Interview with Maggy Liu

August 10, 2017

Interview with Maggy Liu

Make Winter Electric: Interview with Kate Sellars-Jones


If you are finding it difficult to face the dreary Melbourne landscape this winter, perhaps what you are missing is a beautiful scarf from Things Are Electric to provide that extra pocket of warmth and brilliant pop of colour to brighten your day.

Recently, I had the pleasure to chat to the owner and designer of the brand, Ms Kate Sellars-Jones, about her passion for art, the inspiration behind her latest collection as well as her entrepreneurship journey.

After graduating with a degree in graphic design from Swinburne University, Kate began working in her field of specialisation until deciding to go travelling for a bit and see more of the world.

On her return, while looking for a job, Kate began dabbling in various creative projects of her own spanning from mosaic works to paper mache, followed by a small range of homewares. It was a natural progression to move into silk scarves as her main venture due to her passion for combining colours and patterns with textiles and fabric.

“I found scarves in particularly were really great canvases, not to mention that silk is absolutely beautiful to print on. It picks up colours beautifully, it’s almost like you can feel the textures despite how smooth it is.”

What’s special about her new winter collection of 2017 is that they all have a very fine woollen backing so you do not have to make the difficult choice between style and comfort.

When I asked Kate why she decided to combine wool and silk, she informed me that she wanted to provide the best of both worlds to her customers since “silk is not particularly warm but at the same time, there are details that can be printed on silk, these lustres and shimmers that will be lost on other mediums. It was a long process to get that lovely, fine, warm wool on the back but it was worth it.”

As Kate speaks about her current collection, she emphasises that her work exists both as standalone products but also extensions of her core idea of providing unique, limited pieces of “wearable art” rather than thoughtless patterns to be mass produced.

It is clear to see that from Atlantic (my favourite) to Succi (Kate’s favourite), the whole range of statement pieces comes in various colours and designs that suits different personalities and outfits without losing the integral element of the pieces stemming from original artwork.

When discussing her actual creative process, Kate believes it is “quite organic” starting with “drawing ideas, shapes and patterns until I find a bit of a theme.”

Beyond the initial artwork, “a lot of work happens digitally" where even a simple manipulation of colours or orientations could drastically change the look of the final product.

Of course, Kate is both qualified and experienced to deal with the creative side of her business. Finding yourself as not only your own boss but also your own designer, secretary, logistics manager and promoter can be extremely challenging. In order to make it easier on herself, Kate has completed a business course, although she sheepishly revealed that she spent most of her time “giggling at the back with friends” and it was really just a matter of dealing with issues day to day as they come up as well as continuing to focus the creative side of the venture that truly drives her.

That being said, Kate does enjoy many parts of the business, such as being able to see new samples come in as well as seeing “the reactions I get when people love [the scarves], they’re so enthusiastic and they come back to get another one, and another one.”

It is clear that Kate has found a way to commercialise art whilst keeping its integrity through her passion and hard work. It is no wonder Things Are Electric has managed to gain a bit of a cult following over the years. Even I can’t help wondering now, if it is too early to start clearing out a corner of my closet for my growing scarf collection?

(Disclaimer: This article is compensated however all opinions, thoughts, beliefs expressed are my own.)