Melbourne based design label Min Pin has been named the winner of Etsy Australia and New Zealand’s Design Awards art, illustration and paper design category.
Launched in 2013, all Min Pin pieces—including prints, jewellery, ceramics and textiles—are designed and handmade by Penny Min Ferguson in her studio in the Dandenong Ranges.
“There are so many talented designers and illustrators on Etsy at the moment so it is such an encouraging feeling to be recognised amongst such good company,” says Ferguson. “I feel incredibly honoured.”
The piece that won Min Pin the Etsy award was Ferguson’s Best Friends print, which features her signature whimsical style. She is inspired by everything from “funny faces in the clouds, dogs, going to the markets, moods, music” to other designers and illustrators.
Ferguson started her brand after studying graphic design at university and interning at a local design school, where she gained an insight into running a small business.
“I was always drawing and making things as a kid,” she says. “After a really inspiring internship… I realised [starting a business] was possible and the absolute perfect vehicle to pour everything I love doing into.”
Working in different mediums ensures Ferguson is never bored and she says being her own boss means she has creative freedom.
“When I’ve had enough of painting I can go into a different room and make a pair of earrings. I’m pretty flexible with how I work so when I really don’t feel like getting silver all over me I can spend the day on Photoshop instead.
“The most challenging thing for me would probably be balancing the business side of things with the creative. When I wake up in the morning I would obviously much rather glaze some ceramics than do bookkeeping but you gotta do what you gotta do.”
Min Pin’s stockists, including online stores and local and international brick and mortar retailers are those that want something unusual, says Ferguson.
“I think most lean towards selling handmade pieces or things that are a bit different to your everyday.”
By Ruth Cooper