestones for us may not seem like much to others but it was a great first high to be featured on Interiors Addict’s fab 4, and a hugely validating experience to have our first stockist reach out to us (will be revealed soon!). Also, to have businesses behind us like Spell and GLOTATTS is 100.
What advice would you give to those wanting to start their own creative business?
I honestly had no idea I was going down this path when I started out. (crazy side story – but I saw a psychic last year who said she saw all of this unfold and at the time I wrote her off because she said she saw me making things with my hands (no lady!) and now actually EVERYTHING she said has come true. Freaky).
I’m assuming the best thing to do is a ton of market research, a business course or at least write a business plan, and build your empire like a pro.
For me though, I made something I thought looked cool, showed a friend, and with her business/entrepreneur background she blessed it into existence and now I trust my instincts and heckle my business savvy friends on the daily. Whenever I feel self-doubt or weighed down by the business side, I go back to the beginning, I sit down and weave, and whether it’s the creation or the meditative aspect, I can always access the confidence in the business I need afterwards.
Where do you see yourself in 2 years time?
Oh man, the dreaded question! I’d say I hope to pretty much be doing the same as now. Except Illy will be 4 (what!), the business will be 2 and I’ll be 30 … so hopefully all three have healthily and happily grown. And if I could really choose – I’d be back in NYC for my 30th.
How would you describe your own personal interior styling style?
Instead of trying to sound like I know what I’m talking about and have you find out I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll just list things I like. Plants, white, industrial, copper, comfy, comfy, comfy things, and all the cool stuff I’ve collected in between. Some of my favourite items in the house are a huge black resin rabbit girl, an old school map that details the division of The Treaty of Versailles, my healthy fiddle leaf, my incredibly soft, pastelly pink/purple stool beside my bed with another great guy – cactus – on top, and an ironic figurine of an Indian with a slung gun riding a horse.
What would be your dream job?
Oh gosh, another tough one! I love running my own business and using my hands, creating things for people’s homes – so I can’t imagine I’d ever want to trade in what I’m doing right now. Also, this is going to sound corny and the jury is still out on whether this is a “job” or not, but honestly being a mum is just the greatest, most soul satisfying thing I have done or can imagine doing. It IS obvious and it is maybe an easy answer but it’s also true. As good as people say becoming a parent is – it’s better. It’s crazily, unbelievably good.
Name 3 inspirational people that you admire and why?
So, I was an odd child and all of my heroes were fictional. If you have ever read The Clan of the Cave Bear, then you know all the unusual names my childhood pets had the fortune of having.
Ayla, you’re still my number one girl, but if we have to move from the make-believe, I would list the inspiring people that I personally know. My good friend Sophie, from @tribeintow – entrepreneurial queen and blesser of Copper and Cross, my other beautiful friend Angie from @foreversoles – I have witnessed her dedication and hard work and love that she has grown a business based on an industry that suits her down to the ground, and thirdly, my super savvy, super hasn’t changed since high school, super doesn’t need sleep, crazily busy, motivated friend, Mitch from @designtwins.
Thanks so much Laksmi for your honest and refreshing account of your life and business. I thoroughly enjoyed find out more about you and your approach to your work. Juggling motherhood and career is no easy task but your cool approach to life makes it seem enjoyable and obtainable. Your'e a real inspiration and I can't wait to see more amazing things from Copper and Cross.
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