The King's Birthday Market + Whānau Festival | Sunday 2 + Monday 3 June 2024 | The Cloud, Auckland

Meet the Maker; Morag Sinclair - Gerty Brown

Gerty Brown is all about original and eclectic cushions, pillowslips and accessories – mixing up patterns, colours and textures to create something bursting with personality. From scrunchies and girlbands to Flirty Gertys and scarves – if you’re wearing a Gerty Brown accessories you’re no wallflower!
Who is Gerty Brown?  
Gerty Brown is a lifestyle brand started by me, Morag in 2011. Driven by a desire to create and a love of fabrics and design. Gerty Brown is named after my great grandmother Gertrude, who I never met but was the mother of my awesome grandma Gwen. Her name struck a chord because it was strong and no nonsense, plus it rolled off the tongue perfectly!

Morag Sinclair | Gerty Brown
Did you grow up in a creative home?
Yes, very much so! My mum (Gerty’s youngest granddaughter) was always sewing or knitting while I grew up. She even had her own business in the 80’s making Angora dresses on her knitting machine (or as she coined it the “bugger bugger” machine and she was often cursing at it) My home always had the whirring sound of production, and the smell of wool… My favourite trips out would be to the wool factory to source yarn. Mum still knits and sews for pleasure and will often help me with prototypes. 

How long have you been in business and what were the challenges when you first started?
I have been in the business of sewing and creating for 10 years, although my background is interiors, homewares and retail so the two are very much linked. I knew what people wanted to buy but could see that there was a gap in the market for something a bit different - But I had to hone my sewing skills to meet the challenge. Thank goodness for YouTube tutorials!

Gerty Brown cushions
How much ‘scrap’ fabric do you have stored away for the next great idea? 
I very rarely throw fabric away and I always have several baskets worth of “ useful” pieces. These end up in zeros waste products like zip purses or scrunchies. My latest product is an infinity scarf called the “Gerty Brown Wrap Around”and is made up of offcuts from my other garments. I love making them as each one is unique and has it’s own personality through a combination of colours and patterns. Plus, they’re awesome to wear! 

Gerty Brown
What’s your advice to people who are unsure of how to ‘do colour and pattern’?
I love colour and pattern but can fully appreciate that it’s scary to many of us! My advice is to find one thing - a painting, a rug, a cushion etc with several colours in it and then start drawing out ideas from there. For example, when I first moved to Auckland I found a vintage map of West Auckland and hung it on the wall in my lounge. From that I could pick out soft teal, buttery yellow and even a touch of red for decorating with as those were the colours used in the map. You don’t have to invent the palette yourself - inspiration is everywhere.
But start slowly and with things that you really love… Build up the layers as you find your confidence and don’t buy things just because they’re “ on trend”. Be authentic and your home will reflect that. 

Tell us a little more...? 
Gerty Brown is 100% NZ made and at the moment, a one woman show. But I have plans to build and grow and incorporate other peoples talents into my business. I love the idea of women supporting other women and us all helping each other to get ahead in a world where traditional gender roles are still silently telling us to stay in our lane.  Recently I’ve become a solo mother and the wave of support that I’ve had from my girl gang has been overwhelming and humbling. Events like the General Collective markets are an incredible place to be able to shine and to meet other women who are ready to shake things up!
Gerty Brown
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