{Five Minutes With} Bryoney Fawn

Bryoney Fawn cut paper art

Today I have a really lovely feature on British craft designer-maker Bryoney Fawn, who creates stunning cut paper artworks and sculptures.

After studying Textile Craft at the University of Huddersfield, where she graduated with first class honours, Bryoney set up Bryoney Fawn to distribute her art to galleries and individuals and to produce commissioned works for installations and events.

I hope you enjoy reading about her work and processes and seeing the beautiful pieces of art that she creates. There’s also a discount for readers of my blog too in her lovely online shop!

Bryoney Fawn at work

Hello! First things first, how did you come up with the idea for your business and can you tell us what it’s all about please?

Hi Kate, its great to be here! I have always wanted to do what I loved for a living, and after completing a placement year during my Textile Crafts degree, where I went to work with other designer makers such as Hannah Nunn and Emma Louise Wilson, I gained an excellent insight into the craft industry and knew it was something I wanted to be involved in once I graduated.

I have always been inspired by exploring the world around me, and have repeatedly come back to using flowers and nature as influences in my work. I love exploring with materials and learnt how to use the laser cutter whilst at University and I just loved how much you could do with it. For one of my projects, I laser cut some of my drawings and loved the organic lines and pieces which I got from this. I had pinned some of these cut lines onto the board in my studio and everyone was commenting how great it looked, so I continued to develop this technique and also experiment with using different papers, colours and stitches.

Framed hearts - Bryoney Fawn

How long did it take for you to design/create your product range/pieces of work?

After graduating University I took some time off to explore the south of France for a month. It was such an amazing experience to go travelling on my own and talk to all different people from all over the world and all walks of life. I think that after the stress and pressure of finishing my degree, it was a much needed break, and my ideas developed and formed whilst I was over there. I made sure to take time to explore the landscapes and other craft areas such as Le Panier in Marseille which is full of inspiring shops and people, and this really brought home how much I wanted to make my own pieces.

It was then a matter of sourcing materials, and developing some prototypes which I showed to my friends and it all seemed to happen quite quickly from there really! I signed up some craft fairs and within a few months I was in business!

How do you manage your time? Do you work on it full or part-time and what are your plans for this for the future?

I currently have a part-time job alongside my own business so it is a dedication to get everything done and on time. I have TO DO lists everywhere and a very full diary with all my deadlines and important dates in. I’m very lucky to have an amazing fiancé who helps me out with little jobs, and keeps me level headed when I need it most!

World map - Bryoney Fawn

I was also lucky enough to showcase my work at the British Craft Trade Fair this year, it was such an amazing experience to be part of a prestigious show like this within my first year of business and the response from visitors to the show was great.

It was a busy period as I also moved house just after the fair so everything seemed to be happening at once, but now I cant wait for what the future holds.

What is it you love most about the materials you work with?

I have always been drawn to using paper in my work. It is such a diverse material and has so many applications. I love the way it can be used to play with light and shadow, as it can be translucent, opaque, colourful or colourless and this is something I am continually looking at within my work. I am always exploring new ways of using paper with the laser cutter, and layering pieces together to get new interesting effects in my pieces.

Cream Daisies - Bryoney Fawn

What has surprised you the most about running your own creative business?

I think it will have to be the support of everyone around me. Whether I know them know well or just a little everyone has been taking an interest in what I do, and wishing me the best of luck. When starting up, I had to rely on a lot of different people to help me out and it was great to see how everyone chipped in! It makes me feel so humble that I have such great people in my life and also gives me the confidence to continue to pursue my dreams.

If you were to launch your business again tomorrow, what (if anything) would you do differently? Is there one piece of advice you would give to yourself back then that you wish you had known?

Trust your instincts. I had a bad experience with having my work up at a local cafe. When I walked in to put my work up it didn’t feel quite right and then some of my pieces got damaged in the time they were displayed there. So I would say that if it doesn’t feel right don’t do it! Your work is very valuable to you and if other people don’t understand that then don’t trust them with it!

Midnight world map - Bryoney Fawn

Finally, do you have any offers or discount codes that you would like to share with my readers please?

Yes of course. Head on over to shop.bryoneyfawn.com and enter BEAKUP10 at the check out for a 10% discount. You can also sign up to my newsletter for future news events and discounts by clicking this link http://eepurl.com/9qm2r

Bryoney’s Quickfire Questions:

Matte or High Shine: Matte

Summer or Winter: Summer

Ice tea or Ice lolly: Ice Lolly

Jam or Marmalade: Marmalade

Steak or Chips: Chips

Beach or City Break: City Break (I love exploring new towns and cultures!)

Sun or Moon: Sun

Flowers or Foliage: Ooh thats a tough one, Flowers!

Netflix or DVD: DVD

Instagram or Pinterest: Another toughie! I love sharing my images on Instagram, but for inspiration it would have to be Pinterest!

I’m absolutely blown away by how delicate and beautiful Bryoney’s work is, especially the flowers which are so, so pretty.

If you would like to find out more about Bryoney and her work, then here are the all important links:

Lots of paper art love,


{Five Minutes With} Dizzy Miss James

Dizzy miss James Fox

Hello! It’s time for another meet and greet with another very lovely and talented designer-maker. This week I’m chatting to Victoria James of Dizzy Miss James about her bold and beautiful designs and homewares. If you like what you see, make sure you read on to the end as there’s a very special discount code for Beak up Crafts readers!

Dizzy Miss James Panda cushions

Hello! First things first, how did you come up with the idea for Dizzy Miss James and how long have you been in business please? 

Hi Kate! There’s a story behind the name. A few years ago my life took a challenging and unusual turn when I became ill with a balance disorder called uncompensated Labryinthits. This meant I felt severe dizziness and unbalance all of the time and struggled to focus on everyday tasks I previously took for granted. Unfortunately I had to give up my job and put on hold my aspirations of being an artist to concentrate on my health.

I was in recovery for many years and during this time I started sewing and made brooches from old jeans and shirts. I gave them to family members as gifts, whatever the occasion, I found it helped with my condition and I just couldn’t stop making. I began to turn my character sketches into fabric brooches and embroidery hoop art. Before I knew it I was surrounded by my creations and had run out of space! I decided to start selling them online and Dizzy Miss James was born!

(Read more about my experience with living with a chronic illness here.)

Dizzy Miss James rabbit cushionWhat is your background in design and do you run your business full or part-time?

I have a background in printed textiles and surface decoration. In 2008 I was studying for a degree in Fine Art but unfortunately I was unable to finish due to illness.  I first began making as a hobby while I was undergoing treatment.  I finally plucked up the courage to try selling online and opened my little Etsy store.  My business then started to grow and last year with help and business mentoring from Pinetree I started working full time as a designer and have never looked back!

What does an average day look like for you?

My typical day usually begins with a cup of tea, breakfast, pinning lovelies on Pinterest and replying to emails. I then pack up my orders. I love making my packages look pretty before sending them on their way. I then have a spot of lunch and browse and update my social media sites. The rest of my day may consist of designing, making, researching, blogging, admin and stocktaking. And of course cake there is always cake!

Dizzy Miss James panda tote bag

Where do you get inspiration for your designs?

