Wow, I cannot believe we are almost in November, where has the year gone? I am super excited about this “Pay It Forward” as we were extremely lucky to attend an “Under the Sea” themed birthday party way back in February ( it seems many moons ago) and much to our surprise, we received a Shark tail outfit from Schooza as Jasper’s party favour. I nearly fell over myself after seeing the label, realising I was going to be writing a blog feature on this brand later in the year.
Hudson wore the shark tail to a recent “Under the Sea” party too and he received so many compliments on his costume and it was so nice to see sharks mixing it up with mermaids and pirates. It made the perfect costume! Both boys adore wearing it to dress up at home and using it for imaginary play. I have been attacked many a time by a hungry shark at dinner!
Schooza is a brilliant handmade store out of Tasmania that sells unique kids costumes and dress ups. Showcasing a fabulous array of costumes like shark, crocodile, kangaroo, fox, monkey and dinosaur tails geared towards boys but by no means exclusively made for them. She also creates stunning glitter crowns, wonder woman style glitter cuff sets, tiaras, wands, as well as snow leopard, zebra, cats and tiger tails.
With a science background and still working part time as a embryologist, Liz started out being inspired by her 2 sons and creating wonderful costumes for them. Soon, friends were asking her to create ones for their kids and so Schooza was created.
“Schooza” pronounced like school with a ZA or like the Italian way to say excuse me, “scusa”! It was a word created by her son when he was 3 years old whilst racing around the room and jumping onto his bed laughing. Liz asked him what he was doing and he proudly advised he was “schoozing”! They nicknamed him “Schooza” and when it didn’t stick, she adopted the name for her shop instead.
As she beautifully puts it “I have embraced the fun filled childhood play by creating quality handmade items for hours of fun, getting lost in a world of make believe. ”
I love that Liz, much like myself, is a huge supporter of handmade products and I asked her a little Q&A in regard to her being a maker and creator as well as supporting other creators.
Q&A with Liz from Schooza:
My boys and their interests (such as animals, pirates, dinosaurs, superheros and construction sites) are my biggest source of inspiration. Along with their friends, they provide me with a very long list of ideas, and I have a big book full of products yet to be created. The more girly products are inspired by friends children and my childhood dressing up box – a big chest full of my parent’s old clothes and some things mum had made me. My customers also inspire me to create products for them, and a few of these have ended up as products in my range too. All my fabulous masks patterns are by the lovely and very talented Donna at Ebony Shae patterns.
2. I love that your costumes aren’t just the typical outfits out there, in particular the Dino tail and Shark tail, what is your favourite outfit to make?
The shark set is definitely a favourite to make – it was developed for an ‘under the sea’ showcase on Facebook I participated in. I wanted to do something a bit different, and I wanted it to be suitable for boys (but of course girls can wear them too). This has been my one of my main aims thoughout my range really, to create something a little bit different with boys in mind. I draft all my own patterns for my tails and crowns, and love to see products come to life from an idea. My range is constantly evolving to include new, and redesigned unique products.
3. What is your kid’s favourite outfit to wear?
At the moment my little boy is loving a bee costume I made him, buzzing around collecting all the nectar and stinging people with the stinger on the back – they have such fabulous imaginations it is wonderful. My older boy is still into pirates and went as a pirate for book week at school this year. He also loves the lightning bolt wand and headband I recently released – he goes around un-inventing everything with it, just like Professor Stupido from the 39 Storey Treehouse (the book by Andy Griffiths) .
4. You are also part of the Handmade Cooperative which provides marketing, advertising and support to you, how beneficial is this to you as a maker?
The Handmade Cooperative has been a huge asset to me as a maker, in terms of networking, advertising and support. We are a group of 70 handmade businesses from all over Australia working together to support and promote each other. Not coming from a business background, I have learnt so much in the last year from this group and have had some great opportunities I would not otherwise had, growing my online presence, sharing advertising features etc. They are such a friendly, supportive bunch too, it’s really like having a second family.
5. How important is the handmade community to you and the support network it provides?
Even before I started the store I was a big supporter of handmade products, at local markets and online, I love getting something a little bit different and having the chance to talk to the person who created it. It is wonderful how we all support each other, as a handmade community – buying each other products, promoting and collaborating with each other. Social media has also been a great platform for the handmade community to thrive and support each other.
6. For any aspiring maker or creator out there, do you have any wise words for those just starting out?
It can be overwhelming and feel like you have to have styled to perfection especially scrolling through the fabulous world of Instagram!
So there you have it, a little bit of maker guidance out there from the fabulous Liz from Schooza. I have to say that last bit holds true. You just have to start, no matter what, small steps will turn into big ones soon enough. You just have to take those brave steps to begin with.
To see more of Schooza‘s fabulous creations and handmade kids dress ups, please see details below. Or check out her stall at “The Barn Market”, a quarterly handmade market in Hobart.
NB: – all photographs published with permission of Schooza. The photos with Hudson in the minty shorts were taken by the always fabulous Petit Etoile Photography. The ones of Hudson in his Gardner and Gang shark trousers were taken by myself.