NOT SO ORDINARY CITIZENS | EMILY PETTITT | GERONIMO BOY
Posted on February 1, 2014 by Trace
E M I L Y P E T T I T T
designer of the luxe bohemian handbags
under her label
G E R O N I M O B O Y
This girl swallows sunshine before her green smoothie breakfast; she signs off her emails with Peace, Love & Candy Canes; she is sweetness assured with a side of cheekiness and an exuberant enjoyment for life; the kind of girl that you hope to label “keeper”.
We love to support local talents and were eager to learn from Emily, how one goes about the building of a brand. Emily fuels her dreams to create with guts, persistence and an idea of a gypsy life to keep her focused on her craft. This is how Geronimo Boy came about..
HC: You are pretty much living your dream Emily! You started your own business designing / creating these collectable treasures and have become another in the long line of female beauties to be living in Byron Bay working in your own creative realm… tell us how you made it happen?
Em: Being creative has always been a part of who I am. Initially I had always thought I would pursue a career as an artist [painter] but after a year at the College of Fine Arts [COFA] NSW University, I realised it wasn’t the direction in which I wanted to go. That doesn’t mean I don’t mind the odd dabble at home with a paint brush but it was never going to pay the bills.
Since then finding that creative passion that would ultimately also lead to a pay cheque has been a constant work in progress. It wasn’t until a close friend was able to point me in the direction of what had always been a passion and love affair of mine – leather handbags, that things really started to take shape. Sometimes you just need that nudge by someone close to you to point out the obvious direction in which you should take and I was lucky to get that and realise there within lay my dream.
Let your tassles do the talking — The Williamsburg at Midnight
Em: Having the idea is one thing but actually making it come to fruition has been a completely different thing. It has been a huge learning curve on so many levels, learning the leather process, dealing with suppliers whose English isn’t their first language, starting a business for the first time, setting up a website, marketing, importing etc etc. The list goes on with things I’ve learnt in such a short space of time and it also continues to grow, it’s far from over. Everyone always asks why the name? Geronimo was a name I’ve always had in the back of my mind for calling a child. My business is my baby of sorts and thus it seemed only natural to name it as such, of course there’s also the double meaning that Geronimo is used to express exhilaration when jumping from a great height and this is my leap of faith.
HC: Your designs are handcrafted in Bali. How are your involved with the Indonesian artisans whom bring your creations to life? What have you learned from them?
Em: It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with such gifted artisans. I have learnt a lot from them in so many ways, not only do they give life to my visions, they are the oxygen to my fire. Each bag is a constant work in progress from the moment I put pencil to paper. What I think is a great idea doesn’t always pan out as such in the workshop therefore there has to be a lot of room for patience and persistence. Patience is a virtue that I am not naturally graced with so I guess the simple beauty of it has been my biggest challenge.
Em: I mustn’t only pay respect to their artistic skills, & quick fingers, but most importantly are their beautiful natures. It appears that nothing is ever too much for them, in short you can rest assured that plenty of thought and love goes into each piece. Life is so much easier when you approach it with a smile and they have definitely taught me that.
HC: How did you come to call Byron Bay home? How often are you in Bali?
Em: After travelling the globe with long stints in Asia, North America and Central America, I had to return back to Australia for my brothers wedding. Finding myself without the funds to head back overseas straight away, Byron appealed to me as the extension of the travel dream. A halfway commitment between returning to reality and “getting a real job” as my mother referred to it and also continuing to live the gypsy life. In Byron normal life almost feels like a holiday. Like so many others I initially came for summer and 4 years down the track I’m still here.
Em: I try to get to Bali as often as I can, having spent 2 months of 2014 there both sourcing supplies, working on new designs and naturally enjoying the wonders of that magical place. A huge part of my heart remains there and I can’t wait to get back and see some new designs to come to life. [Em is now based predominately in Bali]
HC: What are the moments that have brought you the most joy and peace in your life?
Em: I don’t think anything teaches you about yourself as much as travel can, and putting yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s daunting and scary to start with but I have gained the most rewards from the newfound experiences and friendships I have made along the way. Travel is my saviour. We are so lucky as Australians to be brought up fortunate enough to go and see the world. I can’t fathom what life would be like without my wandering adventures. It feeds the creative soul.
HC: How does a typical day in the life of Emily look?
Em: Life is quite eclectic at the moment, I am just trying to find that balance between managing the hours that I need to put into the business and having the freedom to do what I want with my day. I try to start or finish the day with either some yoga, a lighthouse walk or a bike ride around Byron. From there it’s checking orders, hopefully a trip to the Post Office to ship some goodies, learning to manage my social media presence and answering e-mails and learning new ways to get the brand out there. It’s all very new territory and I’m making it up as I go. Fingers crossed I’m heading in the right direction.
Photo of blogger @pantsoptionalgypsy [Bec Villanti] in Mister Zimi Bali — wearing the Josephine Joseph — Half man, half woman – this is a bag for all genders.
HC: Do you have any words of wisdom that you use, when it becomes difficult to keep a happy work life balance?
Em: I’m not sure I’ve ever had a problem with this. I enjoy life a little too much. I guess the moral of the story is don’t take life too seriously. I have a tattoo on my right foot that say’s “My Left foot”, it’s a constant reminder about being silly.
When I take a hit I do have to keep reminding myself to be positive, be patient, be persistent and your dreams will manifest. It actually scares me how much we can control the power of positive thought.