There's nothing more inspiring than a success story. Catherine Manuell started her career as a teacher and then went on to design hats, learning lessons from her grandmother over afternoon teas (gotta love that). Then after stints designing for Witchery and Kookai, among other top brands, she launched Catherine Manuell Design.
What five words best describe you? Busy, determined, persistent, involved and passionate.
What’s your proudest achievement? Besides my kids (!), my Aboriginal Women’s Artist project. We reproduce the artists' paintings, and then we make the fabric into luggage and other travel-related design products. A percentage of all sales goes to the artists as the products sell, and they are given marketing support as individuals and for their arts centres. It has taken a lot of time and patience for it to come together but now it is rolling along nicely for all involved.
Who inspires you? I am inspired by all women who manage to successfully run their own business and keep and good family/life balance.
What are you passionate about? Creativity, equality, using creative enterprises to break down severe poverty.
Why did you start Catherine Manuell Design? I wanted to use my skills in fashion and business and create a more flexible lifestyle for myself that could support me and my family.
What’s the best lesson you have learnt? I have learnt to keep things developing and to persist, and also hardest of all, when to let go.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I would love to meet two of the artist’s that I am working with. I have not met them yet, as one is new to the project and the other lives in a remote area. The plan is to travel to Central Australia with my family soon to meet with them in the next couple of months, so I would say the two artists, Evelyn Pultara and Dianne Robinson.
What are you excited about? Seeing my next range come to life in sample form and to travel to very warm parts of Australia to meet with some of the artists.
Images courtesy of Catherine Manuell Design