I am inspired by nature and many of my designs are often based on the beautiful wildlife of my home county of Northumberland. I have a love of Scandinavian and mid-century design which you can see the influence in my work and throughout my home. Bold, colour and shapes is what I’m all about.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I love what I do and it doesn’t feel like work.  With my condition I spent many years unable to do any work and relying heavily on others.  Now I thrive on creativity and the daily tasks needed to run my business.  I find I have the opposite problem I find it hard to know when to stop or slow down.  I think it is very important to schedule time off to recuperate when running your own business.

How do you split your time effectively between designing/making and doing admin/finances and do you have any time management tips?

Good time management is essential.  I am a big fan of lists, planning each day out into manageable bite size pieces.

I know it’s not everyone’s favourite  part of running a business but try and keep your book keeping up to date, that way you avoid having to do lots of admin all in one go.  There are a lot of great accounting clouds available out there like QuickFile. You can connect the cloud to your business and PayPal accounts so it automatically uploads your transactions, this really helps!

Dizzy Miss James Badger cushion

Set time aside to work on designing new products, making sure you have no distractions. It’s always easy to get lost in things like social media and before you know it you’ve lost a couple of hours. We all do it!

When it comes to the making streamline the process as much as possible. Once the initial prototype is refined try to make in batches, using templates for ease and consistency. Making things to order can be hard work especially if you get a larger order. It’s always good to have made up products ready to ship.

Finally, do you have any offers or discount codes that you would like to share with my readers please?

I’ve got a 20% discount code* for your readers just enter code  BEAKUPCRAFTS on checkout at www.dizzymissjames.co.uk

*Valid until end of July 2015

Victoria’s Quickfire questions

Cats or Dogs – Dogs
Instagram or Facebook – Instagram
Spring or Summer – Spring
Friday night or Sunday morning – Friday night
Killer heels or Flats – Flats
City break or Beach holiday – City break
Book or Film – Film
Cake or Crisps – Cake
Wool or Wood – Wool
Fruit or Veg – Veg

I love Victoria’s designs and I think her story is really inspiring. I hope you enjoyed reading this feature and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Lots of creative business love,


{Five Minutes With} Vicky Brown ~ This is Lullaby

This is Lullaby stripey shoes - Beak Up Crafts

Hello and here’s to a brand new week! I’m back with another interview with a very lovely and talented designer-maker. This week I’m chatting to Vicky Brown, who is the creative force behind This is Lullaby, baby clothing with vintage personality.

Vicky is 33, married and lives in Stockport. As well as making beautiful clothes for little ones, Vicky loves sunshine, tulips, nutella by the spoonful and retro design.

Vicky Brown - This is Lullaby - Beak Up Crafts

I love her brand of handmade children’s clothes and I hope you do too! But less of me and more of Vicky (oh and keep your eyes peeled for an extra special discount in her Etsy shop).

Hello Vicky, thanks for featuring on my blog. First things first, how did you come up with the idea for This is Lullaby and how long have you been in business please?

I’ve been on this journey for nearly three years now. My daughter, Lucie, was born in May 2011, and I took up sewing again in my maternity leave, following a long break due to a hectic career in financial services. After seeing what I’d done, friends persuaded me to make things for them and I then start selling at a few local craft fairs. I didn’t ‘get serious’ and see this as a business until about a year after I started. It has happily evolved into a great business as I’ve developed new products, ways of marketing, and a brand identity.

What is your background in design and do you run your business full or part-time?

I run it flexibly, working from home whenever I can. Lucie hasn’t started school full time yet so she has a few days in nursery school when I do most of the actual sewing or product photography, and then I’m on the laptop in the evenings doing admin, or cutting out my pattern pieces in front of the TV. I’m lucky enough to have a dedicated sewing room and it helps to be able to leave work behind in there sometimes!

This is Lullaby blue dress - Beak Up Crafts

I’m self taught, but my mum had a big influence I guess, teaching me a lot of sewing skills when I was young. I’ve learnt through practice and experimentation. I can do what I do really well, but there are lots of different sewing techniques I really want to get to grips with. Oh for spare days of the week to do so!

What does an average day look like for you?

It starts off with the school run, dragging a sleepy girl out of bed and trying not to be late.  It’s only a short walk so it can be a nice way to wake up, except the infamous Manchester weather sometimes makes it hard going.

I’ll then power down to some sewing, fuelled by a few cups of tea.  Usually, I’ve have pre-cut all my pattern pieces the night before, and I have an aim of what orders I want to complete that day.  My work is 90% made to order, so I never know what I’ll make from week to week and what people have selected from my Etsy shop.  As I work from home, I need to be disciplined not to do things like the washing during work time too.

This is Lullaby floral shorts - Beak Up Crafts

I sew pretty constantly all morning until around 2pm, when I will package up my orders.  I buy my postage online from royailmail.com and print it off at home, so I can drop the majority of my orders into the post box.  It’s really, really handy and a big time saver compare with the post office.

After that its pick up time… A few family hours before dinner and putting Lucie to bed.  Often in the evening I’ll catch up on emails and queries, updating my Etsy shop, editing photos, sourcing fabrics online, social media… all the miscellaneous things really.  We usually then stay up far too late watching box sets. Currently it’s Nashville.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

A big part of the This is Lullaby ethos is my use of vintage textiles and repurposed fabrics.  This might be a flower power pillowcase from the 1970s or an old tweed suit.  Beautiful fabrics inspire me to create and upcycle.  I love choosing which fabrics will work brilliantly for a particular garment.

This is Lullaby floral bibs - Beak Up Crafts

I currently have a range of 10 items although each is available in different fabric options.  I’m often inspired to update designs (or develop them) after speaking with customers, requests for custom orders, or personalisation.  These often turn out beautifully and my experience has taught me that if someone is asking you for it, it’s likely lots more people will be interested too. Being willing to learn from my customers is quite insightful.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I think it’s important to connect in with other designer-makers regularly, as it can be isolating working all by yourself.  In terms of social media, I have found the best support and connections on Instagram.

This is Lullaby - Beak Up Crafts

For Etsy sellers I recommend involvement in a local team. The Etsy Manchester team which I’m part of is wonderful.  There have been training events and socials, as well as mentoring opportunities.  I do find that educating others and sharing my own knowledge and skills is great motivation to keep going and to succeed as well. Of course, I have days when I’d rather hide under a duvet but I guess that’s where having made to order items helps.  I always have a deadline to meet!

This is Lullaby waistcoat - Beak Up Crafts

How do you split your time effectively between designing/making and doing admin/finances and do you have any time management tips?

My only tip is that when you are really up against it, throw your phone into another room so you can’t take up all those precious minutes on ‘just checking’ social media and stats.  Sometimes it’s the best solution.

Do you have any offers or discount codes that you would like to share with my readers please?

