Meet the maker behind Hello There Cheeky

“But artists don’t make money until after they die. What do you intend to do with an arts degree?”

These are probably the most common remarks an artist receives from family, friends and acquaintances, or is this theory slowly changing? Gone are the days of thinking that art is a dead-end career or baked beans are the only affordable option for dinner. Adelaide is fast becoming an artsy state, with many local artists, designers and creatives defying the myths through their own artistic pursuits. You’ll be overwhelmed by the bustling arts scene that’s emerging at weekend markets, exhibitions, local initiatives and popups around Adelaide. Although it may be fairly easy and straightforward to set up an e-commerce website or Instagram account promoting products, there’s a lot more that happens behind the scenes. In other words, a lot of trial and error. However, thanks to cafes like No 6. Cafe in Sussex Street, Glenelg for example, artists are encouraged to share their work whilst pursuing full time careers or studying at the same time. Let’s just say, we’re very lucky that creativity is supported these days (well, a lot more than a few years back anyway).

I sat down and had a chat to one of Adelaide’s local budding designers to learn more about what it’s really like being a designer in Adelaide. Katie Long is the founder and maker of Hello There Cheeky -an eclectic mix of quirky, funky and eye-catching Polymer Clay earrings and necklaces. Her start-up has unexpectedly taken off much quicker than anticipated, which serves as an example that the South Australian arts community is fast-growing. I stumbled upon Katie’s work whilst browsing through hashtags (as you do) of Adelaide Markets on Instagram and I was immediately captivated by her unique and fun fashion accessories that resemble little artworks in themselves. Hello There Cheeky combines fashion, art and design through a selection of bright colours and subtle hues to suit the seasons, geometric and bold shapes that stand out against any outfit, and the conceptual and intricate techniques that Katie says gives each piece their own identifiable personality.


Katie’s worked very hard to make this all happen. A teacher during the week as well as a full time mum, Katie spends all her extra time creating new pieces for customers, markets and stockists. It seems she doesn’t stop, which is quite common among aspiring artists and designers who continue to build their businesses from the bottom up. Katie hopes to make Hello There Cheeky a full time career and she’s not far off from turning this dream into a reality, with many stockists wanting to sell her products. Hello There Cheeky began as a hobby and a way for Katie to remain creative after completing her visual arts and jewelry course at the Adelaide Centre of the Arts. Making gifts and Christmas presents for friends in the beginning, Katie’s work evolved into what we now know as Hello There Cheeky. In fact, the name of her brand was inspired by her daughter.

As mentioned above, any form of art involves an immense amount of trial and error. Katie says her journey as an artist has grown over time and she has learnt what materials work and which do not. She initially focused on traditional methods, using a kiln and ceramic materials. After a while however, this fiddly and very time consuming process led to Katies’ discovery of Polymer Clay, which is now the fundamental basis of all her work. Polymer Clay is a type of modelling clay that is based on the polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It is a lot easier to work with and is very popular amongst artists and designers who want to achieve a more personalised product.

Katie hand rolls each item to achieve her desired outcome and she then adds other smaller bits of clay to create colourful overlaps and stylized patterns that bring a burst of colour as pictured below in her earrings. When asked what her favourite piece is, Katie says that it’s difficult to pick and choose because they’re all so different and unique – she never makes two designs the same, unless a stockist asks her to.



Each piece is one of a kind and Katie intends to keep it this way so that she can create a little something for everyone. “Every necklace has its own personality” Katie says, and you can definitely tell from the distinctive textures, shapes and colour combinations that give each piece of jewellery an individualistic feel. Katie likes to work intuitively in her studio space and doesn’t like to rely on a structured aesthetic plan. Although the process is planned out, her designs are not. It’s a creative (and rewarding) process instead of a ‘production line’ business, which makes her work so interesting and full of character.

Katie makes the beads of her necklaces first, lays them out and in the moment picks their matching colours. Sometimes they are based on how Katie feels, the weather, what’s trending at that time, or what a customer asks for – a ‘go with the flow’ creative process that works extremely well.

Similarly, she’s learning what’s popular in the fashion world as her business grows. At the moment monochromatic colours like grey, navy and white are in demand due to the winter season that’s upon us, but in summer Katie is influenced by the warm weather, adding luscious yellows, oranges and pinks to her work. However, she also sees colour as a means of self-expression and something that should not be defined so easily. Adding a sprig of colour like peach or mint to a monochromatic grey and blue necklace conveys Katie’s spontaneous and emotive motivation.


Everything from the designs, colour choices and Katie’s logo are her own. Her love for what she does literally shines through every piece she creates. At the end of the day, Katie says she doesn’t solely see Hello There Cheeky as a business but more as a passion that’s rewarding on a personal level and something that is very close to her heart.

Be sure to keep an eye out for Hello There Cheeky at some of Adelaide’s upcoming markets, including The Finders Keepers Market, which is heading to Adelaide for the first time on the 12th, 13th and 14th of August. According to Katie, The Finders Keepers Market is a renowned ‘eastern state market event’ in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, so to get a gig there is quite a big deal and involves a lengthy application process. Likewise,  you can see more of Katie’s work as well as a variety of locally crafted items from upcoming designers at No. 6 Cafe in Sussex Street, Glenelg. This funky warehouse style space also acts as a studio and artistic haven for artists to work in as well as a cafe that’s open to the public. Grab a bite to eat, sip on a warm coffee and be immersed in a rich and inspiring creative environment.

I’d like to thank Katie for giving me an insight into her world as a designer and I look forward to seeing Hello There Cheeky do great things. Check out Hello There Cheeky on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with Katie’s latest creations!

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