Kate Jenkins of Pinyatay reveals how she comes up with her unique designs and why there ain’t no party like a piñata party.
Nothing says we’re having a party quite like a piñata stuffed with sweets. But forget donkey shaped ones, Kate Jenkins of Pinyatay has brought them bang up-to-date, creating piñatas of all shapes and sizes. From colourful unicorns to sparkling diamonds, there’s one to suit every celebration.
Kate works from her house in Hampshire, crafting her piñatas around looking after her two kids. She has her own creative space in the family home, which she confesses is often a whirlwind of tissue paper and confetti. We catch up with her to find out how making custom orders for customers and her kids keeps her creative.
Hi Kate! Your piñatas are so much fun, what made you decide to create them for a living?
I’ve been making and selling piñatas for about two years now. Before having kids I worked in fashion but I wanted more flexibility around my family. I aimed to do something creative once my daughter went to school and love planning and organising parties, so making custom piñatas just kind of happened.
What’s the first piñata you ever made?
It was a blue Lego brick piñata that my son just had to have for his birthday party. When I couldn’t find one that fitted his exact specifications I decided to create one. I kind of made it up as I went along but it turned out really well.
Can you describe your workspace and why it’s ideal for you?
I work from a long desk in our spare room. The space is always messy, with confetti on the floor and shelves stuffed with tissue paper and party supplies. I have a wall of inspirational notes and work from fellow small businesses, too.
What does your average working day look like?
I check emails and Instagram, update my to-do list then get making. All my piñatas are made to order so I try to get them finished in the morning and then I photograph them and send them out in the afternoon. More often than not, I go back to the workroom after the kids have gone to bed and finish off the bits I didn’t manage to get done in the day. I’m lucky that I can be flexible and meet friends for lunch or have a day to recharge if and when I need to. I love being able to work around my children as well.
Can you explain the process that goes into designing one of your piñatas?
I do a few sketches if a customer wants some ideas but generally I just start cutting and sticking. I find that’s the best way for the shape to evolve and grow from a flat bit of cardboard.
What’s your favourite piñata to make?
Honestly, it is always the latest one I’ve done. I love it when customers ask for something unusual too, then I really have to think about how it’s constructed and if it’s going to look like the thing it’s supposed to be.
How big is your craft stash?
So big! I have a cupboard filled with fabric and a whole heap of good intentions to make clothes for myself and the children, just never enough time. I also have mountains of cardboard and reams of tissue that spill out of the work room into the hall – did I mention I’m messy?! My shelves are filled with boxes of coloured card, wool, scraps, buttons, craft books, jewellery supplies and loads more besides. I do love a good crafting session and can never bring myself to throw anything away because it will always come in handy one day.
Who are your favourite makers and why?
My friend Rachel from ONRshop is a huge inspiration, she always makes me feel like anything is possible. Charlotte from Sisterfox paints beautiful portraits and has such a lovely style. Lucy from Never Perfect makes the most amazing wall hangings and Chloe from Cotton Clara has a really inspiring and colourful Instagram feed.
Where do you go to find inspiration?
My kids are always coming up with ideas. They are my best source of inspiration.
What’s been your proudest project?
I recently got asked to make piñatas for a photoshoot for one of my favourite fashion designers. It was a very tight deadline but I managed to make it work.
What’s been your biggest craft fail?
My biggest craft fails are always baking related. Over half term, the kids and I saw some banana penguins on Pinterest – basically bananas dipped in chocolate, easy right? Well the end result looked terrible, all dripping chocolate and wonky eyes, but it tasted amazing so all was not lost.
Who would your dream collaboration be with?
I am a big fan of Meri Meri. Everything they do is just perfect.
What are your plans for your business?
To keep enjoying what I do and making piñatas that people love. One day I hope to do a wholesale range and expand to offer more party supplies, but right now I am happy.
Where are you happiest?
Probably sat at my desk with some time to make the ideas that keep circling in my brain.
What does making mean to you?
It means I can have a flexible job that works around my life, rather than my life fitting in around my job.
To find out more about Pinyatay visit www.pinyatay.com or follow her on Instagram. To meet more of our amazing designer-makers, check out our meet the maker tab and discover some new favs. Every issue of Mollie Makes also includes a home or studio tour with a maker we love, so be sure to pick up your copy for some interior inspiration.