Name: Elisha McInnes
Occupation: Textiles Technology teacher
What did you study and what was your original intended career path?
I have a certificate, diploma and a bachelor of art and design all in Fashion Design. I always knew I wanted to work in Fashion, it wasn’t until the last year of my bachelor that I decided to become a teacher so I then went off to teachers college for a year and got a graduate diploma in teaching secondary.
Give us a brief background on your career to date:
During my time studying I worked in Fashion retail as well as doing work experience for Trelise Cooper and Pumpkin Patch. My teaching career started in 2008 teaching Graphics which i didn’t have much subject knowledge of but found it aligned quite nicely with all my design and pattern making skills. In my second year of teaching I was made head of Textile Technology and have been in this role for the past 5 years.
When did you start your homewares company ThreadLab?
ThreadLab was started in mid 2013.
Why did you decide to start ThreadLab?
I had just purchased my first home and was super excited to decorate my house but I couldn’t find cushions that I liked so I decided to take matters into my own hands and print my own cushion designs. Friends then started asking me to make them for them and suggested I should start my own company, so I did.
You work full time as a secondary school teacher, how do you juggle career, business and home?
Im not going to lie, it’s no walk in the park and it gets very stressful at times. I always make sure I prioritise and schedule time to get things done. Im a list maker and get real satisfaction from crossing things off my to-do list. You have to be prepared to make sacrifices if you want to be successful. So in other words, my social life is not too flash.
What are some of the favourite designs that you have done?
I love all of the designs some more than others. My all time favourite would have to be our ‘Naughts & Crosses’ print, the idea for the print stemmed from a tic tac toe board that my 5 year old nephew gifted me as a house warming present he was pretty chuffed to see I turned the idea into a cushion.
What are some of the unexpected outcomes of having a side business?
The demand for our products was quite unexpected, when we first launched the brand on Facebook we were totally swamped with orders which meant we had to have a waiting list, it was really unexpected and I was blown away that so many people loved what ThreadLab was doing just as much as i did.
[pullquote width=”600″ float=”left”]I started out with lots and lots of lists and brainstorms from coming up with a name, equipment needed, pricing and sourcing the best suppliers.[/pullquote]What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?
Make sure you love what you do and your committed to giving it a good shot then make a business plan that includes goals, even if its just scribbled on a piece of paper you need to write it down because when it gets busy you can lose sight of the plan and you need to be able to revisit it and be reminded of your initial goals. I started out with lots and lots of lists and brainstorms from coming up with a name, equipment needed, pricing and sourcing the best suppliers.
What would you say to your 21 year old self?
Take lots of photographs, one day when you’re old they will be the only things you have to help you remember life.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I find inspiration in all forms everyday all around me, im always snapping photos on my phone and taking screen shots of interesting things I find on the web/socialmedia. My phones photo gallery is like my mood board of inspiration, when I need new ideas I look back through all the images to try and spark ideas.
What person dead or alive would you invite to dinner and why?
Nutritionist/bio-chemist Dr Libby. I’m quite a fan of her work, she has amazing knowledge of the human body and that really interests me, how it all works, it’s such a complex system.
What’s next for Elisha McInnes?
I’m playing around with designing my own repeat fabric prints at the moment which is something I really enjoy and hope to be able to produce all ThreadLab products from our own exclusive fabrics and prints in the near future.