While most of us want to see Covid-19 and 2020 disappear, for others like Michelle Kerr the recent stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne inspired the start of a new business.
Feeling quite isolated and uncertain, Kerr's natural response is to do something creative so she started searching the internet for something that she could do to switch off, but couldn’t find what she was after.
“The idea for Champagne Creative and ‘gift boxes for crafts’ came to me during the Covid-19 Stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne,” she explains.
“All of the shops were closed, so I was facing multiple delivery fees and shipping delays to get all of the craft supplies I needed and that’s when I thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if I could just get everything I need delivered in one box to carve out a little creative me-time?’ So I decided to create it myself.”
After the initial product idea, the next decision she made was to include a mini bottle of prosecco, as her vision for the brand was for it to be more than just a box of craft supplies.
“The vision is to support people to find their inner creative, have a little me-time and indulge in the power of creative flow. And so, the name of the business became obvious to me―Champagne Creative.”
However, launching a business during a pandemic and while in lockdown is no easy feat, and the first hurdle she encountered after getting started was trying to source inventory in a timely manner. None of the stores were open to the public and because many people we’re getting their ‘craft on’ in lockdown, supplies we’re often out of stock, she says.
“I was then faced with lengthy shipping delays due to the huge influx of online purchasing in Melbourne. One inventory order took four weeks to arrive from a store 10km away! These delays pushed my launch date back a whole month and I was concerned that I may have missed the ‘prime’ opportunity of selling my craft boxes while many were at home looking for things to do, but the feedback since my launch has been fantastic.”
Indeed, many people say that they’ve been looking for something like this for ages, that it’s such a unique idea, that it’s the perfect gift for the crafty people in their life and that the addition of the prosecco bottle is a big winner.
“There was a huge influx of gift box businesses that launched during 2020 in direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic. People were looking for self-care packs and things to deliver to those in their life doing it tough. The difference with my gift boxes is it’s not just a box of finished products like candles or bath salts―it’s everything you need to make those items yourself and in my opinion, much more exciting to try something new and have something that you’ve handmade.
“They’re also not your average bag of pom poms or fabric squares available in craft store kits…every box guides you to create a modern, on-trend project that I’ve personally picked out and designed myself―that you’ll actually want to display in your home,” she adds.
Kerr admits she has always been a crafty person, making DIY projects and her first job as a teenager was in a local scrapbooking and craft store. So when she started her gift boxes business the selection process was simple―what do I want to create for myself and then how can I package that and teach it to others, she explains.
“I trusted that if I wanted to create it, then others would too and I’ve stuck to that principle as we’ve continued to launch over 14 boxes. As my audience has grown, I’ve also turned to them to get their input on which creative projects they would love to see and that helps me to decide which ones make the cut.”
As 2020 comes to an end, what does Kerr have planned for 2021? “I have so many ideas for craft boxes that it’s hard to keep a lid on them all. You can expect to see new craft box projects launch every month and I’m currently spending time thinking about some couples boxes for Valentine’s Day that couples can make together as part of their date night. I’m also exploring the option of running in person classes with our kits in late 2021, once the impact of Covid-19 has hopefully reduced.”