Yes, I’m happy to offer 15% off anything in my Etsy shop.  To claim, just enter BEAKUPCRAFTS in the coupon code box at checkout, www.thisislullaby.etsy.com

Vicky’s Quickfire questions:

In or Out – In
Beach or Countryside – Countryside.  I’m a Dorset girl originally
Spring or Summer – Spring, it’s the fulfilment of months of hopes for warmth and life
Cake or Crisps – Cake. But not too much icing please
Fabric or Wool – Fabric, duh!
City break or Beach holiday – Beach holiday (in my dreams currently)
TV or Radio – Radio
Orange or Black – Orange
Wool or Wood – Wood
Plants or Flowers – Flowers, especially tulips

Vicky’s creations are so lovely, don’t you think? I would love to learn how to sew and to make clothes and I’ve got to say on a personal level that this interview has given me a shedload of inspiration.

Here are the all important links to her shop, Instagram and Facebook pages:

I hope you enjoyed this feature which will return in a couple of weeks. If you would like to feature with your creative business then please drop me a line at [email protected]

Lots of creative business love,


{Five Minutes With} Just Joss

Just Joss scarf - Beak Up Crafts

Today I’m back with another nosey into the life and inspiration of another talented designer in my fortnightly feature. In the hotseat this week is Joss Maccoll, the creative force behind Just Joss Designs.

Joss retrained to become a textile designer and now does the job full-time – proof that if you want something enough and work hard you can get there and bag your dream job.

But less from me and more from Joss, who will tell you all about her business and how she got to where she is today.

Joss Macoll - Just Joss - Beak Up Crafts

Hello! First things first I would love to know how you came up with the idea for Just Joss Designs and what steps did you take from the ideas stage to launching your business?

The idea for Just Joss Designs came whilst exhibiting my final degree show at New Designers. I exhibited 30 different designs on four different types of fabric including silk, Irish upholstery linen, wallpaper and voile. I was inundated with requests asking if my designs could be made into women’s clothing. I was even approached by a mother of a bride asking if I could make her a dress in a particular design. Small ideas started to form and as soon as I graduated I knew I wanted to work for myself so I began researching print companies.

I had over 40 designs ready from my final project so I used the most popular designs. I wanted to use a high end material and as silk is so luxurious it was an obvious choice. The designs were printed and arrived in September 2014, I officially launched my Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages In November 2014.

Just Joss scarves - Beak Up Crafts

At the moment I offer bespoke accessories for women of all ages that are looking for high quality silk accessories at an affordable price. At this point in time I am concentrating on scarves and kimonos as they suit my designs the most.

What is your background in design and do you run your business full or part-time?

I have had an artistic flair since a young age. With a love for all things creative I decided to quit my full time job at a local primary school and took a full time Art and Design course in a local collage. The course covered all areas of Art and Design but I fell in love with Textiles. I then progressed onto a University Textiles course as a mature student and studied Textiles for Fashion and Interiors. This course allowed you to choose if you preferred to become a designer or maker. I chose the design route concentrating on surface pattern design, but it has to be said I am also a keen maker at heart. Being a ‘maker’ has also enabled me to hand make the scarves and kimonos myself keeping the costs low. I also have great affection for creating patterns, drawing, manipulating designs and being creative. This is indeed my full time job that I thoroughly enjoy.

Blossom scarf - Just Joss - Beak Up Crafts

What does an average day look like for you?

That’s what I love about being my own boss, no two days are the same. From having a phone call from a new customer giving feedback on a scarf they just have purchased from one of the local gift shops I currently stock, to having an order from a bride  asking for scarves as gifts for her bridesmaids. I love how busy I can be creating orders for customers. I also really enjoy the challenges customers give me if they ask for a special request. Nothing makes my day more than a client giving me complimentary feedback.

Where do you find your inspiration and what themes are there in your work?

First and foremost I love colour, bold and bright colour as well as the less obvious pastel shades. I use a pantone colour swatch chart and it was definitely one of my best investments. Obviously floral is a huge inspiration, the natural colours in them are simply exquisite. What I really enjoy doing when I design is using photography in my work. Taking photographs on local parks using these pictures as a design starting point and manipulating them in Photoshop, making the original photograph recognisable but having that added extra of something else to it. One of my best selling designs had originally come from a photograph of a cherry blossom tree in a local park taken last spring.

Blossom scarf - Just Joss - Beak Up Crafts

My favourite item I have made is a silk kimono with a small poppy design on. The designs came from a small hand drawn doodle of poppies in a field and progressed to this stunning mirrored repeat pattern. The main colour is navy with pops of mint green and peach and it is one of my favourite designs. The fact that it has then been handmade in to an oversized Kimono really shows off the design.

What are your plans for the future with and what targets have you set yourself?

I am just about to order more fabric as I have almost sold out of my original silk. The new order involves a lighter silk and chiffon fabrics for the next designs. I would like to sell my designs ready made in other local shops. I would also like to do more interior based products. I hope to develop my range further to have a bigger homeware section, I have started making throw cushions but I would like to progress to lampshades and wall hangings. Eventually I would like to offer a wallpaper range to suit my market.

Just Joss silk kimono - Beak Up Crafts

A target I have set myself to accomplish over the next two years is to open up a local gift shop that show cases my range but also helps promote local artists, crafters and designers.

Do you have any offers or discount codes that you would like to share with my readers please?

I would like to offer anyone reading this £5 off any order over £40 with code 5-OFF. This can be used on my Etsy store or quoted to me if approached on Facebook or Instagram.

Joss’ Quickfire questions:

Tea or Coffee – Coffee

High fashion or High street – High Street

Spring or Summer – Spring

Tropical or Snow – Tropical

Main course or Dessert – Dessert

Silver or Gold – Silver

Book or Film – Can I choose both ! Hehe

Easter or May Day – Easter

Wool or Cashmere – Cashmere

Flowers or Foliage – Definitely Flowers

I hope you enjoyed this feature and Joss’ story of how she made the switch from the classroom to a full-time textile artist and designer. I think it’s really inspiring and I’m so pleased to have been able to showcase her work on my blog.

If you would like to check out her shop you can find the links you need here:

Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/JustJoss

Facebook: http://facebook.com/JustJossdesigns

This feature will be back in a couple of weeks with another talented small creative business owner. If you would like to be featured in the future, please drop me a line at [email protected]

Lots of pretty silk flower love,


{Five Minutes With} Ima Pico ~ Visual Artist and Designer

Ima Pico bangles - Beak Up Crafts

Hello everyone! I’m back to shine the spotlight on another super-talented designer maker in this week’s {Five Minutes With} feature.

I really love putting together these posts and helping to showcase the work of inspirational women who have set up their own creative businesses. I was absolutely blown away by the response from a picture I posted on Instagram asking if anyone would like to get involved and the lovely Ima Picó is the first of those who got in touch to be featured.

Ima is a Spanish visual artist and maker based in Manchester who designs and works with beautiful silk scarves and accessories and I’m thrilled to feature her today. I hope you enjoy reading the feature!

Ima Pico - Beak Up Crafts

Hello! First things first, how did you come up with the idea for Designed By Ima Pico and how long have you been in business please?

I have been a practising artist for many years before starting my own little company but I always loved product design. During an art residency in the textile department at MMU in Manchester I came across with textile printing and I had this idea of producing a range of products using some of the elements and images from my artistic projects. This is how I started printing some of my art images on silk.

