This week in my creative corner interview series, I am so pleased to have one of my favourite twitter crafters. Her work is so full of joy and you can find something to suit everyone in her etsy shop.
1. Introduce yourself.
Hi, my name is Donna and I live in Devon with my partner and two children. For as long as I can remember, I have always made things. Over the years I’ve tried out many crafts including mosaic, crochet, appliqué and paper–cutting. If I’m not crafting (for my business or pleasure) I’m usually baking, running or gardening.
2. Tell us a bit about your business
I love crafting special one-of-a-kind cards, gifts and needle-felted artwork, and that’s the basis of my handmade business. I enjoy working with a variety of materials and techniques and sometimes incorporate driftwood collected on my walks along the Devon and Cornwall coastline. Mostly I make one-off designs, and even if I repeat a design there will be subtle differences because it’s important to me that my customers are getting something handcrafted with love and care that is unique and special to them.
3. What made you start your own business?
In May 2016, I posted some photos on Facebook of my first attempts at needle–felting and got asked to make a commission, this was a huge confidence boost and spurred me on to set up Polkadot. Previously I had sold my cards and gifts to family/ friends and colleagues, and at a few craft fairs, alongside working and looking after my children. I now sell via my Etsy shop and Facebook page. I have embraced social media, and can also be found on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. My business is growly steadily and I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved so far. I believe things happen for a reason , and I’m so glad I took the decision to post those first photos!
4. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
After taking my A levels, including art, I went on to do a BEd honours degrees, specialising in the arts in order to become a primary school teacher. During my time as a teacher I was head of art in the school where I worked, which I really enjoyed. As far as craft techniques are concerned, I would I’m mostly self taught. My friend, Lynda, a fellow crafter that I’ve known for many years, introduced me to needle-felting. I wasn’t sure it was for me at first, but soon became intrigued, bought myself a kit, and haven’t looked back!
5. Explain your creative process.
I’d say my creative process is informal and instinctive. I don’t make many sketches or plans before I start work, instead I prefer to handle the materials and be inspired by colour and texture combinations. My inspiration comes from all kinds of places, including nature, quotes, colours and pattern around me.
6. Describe your typical day.
Three times a week, I usually start my day with a run. Once my children are off to school I’ll head out for about an hour (in all weathers!) I find it helps to clear my head and sets me up for the day. The rest of my time is then divided between making, sending out orders and posting on social media platforms to let everyone know what I’m working on. My days are always busy, and I love the variety of tasks I’m involved in each week.
7. What’s your biggest seller?
As I mentioned earlier, most of my creations are one-off designs, so I don’t have a biggest seller as such. I make cards for all occasions and I sell lots of those. But my commissions tend to be for my needle-felted artwork , both 2D designs on canvases and 3D figures such as fairies and mermaids.
8.What have been the high and low points of running your own business?
I love running my own business and don’t regret my decision at all. It can be hard work and long hours, but the flexibility of working from home, is great for fitting in around family life. I get a high every time the Etsy kerching notification goes off to tell me I’ve made a sale, and I feel proud and honoured when I’m commissioned to make special bespoke pieces, or when followers take the time to leave comments on my social media posts. There are lows and moments of self doubt but the positives far outweigh any negatives.
9.What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?
My top tip for anyone wanting to run their own creative business, is to ask questions. I’m learning all the time. There’s a lot to juggle owning your own business, and you have to embrace the idea of learning new skills such as marketing your creations. I’ve found the online community of small businesses so helpful, and I try to pay forward the help and support I’ve received as much as possible.
10. What are your aspirations?
My aspirations are to keep building my business and enjoying what I’m doing. I want to keep providing great customer service and honing my creative skills.
Donna has also kindly offered a giveaway of three chances to win a £5.00 voucher for her shop.
Here are some examples of more of her beautiful work.
You can enter multiple times using the entry options shown. The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter and contacted by Polka Dot to send them the prize. Full terms and conditions can be found in the widget.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
One £5.00 evoucher for Polka dot– no monetary exchange available
Contest is open until Midnight Wednesday 20th September
Distribution of prizes is the responsibility of Polka Dot
Craft with Cartwright cannot be held responsible for lost prizes
All winner decisions are final – the winner has 48 hours to claim or a new winner will be drawn
UK Entrants Only