Hey, friend! My name’s Mikaela.
The reason why I do what I do is told here in detail (which I can’t seem to avoid when I get going!), I hope you take the time to read it through (maybe grab a cuppa), but if you’re short on minutes today, I’ve got the budget recap below 😉
Here’s the short version:
I come from a creative family. My sister died in 2005, I live life to the fullest in her honour. I’ve run multiple businesses in various industries. I’m a qualified graphic designer and teacher. I want to empower women to pursue creativity in business and in life.
And here’s the director’s cut:
I’m a creative kid from way back, which I owe to my family, namely my grandparents, parents and sister.
Growing up my sister and I would often go to my grandparents house after school. My Pa taught me how to build things with wood and nails, how to stain and laquer, how to spruce up a piece of furniture with a lick of paint. My nandy taught me how to sew, how to repurpose everything old into something new, and how to make toys to play with out of virtually nothing. My mum is very artistic (though she doesn’t think so!) and used to be a freelance calligraphy artist, which showed me that women can run their own business on their own terms. Mum taught my sister and I how to screen print on our own t-shirts, and always supplied us with so many tools to create to our hearts content. My dad taught me how to fix things around the house, to enjoy tinkering, and passed on his love of loud music to both my sister and I. Our parents were also early adopters of most new technology, and gave us access to computers and the internet at a time when most people didn’t have these things at home.
As we got older, I became more interested in design and everything related to the internet, developing websites and writing blogs for fun. My sister continued on a more crafty path, becoming a consultant for “krafty kids” and creating all of our Christmas and Birthday presents and cards by hand.
In mid 2005, when I was halfway through my final year of my Graphic Design degree, mum and I were at home when we got a call from my sister’s boyfriend in the early hours of the morning, telling us she was having some sort of seizure, the paramedics had just arrived and he would call us right back. A few minutes later, one of the paramedics called us back, and time stopped. My sister had passed away. Just like that. No warning, no reason. Tests never revealed to us why my big sister had died. She was just 24 years old.
A few years later, in my first year of teaching, a student at my school passed away. It was absolutely devestating for the whole community, and at the funeral one thing his father said really struck me. He was speaking to the boy’s friends, all 16 to 18 year olds, and was telling them how important it was now to live their best lives, to live for their friend who was no longer there.
I realised that this is what I needed to be doing for my sister. I realised that life holds no guarantees. That every single day I am on this earth, needs to count. I know that any day could be the last of anyone I love. And that has made me never settle for anything less than living each day on my own terms.
To continue my story, I taught for a total of 6 years in the same school (some full time but mostly part-time, working on my side-hustle of making jewellery and teaching craft workshops all the while), 4 years of which were the best working environment I could have asked for. During that time, my colleagues were some of my best friends, and I’m so grateful that we all met and got to work together. Near the end however, friends left the school, things were changing, and I was witness to some workplace bullying, which I have zero tolerance for. The time had come for a change, and with the support of my husband (best dude ever), I took unpaid leave to pursue a dream of opening my own studio space.
I planned my idea – The Makers’ Hub – for 12 months (while still teaching), and opened in March 2014. The 65m2 beautiful, bright, light-filled studio was a place to teach craft, business, photography and design workshops, which I had been teaching in a tiny community hall room for the previous 2 years. The first 18 months went swimmingly well, the Canberra community really embraced my idea (helping me raise $7000 to purchase equipment and supplies through Pozible and turning up en-masse for a working bee to help me assemble all the furniture for the space – I can’t thank them all enough!) and all the workshops were received really well. In May of the second year of operation, I had my second baby, and that’s when things started to get really, really hard at The Makers’ Hub – financially, and personally.
My heart just wasn’t in that business model any longer. Even though I knew it was (and still is!) a really great, commercially viable concept, I knew it wasn’t going to be “my lifes work”, as it were. I was utterly determined to make it work and slogged it out for many months trying everything under the sun to love it, but one morning in the shower asked myself: “If I only had ten years to live, would I be happy spending any more time doing this?” and the answer was no. So I made the decision to close the studio (the instant relief was very telling!) and focus solely on growing my online community and school, which I had been working away on in the background for the last few years. My true passion could finally take a front seat!
Enter stage left: The Makers’ Collective & Academy.
The Makers’ Co is a community of makers and creatives. People who love making, in any capacity. The “creatives” among us, who are lucky enough to have found something they enjoy doing, creating some thing where there was no thing before. My mission is to empower these makers and creatives with the skills, confidence and motivation to take the skills they have and pursue their creativity, be it in running their own business, or just in day to day life.
I also have a desperate urge to empower women specifically, to hold the power in their own lives. To recognise their own strength and talents, to value their independence and intelligence and feel free to do and be whatever the fuck they want in life. I hope my courses, workshops and free resources will go a little way to achieving that.
Want just a little more?
All good, I seem to love talking about myself, if this long, long about page is anything to go by!
I’m a mama of 2, and being near the ocean feeds my soul – lucky it’s only a couple of hours drive away! I play soccer and love sport but am actually really physically lazy – where’s the nearest chair?!
I’m an unapologetic feminist.
I’m a very easy-going, positive and friendly person, but I swear a bit and get ranty about important issues I’m passionate about (namely social justice, gender equality, human rights, marriage equality, animal rights and the environment).
I try very hard not to engage in negativity (it’s a personal mission).
I’m building this community of makers and creatives so you have an awesome network of like-minded peeps to support and encourage you in your creative adventures.
I’m a bit of a go-getter, and basically just believe anything is possible if you work really effing hard for it.
Having a really strong support network is really, really important though. My family believes in me and my husband supports my crazy ideas, so that’s a huge help. My son Rafael is a really cool kid. Just wanted to mention that. We’ve also added Harriet to the mix and she’s turning out to be pretty awesome too.
Having a supportive family is tops, but sometimes you just want to hang with your peeps that get you, and your crazy creative ideas.
This is why I’ve created The Makers’ Co, for you, for me, for all of us.
Life is just too short to not be doing what you love, every damn day.
Thanks so much for being here, I hope we can connect soon!