As soon as I produced my first range of products I offered some local crafts shops to stock my scarves and silk accessories and was lucky enough to get accepted in some of them. After a few years of selling at brick and mortar shops and participating in crafts fairs and other similar events I decided to open my Etsy shop last summer.

Ima Pico fallen leaves scarf - Beak Up Crafts

What is your background in design and do you run your business full or part-time?

I run my business full time, combining art and product design. I have a background in Fine Arts and over the years I have produced big murals and large-scale wall paintings that made use of digital images from manipulated photographs printed on adhesive vinyl. I was better known for my mural installations until I started to produce limited editions of objects with a strong visual connection with my artworks. Now my product range has expanded and apart from the initial graffiti and urban prints I added nature inspired images to my collections.

Ima Pico - Visual Artist - Beak Up Crafts

What does an average day look like for you?

I get up quite early and my day starts out with nice breakfast, checking my e-mail, a long walk and if I have any orders from the crafts shops or Etsy, drop them off at the post office. Depending of the time of the year I am busy with different projects, around winter and summer I have to concentrate for some weeks creating the designs of a new collection of scarves. When I receive the fabric, I am busy sewing and making new jewelry or overlocking scarves, but basically during the first part of the morning I work with my computer leaving the manual work or the photographic work for later. I usually finish work around 7 to prepare a nice Mediterranean dinner for my family and sometimes after that I keep working until late. Having my own studio space at home, a good size room at the front of the house, sometimes makes it hard to separate your work and home life.

Ima Pico pillows - Beak Up Crafts

What is your design process and where do you find your inspiration?

I find my inspiration in everyday life, nature and art and I love above all experimenting with colours. To get colour mixing right is not easy but I love trying new combinations. I’ve always loved bright shades, but I tend to wear a monochromatic palette, so one of the things I decided when I started my collections was to create bold and bright designs to add this special colourful touch and to provide this little extra glow to an otherwise plain outfit.

Ima Pico purple necklace - Beak Up Crafts

How do you split your time effectively between designing/making and doing admin/finances and do you have any time management tips?

I am not the most organized person in the world and I prefer to spend as much time as possible on making and creating, but it is important to watch your costs so you need to keep record of what you spend and the sales you make. When I need to get things done, I try to be focused, make a list a to-do list and stick to it, so I would say that I try to allocate more or less the same amount of time for promoting my crafts business and administration as I spend designing new patterns and making my handmade silk accessories.

Ima Pico scarves - Beak Up Crafts

Finally, do you have any offers or discount codes that you would like to share with my readers please?

Yes, I have a discount code that I would love to share with your readers, 20% discount in all my products with code BUYHANDMADE20

Ima’s Quickfire questions:

Hot or Cold – Hot

Pinterest or Instagram – Instagram

Spring or Summer – Spring

Cake or Crisps – Cake

Killer heels or Flats -Flats

Books or Magazines – Books

Handmade or High Street – Handmade

Ice Cream or Ice Lolly – Ice Cream

TV or Radio – Radio

Fruit or Veg – Fruit

How vibrant and inspiring are Ima’s designs? I love the colours and patterns and found it so interesting learning about her visual art.

If you would like to visit Ima’s shop you can do so by heading here and she’s also got a website which showcases her visual art which you can find at www.imapico.com. Oh and her Twitter is @ima_pico if you would like to go and give her a follow.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with another feature on a talented designer-maker. Hope to see you then!

Lots of vibrant love,



{Five Minutes With} Emma Pearson ~ Linen and Fred

Linen and Fred floral embroidery - Beak Up Crafts

I’ve got another lovely interview today with designer-maker and textile artist Emma Pearson who owns and runs Linen and Fred.

Emma lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and four-year-old-daughter and creates beautiful embroidered textile art using ribbon embroidery and stumpwork techniques. She also creates custom embroidery on request and has a service called ‘My Beautiful Bouquet’ which recreates your wedding bouquet using silk ribbon embroidery and handmade fabric flowers.

I’m sure you’ll agree that Emma’s work is absolutely gorgeous and as soon as I saw it I wanted to find out more!

Emma Pearson - Linen and Fred  - Beak Up Crafts

Here’s Emma to tell you more about her processes and how she launched her lovely creative business (oh and if you read to the end there’s even an exclusive discount!)

Hi Emma, thanks for talking to me today! First things first, how did you come up with the idea for Linen and Fred and what steps did you take from the ideas stage to launching your business? Also if you could please tell me how you came up with the name for the business that would be great!

Hi Kate! Thanks for featuring me! Linen and Fred has been around for a few years in different forms (and names). Before officially launching it last January, I dabbled in doll making, but no matter what I made, I had the urge to decorate, embroider and embellish it. So I decided that embroidery in its simplest form was the best thing place to start. I am much more at home slow-stitching than using a sewing machine.

I started making brooches from home-dyed fabrics and used vintage fabrics in my work, but as I progressed I just want to move it from two dimentional to 3D embroidery. I have a real desire to create life-like textile art.  I made the move over to silk ribbon embroidery with some stump work which is much more suited to raised and three dimensional embroidery and started working on bigger designs in the wreath style which runs through most of my work now.

Linen and Fred floral embroidery - Beak Up Crafts

The name Linen and Fred was really just a play on the word ‘thread’ and something that popped into my head. It is simply the only two things I need to create and if I have these two things then I am happy!

Do you do the business full or part-time? If you work on it part-time, how do you balance it with your other responsibilities and keep organised? If full-time, how did you get to the point where it became your full-time job?

I currently work on my embroidery and design seven days a week, but it is not yet a ‘full-time’ job, despite thinking about it 24/7. After my daughter was born in 2010 I went back to work for three years but I am now in the fortunate position to be able to juggle childcare and homemaking with running my small business from home and working part time for my husband’s design company. I organize my day so that I can fit it all in, and so that I still have time to work on orders and create and develop new ideas.

Linen and Fred parrots embroidery - Beak Up Crafts

What has surprised you the most about running your own creative business?

The progression from where I was, to where I am now creatively. I started with the intention of making some money to support my family and I now have a real appetite and desire to be the best that I can be within the embroidery field. I feel that over the last year I have learnt a lot about pricing and supply and demand, what will and won’t sell. I regularly use the internet to research other makers, using their art, pricing, techniques and marketing to somewhat inspire my work and business ethics. I always want to learn more and improve my skills.

What are the favourite products that you make and where do you find your inspiration?

My favourite ones would be any that include berries. I make mine from scratch using black and red seed beads, which are individually sewn onto a felt ball to create a 3D effect. I hope to use these as a running theme throughout my future designs.

Linen and Fred floral embroidery - Beak Up Crafts

My inspiration comes from a lot of places, but mainly from my favourite embroidery textile and embroidery artists. Di Van Niekerk’s beautiful ribbon embroidery, Monika Kinner-Whalen for her beautiful Canadian landscapes and Sally Mavor for her simply stunning 3D stumpwork. I have also recently discovered the mixed media work of Natalia Margulis.

If you were to launch your business again tomorrow, what (if anything) would you do differently? Is there one piece of advice you would give to yourself back then that you wish you had known?

