Camilla d’Antoine from MOZI

September 2008: Juggling the day to day operations of running a business can’t be easy, especially when combined with the role of creating new designs. Somehow Camilla d’Antoine from MOZI clearly makes it work, with the launch of a new online shop in the UK and new designs in the pipeline.

What have you been up to lately?
Well it’s a pretty busy time of year for the business. Christmas is around the corner so our warehouse is like Santa’s workshop and we are all running around like little elves trying to get orders out the door.

On the designs front, we have just launched our new website in the UK – so the last few months myself and Bec (my right hand man) have been spending a lot of time on interface layouts, the functionality of the site and some flash animations. We have also just started designing our next collection which is my favourite time of the year. We have paper, pencils, paint brushes and scraps of fabric everywhere.

How would you describe your own work?
Over the top with colour. Always has a theme running through it. Heavily inspired by nature and has a feel-good aesthetic.

How did you first start designing?
When I was seven years old I started running my own colouring competitions – doing the sketches, photocopying them at my dads office then handing them round to my class mates to colour in. I was extremely bossy and would give prizes to the winners. It became a weekly event all the way through grade 2. Looking back, I think this was the beginning of my design career…

What is your typical process in coming up with a new design?
A visit to the state library, an exhibition or a wander through the streets to get the mind ticking then back to the studio where pen hits paper. Weeks are spent drawing, cutting paper, painting, doing etchings and once I have a big enough body of work then I start the scanning the images and working in Illustrator to create patterns.

How do you find the business/production side of the business?
I find I spend just us much time on the business side of things than the design side. It’s not always what I want to be doing but when you have staff to manage, a lease on a warehouse, stock to control and one million other business related challenges you really need to know what’s going on. Fortunately I have my sister/business partner to lean on, she was a born business person and runs MOZI like a tight ship. It’s good practice and I think will keep us in good stead through what is potentially going to be a tough period.

Where do you find inspiration?
Through my work you can obviously see that my biggest inspiration is the animal and vegetal world. Having floral motifs and animals included in my designs is ultimately where I end up even if I try not to include them. I also love to explore old antique shops, bric-a-brac stores and markets, I always find things in these places that spark ideas. In old treasures there is so much gold – I love to look for interesting typefaces on say an old record cover, a great floral print in a 1960’s Vogue magazine or scraps of old wallpaper.

What advice would you have to younger designers entering the industry?
Don’t be complacent. Chase something if you want it. Take risks and work hard.
At MOZI when we employ staff, including designers, we look for people who are like-minded, are flexible and also willing to take instruction. It takes years of learning and instruction to become a mature and well rounded designer. Listen to your mentors. I still feel like a have a lot to learn and hope that I always feel like this as this is what drives me to be better.


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