BUSINESS TIME: STUDIO TOUR October 05 2014, 0 Comments

I love referring to the attic as 'my studio', it makes me feel like a real freelance creative, with an actual business, which is strange because I still think of Little Nell as my favourite hobby rather than a career choice.

Working from home has it's pros and cons, there are the obvious benefits - like working in your pyjamas and being flexible with your hours. But there are a lot of cons too - like going stir crazy with cabin fever, and not having a team on hand to bounce ideas around with..

Here's some stuff I've learnt along the way...


When Little Nell started out I'd make everything to order, and the living room sofa was my destination of choice for jewellery making. As things have grown, that's just not practical, and having my own space exclusively for Little Nell really helps. It means I can create some separation between when I'm working and when I'm 'home'.  I know not everyone has an extra room to turn into their office, but even having a desk and chair that's specifically for working rather than slaving over the dining table every day will really help you. No one wants to feel like they live at the office.


I'm fortunate that I don't need a huge amount of space. (Which is just as well because there's no room for wall shelving in the attic!) Jewellery stock doesn't take up much room so most of my supplies and stock can be stored around and under the desk and I use clipboards on the wall as my in/out tray to save on desk space. This means once I'm seated I can stay there rather than having to move around to gather bits and pieces. (It sounds ridiculous but getting up every 5 minutes to get something you need makes everything take so much longer!) My desk has to function as a workshop bench, packing table and office desk at different times throughout the day, so it's important that I'm flexible with space to get the most from it.


As well as a practical working space, it was important to me that the studio was somewhere I was happy to spend a lot of time. If we have a busy week, I can be in there first thing in the morning, and late into the night, so it had to be comfortable. Our studio also doubles as a spare room so the sofa bed was an essential. It also means I can lounge and watch TV while doing mundane jobs like stickering jiffy bags, folding boxes etc.... It also makes the most decadent cat bed around.


The main joy of having your own space, is that you can put up whatever you like. Whether it's inspirational quotes, illustrations, or just copious pictures of Michael Fassbender (ahem), no one can tell you that your desk looks 'unprofessional'. I've created my own postcard bunting that I can switch around as much as I like, it includes cards, book covers, some of our press coverage and illustrations.


The hardest thing I find about working from home, is the lack of company. You've always got to make the tea, and there's no one to gossip with by the water cooler, and even if there was, there isn't even a water cooler, it's your kitchen tap. Social Media is a godsend, and not just for marketing your brand, but for keeping me sane. And although I don't have a team to bounce ideas around with, I have a lovely group of like-minded sole-traders at the end of an email who (fortunately for me) are quite happy to lend me their ears and ideas when I need a second opinion. These people are my virtual colleagues, and they're probably more important than anything else on this list.