Last year was so important to me creatively as I worked through different mediums to get to where I am now. If I could launch my business again tomorrow I would simply start again with more self-confidence and self-belief. It is very easy to measure yourself up against other people and value your work less because they simply charge more than you or appear to be more busy or more in demand. Chances are you simply haven’t worked at it for long enough yet. I believe that if you work hard, hone your skills and produce the VERY best you can, people will believe in you!

Use others as inspiration but BE DIFFERENT.

Linen and Fred floral embroidery - Beak Up Crafts

What are your plans for the future and do you set yourself any targets?

My plans are to continue experimenting with wet felting and needle felting in the following months to create background layers. It’s a really great technique for creating realistic colours and textures. I plan to gradually more over from crafting to art and produce more framed artwork. I will be taking part in online markets this year on Facebook organised by ‘HANDMADE: AN ARTISANS COLLECTIVE’ which will hopefully allow my work to be seen by more people.

I have also launched the ‘My Beautiful Bouquet’ range which allows you to have a handmade replica of your wedding bouquet, created using silk ribbon embroidery and handmade fabric flowers.  I am in the process of designing Gift Voucher to allow them to be gifted as wedding gifts redeemable post-wedding. I am currently recreating a bouquet from 1981 which is rather special!

Linen and Fred floral and bird embroidery - Beak Up Crafts

Do you have any offers or discount codes that you would like to share with my readers please?

Of course. I can offer 10% off ‘My Beautiful Bouquet’ orders placed throughout 2015 (Gift vouchers and personal orders).

Emma’s Quick fire questions

Sun or Moon – Sun
High fashion or High street – High street
Pastel or Neon – Pastel (especially in silk ribbons)
Steak or Chips – Steak (medium-rare!)
Glitter or Sequins – Sequins – that’s easy as I use them a lot in my embroidery
Friday night or Sunday morning – Friday night with TV and a takeaway!
Tea or Coffee – Coffee (Guilty of being a coffee snob!)
Spring or Summer – Spring as I can get out and photograph the new flowers!
Cheap or Chic – Chic!
Wool or Wood – As a crafter definitely wool!

What a great interview. I’m sure you’ll agree that Emma’s delicate floral embroidery is absolutely gorgeous. I’m just trying to work out which piece to get for my craft room!

I hope you enjoyed this feature. If you would like showcase your creative business  then please drop me a line at [email protected]

Lots of floral love,






{Five Minutes With} Helen Crawford ~ CrawCrafts Beasties

Beastie Group - Beak Up Crafts

Hello and welcome to a really fun interview with designer-maker Helen Crawford, who creates these gorgeous knitted Beasties through her CrawCrafts Beasties business.

Helen is originally from Northern Ireland but has lived in Dublin for about 12 years. She makes her amazing monsters at home, fuelled by copious amounts of tea and murder mysteries.

Helen Crawford - Beak Up Crafts

I’m sure you will agree that her Beasties are amazing! Grab yourself a drink (and a biscuit) and find out more about how she set up her creative business here… and also please let me know which is your favourite Beastie in the comments! Oh and there’s a 15% off discount code if you would like to give a Beastie a new home too.

Hi Helen! Firstly, how did you come up with the idea for CrawCrafts Beasties and how long have you been in business?

Hi Kate, thanks for having me as a guest on your blog! I’ve been making Beasties for a few years now, but I’ve only started to consider what I do as a business for the last year or so. It’s really been a series of happy accidents that led me to this point!

One day I was making a pair of handwarmers and I ran out of yarn halfway through. I looked at what I had on the needles, and I figured it wouldn’t take too much tweaking to make this sad piece of knitting into a little creature. I improvised the pattern as I went along, and that’s how my first Beastie was born! After that, I made a few more, but it really took off once I started giving the Beasties their own accessories.

Rambo Beastie - Beak Up Crafts

My first accessory was a felt book, and I left this “Bookworm Beastie” in the bookshop where my boyfriend was working at the time – just as a mascot for the shop. But someone bought that one, and when I replaced it, the replacement sold too. So I kept on making them, and I started to experiment with different features and accessories.

At the time, I was living and working in Northern Ireland, but as interest in the Beasties picked up, I decided to leave my full-time job there and move back to Dublin to take advantage of the more active craft scene. I moved at the end of 2013, and launched myself into setting up an online presence, designing new Beasties and preparing for my first market, so that was when I really started thinking of it as a business.

How do you get inspiration for all of your different Beasties and how long does each one take to make?

Ideas for new Beasties come from just about everywhere! I get inspiration from the seasons, from books and films, from the music I listen to. If I see an interesting-looking person in the street, I might make a Beastie of them – like drawing a caricature! And when I tell people what I do, or show them pictures, they always say, “Oh cool! Can you do a…?” – I’ve got some good ideas that way, and many of the Beasties I make are personalised commissions which look like someone or reflect their hobbies and interests.

Punk Girl Beastie - Beak Up Crafts

I have also been known to develop a Beastie design just to make use of a particular fabric or yarn (and justify purchasing it), so materials can play a part too! In terms of time, Beasties are quite labour-intensive. A basic Beastie body takes about 4-5 hours from cast-on to completion, but making the accessories is what I find I spend most of my time on.

I’m a real perfectionist about the accessories – they have to look convincing, so I research the piece I need, then design and cut my own templates to recreate it in miniature. Working on this scale means that a sewing machine isn’t a lot of help, so everything is sewn by hand, and that does take time. But I love the challenge of working this way, and these Beasties are the ones that attract people to my market stalls or keep them reading my blog, so it’s time well spent!

What does an average day look like for you? Do you do this full-time or if not, how do you fit it around your other responsibilities?

I split my time between CrawCrafts Beasties and a part-time job in retail, so I don’t really have a regular daily schedule! I prefer it that way, though… a fixed routine is great at the beginning, but after a couple of weeks I find the repetition unbearable and I have to shake things up! Also, I think that if I was to do crafting full-time, I’d become a bit of a hermit – having a job gets me out of the house, makes me take some exercise (I walk to work, it’s about a mile and a half each way) and gives me a chance to interact with people.

Explorer Beastie in Dublin - Beak Up Crafts

Generally I work 3-4 days a week, and my employers have been great about sticking to this arrangement and not pressuring me into taking on more hours. I always give my rostered shifts first priority, then figure out what needs to be done Beastie-wise each week and fit those tasks in next. I save anything that needs peace and quiet – blog posts, figuring out new accessories, catching up with accounts – for days when I’m off and have the house to myself.

I try to have at least one of these days every week, and I have to be disciplined to make sure I don’t get distracted – no meeting up with friends for coffee or taking on a couple of extra hours at work! I’ll save easier tasks like knitting, stitching simple accessories and sketching commissions for days when my boyfriend (who also works shifts) is at home, or for evenings after a day at my job. I try to check in on my emails, Facebook and the blogs I follow at least once a day as well. I don’t really take days off, but then a lot of what I do to make Beasties doesn’t feel like work!

What has surprised you the most about running your own creative business and is there anything you would do differently if you were to start again?

