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Introducing Meredith Ireland!

Jess here: today I’m so happy to introduce you to the fabulous Meredith Ireland – my new right-hand gal! Grace has had to move on, but happily, Meredith has come on board to take up the mantle of helping me to keep Create & Thrive moving forward into 2016 and beyond.

I’ll let her tell you more about herself, but for now, just let me say: welcome to the team, Meredith!

~ Jess x

I was lucky to grow up in a creative family, and I found my true creative passion when I was 11 years old.

My mother took me along to an introduction to textiles course and I fell in love with the ancient, colourful craft with endless possibilities. I went on to complete a diploma of Fine Art and Design at The University of Tasmania majoring in Textiles when I was just 16 years old (before I finished year 12)!

It has certainly been a naturally evolving path for me to reach where I am today – and I think it will continue to be so.

I have had to make big decisions in order to follow my creative path… but they have always felt like the best decisions.

Opening my brick & mortar store – Old Franklin Shop – in July this year was a huge milestone.

Not only was I supporting myself as a creative but I am now supporting others. What started as a huge responsibility is now an absolute pleasure.

Promoting, supporting and marketing other makers work is a wonderful job! I still don’t know where this will take me as my ideas are constantly evolving. I think this liquid element is something that attracts me to the creative lifestyle.

I have had many ups and downs with motivation – especially when I have the most to do: but my mind never loses inspiration.

Meditation and writing helps me to calm my constant ideas and thoughts on a daily basis and also stops me from chewing my partner’s ear off all day!

My work is my life now which I really enjoy. I am not very good at doing nothing.

I am constantly thinking of ideas for growth and development personally, creatively and financially.

A day off for me means taking my laptop outdoors or spending an afternoon with family. All is melded into one busy but satisfying schedule that is constantly changing. I am lucky enough to have people around me that support this and help me through hard times but also help me celebrate successes.

I’m so excited to have joined the team at Create & Thrive, which has been a long-term source of confidence building and resources for me since the day I registered as a business.

~ Meredith



Find out more about Meredith


Instagram: Old Franklin | Old Franklin Store


C&T Christmas Shop Share

The online shopping season is upon us!

I hope your sales have been picking up, and you’ve got yourself sorted for the holiday rush.

For a lot of makers, this is both the best and the worst time of year. Best, because we’re making sales, baby! And worst… because we’re run off our feet and stressed trying to get all those orders out the door on time.

With the Christmas spirit ramping up, I wanted to give you – my lovely Thrivers – an opportunity to share your creations with me, each other, and the handmade-appreciating world!

This is your opportunity to share your shop with us.


In the comments below…

  1. Share a link to your online shop.
  2. Tell us in one paragraph or less who you are, what you do, and which item in your shop you think would make a lovely gift!
  3. Share this post with your maker friends on facebook, pinterest, instagram etc. (feel free to use the above image and tag it #CTChristmasShopShare) so they can come on over and share their shops too!


I know you – like me – want to support your fellow makers this Christmas giving season by buying handmade – so let’s get the sharing happening!

Oh – bonus… if you end up buying anything from someone on this list, leave a reply to their comment and let us all know what you bought and why!!

Jess xx

Say Hello to the New C&T Right-Hand Gal – Grace Gulley!


Hey Thrivers!

I’m so happy to be introducing you to my new assistant today!

First – I’d like to take this opportunity to give my enormous gratitude to my dear friend and outgoing assistant – Kath Chown.

Kath really helped me to grow C&T and the Thriver Circle this year – she was my confidant, sounding board, help in all things, and all-around wonderful person to have by my side. Thank you, Kath, for everything you’ve done not only for me – but for the whole C&T community. I’m so thankful we live in the same city and can still have our regular brunches! xx

Second – let me say I was blown away by the number of amazing people who applied for this job – truly, I’m honoured that so many of you love what I do here so much that you wanted to help me create it. Immense thanks to each and every one of you – it was super hard to choose just one of you – I wish my quest for world domination was a bit further ahead so I could hire a whole team of you! 😉

Finally – I’d love it if you would all please say a warm hello to my new right-hand gal – Grace Gulley.

Grace hails from the West Coast of the USA, and runs two amazing projects of her own as well as helping me here – the CYL Collective; and her own handmade business, Lark + Arrow. If you take a peek at both of those, you’ll see that not only does Grace have a deep passion for her own craft + business, she’s also deeply committed to supporting and inspiring female creatives… which, among other things, is what makes her perfect for her role here with me at C&T.

She’ll be working behind-the-scenes – finding amazing creatives to feature on the blog and podcast – and she’ll also be working closely with the members of the Thriver Circle on a daily basis. You can get in touch with her via email at

But enough of my rambling, here’s a little hello from Grace in her own words…

Jess x


Hello all!

