Author: Zoe Williams
Like many others, lockdown gifted me with more free time than I was used to. In need of an activity beyond Netflix, baking and a daily walk, I returned to my love of drawing. Free of any expectations, I embraced my own style and experimented with materials I enjoyed. Creating drawings inspired by my rural surroundings, I discovered my talent for illustration. Having assisted my friend in setting up a Cornish clothing line I was already acquainted with the world of small businesses. I have also witnessed the highs and lows of owning a business when living with my partner (a consultant designer). Despite potential challenges, I was curious to see whether I could utilise my creative skills, having frequently been told ‘that there was no money in being an artist.’
After following numerous accounts on social media, studying their techniques, products and marketing style I took the plunge, establishing a business plan and clear aesthetic. As an admirer of Cath Kidston and Sophie Allport, I began with stationery, greetings cards and gifts featuring my illustrations. Taking inspiration from these businesses, I designed my products to be ‘quintessentially British’ and celebrate country living. Beyond this, I wanted my businesses to have a positive impact and inspire people to reconnect with nature. That is why I donate 5% of my profits to wildlife charities and create sustainable products that feature eco-friendly packaging. Initially, this proved difficult as I searched for sustainable suppliers and materials. Unexpected challenges such as this one, along with managing costs, postage and advertising were all important learning curves and encouraged me to expand on my business skills.
Ultimately, I learnt to market myself and have confidence in my ability. Starting out, I was overwhelmed by imposter syndrome. Who would want my products when there were so many competitors? This is where I learnt the importance of adopting an abundance mindset. You have to make space for yourself and become your own hype man. The support I received surprised me and showed me that you never know who is going to embrace your craft, so you shouldn’t be afraid to share it. After brining my business to life at a craft fair in August I realised how far my idea had come and was grateful to myself for having courage to take those first steps. For the first time, pursuing a career in the arts had begun to look like a very real and viable prospect.
This spurred my ambitions and undoubtedly gave me the confidence that helped secure my first commission to illustrate a children’s poetry book (which will be published later this year). In future, my plan is to study a Masters in design and use this experience to aid my creative career.
To view my illustrations and learn more about my business you can visit my website here.