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LITTLE NELL BLOG

INDIE OUTLOOK: LOUISE WRIGHT DESIGN November 05 2015, 0 Comments

Welcome to the wonderful, whimsical world of illustrator Louise Wright. Her artwork features a menagerie of adorable animals, possibly inspired by her own pets (anyone who has ever owned a Collie will strongly identify with this particular print!) You can shop the full range of Louise's cards and prints over on her Etsy shop.

WHAT DID YOU WORK AS BEFORE BUILDING YOUR INDEPENDENT EMPIRE?
After studying illustration at uni it was my dream to become an illustrator right away. However, reality hit me hard and that just didn't happen. I ended up doing a range of jobs that I hated in order to try and tide myself over money wise. There were a couple that I did love and stuck at for a while, one was working as a Bookseller (on the kids floor!) and a Barista at my local Cafe. But I always had the goal of getting my work recognised, and I would work every evening after my day job to try and make that happen.


WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO IT ALONE?

To be totally honest I kind of fell into it by accident, it was a way of pushing myself to keep making creative work when times were tough. I joined a local print studio and started screen printing. I was just doing it for fun and printing onto whatever was around (tote bags, tea towels) and people at the studio kept asking me if they could buy them from me. Slowly I realised that I might have something here, and if going directly to publishers wasn't working - I'd just do it myself! 

WHERE DO YOU LOOK FOR INSPIRATION WHEN YOU'RE SUFFERING WITH CREATIVE BLOCK?

I try and get out of the house! I find this massively helps me, I leave my phone at home and I go into town or take the dogs out for a walk. I struggled with this a lot earlier in the year and I've been forcing myself to try and take weekends off (when and where I can) so I can get out into the countryside, it makes coming back to my desk on a Monday much more exciting and I'm fresh and ready to tackle work again.

 

 


WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
I love how rewarding it is! You put so so much in, it's always amazing when it starts to pay off. Whether that is a customer sending you a thank you card, getting a big wholesale order or nailing the card range I've been mulling over in my head for months.
(It's also nice that I get to be with my doggies all day and I can work in my yoga pants ;)

WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
One of the toughest things for me is having no-one to speak to all day unless I go out. I find myself narrating what I'm doing to the dogs/plants. It also means there is no other creative person nearby who I can bounce ideas off so I do have to do everything by myself which can be tough sometimes. Having said that, I get distracted very easily so if some-one else worked with me in my studio I'd get no-where near as much done!

WHAT SONG DO YOU PUT ON WHEN YOU NEED TO PICK YOURSELF UP AND 'GET SHIT DONE'?
Every now and then this changes but I figure you can never wrong with 'Dancing Queen' by Abba! Always my go to song if it's a rough day.

WHAT WAS YOUR DREAM JOB AS A CHILD?
I wanted to be a writer, I'd spend ages writing these crazy stories and read them to my brother at bedtime to gauge if they were any good or not. If they got requested again the next night I was on to a winner!

WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
The big thing on my mind is making it through Christmas alive at the moment!! *panic* 
But seriously...I am launching some very limited illustrated jewelry pieces at my Christmas markets, and I have new card lines getting ready for a 2016 launch. I'm now stocked in Paperchase (yay!!) and I gained my first Canadian stockist a week or so ago so I'm just working on building the brand inside and outside of the UK.
Follow Louise here:   TWITTER    |    PINTEREST    |    INSTAGRAM   

INDIE OUTLOOK: STORMY KNIGHT August 25 2015, 0 Comments

Say hello to my pun-loving pal Sarah Knight, the Bristol based brains behind Stormy Knight. Stockist to the stars (Alexa Chung's sister bought one of her cards) and my go-to greetings girl, her cards have just the right mix of funny, cute and clever. Read more below to discover her 'Get Shit Done' song and childhood aspirations to be a contortionist....

WHAT DID YOU WORK AS BEFORE/ALONGSIDE BUILDING YOUR INDEPENDENT EMPIRE?
I've always worked in the design industry as a graphic designer and illustrator - most recently as an in-house designer for a company retailing children's travel products. Working in a creative environment has been great for developing my design skills, but some of the things I gleaned from that job were indispensable from a commercial perspective too. (Less creative things like profit margins, setting up  bar codes etc….)

