Interview: Anna of Berries for Bella

Anna of Berries for Bella taught herself how to crochet from books and videos while she was pregnant with her first baby. “As I got better I wanted to share my creations with a larger audience. It was really easy to open up an online shop on Etsy and list a few items. I was so excited to see people from around the world visit my shop and look at my work. My business has grown steadily and I now do ceramics and grow live plants in addition to my crochet flowerpot cosies.”

Anna is inspired by her Scandinavian heritage. “I love the playfulness and simple lines of Scandinavian design and its bright colours. I love to work in natural materials like wool and cotton.”

“Making means responsibility. My ambition is to provide great quality, long lasting products that don’t harm the environment. When designing a new product I always consider its usefulness. I find satisfaction in making products that can be loved for a long time in their new homes.”

Anna has wise words for those thinking about starting their own craft business, “Go for it if you think you’d enjoy it! With a craft business it’s possible to start out small without any big investments and grow at your own pace. Listen to advice from fellow small business owners. The crafting world is full of friendly people who are happy to share their experiences.”

You can meet Anna and other makers at the Cambridge Made Summer Fair on the 11th of June at St. Andrew’s Street Baptist Church.

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Interview: Ulla Cronin of Finesse Knits

Ulla Cronin of Finesse Knits started her own knitting business after closing down her fair-trade clothing and gift shop in London, “I was looking for permanent part-time work, but didn’t find anything suitable so I gave up and started to do what I love, knitting. I’m a practical person, so what I make has to be useful. Therefore, I knit ponchos, scarves, hats, fingerless gloves, cushions and throws.”

Ulla gets her inspiration from her surroundings. “It could be a stone wall, fence, window or even a manhole cover pattern, being a Scandinavian I find that very often the simplicity of the Scandinavian design and colourways take over my designs.”

Running her own business she enjoys “the freedom to explore all aspects of a design from start to finish, the satisfaction of making an item and the enjoyment of selling and seeing the item in use! But in the beginning the hardest thing I’ve had to overcome was putting the items on display – I thought that my work wasn’t good enough to sell. However, I applied for a few local craft fairs and each time I nearly sold out of my knitted accessories.” Ulla’s advice to those starting out is, “Don’t give up!”

Within five years she hopes to have a regular customer base and would like to explore the wholesale side of the business.

Ulla is just one of the many sellers you can meet at the Cambridge Made Summer Fair on the 11th of June at St. Andrew’s Street Baptist Church.

Interview: Louise Richardson of Two For Joy

Louise Richardson of Two For Joy Illustration & Design loves making and drawing, “I really can’t go a day without doing something creative. Even if it’s just a doodle I have ideas every day which have to be written down.”

“All my designs start as little doodles and drawings in whatever notepad I have to hand! I design mostly paper goods, which are then handmade here in Suffolk. I also design and hand make a range of cushions, pencil cases, personalised mirrors and hand finish all my own cards and prints. Everything is small scale, which is just how I like it.”

It’s Louise’s passion for creating that has motivated her to start a business which she pursues in the evening after a long day at work. Her biggest challenge to overcome is “Tiredness! My day job keeps me out of my studio until 6pm, so I’ve had to learn to push through my burning desire to nap, but baby steps each evening keep me on the right track!”

Louise would advise anyone starting out to keep it simple. “I would get overly excited about all the things I could make, then stay up all night making. But then I would get completely drained by boring things like costs and all the things that could go wrong. So I suggest just start small and set yourself little targets. Grow slowly and surely.”

“Also, to do lists are great because you can motivate yourself by ticking off your achievements, no matter how small. There’s a lot that goes into a small creative business so it’s easy to get bogged down with what you need to do next, or what you haven’t done, so it’s super important to take a step back and see how far you’ve come and what you’ve achieved!”

Within five years Louise would like “to be working for myself for quite a few more hours than I am able to do now. Hopefully I’ll have a few collaborations under my belt and I’ll have been able to buy my dream sewing machine! I’m already lucky enough to have some cards in Paperchase and Funky Pigeon, so hopefully a few more high street stores will stock my cards too.”

“Basically I want to sit in my little studio all day drawing and sewing with my cat while listening to whatever I fancy!”

Louise is just one of the marvelous makers who will be selling at the Cambridge Made Summer Fair on the 11th of June at St. Andrew’s Street Baptist Church.

Interview: Anne-Doreen of OKKO

 

Anne-Doreen Kopischka of Okko Skincare uses a subtle blend of natural oils to create beautiful silky smooth solid moisturising balm bars. She says, “Envision a beautiful clear lipstick, but bigger and for the whole of the body. It meets our busy everyday needs; you can throw it in your bag and use it at your convenience. It is a quick and easy way to keep your skin perfectly hydrated while on the go.

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OKKO Skincare was born out of the realisation that all of us deserve a little extra tender loving care. “I started a family and needed something that would fit the family schedule as well as the fact that most skincare contains nasty ingredients and I just started to pay serious attention to this with the products I used on my children.”

