Homegrown Entrepreneur Keeping It Real
Unique and curious homegrown venture, Deer & Fox is a small studio-based business tucked away in regional Queensland, Toowoomba bringing positive online and direct connections to the community and beyond.
Founded in 2014 by Alex Stalling; her wares focus on inspiring children through play, with her hand-made toys, plushies and accessories. There is also an adult range featuring fresh home decor and clothing; products are made from quality fabrics and love.
Be inspired and influenced by our chat we had with Alex:
How did Deer & Fox come about? ~ I feel like Deer & Fox fell into my lap, but when I break it down it was always bound to happen in some way or another. I had to slow down my career as a full time artist when I fell pregnant with my first child, I was suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum and although I fought it as much as possible I needed to listen to my body and tell myself to sit the hell down! I did, but I didn't like it very much so I found my idle didn't stay like that for long. I started to make smaller sketches, mini craft projects and late night production lines. I quickly worked out that I had to do something with everything I was making - my small basket of goodies turned into a 60 litre storage bucket of stock. I had my first market and I was hooked. I enjoy the business side as well as the creative side of cottage industries and it has grown from there. Today Deer & Fox follows the ebbs and flows of my own interests and life and it's the perfect balance for me.
You're big on supporting small/local businesses, how do you find this concept is being received by the public and how is it affecting your business? ~ This is a huge passion of mine. I think it stems from being true and authentic to myself and others. I would not ask of others what I wouldn't ask of myself. Plus it fosters a sense of belonging in a typically hard and isolating industry of home-based businesses; I have a community of like-minded hustlers around me. We talk, sound board ideas, learn and grow from each other. This community has built a network of support both financially and mentally. As they say your vibe attracts your tribe.
Do you have any creative projects you are currently working on? ~ Always - I have a notebook the size of a phone book of ideas. I work my way through them as I can or how I feel or if it syncs up with a great marketing moment. My biggest thing I am working on now is kids t-shirts, I have metres of fabric cut and stacked up ready to go.
What does success mean to you? ~ Balance. It's hard but it's important to me. I want to have my cake and eat it too. Work, life, romantic, family, social and adventures - I want it all!
How has Deer & Fox changed since its inception? ~ I don't think it has changed but it has definitely grown. My marketing is better that's for sure. I have spent many nights reading blog after blog and following my favourite brands to see what draws me to them and if that works in with my brand. One of the biggest things I have to learn is letting people know me. In the beginning it was all about the product but over time I have realised that me, the person behind the brand is also special. I have always said I am an emotional and selfish creative as I always make things for me and my own interests and have never been one to follow trends.
What advice can you give to others who are thinking about starting their own creative small business? ~ Find something you love and start small. Your passion will drive you and others will feel it.
What brings joy to your day? ~ Other than food; Netflix and my family. My customers, seeing people back my dream makes me do a little happy dance. Comments on my posts, I know it sounds silly but just knowing that I am not talking to myself and that in the abyss of content people are loving it.
Where do you see yourself in five years? ~ Oh the plans I have, the dreams I dream! It all depends on my kids and how they adjust to the world. I don't try to make huge goals at this point because life is so unpredictable with two young ones in toe, this is something I have had to teach myself. Instead I aim for better every year. So in five years I hope to be better than I am now.
How would you describe yourself in five words? ~ Creative, dedicated, loving, entrepreneur, fun.