I was surprised by the interest people have shown in what I do! For the most part, it’s been beneficial, spurring me on to try new things and develop my crafting skills further, but there have been times where it seemed like everyone I spoke to had a suggestion for what I should do next, and they were all saying something different! I wanted to give everything a go, but of course I couldn’t, so I lurched from one half-finished project to another, which was incredibly frustrating. I felt like I was working constantly, but had nothing to show for it… and the worst part was that I never seemed to have time left over to actually make any Beasties!

So I’d be tempted to say that, if I were to start over, I would try to take a few people’s ideas and follow them through completely. But then again, my experiences over the past year have really helped me clarify what’s important to me and the way I want to run my business. If it had all been plain sailing, I wouldn’t have learned half as much!

Diver Beastie - Beak Up Crafts

What has been your proudest moment to date with your business?

Without a doubt, my first market! I had never done anything like that before, and I set out thinking that it would be great if I managed to sell a couple of Beasties and maybe meet some interesting people. I was completely unprepared for the response I got! Especially from kids – it was really rewarding to see them pick up Beasties and start walking them across the table or making them talk to each other in silly voices! By halfway through the second day of the market, all the Beasties I had made had been sent off to new homes – it was a real boost to my confidence. I’m also pretty proud of the Diver Beastie I made last year… probably the trickiest commission I’ve had so far, but I was really happy how he turned out!

Have you set yourself any targets for the future and what’s in the pipeline?

Yes! I’ve learned a lot in the past year about where my work sells best, so for starters I’ll definitely be bringing the Beasties to more markets this year. They’re a fun day out, so this is one resolution I’ll be happy to keep! I’m also going to be devoting more time and energy to my Etsy shop… it spent most of last year empty because I simply didn’t have enough Beasties to stock it, so I’m looking forward to getting it up and running again.

I’m also hoping to work with some other artists and craftspeople on new lines of Beastie-related products, just to keep things interesting!

Robert Smith Beastie - Beak Up Crafts

Finally, do you have any discounts for Beak Up Crafts readers please?

Yes! You can get 15% off in my Etsy shop for a week from today using the code BEAKUPBEASTIES15.

Helen’s Quickfire questions:

Facebook or Twitter – Facebook
Tea or Coffee – TEA!
Wool or Leather – Wool. But leather is a close second!
Countryside or Beach – Countryside
Summer or Winter – Winter
Action or Drama – Action
Friday night dinner or Saturday morning breakfast – Friday night dinner
Gold or Silver – Silver
Notebook or iPad – Notebook
Sunset or Sunrise – Sunset. I’m not a morning person at all!

How cool are Helen’s Beasties? Very! I think my favourite is Rambo Beastie, closely followed by Robert Smith Beastie. Which one’s your favourite?

Lots of Beastie love,



{Five Minutes With} Kate Marsden ~ Made By Mrs M

Made By Mrs M Cushions - Beak Up Crafts

It’s time for the next instalment of this popular series which showcases the talents of designer-makers and their creative businesses while also giving great advice if you’re thinking of going into business yourself.

Today I’m speaking with the lovely Kate Marsden who is a textile designer and fabric artist who runs Made By Mrs M. Kate’s primary focus is her fabric designs but she also works with ceramics, cross stitch and other media, as well as exhibiting her textile art across the UK. I love her striking designs, a lot of which are inspired by architecture, and her use of colour, and I hope you enjoy finding out more about her business.

Kate Marsden - Beak Up Crafts

Hi Kate! Firstly how did you come up with the idea for Made By Mrs M and how long have you been in business?

Hello! Made By Mrs M started as a creative outlet when I was working in the city (I’d originally studied Fashion & Textiles but ended up at a law firm!).

The products and look have changed radically since I began (although my popular Park Hill design has been around since the start). I wrote my first blog post in late 2011, but I only really turned it all from a hobby into a business in January 2014. My blog has helped me to form the direction for my work over the last few years.

The name Made By Mrs M came after about a year (a suggestion came from my best friend, who calls me Mrs M, and I played around with it to come up with Made By…).

Kate Marsden Fabric Exhibition - Beak Up Crafts

Where do you find your inspiration for your fabric designs?

Mostly from mid-century textiles and architecture, although if I’m honest just about anything can cause that spark of inspiration – colours on the street, art, fashion – you name it.

Please could you give us a bit of an insight into your design process and how long does it take to develop a fabric design from start to final product?

For my main designs (Park Hill, South Bank, Bankside) it’s quite a long process. I start by taking a photograph of the building I’m interested in – from a slightly unusual angle if possible – then I return to my studio to paint it (usually in acrylics). The finished painting is then scanned and I manipulate it and turn it into a repeat pattern in Photoshop. The design is then uploaded and digitally printed onto fabric for me.

What does an average day look like for you? Do you do this full-time or if not, how do you fit it around your other responsibilities.

I work part-time, in order to fit around school, although I work longer than full-time hours when you include everything I do in the evenings and at weekends!

Made By Mrs M studio - Beak Up Crafts

My days do vary, but as a rule we’re up pretty early with the small boy (he’s four) – I check my emails etc. while he has his breakfast, then I get us both dressed and ready for school. Post school run I come home and into the study where I write a (or go through my existing) to do list and prioritise my work for the day. Making and doing, packing orders etc. takes place in my studio, and everything involving the computer (most of my work!) takes place in the study, which I share with Mr M.

My day is usually a mix of blogging, online shop keeping, filing and accounts, managing social media for clients (I do most, but by no means all, of mine in the evenings), photography, writing and designing in Photoshop. On my best days I have a good mix of this alongside making and photographing a tutorial, working on new products, painting and listening to the radio!

South Bank Cushion - Made By Mrs M - Beak Up Crafts

I often join in Twitter chats and continue with emails, order packing and any urgent tasks into the evening after he goes to bed. I tend to only do urgent things (plus some social media) at the weekends, unless I have an event to attend.

What has surprised you the most about running your own creative business and is there anything you would do differently if you were to start again? Do you have any tips or advice for people starting out?

Nothing has really surprised me – other than the amount of time I spend in front of a computer – and how slow progress can be when you don’t have lots of money to throw at it. Ideally I would have started with a business plan and research and investment, but that’s not possible for most people. As it started as a hobby I’ve had to fill in the gaps as I go!

Top tips would be – don’t give up the day job unless you have to/can afford not to earn anything for quite a while; don’t expect quick growth (it can happen, but rarely does); don’t compare yourself to others, and develop your own style.

Made By Mrs M - desk - Beak Up Crafts

What has been your proudest moment to date with your business?

I think the approach by the Royal Academy for their RAted range. They approached me last summer and the process took a few months, so the excitement didn’t really kick in until I saw my work on display at their open call at the end of September. It’s great to see my work in their shop.

What’s in the future for Made By Mrs M?

I’m currently doing my annual re-evaluation and planning for 2015, but I have new designs in the pipeline, and I’m looking to improve my PR to help me to get them in front of the right people. I also have plans to improve my blog further  – although it had a great year in 2014, there’s always room for improvement!

I’m keeping my eye out for new opportunities all the time, whether they be events, stockists or potential collaborations – watch this space…

Park Hill Cushion - Made By Mrs M - Beak Up Crafts

Finally, do you have any special offers or discounts you would like to share with Beak Up Crafts readers please?

