“There’s power in realizing that you’re an important person in your own right and making time for that. I want to show my boys that you need to care for yourself to care for others.”
Creator of Indy Bindy, Aims, is the mum you can’t help but notice at school pick-up. A world-travelled ex-diplomat, wearing incredible outfits, when other mums ask where she bought them, she flashes that megawatt smile, “Thanks! I made this.”
A mum of two boys, Archie (8) and Indy (6), her online fabric store was named after the latter as they were born in the same year.
“I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember. As a little girl, we would visit mum’s family overseas every few years, and my favorite thing was collecting unique fabrics from each country. They were my memories,” Aims smiled.
After meeting her husband while both studying international affairs at ANU, she would go on to live in the Solomon Islands, Liberia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Japan.
“When my second son was born, we were living in Tokyo. As a new mum, your whole identity really shifts. You’ve got this all-consuming little being.
“Sewing was something that was just for me, that was not connected to my little bub. It became part of my identity that I really held onto. When he was sleeping, I’d be sewing.”
While browsing an independent fabric fair in the city, several designs caught her eye. “I started speaking with the designers and I was just so inspired by their passion and creativity.
“These designers wanted to share their work with the world, but they either didn’t know how to work in the online space or didn’t have the confidence in their English. That’s where I could step in, sharing their fabrics on the international market.”
Through Indy Bindy, Aims connects small fabric and patent businesses together from around the globe and brings in clientele by showing off the final products on Instagram, “where there’s a really vibrant and active sewing community”.
Recently, she partnered with patent designers, Anna and Isabel of The Uncut Project in Copenhagen, and Israel-based sewist (an artist who sews), Geri in Stitches. “They provided the pattern; I provided the fabric and Geri sewed this amazing dress, and we all shared in each other’s community.”
Over half a decade after founding Indy Bindy, fabric is Aims’ livelihood, but she still keeps sewing for herself – a regular patron of “creative self-care”.
“A full day of sewing for fun just fills my cup right up,” she explains. “We hear self-care talked about a lot, and we tend to think of a massage, scented candles, a yoga retreat.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love a massage, but for me self-care is about remembering who you are. Working out what lights you up and feeding that peace.”
“If you can make time for that, I think it really affects the way you show up in the world, for your family and for those around you.”
For mums in particular, Aims emphasizes the importance of having an outlet that can connect you back to a part of your identity that’s separate from children.
“It’s very hard to do because as mums we’ve got a lot of demands on our time, but even if it’s just little snippets here and there, like sewing for 10 minutes a day, it can really change how you feel.
“Clarity in our lives comes from when we stop. When we stop the hustle and just pause.”
Due to disruptions from COVID lockdowns, postage from Japan currently takes three to six months.
Aims chose to pivot her business by installing an educational arm that will support intermediate sewists to improve their skills and make time for creative self-care.
“We’re launching a sewing membership later this year. It’s all about helping people find their me-made style, connecting with themselves in that way.”
“Me-made” is a common term in the online sewing community.
“Sometimes ‘handmade’ can feel a bit arts and craftsy,” explained Aims. “I feel that ‘me-made’ speaks to that empowering bit. The me-made pieces are the ones in your wardrobe that you always go for.
“It puts a smile on your face instantly, having this end product that you imagined and brought to life with your very own hands.”
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