“I started with reading, researching and experimenting in my kitchen. Developing formulas together with a chemist. Having lots of people testing and giving feedback until I reached a result I was fairly happy with. “

The greatest hurdle that Anne-Doreen faces running Okko is “the juggle of organising the house, children and business. Sometimes it is impossible to be fair to everyone and satisfy their needs. This was and still is the biggest challenge.”

Her advice to anyone setting out to start up their own business is to “…stay focused. Don’t stop! Continue and don’t lose your goal, regardless of what happens. Don’t pay for x amount of courses because you think they may help. I noticed that most of what you really need is available on a small budget.”

You’ll find more of her wonderful products at the Cambridge Made Summer Fair on the 11th of June at St. Andrew’s Street Baptist Church.

Interview: Louise Farrow of Nanuk

Louise Farrow of Nanuk creates unique hand crafted silver jewellery. She’s just one of the sellers joining us on the 11th of June at St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church for our summer fair. In the run up to the fair we’ll be interviewing our sellers, but you can always come in person on the day to chat with sellers and view their beautiful goods. Here Louise gives us a little more insight as to what goes into running a jewellery business.

Why have you started your own business?

I love to make things, especially jewellery although I enjoy many types of craft, and I wanted to set up my own business so that I can keep doing them; I can’t think of any better job to have than making something I love and sharing it with people who enjoy and appreciate it just as much as I do.

Why do you make what you make?
What does making mean to you?

To be honest I don’t quite know what I would do with myself if I wasn’t making something! If it isn’t jewellery I always have some kind of creative project on the go, and I like to keep myself busy. I enjoy being able to take something plain – a piece of metal, some clay, fabric and thread – and make it into something special. It helps when coming up with ideas to think that five people given the same materials would make five completely different objects, it gives the sense that anything is possible.

How did you get started?

I have always been creative and made things, including jewellery, and after I left school I studied jewellery making and design for my degree. I worked for a time in a local jewellers, before deciding I wanted to dedicate my time to making and selling my own work, and I set up Nanuk Jewellery.

Who or What is your inspiration?

I take most of my inspiration from things I have read, especially illustrated books of fairy tales and legends, but I am also inspired by nature and wildlife, which has led to a range of silver animals. Sometimes I take inspiration from the materials themselves – some new findings or materials, or an unusual stone or feature that I can create something around.

What have you had to overcome in order to set up a business?

Mainly, my lack of business skills. I have found all sorts of helpful groups and advice from other Etsy sellers and online, but I have had to figure out on my own how to develop my business and continue to make it grow so that I can continue making jewellery.

Any advice to those who are just starting out setting up a business?

You have to be prepared for the fact that you won’t be able to spend all your time just making/doing the thing you love; if you are starting out on your own especially, at least half your time will be involved with things like promotion, sourcing supplies, photographing and listing items – it all takes much more time than you think, but it has to be done!

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Ideally, I would be able to work on Nanuk full-time, creating jewellery and other crafts. I have recently started doing some bookbinding, and I love illustration, so I would ideally like to be able to extend the Nanuk range beyond jewellery and hopefully find something that people can really love which will keep my busy.

 

Interview: Perrine of MushyP

Perrine of Petit MushyP is just one of the excellent makers taking part in the Cambridge Made summer fair on the 11th of June at St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church.

Perrine is a scientist, designer and creator who hand makes unique and fun items. She loves playing with colours, textures and shapes. She’s drawn to items that are simple, yet unique.

“I wanted Petit MushyP to be a shop for anyone who wants something unique and fun for children and babies. All the items are designed and handmade by myself in Hitchin and produced in small quantities making them very exclusive pieces.”

Come meet Perrine in person at the Cambridge Made Summer Fair.

http://www.mushyp.co.uk

Interview: Bernadett Perjes of Pappet

Bernadett Perjes of Pappet creates fun paper craft activity kit. “I have designed Pappet kits to inspire children and adults to make unique, individual ‘works of art’. My goal is for their imaginations to run free and for them to enjoy this activity.” Her motto is: Give space to kids’ creativity and desire to create.

Bernadett is inspired by her lively 11 year old daughter Olivia who “loves to create: cut, colour, paint, glue, weave and bead.” Olivia is also Bernadett’s biggest critic. “She’ll tell you right away if she likes something or not. Sometimes it is her idea that starts a process. I believe children’s creations are often more interesting, more magical than I can ever imagine.”

“My process always begins with pen and paper. From the idea to the final product there are countless prototypes and hours of work. I love brainstorming and experimenting. Creating a demo version and detailing can be a tedious process, but I like doing optimization for manufacturing too. When the toy is finished I usually have to make loads of samples to be put up in shops.”

“I love working with paper, it is a well known material available to everybody. People are not ‘afraid’ of it. On the other hand, it is very versatile and easy to use.”

Bernadett hopes that people who buy her toys will consider them time well spent and enjoy the finished product, but more importantly she hopes that people will “find real joy in creating itself.”