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
It's the main thing that drives me. Although I've been lucky enough to work in creative jobs that I've enjoyed, my mind is always filled with what I could be doing on Stormy Knight. When you are that geared towards something it feels like it's your calling and you lose interest in the other stuff - no matter how interesting that stuff is!


WHERE DO YOU LOOK FOR INSPIRATION WHEN YOU'RE SUFFERING WITH CREATIVE BLOCK?
My peers - there are so many amazing designers, illustrators and publishers at the moment that inspiration is rife! There are also some amazing stationery blogs like 'Oh So Beautiful Paper' and the 'Paper Chronicles' which are great for seeking out trends too. And trade shows are a great place to see what's new and exciting.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
It's cheesy, but I enjoy it all because it has a direct impact on my life and income. (I even enjoy doing my accounts!) But the best bit is coming up with new designs and seeing them come off the press. Or when you get a massive order for thousands of cards ;)

WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
Sometimes you want to run ideas and decisions past someone and that's not an option. I'm lucky that my family and friends are interested in what I do and they are always willing to give me feedback on new designs. And my boyfriend is pretty good at coming up with sound business advice. But essentially I make the decisions and if I make a bad one then there's no one else to blame, (and it's down to me to make the most of it!)


WHAT SONG DO YOU PUT ON WHEN YOU NEED TO 'GET SHIT DONE'?
KC and the Sunshine band 'Baby Give it Up'. You can't be down when that's playing.

WHAT WAS YOUR DREAM JOB AS A CHILD?
What wasn't? Vet, mounted police, contortionist, explorer, interior designer. The list goes on...

WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
Diversify and expand my ranges - my new foil collection was a big step aside from the humorous designs that I’m known for and they're doing really well (it’s just been announced as a finalist in for a big trade award, which I’m very excited about!) so I'm developing more typographic designs at the moment due to launch in January. I also have a new range of mini cards for Top Drawer this September and have lots of ideas for new ranges that I hope to bring to market in 2016. As well as that we've just started working with some stores in the US and Canada so I'm expanding the business both inside and outside the UK. 2016 is set to be a very busy year! 

Follow Stormy Knight on social media here...

TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM


INDIE OUTLOOK: HELLO HARRIET August 07 2015, 0 Comments

Meet Hello Harriet, purveyor of adorable goods adorned with alpacas, pugs and kittens (to name a few), but really, what's not to like? I've been following Harriet for some time on social media and my first purchase was the 'Alpaca that for you' tote bag, which is probably my favourite pun ever. Read about how she went from packing custard powder, to full-time freelance below...

WHAT DID YOU WORK AS BEFORE BUILDING YOUR INDEPENDENT EMPIRE?
It took me a good 4 years after leaving Uni before I started working for myself full time, and I literally had *so many* random jobs in that time! The most recent before becoming self employed I worked in a factory packing powdered custard, jelly and hot chocolate, which was … interesting, and as you can imagine super glamorous {I’m talking hairnets and overalls}. After that I took on a part time job at a local convenience shop just down the road from my house, which was much more bearable! I actually quite enjoyed that little job but only ended up staying there for about 6 months as that’s when my own shop really took off and I was able to make the jump to full time boss lady.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
I originally planned to be a freelance Illustrator, but after graduating I started to realise I really didn’t get on with tight deadlines and the pressure that kind of work involved. I knew I really enjoyed creating artwork and making things, but it was just by chance that a friend invited me to share a stall with her & a few other creatives one Christmas that I ended up making a few products featuring my drawings. I set up an Etsy shop with the remaining stock and things went from there. I cannot imagine working for someone else now. I love the freedom of being able to work on what I want when I want.

WHERE DO YOU LOOK FOR INSPIRATION WHEN YOU'RE SUFFERING WITH CREATIVE BLOCK?

Urgh, creative block is the worst! It usually happens to me when I have been spending way too long on Pinterest or Instagram green eying other people’s amazing work. I try to take myself away from creating anything at all. I’ll get on with other little jobs that need to be done that take zero creativity, like tidying up the studio or replying to emails to give myself a break from the ‘pressure’ of creating artwork. A bit of down time always help to clear my head out so I’ll go outside, to the gym or hang out with friends {Meeko the cat}. I basically remind myself to have fun.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
There are so many things I love about my job, it’s awesome being able to work from home, as it means I get to hang out with my little fur baby Meeko all day long. {My partner, Luke is a freelance illustrator and we share our home studio so I get to see him a lot too, which is pretty sweet.} But the thing I love most is seeing my lovely customers sharing photos of things they’ve bought from my shop. There is nothing better than getting tagged in their photos on Instagram, it totally makes my day!

WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF WORKING FOR YOURSELF?

Aside from having to find my own motivation, being strict with myself about actually getting work done and being a one woman band - having to do literally everything myself. One of the things I often struggle with is when other people don’t take your job seriously. Yes, I draw cats and cute things, but this is a legitimate business and it takes hard work to make it work! {I can’t tell you how much I wanted to write that last sentence in lolcat}

WHAT SONG DO YOU PUT ON WHEN YOU NEED TO PICK YOURSELF UP AND 'GET SHIT DONE'?
I’m actually one of those weirdos who really enjoys silence whilst working … but, I’ve always got time for a bit of Beyonce.

WHAT WAS YOUR DREAM JOB AS A CHILD?
Mermaid.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
I’m always working on expanding my range of products, I have a few new items in the pipeline that I’m really excited about. I’m also planning a bit of a relaunch this Autumn, so at the moment I’m planning my first ever ‘proper' photo shoot and doing a lot of work behind the scenes.


If you want to keep up with Harriet and her beautiful furball Meeko, you can follow them here.

TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM


INDIE OUTLOOK: PAPIO PRESS July 23 2015, 0 Comments

First up in our new Indie Outlook series is Papio Press, created by illustrators Harry and Zanna. They sell a range of beautifully illustrated accessories and homewares, from prints and notebooks, to phone cases and wall clocks.

WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE/ALONGSIDE BUILDING YOUR INDEPENDENT EMPIRE?
Harry and I started Papio Press at the end of our second year of our Illustration BA. Starting a business as a student was fantastic, and I would highly recommend it to others. We had a lot of support from our tutors, access to a lot of amazing equipment, and the pressure was off because all our bills were being paid for by student finance! The only downside was it got a little tricky juggling everything because both of us had part time jobs as well. But it was worth it, because now we can both afford to work part time. We both work for other, larger online businesses, so we're pretty immersed in the digital world!

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
We decided to start Papio because we knew it would be really difficult to get commissions as illustrators, and wanted to take our future into our own hands. This way it means we get to draw what ever we like as well, which is fantastic! We started really small with just pocket mirrors, and we were lucky enough that it kind of kicked off and we thought - woah, we might actually be able to do this for a living!

WHERE DO YOU LOOK FOR INSPIRATION WHEN YOU'RE SUFFERING WITH CREATIVE BLOCK?
When I have creative block I don't usually try to draw anything. I find it's better just to leave it for a few days and get on with some of the many other jobs that come with running your own business (like sticking stickers on envelopes, or packing up iPhone cases etc.). The whole time I'm doing stuff like that there will be a small part of my brain thinking about things, and trying different designs out in my mind, and after a while I usually hit upon something I get excited about! We also have a huge number of books for inspiration, and getting out the house is always a good idea!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
I love having total creative freedom - there's nothing else like it. Sometimes I'm still shocked that I'm lucky enough to be able to draw whatever I want and making a small living from it.

WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF WORKING FOR YOURSELF?
Probably figuring out the accounts. Man that's hard! Fortunately for me that's mostly Harry's job, but it makes my brain hurt just watching him try to figure it out. When you've spent the last six years doing creative studies, numbers feel a bit alien.

WHAT SONG DO YOU PUT ON WHEN YOU NEED TO 'GET SHIT DONE'?
At the moment I'm totally obsessed with Taylor Swift. Shake It Off is my current pick me up jam. But I also enjoy a good bit of Pirate FM (Cornwall's number one radio station) because it plays great cheesy songs and reminds me of home.

WHAT WAS YOUR DREAM JOB AS A CHILD?
I wanted to be an actress when I was little! I was in a youth theatre group for ages, and totally loved it. Harry wanted to be a fire fighter, until he realised there were a lot of flames/danger involved...

WHAT'S NEXT FOR PAPIO PRESS?
We've got a lot of gorgeous new products coming up. For the first time since we started we can really focus most of our time on the business so it's getting a lot of love. Our aim is for us to both be able to work for Papio full time, but it might be a little while until we get there!

If you love Papio Press as much as I do, give them a follow over on the following sites..

Twitter  | Instagram | Facebook


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