Meet: Amanda Brandl

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 I’ve always had a longing to create. My dream was always to be able to spend my days creating at home and raising my children alongside my career, but I had no idea how to get there. It was terribly overwhelming to dare to dream about having a creative career and even imagining people would pay for something made by my own two hands.

I had a very successful six figure career in digital marketing but my heart was not in it, and I I despaired at being away from my children.  It was so daunting however to think of going back to school and changing careers with 2 children and a mortgage (not to mention 4 chickens, a rabbit, and a cat to support!). The dream seemed impossible but in 2013 when things hit an all time low my husband and I made the huge decision to leave our mountain life and move back to the city to pursue new goals. The sweetener was - I could go to design school! I was ready to sacrifice to dream bigger.

Although design school was an important catalyst in my creative journey, it was when I found Bonnie's courses that I had my biggest career  ‘aha’ moment of all time. I knew the second I saw her surface pattern design courses that I had found my creative career path. I signed up within minutes and worked hard day and night practicing the techniques, sharing my work and refining my style. I shone at design school because I had so much more experience than everyone else from doing Bonnie’s courses. I actually shared them with all my classmates who were very grateful! Because I stood out, I was offered work through another graduate who’s husband needed a print designer for his men’s clothing range.  And so my new surface pattern design career was born! I designed on trend patterns for men’s underwear and it was so much fun (I mean who knew men's undies could be so trendy!).  I got such a buzz out of seeing my patterns on real life products!

I also worked with a Hotel group and created custom prints for cushions, upholstery, wallpaper, and rugs. My proudest moment was designing the new feature entry rug at Seaworld on the Gold Coast in Australia. What a highlight! I realised there are so many industries that need surface designs, and being able to apply mockups of my designs to various products really helped me look outside the box and seek work in all sorts of commercial ways.

While I was very happily getting paid to work fulltime creating artwork and patterns, I also had a longing to build my own brand. I longed to be a fabric designer, but wasn’t sure there was room for me in such a saturated (and talented!) market.  It’s funny how things come full circle because I found my way back to re-doing Bonnie’s courses with the new focus on specifically building patterns for bolt fabric collections, just as she does. I re-did them with fresh eyes and soaked up the new content and kept hearing the words “there is room for you”. I really took in all the business and marketing learnings of the courses second time around.

It did not take long to have 2 collections ready,  and I licensed them to a wonderful Australian fabric company who is a perfect fit for my style. I have lots of new collections in progress, and I have big dreams to one day license internationally. So today I get to live my dream of working from home with my children (I even had a 3rd baby, Audrey, amongst all this!), creating fabric collections, and I couldn't be happier. I even got to attend Australian Quilt Market to help launch my first 2 collections!

Bonnie’s courses not only gave me the practical techniques to achieve my dream of becoming a fabric designer - they also taught me to be brave enough to create my own brand. I held my dream close and did ONE thing every day towards making my dream a reality. Yes, there were days I wanted to give it all up, and there were days I thought I wasn't good enough or too exhausted to keep going with sick kids or work pressure. But I was gentle on myself through those days and just did my one thing each day to hold the vision, even if it was just to re-organise my art supplies, knowing that tomorrow was a new day.  Those were the moments just as Bonnie said, that defined either my defeat, or my commitment to success. I know now that the hardest part was actually just starting, and I’m SO glad I did. :)