Interview with Cara from When Cara Met Rex

July 26, 2017 Erin Walsh

As lovers of dinosaurs and everything handmade you can't really go past the colourful and super fun planters made by Cara, the amazing creator of When Cara Met Rex.

Moonasaurus: Cara when did your love for dinosaurs start and what got you so into them?

Cara: I'm going to say it started at a fairly young age. I have memories of telling my older sister that I was smarter than her cause I could spell the word dinosaur, even though I couldn't, I just loved them and wanted everyone to know!
Watching The Land Before Time though was definitely a defining dinosaur moment in my life. I watched that movie over and over again and would drive my family nuts quoting lines from the movie. "You should not eat talking trees, nope nope nope"

Moonasaurus: Haha The Land Before Time is sure a childhood classic! Do you have a favourite dinosaur? If so, which one?

Cara: Ohhhhh I love so many of them! But if I had to pick I would say the Apatosaurus or Brontosaurus. I love their long necks.

Moonasaurus: What is it about dinosaurs that you think people really resonate with?

Cara: I think it's the unknown, they are kind of magical. I mean let's be honest no one in my time has ever seen one in real life or is ever going too. It means our imagination (well mine especially) can run wild with dinosaurs. So many adults see them as part of their childhood memories and I get so excited when they share and pass those stories onto the younger generation. Seriously though, what could be cooler than a dinosaur?

Moonasaurus: Yes I think you summed it up perfectly! A lot does come down to pure imagination and that makes it pretty special to all of us in our own way.
You're pretty famous around Perth now for your amazing dino planters amongst other cool products you make. How did this business start for you?

Cara: Haha famous!! I have always been a creative person and ever since a child I have kept myself busy with different projects. But When Cara Met Rex is thanks to my nanna Sylvia. A few years ago my Nan had to move from her home to an aged care facility she was devastated that she couldn't take all her plants with her. I was racking my brain as to how I could help her at least retain a small plant and then I decided to combine two of my loves. Dinosaurs and plants.
I painted up my first pink dinosaur and planted it up for my Nan. She called it Alfred and loved it to bits. Although my Nan is no longer with us, Alfred now has a prime position at my Mums house.

Moonasaurus: Wow what a special start to your business! It's nice to hear that Alfred still has pride of place at your Mums place after starting it all.
As you know we are big fans of your dino planters in the Moonasaurus family. Other favourites are your acrylic cut earrings and the quartz crystal head trolls. How do you decide what products to add to the When Cara Met Rex family?

Cara: It's all pretty random to be honest. Dinosaurs and trolls are my two main products and I just keep trying to expand on those ideas. I have a list of ideas and when I'm stuck for some inspiration I go to the list. The list doesn't seem to go down much though, there are constant crazy ideas going on in my head that keep getting added to possible products. Im a bit of a perfectionist though and sometimes products never make it off the cutting room floor. Unless I'm 110% in love with the product I won't add it to my range.

Moonasaurus: Your never ending list of creative ideas sure shows! Your planters especially have such a huge amount of colour and craziness to them! I'm always excited to see what kind of unusual texture you'll next try out like the 100's & 1000's and the googly eyes. Has there been any ideas you've tried that just were too random to work?

Cara: Yup totally!! I tried to glue mini Pom poms all over a brontosaurus planter a few weeks back and that was an epic fail! But I did make a promise to myself at the start of this year, that I would try every idea no matter how crazy or random it was. Sometimes they work sometimes they don't! I think this mentality has really started to show in my products this year though as the designs keep expanding and getting crazier.

Moonasaurus: Ooh pompoms! I would have loved to of seen that one!
Since starting When Cara Met Rex, what has been one of your favourite things to come out of being a part of the Perth creative community?

Cara: Exactly that, the amazing community I have become part of. I have met so many rad Perth creatives many of which I have become really great friends with. It's the best feeling to have a group of people all with a shared vision that you can chat, collaborate and work with.
Oh and never fear, the Pom Pom dino may return, I think I just need smaller Pom poms 🙂;)

Moonasaurus: Oh great! I look forward to seeing that little guy come to life!
I totally agree with the awesomeness of being part of a creative community such as the one we have here in Perth. Aside from the great friendships you've made, what has been the biggest challenge or lesson you've come across since starting your business?

