2018. It has been a blur. I don’t know about you, but the time just went before I could blink. Through the year I don’t tend to think about what has actually gone on that year, and rather just continue to plough through, seeing if I can reach those goals I’m going for. So, as we have turned a new page to 2019, I thought the previous year was worth a recap…and I haven’t blogged in a while, so it was well overdue!
Instead of doing a blow by blow account, I thought it would be nicer to highlight something exciting that happened for me each month. On top of this, each year I set out with the goal that I will reach more of you with my products, spread my love of design and good quality items, and produce what you ask for, and I have to say this year has been the best for it yet!
Let’s face it, we’re all still in food comas from Christmas attempting to figure out what day of the week it is. It’s the time I get back into painting, ready for the year ahead.
I had the joy of my little business turning two at the end of Feb, and many of you celebrated with me in the competition, and online special offers. I do this every year, but this was bigger than the first, and I loved it!
After winning the small business award with Theo Paphitis in 2017 (SBS), I had the joy of meeting him at the SBS event at the end February. Motivational, uplifting, and just a really enjoyable day out. My mum was my plus one, and I like to think we had a laugh there. We got to listen to inspirational talks from big names in the industry and came out with branded notebooks, some goodies, and a whole load of excitement about what path to take next.
So, I attempted March Meet The Maker, and, well, I didn’t last long. I got as far as the 20th, so maybe this year I can actually get through the whole month. For me, personally that was an improvement! The year before I tried doing a drawing a day challenge and got as far as 57 days. Then followed that and attempted to draw the alphabet from Z-A.. and got as far as P. Great, just great. One day I will stop setting myself these challenges, but that day is not today!
I had the insane pleasure of Annie Sloane (the chalk paint genius) being my first customer at the Country Living Magazines Spring Fair at Alli Palli. Yes, I did fan girl. No, I did not cry, just about. I do a little internal jump for joy whenever someone buys from me, but when someone I admire buys from me too, its just that little extra burst of pride for my business that that happens.
My laptop drew its last breath, so I invested in an iPad Pro. May not seem ground-breaking news, but for me this was amazing – I can draw straight onto the screen, and boy did I have fun giving this a go. I am still learning with it and do prefer painting a lot of elements the good old fashioned way, but some parts are better, and quicker, to use the iPad. Like my reindeer baby grow.
I got to help with Men’s Fashion Week! I do freelance work, and part of it meant I was on site to help with elements of the setup. It’s pretty cool seeing how everything goes together from the empty shell the building starts at. They even make walls especially for the event. I’m not even joking on that.
I entered Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search! Daunting and inspirational all in one go. Lilla runs one of the biggest design studios in the US, and I am constantly inspired by the work her signed artists produce, and the products they create for. They run this competition every year looking for new talent to sign, and I thought ‘why not’ this year, as there really is nothing to lose. I didn’t make it through to the semi-finals, but regardless I had a lot of fun and plan to do it again this year! The excitement from the challenge, and the fun briefs they give really do make it worth doing, regardless of the outcome. That and seeing how insanely talented the others that take part are! There are a whole load of designers globally that I now follow thanks to this search.
As part of the SBS family I get a few perks here and there with sponsoring businesses, which is pretty neat. But last year as Theo was doing a talk at The Autumn Gift Fair, the SBS group was offering 12 spaces at the event for free. Something like this would normally cost thousands of pounds. As I had been umming and ahing about doing a trade show for a while, I thought it was worth a shot at entering, and kept my fingers crossed. To my delight I was selected to take one of those spots in September, after being judged by the SBS team, Theo and the Autumn Gift panel. It was very exciting news for me, especially as there’s over 2500 businesses in the SBS family, so if I’m honest I didn’t feel I had much hope.
The Autumn Gift Fair! Excited and nervous is how I would describe myself for those days. It was so much fun, I got some great contacts and orders from it, and made such great friends with the other 11 winners. We are even planning to meet up this February at the SBS event for a drink and a catch up! The nerves for those few days – well Theo came around to chat (which was great and all good), but so did a camera crew and an interviewer (terrifying). You probably didn’t know this, but I blush and fumble over every word when nervous, and well, that happened on camera. That would be fine if I knew I wasn’t going to ever see it, but I am. In February. In front of all SBSers at the event. Currently deciding who my plus one will be, or if I should bring one for this humiliation.
Inktober! Something I’ve always wanted to do, and another challenge for me to fail at. I got to day 4. New PB in lowest ever challenge days completed. I blame fair season. It’s all systems go from September- December. This year I will see if I can do better. I am planning to do less fairs, so there’s no excuse really.
This was the month I signed to a design studio as a freelancer for homewares! Very exciting news for me as I used to design for interiors, and originally trained in that market, as that was my first passion. This means I can design with wallpaper and fabric in mind, for all ages and all interior surfaces! As I cannot hold or produce the stock that would be needed myself for my business should I do interiors, it is a great way to create for an alternate market, and keep designs fresh for both my business and the studio.
After finishing fair season at the end of November, for me it was designing new patterns, and keeping on top of the website! A busy month, but one where I was actually at my desk for most of the days, compared to the months before where I’m in maybe one day a week.
I also had the joy of attending the British Fashion Awards! One of the perks of being on site artworking at Fashion Week back in September. There is even a vinyl plotter lurking about that has been named after me after that hectic week on site. A true honour.
So, what is in stall for 2019?
More designing, new products, and a whole lot of fun. There are some projects in the pipeline I cannot talk about yet, but if everything falls into place it could make for one creative heavy year, and one I am genuinely excited for!