Friday, 14 May 2010

Feature Friday - billy mac clothing

This week's feature Friday artist is Christine of billy mac clothing.  As you will see, she makes cute tees for children, some of which this mum wouldn't mind having for herself!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Sydney with my husband and 2 daughters who are 3 and 18 months old.  I worked in advertising for a very long time but haven’t had a day job since I had my girls. My full time job is looking after them, but I own a graphic design and advertising business which I run from home.  Late last year I started billy mac clothing, so I’m very busy and I certainly work longer hours now than I ever had in the past!

Describe yourself in 5 words. 
Creative, stubborn, ambitious, honest, cuddly

When and how did you first start crafting/creating?
I’ve always been artistic. I was always drawing, painting or dancing as a child ,but when I reached high school I knew that this was it, Art was my ‘thing’. I went to UNSW, College of Fine Arts for 4 years and when I graduated moved around in a few different jobs within magazines and retail advertising where I was amongst very creative people, but I wasn’t being creative myself.  In the back of my mind I knew that I was still an artist but I had pushed aside the ‘making’. After having my 1st child I started my own graphic design business which meant that I took the lid off my artistic self again.  And after having my 2nd child I started billy mac clothing.  It has been so fantastic to use my creative skills again – with billy mac clothing I am creating my own work and not channeling my artistic side through my clients' work.  It’s an absolute joy and my kids have great t-shirts to wear.

What do you create and what are your favourite materials with which to work?
I print kids t-shirts for the 0-8 bracket. I found after having my girls that there were fantastic garments for babies, but then for around the 2 years up age group the reasonably priced garments were either printed with Disney or Bratz Dolls licenced images or they were attempting to make girls, in particular, dress much older than they were. I needed to find t-shirts for my toddler to wear to Pre-school one day a week that I wasn’t too precious about if they got paint on them, had her shoulders covered in case of sunburn when she was playing outside, but also made her look like ‘the coolest kid in town’!  I couldn’t find anything within my price range so decided to focus on making my own. I can also customise any t-shirt with a name or an image and I’ve just put together a fundraising program for preschools, playgroups and sporting clubs where 20% of each t-shirt sold to their members or students is donated directly back to the club or group to boost their fundraising.

All my designs are done on a Mac using Adobe Illustrator; the design part is my favourite part of the process.  They are then printed via a couple of different methods, depending on the design, and heat pressed onto the garment. Each new design can take me a day, a week or 10 minutes to get it exactly how I want it – I never know until I start to work how easy or difficult it may be, but I’m a big believer in not looking at any design for a few days and then coming back to it with fresh eyes to get some perspective.  All of my t-shirts are 100% cotton and are printed with sturdy vinyl or digital prints. And then I get to see them!  I like to see ‘stuff’, it somehow makes what you think about and what I play around with on the computer more real to see that final printed product.  I’m experimenting with a few different print methods and weighing up the options between quality but still trying to keep costs reasonable.

When and how did you start selling online?
I have been making t-shirts for friends and family for about 3 years but it wasn’t until late last year that I decided to take it seriously, register the billy mac clothing business name (Billy Mac was my childhood nickname!) and start producing and trying to sell my work.  It’s been very quiet for me online but I have had an enormous amount of attention and positive feedback which makes everything worthwhile and I’m considering selling at markets.

Describe your store in 5 words 

Cool, retro, quirky, bold, fun

Where can we find you online?


  1. thanks so much for the feature Deb, you have a great blog and it's a thrill to be a part of it

  2. wow, great t-shirts! I am a total tshirt junkie but alas don't have any kids to buy for, even my nieces and nephews are teens now.

    totally love that there are tshirts that are gorgeous and fresh but are age appropriate, I will definitely keep you in mind for friends with kids.

  3. That's awesomeness. I LOVED adobe illustrator when I was doing my fashion illustrations in school. This guy's story totally inspires me :-)

  4. Great interview! Lovely kid's tshirts!

  5. love it - fab interview and so interesting to learn a little more about a fellow DUST'er x

  6. Wonderful interview!! I am pleased to add another artist to my favorites! I encourage Billy Mac to hang in there - patient endurance in Him :D

    Deb - thank you for your comment on my blog - I am so new to blogging that I just now noticed it :D It is my pleasure and joy to know you ♥(((hugs)))


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