molly wellington on making art, designing a brand & starting an etsy store

This is MOLLY. This 23 y/o gal is the face behind Pickled Cactus Design, a brand inspired by the natural world, creating quirky jewellery, tote bags and illustrations & paintings. She designs, makes and packages all of her creations in Perth, WA.



What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I think I had many dreams when I was a kid – I have a strong memory of wanting to be a drummer or act on Home and Away. Ha! Goals.

Did you know what you wanted to do when you finished school?
I 100% knew I would wind up in a creative industry – there was no question about that! Coming out of school I had been heavily involved in art but was quite set that I wasn’t going to be an “artist” as my career.


Did you go to university/do you have a degree in your craft? If so, what did you get from that experience?
I had a gap year (wise choice) and went to uni to study Graphic Design – which, after the first year of essay writing and nothing specifically related to a graphic design degree, I swapped into film and tv because I thought it wasn’t for me.

I wish I knew at the time that the first year of Uni degrees generally don’t have much to do with your chosen course specifically, because whilst I was in film and tv for ANOTHER year I really KNEW that wasn’t for me. So, I bit the bullet and went BACK to graphic design.

I learnt so much at uni, not only within my degree but about people, teamwork, working under pressure, networking.

When did the idea of pickled cactus come from?
Whilst I was at uni I tried to avoid the need to get a “normal job” as much as possible as I wanted to spend the majority of my time in a creative place. It was only ever a very casual practice until i had uni assignments in my final year needing a brand to develop and make products for. This is when I really discovered my love for design and screenprinting as it combined my graphic design skills, traditional art skills, marketing and making some pocket money!


Where did you get the confidence to start/what motivated you to build a brand & etsy store around your art?
Once I had received really good feedback on my products for uni, from both staff and fellow students, I realised I could potentially get somewhere higher with this. I began to really focus on my brand and create different products to get out there and sell. Once I had a few items, the etsy store seemed like the perfect solution to sell products on Australia wide.


How did you fund the startup of your idea?
Worrrrrk, lots of cafe work!

How did you know how to set up an etsy store? Where did you find resources around this side of things?
I researched a few different websites and at the time, etsy was the most suitable for my small store. The website is very easy to follow but there are forums and tutorials galore to help out.

I’m currently redoing my website and changing to a more customisable platform as I think pickled cactus has outgrown Etsy/needs a change!


Did anyone tell you that it was a bad idea/try talk you out of it?
Nope! I think I got it hardest from myself!! I honestly didn’t know where this would take me or if I would break even, but the point was to enjoy the ride all the creativity that came with it.

What was the toughest part of starting out?
Finding time to create products outside of uni and growing a following.


Do you have a day job and what is it?
I work at a cafe a few days a week to pay the bills and fund pickled cactus.

What are your morning/daily rituals around creativity?
I can’t say I have any solid rituals but what helps me most is to start the day in a fresh mindset, make lists, eat well, put on a funky playlist and get into it.

How do you unwind?
The ocean, always!

What fears come up for you around your craft?
I try not to feed my fears but of course there are those lingering thoughts that sometimes pop up about not being “successful” enough – then I need to remind myself that I’m only 23 and “success” is just a word that comes with “money” and at the end of the day that doesn’t mean a thing! So shut the fears down!

What’s the best habit you’ve picked up?
Putting my phone/computer away!


What book, artist or public figure influenced you the most?
I can’t pin point a certain person but I became very inspired by my fellow creative friends making waves, and young people on Instagram making their way through their art/design.

What’s something you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
This stuff takes time!! Hard work, late nights, saying no to procrastination, putting yourself out there, it’s all part of it!


What are your future plans for pickled cactus?
I want to make more art and become a more sustainable brand, leaving the smallest environmental footprint I can.

Intrigued for more or want to stay tuned?

FOLLOW on instagram: @pickledcactusdesign

And if you’re in PERTH: pop into Common Ground Collective in Fremantle.



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