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Poppies for Grace


24th July, 2012
Lucy Feagins
Tuesday 24th July 2012

Alana Waterson and Sara Dickens of Poppies for Grace.  Photo - Armelle Habib, Styling - Julia Green.

Poppies for Grace artwork and paper decorations - Photo - Armelle Habib, Styling - Julia Green.

Fabulous paper tissue ball decorations from Poppies for Grace!  Photo - Armelle Habib, Styling - Julia Green.

So we're not always about brand new things around here... today's little story is another one that's quite overdue!  Poppies for Grace aren't a brand new business - in fact they've been peddling their sweet stationery and paper decorations for nine years!  Jeepers that's twice as long as I've been writing TDF!  RESPECT.

The Melbourne-based duo behind this super popular local brand are Alana Waterson and Sara Dickens.  Poppies for Grace was born during Alana's time studying screen printing at RMIT. 'My paper lecturer suggested I approach some stores with the cards I designed for an assignment, I did - they bought them, yay!' says Alana.

In fact it wasn't quite that simple - whilst her designs were popular, Alana quickly realised she needed some help with the business side of things - 'I had no idea what an invoice was!' she recalls. Inevitably, Alana approached her Sara Dickins (her 'bestie'), who was working in finance at the time.  As the months passed, Sara drew up more and more invoices for Alana's orders, and soon enough this collaboration became a little business.

'We started the business in a 100-year-old falling-apart-at-the-seams weatherboard, on an orchard in Warrandyte' recalls Alana.  'At the time my husband was working on the property, and we'd watch him driving the tractor up the hill pulling a load of apples, it was a rather dreamy time. He is now a vineyard manager, so we still get the romance of wide open spaces. We are now based in a suburb called Croydon - or if you want to be fancy we are on the edge of the Yarra Valley!'

Poppies for Grace design an extensive range of stationery including cards and gift tags, sticky notes, party bags, wedding stationery and more.  They also sell the CUTEST range of paper decorations in their online store... those fab hanging tissue balls look so brilliant in kids rooms, and are usually very hard to find!  Aside from their paper creations, Poppies for Grace also have a few brand new designs launching this week - sweet pillowcases and cushions embellished with pretty painterly watercolour patterns.  Super cute.  You can find Poppies for Grace products in their webstore, and in select boutique retailers listed here.

As is the case in so many small creative businesses, both Alana and Sara are working mums - in fact each have two kids and Sara is pregnant with her third.  Excellent multitasking, ladies.  As you can see by the photographs included here, both Alana and Sara are very inspired by their young kids, and create super fun, colourful designs with both little kids and big kids in mind!

Poppies for Grace proudly support other women in business in developing communities through Kiva loans ('which are AMAZING!' says Alana).

NEW sweet printed cushions by Poppies for Grace.  Photo - Armelle Habib, Styling - Julia Green. (that wall chart is by Blink Designs - stylist's own).

NEW painterly polka dot pillowcase by Poppies for Grace, and tissue balls hanging above.  Photo - Armelle Habib, Styling - Julia Green.

Alana Waterson and Sara Dickens  in the vibrant Poppies for Grace studio with their various kids / pets!  Photo - Armelle Habib, Styling - Julia Green.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email