With a new year comes thoughts of what you might like to do differently. It may be the typical list of eat better, dry January, hitting the gym, doing that DIY job that you’ve been hiding from for months. Equally if you’re creative the new start may leave you brainstorming how you could turn your creative hobby into a business. For some people it’s that burning question that keeps on popping back into their minds and for some it’s just a little ‘what if’ niggle that gets shelved over and over because after all, ‘life’s too busy’ or ‘you probably wouldn’t be a success anyway.’ It’s tough to get up the nerve to just start, partly as you often don’t know where to start and so you continue with the same old 9-5 hustle! I’ve been there and I empathise but I come bearing good news that there’s help at hand. My first port of call was to open an Etsy shop in order to kick off my own business and I’m so glad I did. This year Etsy brings you Etsy Resolution, a free four week bootcamp starting at the end of January, designed specifically to help you with everything you need to know in order to set up shop, so you can feel confident to get rolling and smack the new year in the face!
I don’t often give you much of window into the design side of my business in this space. Part of me thinks you probably aren’t that interested but perhaps that’s not true because I have quite the opposite attitude when I’m reading other people’s blog. I guess that’s how we can hold on to the past notion of a blog being a online journal rather than a glossy magazine. It’s funny because 70% of my work is design based and yet so many people first refer to me as a blogger. So here’s a little behind the scenes peek.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to take part in a designer maker Pop-up Shop at West Elm and armed with some new product I was happy to oblige. Nestled in the homey landscape of the store we all set up our own little corners amidst sofas, coffee tables and house plants. It was kind of like selling from my living room; my living room filled with much more stylish furniture that is. West Elm is fast becoming my second home these days, working with them and doing a Quill workshop there every month.
Last time I talked about making the jump to freelance and perhaps the word jump is an understatement, at least for what it felt like at the time. In this post I’ll talk about the day to day of setting up on your own and the great bits as well as the many challenges. Hopefully I can give a realistic view of growing your own creative business. As I’ve said before, these posts are coming from my own experiences and friends in similar positions that I’ve chatted to. Just because I’ve made the jump and come out the other end unscathed doesn’t make me an expert. Having said that I don’t really know what you need to qualify as an expert on any given subject. I definitely wouldn’t say a degree or even a masters or PHD could make you an expert in any field without years of experience living out the day to day of whatever it was you studied.
Starting out on my full time freelance journey, I felt liberated and that kind of nervous excitement you get that’s mainly powered by adrenaline. I finished work on a Tuesday weirdly enough and lots of people asked if I was going to take the rest of the week off before diving in, to which my answer was ‘no, I’m just going to get on with it’. As I said previously, I’d decided on what my days would generally be looking like with a bare bones structure but it was surreal hearing my alarm go off the next morning and knowing that I was officially the boss (eek). I set off on my walk around the park on my fake commute (I’m weird I know) and realised I could just take my time if I wanted. I started noticing parts of our neighbourhood I’d never had the time to notice before and actually finding inspiration all around me. It helped that it was a super sunny Spring morning, of course.
Image from West Elm Uk // Text by The Lovely Drawer
Last Friday I visited the Etsy pop up at West Elm London. This was West Elm’s first one in the UK and did not disappoint with an inspiring selection of talented Etsy designer makers. I love that West Elm collaborates with creative communities and independent artists to give them a spotlight and to make unique, hand crafted design accessible to the masses. They also run creative workshops from time to time so keep your eyes peeled for them. Here are some of my favourites shops from the day…
Rachel Loves Bob is totally my cup of tea. It was very hard to restrain myself from buying out the whole stall. And look!…Those triangle necklaces remind me of this little DIY. So if you want the more polished version, here’s the Etsy shop for you. I love that her pieces a striking and yet totally wearable!
These delicate patterns from Lulu & Luca really caught my eye from well over the other side of the room. Having worked in fashion for many years she switched to print and rekindled her love of screen printing. She uses such a lovely colour palette that would suit any home.
You’ve guessed it, Neon London is a whole shop devoted to neon brights. Just standing within a metre of this stall made me feel super happy. A reasonably new seller to Etsy, Sophie has built up a wide array of colour popping goods to satisfy any neon craving. Neon London has very kindly given all Lovely Drawer leaders 10% off until the end of April! To make the most of this simply use the code LOVELY10.
I’ve come across Ladybird Likes before but since then she’s created sooo many more adorable accessories. She uses laser cut wood and retro imagery to create these little beauties.
Chocolate Creative was probably the shop with the most variety. Her Etsy shop is extensive but I particularly love these geometric patterns mixed with the romantic photography. Simplicity = clever in my book.
Aren’t these ceramics from Baskakova beautiful?! So many lovely shapes and muted tones mixed with hints of deeper colour. These were definitely a favourite. I was already picturing them on my table. A talented lady!
Jimbobart certainly brought some humour to the pop up. So many silly scenarios turned into these humorous illustrations that take on a human feel. I loved his light hearted approach to ceramics.
Mark from Patternalism was definitely the friendliest seller! We had lots of fun chatting to him about the nature of a double life, working full time and then staying up to all hours doing the creative stuff you love. All his patterns are hand stamped and come in any colour you want.