Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sharnel Dollar Designs: Meet Sharnel

When I first stumbled upon Sharnel Dollar's work, I was absolutely blown away. She has an extraordinary gift for designing children's parties and dessert tables, and each new design she introduces us to never ceases to amaze me.

You may know Sharnel from the recent baby shower she designed for an episode featured on Oprah {during Oprah's trip to Australia}, her work in Peekaboo Magazine or maybe just finding her in a blog search for incredible children's party inspiration!

It is with great joy that I share with you today a lovely interview I recently conducted with Sharnel. I find it incredibly insightful, informative and learned many wonderful new things about the beautiful and talented Sharnel...hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

{Question} What inspired you to launch Sharnel Dollar Designs, and how did you make it go from a dream to a reality?

I decided to launch my dessert table and event styling business in early 2010 after repeated interest from the media in my blog and what I do.

My online shop was born out of necessity. I was receiving emails from blog readers asking where to source the products I was using for my own parties. I saw a market for it and launched my online shop in September 2010.

                                      {Photography by Naomi Vasington}

{Question} How long have you been styling children's parties and designing dessert tables (personally and professionally)? What is it about styling such events and designing such tables that you most enjoy?

I’ve been styling children’s parties for 6 years, however I started doing this professionally in 2009. My passion for dessert tables started in 2007 when I discovered Amy Atlas’ work. It was love at first sight. I instantly knew this industry was for me.

{Question} What part of your passion and career (website/product design/dessert table design/party design), do you most enjoy?

I love searching for new products for my online store. My main focus is to source product that is currently not available or not readily available in Australia. I certainly enjoy the thrill of the chase in finding suppliers and manufacturers.

I am most at home designing dessert tables and parties. I can sit for hours sketching, colouring and researching. The most rewarding part for me is seeing the end result, the beautiful images that capture my creations. I love to focus on the details, hence my tag line “every last detail”. Love is in the details.

I also love receiving emails from other party gals showing me their work. It gives me a sense of pride and fulfillment to hear that I’ve inspired others to create a gorgeous celebration for their loved one.

                                      {Photography by Leanne Stamatellos}

{Question} Tell us a bit more about the lovely lady behind the business. What did you study, and how did you get from your career to this point? How has your family played a role in getting your business up and running?

On finishing school I went straight into retail and worked my way into a managerial role. My favourite aspect of that job was buying stock for the shop and merchandising. I would spend hours creating beautiful windows late into my Saturday nights when my friends would be out partying. I also worked most weekends as a lead singer in a band.

From there I went into shopping centre management. I worked in various roles finally finding my passion in marketing. I was a Marketing Manager for various shopping centres in Brisbane for 4 years until I had my first child, Olivia.

I have my children to thank for leading me down this wonderful career path. It was their birthday each year that inspired me to learn the art of cake decorating and that then lead me into the world of dessert tables and event styling.

I’ve been working with Peekaboo Magazine for the past 12 months styling their photo shoots. I absolutely love doing this and I hope to continue doing this for years to come.

                                   {Photography by Naomi Vasington}

{Question} What words of wisdom you have to offer those thinking of launching their own business in children's event design?

Find your own style.

{Question} For parents who simply wish to make their child's party more stylish, do you have a couple of tricks you can share with our readers to help make their party more sophisticated, classic, chic, darling?

1. Select a simple colour palette. Select two, but no more than three colours and stick to that.

2. Party printables are the easiest way to achieve a cohesive look through out your party.

{Photography by Leanne Stamatellos}

{Question} You recently traveled to the United States. Tell us about some of your favorite parts of your journey--whether they were meetings with people, visits to special places...we want to hear all about it!

My favourite part was just being by myself and having the time to spend 2 hours in a ribbon shop if that’s what I wanted to do. I spent five days in San Fran with Glory Albin from Glorious Treats. We had a ball together, shopping, propping and eating out.

I then travelled to New York and fell in love the place more and more each day. I took the subway everywhere and saw two of the best musicals I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. I was honored to meet Amy Atlas and New York and spent the afternoon chatting about our industry.

I’m planning on visiting again in March/April this year. I’ll go to Chicago and New York again.

{Question} I know family is very important to you. How have you been able to manage your time between your family, styling events, traveling, managing your online shop and fulfilling orders? Any tips for our readers in balancing home life and work, and keeping priorities in order?

Keeping a balance is a constant work in progress for me. The one thing I do know is that if I didn’t have this creative outlet I wouldn’t be as happy as I am. I do have some help around the house with cleaning and ironing, so I am able to spend more time with my family and working on by business.

                                                 {Photography by Leanne Stamatellos}

{Question} What is your favorite color? Favorite pattern of fabric? How would you describe your style in terms of home decorating as well as fashion?

I am a classic girl that loves stripes, spots, checks/gingham. If it was flattering, I’d have a dress made only of grosgrain ribbon and I’d be in heaven.

                                                       {Photography by Leanne Stamatellos}

{Question} Are you currently accepting new clients--if so, how much advance notice should they give you to design either a custom dessert table or party?

Yes I’m always accepting new clients. I like to be given at least 2 months notice, however more notice is preferable.

                                        {Photography by Leanne Stamatellos}

{Question} How do you unwind and relax?

I love to travel! But I can’t do that everyday. So I like to take time out and have a massage, manicure and pedicure every month. It’s my time and it’s very special and a much needed part of my life.

                                                 {Photography by Leanne Stamatellos}

{Question} Tell us something about you that we may not know....a hidden talent, passion for something, anything!

I have a passion for singing and loved my time spent rehearsing and performing at school. On completing senior I worked full time and also was lead vocalist in a band working three nights a week. I loved it!

{Question} Do you offer international shipping on products ordered from your online shop?
Yes I do however shipping from Australia is expensive. Usually starts at $50+.

Many, many thanks to Sharnel for allowing me the extraordinary privilege of featuring this exclusive interview with her! It was a delight to learn so much more about the lovely lady behind Sharnel Dollar Designs! I have no doubt we will be seeing much more greatness coming from Sharnel!

You can find Sharnel on her website here, blog here, or facebook here.


Chris @ Celebrations At Home said...

Wonderful Kate! Sharnel is such an inspiration!

Bird said...

I've discovered Sharnel's work through facebook and twitter and have been a fan ever since!

Her style does remind me of Amy Atlas' and it's always a joy to look at her tables! LOVED the Oprah Shower too!! :)

Great interview!

La Dinette said...

So inspiring! Thank you for sharing. By the way, i can't wait to se how the vintage birthday turned out!

Leoni said...

Go Sharnel!! I love her work, I stumbled upon her blog just over a year ago and have been stalking her ever since lol I always get so much inspiration from her work.
Congrats on the feature + interview Sharnel ;-)


My Pigeon Pair said...

Sharnel's work is divine! Such an inspiring creative Mum! Her products are just as gorgeous as her parties!
I also had the pleasure of interviewing Sharnel recently and she is just as lovely as her designs!

Leanne Stamatellos said...

How beautiful it is to see Sharnel's work featured here - having photographed and seen these tables, they are truly full of detail and surprise.