Albany customer Kristin uses her creativity for good

Albany customer Kristin uses her creativity for good

An experienced sewing creative and passionate advocate for people living with disability, Albany customer Kristin uses her skills to help others.

Kristin was recruited to the textiles team at Activ Employment Services Albany in 2008, while completing a TAFE course in clothing production. Since then, Kristin’s love for sewing has only grown and she’s refined her skills so much so that one of her goals is to become more independent at work by starting her own microenterprise.

Kristin’s goal is to have her own market stall to sell her products, called ‘dignity bags’, demonstrating her dedication to supporting her peers living with disability.

“Dignity bags are a wallet that has pockets sized to fit sanitary items. I have many friends who use sanitary items and I thought, why not make something that helps them? It can also be used by mothers for their children.” said Kristin.

A lover of Pinterest for inspiration, Kristin also enjoys mending and making clothes, doll’s clothes and handbags.

“I make handbags out of old jeans. I also put an extra pocket in the handbag for the dignity bag.”

A lover of learning, Kristin has previously completed courses in clothing production and fashion design.  This year she has commenced a Cert II in Business (BSB20115) through Activ Pathways, our registered training organisation (RTO).

“It’s only just started but I’m hoping it will give me a foundation to start learning about how to run my own business,” said Kristin.

As part of the course, Kristin attended a visit to a local clothing production company in Albany, Barefoot Clothing. The visit was important to Kristin as she was able to gain insight into the differences between sewing as a hobby and sewing as a business.

“Instead of seeing a YouTube video, I was able to see it in real life. The machines were a lot bigger, and the more I watch, the more I can learn. The ladies at Barefoot were happy to show me around.”

On top of her love for sewing, Kristin is extremely passionate about advocating for the rights of people living with disability, and isn’t afraid to speak out about the barriers that she, and many of her peers, face in society. Prior to moving to Australia from the United States, Kristin completed a university degree in theatre arts, with the motivation of helping to “combat the discrimination that people living with disability face, through media.”

Nowadays, Kristin uses her theatre skills and lived experience to create comedic stand-up routines, where her witty jokes address and question common but prejudiced societal beliefs, and help Kristin to process situations where members of the community have made uninformed and ignorant assumptions about her capabilities and independence.

Through stand-up, and in everyday life, Kristin aims to educate others to “take the time to learn and speak to people with disabilities to understand them as individuals, especially those who are non-verbal.”

It is evident that through her goals in sewing and her efforts in stand-up, Kristin is truly leading by example.