Get to know Loretta from N'Hay Gear
Your name: Loretta
Your Business name:N'hay Gear (pronounced Neigh Gear) and The Chopper Bag
The suburb/town you live in:
Beautiful Hatton Vale, Lockyer Valley
What is it that you make and what skills do you use?
N'hay Gear is a custom sewing service. I make everything! Specialties include custom tailored horse rugs. Made to measure everything and gear bags and covers. I also have a great range of dog training equipment designed and recommended by professional dog trainers.
What inspired you to start your business?
Becoming a mother and doing so with the plan to be a stay at home parent I did a lot of sewing for the kids. One Christmas my mother said she required a canvas bale bag to be made to keep her new car clean on hay buying day. My brother (a sailmaker by trade) let me use his industrial machine to make her one, because she couldn't buy them in the shops. She loved hers, sold five at the first horse event she went to, and the rest is history. N'hay bale bags were born. Years of practise have been great. Custom work comes naturally. Turns out I am very good at solving horse rug fit issues, and generally covering three dimensional objects in fabric.
The Chopper Bag came about because the original creator and crafts woman saw my work on a large scale at an expo and saw my skills so enlisted me and asked me if I would take on Chopper bags as my own. I am humbled to be given the opportunity and truly honoured to make the Gen 2 bags.
How long have you been ‘creating’?
I have sewn all my life. As a toddler I got in trouble for breaking into mum's sewing gear and making bags for my marbles etc. without permission. I made clothes for myself for years. Formal dresses and wedding dresses. Because I have a preference for one-offs and out of necessity at times. N'hay Gear is six years old this year. The Chopper Bags are much much older. But I have been crafting them since the beginning of the year.
Is it a full time/ part time/hobby or business?
More full time than I would like some weeks! Seven days a week usually. Every waking hour. I'm either thinking about work or working. And I love what I do, so it's not a problem.
Where do you sell your creations?
I am delighted to attend a Handmade Expo! Finally I am getting it together! Other than that, my work is recommended to others through word of mouth either locally or on Facebook. I sell through my websites too.
What makes what you do special or different?
My work is all custom and built to last. Everything is hand made. The horse rugs are truly tailored to the individual animal and quality of product and service is top priority. The Chopper Bags are really something special. Check one out I the flesh and then you can tell me you "get it". My service and attention to each customer is rare, in any industry.
What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
I love the feedback I get! People are regularly telling me how great their products are. How much they love what I do and how well I do it. Seeing horses with the best fit ever. Super comfy and happy and relieved owners when the fit is perfecto. No more wasted money. Chopper Bags are proving the same. Owners are loving the Gen 2 bags as much as the Gen 1 and it's fantastic to know I am doing the product justice and being a part of an iconic hand made item.
What is your favourite product that you make?
That's a really hard one. I love anything that loves being made. You know, the ones with the "good attitude" while you make them and leave you with a sense of completion.
Do you teach classes or workshops?
I don't yet. But I have a trainee who is enlisted to learn the secrets of my trade. She's been a great help. Made me realise not everything can be taught, but everyone has their talent and potential to harness. That has been very rewarding.