Keira and Sophie from Making Too
Best friends Keira Naylor and Sophie Thomas started their event styling and hire company, Making Too, a couple of years ago, combining their creativity, passion and organisation skills. The result is eye-candy for the soul.
I met with Keira and Sophie one hot Sunday afternoon over delicious cold-pressed coffee at One Penny Black. It was a glorious time. Especially when a male L-plater drove through the mall blasting girly pop music and we all had a good laugh. “Oh, Newcastle,” said Keira, with affection.
This pair met in church almost ten years ago and became fast friends. Keira says, “When I thought that event styling was something I wanted to pursue, I knew I wanted to work with Sophie. She’s the only person I can think of that I trust in terms of being a business partner and also being creative. When I thought about what I could bring to the business, Sophie just filled the holes I couldn’t.” A perfect partnership was born, with the girls racking up a portfolio of 12 styled events in less than two years.
"We have some really understanding friends and we’re so grateful for everyone to support us as much as they do."
These 23-year-old go-getting girls are a shining example of being young, passionate, and doing cool shit. They both work full-time jobs – Keira at St Philips Christian College, and Sophie at MAC Kotara – and maintain weekly meetings to talk business, organise future events, stocktake and all that jazz. “Sometimes we have very early meetings, or very late at night.” They share one day off a week together, and sometimes have to set up events without the other, but they make it work.
It all started with Keira’s sister’s gorgeous, DIY wedding late in 2012. She had helped her sister Alyssa source everything, and they handmade a lot of pieces together. But with Keira doing the make-up for Alyssa and the other bridesmaids on the day, she needed to entrust someone with the set-up. Enter Sophie. “Together we thought, more people should do this and do it for a good price. The Hunter doesn’t have anything like that.”
"We’re learning a lot about ourselves and our business. We’re a lot better at communicating now, and make sure we tell each other absolutely everything."
There is a huge market for the cool things Keira and Sophie are doing. As a girl, I think about my wedding a lot. I would never want silk chair covers with the big bows and a red carpet and that sort of tacky, traditional wedding decos you can hire in bulk, but I’m also not a huge DIY girl. I’m not very hands-on, so I could never pull it off. DIY weddings are a thing now, and these girls are targeting that exact trend. I can look at pretty things and think, ‘yeah, that’s what I want’, but I wouldn’t have the capacity to put it together. Enter Making Too. I’ve already booked Keira and Sophie in for my future (non-existent) wedding. Cool, girls?
What does the future look like?
S: Absolutely have Making Too as our full time jobs. That would be incredible. We’d love to be able to employ people too so eventually we’re just directing and can have a studio and a million storage units. At this stage we don’t know what will happen. We could get a ridiculous $20,000 event and that would change everything, or we could get no events for a year. So we just have to see what happens.
by Amy Lovat
Where does the name, Making Too, come from?
S: It took us a while to come up with the name. We researched songs that came out on the date we decided to start the business. There was a song or a band called The Making, but the name was taken. So we sort of just worked with that.
K: And we also make a lot of stuff we use, so it works well.
S: Yeah, it’s all handcrafted and handpicked, we don’t do bulk traditional deco or anything like that.
K: We source other people to do it for us as well.
So you’re only day off together is Sunday, how does that work in terms of running a business together?
K: We’re making stuff before work, after work. We have early meetings and late nights. Honestly, there’s a lot of communication. Texting all the time, surprisingly it works.
Where do you keep all the products?
[Both laughing] Everywhere!
S: Above my cupboard, under my bed, at my dad’s house. Keira’s house, Keira’s shed. We do events regularly so we generally know where most things are.
K: We have boxes with labels. My anal retentiveness pays off. We need a storage shed. And a studio, we’d love a studio. So we can show stock there, and have a general office which would be amazing. The Wedding Designers have that, they’ve been around for a while and they do a great job.
S: We just want to do it bigger and better.
"Our rooms are just storage units. But it’s just life now. Somehow, it works."
What do you do that’s different from other styling companies?
S: I think we have a different feel to other wedding stylists because we put a lot of ourselves into it. We make a lot ourselves and go through and handpick things. We’ve got little individual pieces and that’s quite different from what a lot of people in Newcastle do. The thing is, people are fully capable of doing this themselves but we take the stress and pressure off them. When I got married, I did everything myself and loved it, but as a bride, you don’t have to have that stress. You’ve got so many other things to organise.
K: My sister did almost everything herself for her wedding, she was trawling op shops for months to find vintage tea sets for the reception, and vintage wine glasses for party favours. She thought it’d be heaps easy, heaps casual, but she said later, if anyone had told her how hard and stressful it really was, she never would’ve done it.
So you offer hiring as well as styling?
S: We’ve actually decided that in 2015 we will only be doing hiring. We’ve both moved into full time jobs we couldn’t refuse. We tend to make a bit more money with less output so while we’re working we’re going to just do hiring and build from there. Once we drop back at work and have more income from the business to support ourselves we can start doing styling again. We just have to take it year by year.
K: We would love to start styling again, we love it. We really enjoy it. So we’re working on getting a portfolio done now, photos of our products to put together a hire list. At the moment, people see things on our Instagram or Facebook and email to say ‘I really like this’ and we can put things together based on things that suit that style as well.
S: A lot people like doing these DIY weddings themselves and they get worried about hiring people to do styling and not knowing what it’ll look like on the day. Because they’re off getting hair and makeup done and can’t be there to man it. So they want to hire stuff and put it together themselves. Which is great for us too.
How have you spread the word about Making Too?
K: Mainly word-of-mouth and social media. We had a stall at the Hunt & Gather markets [in Newcastle East] and we got a really good response from that. A fair few emails. We checked it out and thought it was exactly the kind of people we wanted to target, so we just had a few of our handmade products there to sell – hangers, garlands, mason jars – and photos of what we’d done, flyers. We’ll definitely do that again.
What’s the most rewarding aspect?
K: Just having people be really stoked with what we’ve done. Being make up artists has been really good for us. People go, ‘hey, this is what I want but I can’t explain it…’
S: Or they wanna look like Kim Kardashian but they’re not Kim Kardashian…
K: So it’s trying to think about expectations vs reality and communicate what they want and what we can do.
S: When we have a vision in our head and it comes together, that’s awesome too. Or we have an idea about something that’s probably impossible to set up, but then we do it anyway. And it works. It’s like ‘Yeah, we’re awesome.’