I’m Grace, fellow artisan and small business owner. My creative journey has been a long-time in the making. Like many other creatives who are searching for their artistic identity, I dabbled in everything, but never excelled in anything. It took finding a creative community to find my place and lead me to my craft. That craft was, and is, the recently-revived art of knotting, macrame! It quite literally roped me in (excuse the cheesy pun).

I am so excited to be here with all of you Creators and Thrivers!

Finding your craft isn’t the only step in your artistic journey. It takes some serious know-how to run a successful business. And having a community to support and challenge you will help you along the way!

So here’s to all of us growing together, creating our futures, and thriving in our respective crafts.

Create & Thrive Podcast: Episode 3 – How to Provide Outstanding Online Customer Service

When you sell to a customer online compared to a retail setting, some biz owners can forget that there is a real living and breathing person at the other end of the transaction – a person who wants to connect with you as the maker.

Learning from your own experiences and stepping into your customers’ shoes is one of the best ways to check your process. Make sure that you would be happy to receive the attention and care that you show to your own customers.

It may seem hard – the internet can leave us feeling faceless and disconnected from each other – but it is actually easy to give excellent customer service and showcase your brand and style even though you aren’t meeting face to face.

The key is to get a little open and vulnerable – to share a little bit of your truth – which will help your customer to connect with you as a real person.


Being upfront by communicating your policies, where their order is in your queue, showing a little of your own personality and just being a kind and informative person will result in you having a smooth and enjoyable transaction.

Ensure you have a handle on these important aspects of your sales process and you’ll turn a buyer into a brand ambassador who will tell everyone they meet about you and your business.

This episode is the first of our monthly ‘Conversation’ podcasts – where Kath and I get together to riff on a topic. Prepare yourself for a dose of advice punctuated by goofy laughter!


Quotes and highlights from this episode:

  • Be authentic to build your reputation
  • Tell your story in your communications. Read: The Fortune Cookie Principle by Bernadette Jiwa
  • Over-communicate rather than under-communicate
  • Have your policies very clear on your website
  • Policies and FAQs prevent a lot of issues before they happen – and if not, they are there for you to fall back on.” {Jess}
  • Set your own boundaries
  • Don’t ever lie (Jess tells a tale of something that happened to her husband Nick to illustrate this point)
  • Try to empathise with your customer and put yourself in their shoes
  • “It can be hard to stick to your guns sometimes when a customer is upset and they want you to do something that’s contrary to your policies.” {Jess}
  • With returns or problems, never get on the defensive
  • You can’t keep 100% of the customers happy 100% of the time.
  • If you feel like you’ve done everything you possibly can, and you’ve followed your own policies then you can feel confident that you’ve done the best you can for your customer
  • BUT if you want to do something different just for them, do it!
  • “Action can really extinguish the flames of anger which can come with poor customer service” {Kath}
  • All your marketing and promotion is part of your tapestry of your brand

Download this Episode

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create and Thrive’)

Thriver Circle Foundation Membership Is Open {For 48 Hours Only}




Hey Thriver,

It’s here.

A private, positive community of makers – just like you – who are serious about crafting thriving businesses.


I’ve opened the doors of the Thriver Circle to Foundation Members for 48 hours only. 


When you join the Circle, you get:

  • A private, positive community forum – full of fellow creatives who are there to help you and keep you accountable (and I’ll be hanging out there, too).
  • One exclusive workshop from me every month, covering topics like pricing, selling online, marketing, social media, photography, self-care… and more. Oh, and you can request workshops, too. These are not available anywhere else.
  • A monthly call with me, during which 2 members of the Circle get 30 minutes of one-on-one time with me in a Business Intensive + a Q&A session at the end.
  • Early notification whenever I launch a course or program. That means, if there are limited spots, you get first dibs!
  • Detailed Member Profiles, where you can list your website, social media links, and tell us more about you – to help you connect with your fellow makers and build strong relationships.


If you want to be part of the Circle, don’t hesitate.

General membership is only open 4 times a year, for 48 hours at a time. The next intake isn’t until the end of April, and membership will close on Wednesday the 28th of Jan at 9am Australian EST (convert to your timezone – if you’re in the US, this is Tuesday afternoon).

Become a Foundation Member today for just $10 a month for the first 3 months (paid upfront). Then, ongoing membership is on a monthly basis, for just $15 per month.

My goal is for you to be learning what you need to in order to turn that small $15 a month investment in to hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars a month income from your business.

Let’s make it happen, together.


You can join us here, or find out more.

Jess xx

P.S. Leave a comment if you have any questions!

P.P.S. Please don’t hesitate if you want to join. I’ll be closing the doors right before I get on a plane to New Zealand, so there will be no extensions or exceptions.