Yes, there’s 20% off anything in my Etsy shop (including clearance items) with code BEAKUP20 for two weeks!

Quickfire Questions

Spring or Summer – Spring

Hot or Cold – Hot

Wool or Fabric – Fabric

Cats or Dogs – Cats

Seaside or Countryside – Really hard!! Seaside

At home or Abroad – Abroad

Peppermint tea or Coffee – Coffee

Planning or Spur of the moment – Planning

Minimalist or Shabby chic – Shabby chic

Instagram or Facebook – Instagram

How gorgeous are Kate’s fabrics and homewares? I think they are stunning. If you would like to see them for yourself in person then head down to the Designers/Makers Market at Old Spitalfields, London, on March 21 and May 16 as Kate will be there!

I hope you enjoyed this feature. If you would like to be interviewed for my blog about your creative business then please get in touch with me at [email protected]

Lots of fabric love,






{Five Minutes With} Lowri Harris ~ little maldod

little maldod button vest - Beak Up CraftsHello again, it’s time for another lovely dose of creative business inspiration! Today I’m talking to Lowri Harris, who is the designer-maker behind little maldod and makes gorgeous bespoke gifts for babies, children and new mums.

I love Lowri’s designs so much and her Instagram feed is rather lovely too! Lowri is a busy mum of two and works part-time to create gorgeous clothes for little ones and pretty decor for their rooms or nurseries. She’s also kindly offered a 10% discount to all Beak Up Crafts readers in her online store until the end of January, so read on for more details!

Lowri Harris - little maldod - Beak Up CraftsI hope you enjoy this interview and finding out more about this fantastic small business, along with some top tips and advice if you’re thinking of starting your own handmade company.

Hi Lowri! Firstly how did you come up with the idea for little maldod and how long have you been in business? Also please can you tell us a little about how you came up with the name for your company and what it means?

Hi Kate! little maldod is the result of years of dreaming of having a creative business. I’ve always been creative, I took Art A level (I wish I’d taken it further) and have made gifts for friends and family for as long as I can remember.

When I left University and ended up working in various office based jobs, I knew more than ever that I wanted to put my creative side to work.

It wasn’t until I faced going back to work, following the birth of my son, that I realised how uninspired I was working in an office and that I really wanted to combine motherhood with a creative business. So after A LOT of talking it over with family my sister (lovingly) challenged me to “stop talking about it and just do it!”

little maldod wrapping - Beak Up CraftsMy husband and I had been bowled over by the generosity of friends and family who gave us such thoughtful, special gifts when our son was born. Some of the most treasured gifts were ones that were bespoke, personalised and made especially for him.

At the time I’d also been making gifts for friends who’d had babies so it seemed the obvious starting place for my own business.  So, in November 2013, five months after returning to work part time as a first time mum and pregnant with our second child, I opened the online doors of my shop little maldod.

You’re not the first person to ask about what the name means! One of the stumbling blocks when I was about to start was finding a business name. I wanted a name that meant something to me and that represented the business and brand too.

Maldod is a word that I grew up with, it’s a Welsh word which I remember hearing from a young age. Colloquially it means comfort/love/looking after/a bit of TLC. I can remember when I was a little girl my Dad sat on the sofa, opening his arm up, inviting me to cuddle up next to him and saying “come and have a bit of maldod.” When I remembered about this word randomly one afternoon in the middle of giving my son his tea, I instantly knew it was the right name for the business.

little maldod umbrella vest - Beak Up CraftsPlease could you tell us a bit more about what you make and how you come up with new designs?

One of the main things I make are personalised baby vests and t-shirts for toddlers. I hand print them with designs from my ever increasing stamp collection. I often find that new designs happen by accident and when I’m not expecting them to or originate from customer requests. For example the Rainbow Rain vest was the result of me digging out an old stamp my mum had given me and having a quick play with some new inks one afternoon.

I also make gifts for the nursery such as personalised framed prints and bunting. In the autumn last year I also started to make and sell items that I’ve found really useful as a Mum, such as a breastfeeding covers and travel changing mats.

What does an average day look like for you?

I work part-time on little maldod as my main job right now is looking after my two little ones. When I reopened the shop last August after having my daughter in March, it took quite a while to find the right balance between motherhood and working on the business – trying to squeeze in making orders and getting to the post office around nap times just wasn’t working!

Eventually I realised I needed to dedicate set times in my week to work on the business. Since doing this I’ve found my time in the work room a lot more enjoyable and productive. It usually starts with a to-do list; making up and packaging orders; checking stock and ordering supplies if I need them; photographing new designs and products; planning new ideas for the shop and how to market them and responding to customer emails.

little maldod pictures - Beak Up CraftsWhat has surprised you the most about running your own creative business and is there anything you would do differently if you were to start again?

I launched the business in November 2013 and was very quickly thrown into a frenzy of Christmas orders. It was wonderful to be so busy so quickly but I was surprised how much hard work it was straight away. Whilst I’d always dreamed of having an income from being creative I hadn’t realised that it would involve a LOT of hard work, long hours and late nights.

When I first started I was nervous about pricing my products and often didn’t properly take into account the time I was spending on things. Unfortunately I think its a common problem for creative small businesses. If I were to start again I would do more reading up on the business side of things (I joke that my business minded sister should handle that side of things for me!) to make sure the late nights are really worth it.

What has been your proudest moment to date with your business?

When I first started the majority of my customers were from supportive friends and family. It wasn’t until I had my first order from a complete stranger that it really felt like a proper business, as scary as it was I was hugely proud of what I had achieved.

I absolutely love having customer feedback too and always feel very proud when I read an email or message from someone saying how happy they are with an order and something that I’ve made.

little maldod Lowri Harris - Beak Up CraftsHave you set yourself any targets for the future and what’s in the pipeline?

Long term I would love to grow the business so that when my children eventually go to school (sobs a little) I can dedicate more time to making an income from being creative.  Short term I have lots of ideas for new vest and tee designs and some brand new products – there’s lots of exciting things to come this Spring!

I’d also like to explore the possibility of featuring other handmade businesses in my shop. Towards the end of last year I collaborated with a couple of great independent businesses, Poppifleur and Hope and Rainbows, (incidentally both talented Mums doing their thing) and loved stocking their products. I’m very keen to expand the range of gifts I can offer and would love to do this through some more collaborations. The support of the creative community, particularly through Instagram, has been invaluable to me starting out in business and I’d love to do what I can to foster this through little maldod.

Do you have any special discounts or offers for Beak Up Crafts readers please?

Yes, I’d be delighted to offer your readers 10% off all vests and tees until the end of January. They just need to enter ‘ALITTLEBEAKUPLOVE’ at the checkout.

Lowri’s Quickfire questions:

Facebook or Twitter
Facebook (I’m yet to make my first tweet!)

Posh restaurant or Takeaway
Takeaway (can’t beat a curry on the sofa whilst wearing your slippers!)

Paper or Fabric
OH, tough one! Errr….. paper might just clinch it.

The Office or The Office USA
The Office.

Penguin or Polar Bear
Penguin (my favourite animal and watching the John Lewis ad became part of my son’s bedtime routine in December!)

