Suki McMaster embodies the life of the party in her colourful and fun illustrations and products.
We absolutely love Suki’s style of bright, bubbly and exciting patterns and designs. If you haven’t already… go and check her out! Seriously… You’d be crazy not to!
With everything in her online store from eco-friendly coffee travel cups to blankets, dining sets, cushions and more! It is the ultimate one-stop shop.
For those who haven’t seen your work, can you give us a brief description of what it is you do?
My name is Suki McMaster and I am an artist from Melbourne. I design bright and colourful homewares and giftware that make people happy.
We love your illustrations and designs! Can you tell us a little bit about how you started up as an illustrator?
I have a master’s degree in accounting and I’ve actually never received any formal training to learn how to draw. After failing my first art exam in my life my mum being a typical Asian mum sent me to art class straight away and I’ve been drawing ever since. I must have done something seriously wrong at the exam because I can’t think of any reason to fail a 3-year-old!
What is your design process when creating new patterns and illustrations?
I just draw whenever I feel like it and google for inspiration! I think that’s the disadvantage of having no formal training. I have bought a few books in the past about how to create patterns but I can never understand what they’re saying! By saying that though, I usually draw with watercolour or coloured pencils on paper, then scan the drawings into my computer, use Photoshop to create patterns and adjust colours before I print the design on various products.
What inspires your designs?
I love collecting fabrics so the love of fabrics definitely inspires me. There was a time of my life I was very sad and depressed and drawing brings joy to me. It makes me focus and allows to express my feelings through my drawings. That was what inspired me to start this business. Since meeting my husband, my illustrations are full of love. You can tell which illustrations were drawn in that period of time. It’s just full of pink, bright yellow and joy. More recently, my illustrations are inspired by what’s happening around the world. Take my platypus drawing as an example, the background of the drawing is our great barrier reef. Because it’s in danger I draw the platypus to bring the love heart to the reef. It’s a little message to remind people to be more mindful of their actions.
What do you find the most challenging part about owning your own business?
Time and money. I was an accountant, but I am not good with money and numbers. I hate them! However running a sustainable business needs to make money and understand how to manage them. Having a good budget is very essential to run a business. It can feel like you always have so many things you want to create, so many promotions you want to run and so many outgoing expenses. It’s always so hard to maintain good budget.
I think that time is a huge challenge for most people. As a business owner, managing the time between the business and personal obligation is very hard. Sometimes the only alone time I have is that 10 minutes in the shower. But, nothing is easy. You just have to keep working hard until one day you can buy time for yourself and your family.
What exciting things can we expect from Suki McMaster in the near future?
We are expanding our product range to bamboo lunch boxes and next year we will be attending different events around the country and will continue wholesaling to shops around Australia. We are also planning on expanding overseas. Fingers crossed for everything!
Who are your go-to Instagram accounts you love and why?
I love @donnawilosn @ohhappyday and @ohjoy All their products are bright and colourful. They make me happy. I hope one day I will be as successful as they are.
How would you describe your personal style of illustration?
Bright and cheerful!
Who are your biggest influencers when it comes to creating new products/design and development and just in general?
Marimekko. I have loved her designs since I was a teenager. The bright and bold designs always make me happy. I went to her Finland store for a visit few years ago and it’s amazing! Marimekko also inspired me to make affordable design for all walks of life.
When I first started this business, my husband and I were living in Sydney. We tried to sell my products at different markets, but it never worked out. Most of the time we didn’t even make enough to pay for the stall fees. At that point we were very lucky to sell our house to a developer and could make a choice of what we wanted to do with our lives. I always believed in my work and I really wanted to give it a go before we settled down with another 9-5 job. So we decided to move to Melbourne so we’re closer to the creative community to see if things will work out for us. After we moved to Melbourne we tried a few markets and we’ve received an amazing response. We were very lucky to get a pop-up spot at South Melbourne Market and after doing the pop-up for 6 months when we were offered a permanent spot at the market. It’s been almost 2 years since we start our pop-up at South Melbourne Market, we are very thankful for all the support, kindness and friendship from our customers. This is a dream come true for us.