Q & A – Donna Mckillopadmin
Local favourites, sharing their insider tips on places and things to do on and around Tamborine Mountain – Your gold coast hinterland!
Donna McKillop is the owner of Wisteria Sewing Services, specialising in bespoke sewing alterations and manufacturing, serving, Tamborine Mountain and its surrounds.
What inspired you to open your business and what do you have planned in 2021?
I started working in a Sunshine Coast surf wear manufacturing factory at age 16. There I learnt sewing, cutting and basic pattern making. At 18 I went out on my own and started my own clothing label, learning more about children’s wear. As the years went by, I brought three children into the world. I became a single parent at 30 and moved to the Noosa Hinterland where I opened a shop and sold my Sandpit Kids clothing attire whilst offering an alteration and manufacturing service.
Over time, the alterations component of my work took over. I met my now husband Vince, a long–time Tamborine Mountain resident, and made the decision to move as my youngest was 18 and had his own place.
Sandpit Kids was relocated to the Eagle Heights shopping centre above FoodWorks and morphed into Wisteria Sewing Services when I stopped making kids clothing. We then moved our workplace to our home studio. During the spring months we have an amazing floral display of wisteria that has been on the premises for over 30 years.
This year we added an embroidery service to our mix of work, with Vince taking responsibility for the technical and design side of this aspect of the business.
What did you do before opening your business?
In addition to working in the clothing manufacturing sector I have worn ‘other hats’ – parenting my three kids, a lawn mowing and gardening service, a house cleaning service, and as a barista and attendant in a bookshop.
How would you describe your business?
Anything that needs stitching – from clothing to curtains, cushions to bags – the list is endless.
What is it about your business that you love?
Being creative, coming up with ideas with a customer to make a garment work. The sewing is the easy bit.
Is it a business that gives you satisfaction?
I get a real buzz when customers are satisfied. To be in a trade for 33 years (whoops, giving away my age) and still loving it. What’s that old saying? Do something you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.
If you were not doing this what would your ideal job be?
When I was at school, I wanted to be a vet but I hated studying, so that went out the window; in my mid–twenties I wanted to be a midwife but that meant studying, so that went out the window. Can you see a pattern forming here (lol)? Sitting here writing this I’m actually stumped. I honestly think I have the ideal job for me.
Interesting facts about yourself?
Got married for the first time at 47. I owned miniature goats and had to deliver a baby when it got stuck – midwife and vet desires came into play. Started drawing one–and–a–half years ago and have had four commissions – you can see my art in my studio.
What do you do for fun?
My kind of fun is considered pain for others – six–to–12–hour adventure racing, navigating, mountain biking, kayaking and running. A holiday for me is hiking in New Zealand and pitching a tent each night. No manicure or facials for me.
Don’t worry, be happy!