Action or Drama

City break or Beach holiday
Beach holiday (although when I get there I remember how annoying I find sand)

Gold or Silver

Lace or Leather

Sunset or Sunrise
Sunrise (I’m not a morning person but there’s something nice about being awake before everyone else).

How lovely is Lowri and her gorgeous business! I love her handprinted baby vests so much. What a lovely gift they would make for a new baby or for you own little ones.

I hope you enjoyed this feature. {Five Minutes With} will be back in a fortnight where you can find out more about another fantastic small creative business.

If you would like to feature in a future post please get in touch with me at [email protected]

Lots of baby love,


{Five Minutes With} Zoe Jade Bateman ~ Ladybird Likes

Ladybird likes kitsch brooch - Beak Up Crafts

I’ve got a very special treat for you today as not only is this a brilliantly candid interview with jewellery maker and designer Zoe Jade Bateman who owns Ladybird Likes, but Zoe has offered all Beak Up Crafts readers a WHOPPING 20% off in her Etsy store!

Zoe launched Ladybird Likes in 2012 and her work is inspired by her love of all things retro, kitsch, pastel-coloured and polka dot or with nice or amusing quotes. She runs Ladybird Likes from her studio just outside of west London, where along with making lots of lovely things, she says she drinks way too much iced coffee and listens to 90s music while hanging out with her dog Jasper.

zoe jade bateman

I met Zoe at The Blogcademy in London last summer and she is a really lovely, talented, modest and friendly lady and I’m thrilled to feature her on my blog today. She took some time out of her very hectic schedule to answer my questions, so without further ado, I’ll hand over to her.

Hello! First things first, how did you come up with the idea for Ladybird Likes and how long have you been in business please?

Hi Kate! Ladybird Likes evolved very organically. I never sat down and said ‘I’m going to start this business doing this and making this.’ I just started making stuff for friends, and for my blog, and people kept telling me I should open an Etsy shop. I decided I didn’t have anything to lose, so went for it, and  it all just took off from there! It was only when it started to do well that I even contemplated the idea that I could do this for a living! That was nearly three years ago now, and I’ve never looked back.

How did you make the move from running your business as a hobby to your sole source of income? Do you have any top tips for anyone hoping to do the same?

For me it wasn’t as difficult as it is for some people. I was living at home with my parents so knew it was almost a ‘now or never’ sort of situation. I had relatively little outgoings compared to what I would if I was  renting my own place. I went from a full-time job, to working three days a week, and finally went self-employed.  It took me about 10 months to go from a full-time job to being self-employed, but I know I was very lucky. My top tip is if you think you can do it, then go for it. Once you have the pressure of having to make enough money to live off you will do everything you can to make that happen. Whilst you have the support of another income it’s always a bit of a crutch for you to lean on – it’s okay to not make quite as much as you need because you have a regular wage coming in! But my other piece of advice is this – it’s okay to just do it part-time. I know loads of crafty people who have their own business and work another job alongside, and this is just how they like it! You don’t have to run you own business full-time. It can be a really good thing to mix the two – it’s just whatever works best for you and what you are most comfortable and happy with!

Ladybird Likes goodie box - Beak Up Crafts

What does an average day look like for you?

One of the things I love most about my job is that there isn’t really an average day! My days vary depending on the time of year, the day of the week, whether I have anything big coming up… Every day starts with making a to do list though. I’m a big fan of lists! I write down everything I need to do/would like to do that day, and then number them in order of what is most urgent/important. I always get the most urgent things done first. Most days will involve blogging and networking at some points, which is always a highlight of the day. I set aside small half an hour slots throughout the day to check social media sites. I also set aside an hour or two each day to check emails and messages.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Staying motivated is probably one of the hardest things for me. I don’t believe anyone stays motivated all the time. It’s just not possible! I try to roll with it though – some days I will feel super motivated and inspired, so will push myself to the max on days like these. I will do the biggest tasks when I have the most motivation, and save smaller more mundane tasks for days  when I’m in a bit of a slump. The best advice I can give is – listen to your head and your heart. Try to work with what you’re feeling rather than fighting! If you’re really in the mood to work on new designs, then put aside other stuff and try to do that whilst you’re in the right mood. Obviously there are days where you HAVE to do specific tasks to meet deadlines, but I try to keep myself as flexible as possible. It’s okay to have days where you feel like sitting in bed! Everyone has them! When I have days like these I tend to stick on Netflix and do something repetitive that doesn’t require much brain power, like glueing brooch backs on or making badges.

Ladybird Likes bird brooch - Beak Up Crafts

How do you split your time effectively between designing/making and doing admin/finances?

Admin and finances are the bane of my life. Why would you want to be writing invoices and filling forms when you could be making stuff?! But they are a very important part of running any business, so I kind of have to do them! To make it as painless as possible I tend to try and do little bits each day/week rather than letting it build up. I do my accounts once a month, write invoices once a week, respond to emails once a day. When you have a stack of invoices to write it’s much harder to find the motivation to tackle them but it only takes me half an hour to an hour to do them if I do them once a week.

Time management is not one of my strongest areas, but I try to ensure that I give every area of my business the time it requires, whilst still leaving myself enough time to be creative!

Have you set yourself any targets for the future and what’s the pipeline for Ladybird Likes?

I have SO MANY PLANS for this little business of mine! I want to grow in every area – I have new collections planned for 2015, including lots of stationery and gift items, plus lots of seasonal items. I will have limited edition goodie boxes each month as these have been super popular in 2014. I’ll be doing more craft fairs and markets around the UK, and will also be offering  more workshop and talk dates. One of the biggest targets is to get a new studio space, where I can run workshops and have craft parties. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for about two years now and I’m really excited to make it happen!

Finally, do you have any discounts for Beak Up Crafts readers please?

Yes! You can get a huge 20% off in my Etsy store by using the code BEAKUP but this will only be valid for a week!

Ladybird Likes prints - Beak Up Crafts

Zoe Jade’s Quickfire questions:

Cats or Dogs   DOGS (we used to have cats, but now we have a dog and he is awesome!)

Summer or Winter    WINTER (snuggly crochet blankets and cups of tea and Christmas)

Wes Anderson or George Lucas   WES – he is everything

City break or Beach holiday    CITY BREAK (fun fact – I hate the beach big time. Love the seaside and all that entails but I cannot stand the beach. All that sand.)

Instagram or Facebook    INSTAGRAM

Wood or Metal            WOOD

Tea or Coffee            ohmygosh BOTH (I drink tea at home and coffee when Im out!)

Sparkles or Subdued      SPARKLES on everything

High Street or High Fashion       HIGH STREET (or handmade)

Friday night or Sunday morning    SUNDAY MORNING (I’m not a party girl, I’m a proper homebody)

How lovely is Zoe?! I really hope you enjoyed reading this interview. Thank you so much to Zoe for taking part and her amazing advice. I’m such a huge fan of Ladybird Likes (you can read a review I wrote of some of her lovely jewellery here).

Don’t forget, if you want to take advantage of the amazing discount Zoe is offering then please don’t delay as the code is only valid for a week.

This feature will return in a fortnight with another amazing creative business. If you would like to have your business showcased then please drop me a line at [email protected]

Lots of Ladybird love,