People have asked me to do the more gender driven characters. I've kind of stayed away from that.
The Bendigo Advertiser launches a new campaign to raise awareness of Support Small Business Day on October 4. C'mon Bendigo - let's support our small businesses...
CHILDREN'S costume maker Alicia Barker looks forward to drawing attention to her business Little Nogg through Support Small Business Day on October 4.
The mother of three will sell her creations at the Bendigo Design Market in St Andrew's Hall to celebrate the contribution small businesses make to communities.
Support Small Business Day is a Victorian Government initiative encouraging Victorians to explore their local community and spend in-store at local small businesses.
Mrs Barker's costumes are retro-inspired, handmade and unisex.
Among her most popular costumes are the superhero capes and masks.
She does not make batman or other distinctly male superhero outfits because she believes they don't encourage the best qualities in a boy and stifle creativity.
Another reason is also that there are more male superheroes, than female ones.
"My girls are just as super as my boy," Mrs Barker said.
Being experienced in clothes making and early childhood education, Mrs Barker said her focus with the costumes is to "inspire imagination" in young children, rather than prescribe the character they should play.
Her children and costume models, Lili, 9, Ava, 7 and Charlie, 5, happily interchange different coloured outfits.
Her superhero capes can be customised in colour with the initial of the child on the back. The capes are also reversible to be a magician's cloak.
Mrs Barker started the business two years ago when she found the only costumes for her son were macho male figures.
The non-specific nature of her costumes, she said, gave children the freedom to make up their own super powers.
"People have asked me to do the more gender driven characters. I've kind of stayed away from that."
In the last two years since she started making costumes, Mrs Barker has enjoyed support from parents buying birthday and Christmas presents.
Finding time to run a clothing brand is a big effort as a full time mother of three, and she credits her success to a supportive husband, late nights, coffee and chocolate.
She is doing it part time, but hopes to go full time when her youngest starts school.
She does not plan to bring on extra employees, saying she's too much of a perfectionist to share the job.
To register or get more information on Support Small Business Day, click here
The Bendigo Advertiser will continue to profile businesses registered for Support Small Business Day in coming editions.