Cara: The biggest challenge I faced when first doing markets was putting up my gazebo at outdoor events. That thing caused so many arguments between myself and Mr WCMR!!! I still hate it to this day and do everything I can to avoid putting it up.
On a serious note though, the biggest thing I have learnt is just to do your own thing and be the best you can be. There will always be competition out there trying to do similar products as yourself and it's so hard to not get caught up in all the crap. Just rise above, remember why you do what you do and smash it with new ideas. This is so much easier said than done though.

Moonasaurus: Haha oh those gazebos! I feel ya on that Cara! But yes I love that you say to do the best you can do and stay true to yourself.
Another thing you've become well known for lately is your creative collaborations with other local artists. What do you love most about this process?

Cara: I'm a strong believer in collaboration not competition. It's such a great way to support the creatives that support me. Collaborating with other creatives is so much fun. Generally both parties get so excited over some random idea and can't wait to get the project started. I'm always on the look out for people to collab with and have a few cheeky projects in talks with people at the moment.

Moonasaurus: I'm sure they'll be amazing! You're a regular around the Perth market scene, in fact that's how we first met after I stalked you on Instagram for awhile;)
What is it about doing markets that you most enjoy?

Cara: Hahah everyone loves a good Instagram stalk!! Markets are one of the best ways to get your product out there and allow people to meet the creative (and crazy in my case) behind the business. I think it's so important that customers get to meet the maker and put a face to the business name. I know a buy a lot of my products not only because the product is amazing but because I have had a conversation with the maker and their passion and story behind the product would keep me going back for more. 

Moonasaurus: that's exactly why I love going to markets too. As a customer and as a seller. I've actually found so many amazing creative businesses just through your Instagram feed when you do your Shout Outs. That's what I love about the handmade community, it's just so happy to support each other:)
Can you tell us three creatives that you're loving at the moment and why?

Cara: Oh that's a tough question as I have a lot of brands that I love, but if I had to nail it to 3 in no particular order.
Bon Maxie (@bonmaxie) I absolutely love this brand and all the amazing products that Clare makes. I am always amazed how this woman manages to punch out new product after new product constantly.
Let It Grow Co. (@let_it_grow_co_perth) Chels is who I call the plant whisperer. This page is my daily fix for all things green and beautiful interiors filled to the brim with the most amazing pots and plants.
Dreamhunter (@rpdreamhunter) is a daily fix for not only beautiful images but Renae tells it like it is when it comes to real struggles and celebrations in running a business.

Moonasaurus: Ooh great ones!! I actually love each of these guys! Well done on narrowing it down to only three! That was tough:)
I'd love to know what three words you would use to describe yourself:)

Cara: Passionate, loyal with a dash (or a lot pending who you are asking) of crazy!!

Moonasaurus: And the three you would use to describe When Cara Met Rex?

Cara: Quirky, imaginative, colourful

Moonasaurus: If you could have any one in the world, past or present as your biggest fan, who would that be?

Cara: I'm not sure about the biggest fan thing. I really get enjoyment from getting a message from a customer who tells me how much she loves my new products or the look on a kids face when he walks past my market stall and makes a dinosaur noise at me! So can I just have a million little fans instead?

Moonasaurus: Haha you sure can! I must agree that when a customer takes the time to reach out to you to say how much they love your products, it's pretty awesome!
So what's in the future for When Cara Met Rex? Any exciting plans you can let us in on?

Cara: I don't have an actual plan I'm more a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl! The future could be anyone's guess, right now I'm just concentrating on doing what I love and enjoying the journey! I take on board any opportunities to get my little biz out there and see what happens from there. As for some exciting plans in the works? Everything is exciting at WCMR!! But there are a few new sneaky collabs in the works.

Moonasaurus: Well we look forward to seeing those new collabs and all the fantastic new products that you will bring to life soon!
Thank you so much for chatting to us Cara! It's been fun! I'll leave you with one last question: What do you want to be when you grow up? 

Cara: Lol I have no idea!! Plus I have already grown up!! I'm happy right now. I have a great corporate job that keeps me busy and an even radder side biz that allows me to be creative. I call that winning 🙂:)

You can find all of Cara's amazing creations in her Etsy shop and see what adventures her dinos and friends get up to on her Instagram and Facebook pages. 

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