This week we are welcoming some very exciting new stock to the store as the delightful Lucy Alice Arnold has delivered her equally delightful designs to us. Impeccably crafted wooden jewellery, including brooches and necklaces, plus cards, prints and badges featuring a selection of British wildlife, are all now for sale at Emporia. So to celebrate their arrival and our inability to keep our hands off the hares, foxes and bird designs, we took the opportunity to have a little chat with Lucy about her work and what inspires her.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Lucy Arnold and I am the designer behind Lucy Alice Designs, a creative studio based in a seaside studio in Folkestone. It is a family run company specialising in handmade jewellery, greetings cards and home-wares, with all designs inspired by the animals around us. We call it our menagerie of colour and intrigue!
How did you get into crafting?
I have always been very creative and have always made things ever since I was little. I studied Textiles & Surface Design at Bucks New Uni which is where the designs you see in my collections today first materialised. I was approached to take part in a Christmas art market whilst at my degree show back in 2011 and that is how I caught the designer/maker bug.
Which crafters/artists/designers do you most admire?
Three of my favourites are the illustrator Nicola Rowlands, artist Abigail Brown and jeweller Helen Noakes. I love designers who do things differently and don’t necessarily follow trends. They make what reflects their own personalities and passions; their work is wonderful!
What five things would you say were essential when you set up your craft business?
1. Know your brand – make sure you create a line of products that flow together and have a theme. Create a logo for your business and use the same set of colours and font across all of your packaging, on your website and on signage etc at craft fairs. It will make your business look so much more professional.
2. Keep it simple – Stick to a few products or designs at first and see what works well and what people like. It is so easy to jump in at the deep end and try to do everything at once when you are a creative person. Having a small selection of products is easier to manage at first and easier to market. You can then add new products every few months. Adding new products or collections gradually is also a great idea as it will give you something to blog about, tweet about and talk about to your customers.
3. Work out your pricing and don’t under sell yourself.
4. Make things that you love – To be able to sell something you have to be passionate about it, if your passion shines through, people will fall in love with your products too. A handmade business should reflect your personality and let your talent shine.
5. Be brave – If you want to start your own craft business my advice would be to go for it! Create a small range of products, create your own brand, price it correctly and then book yourself a table at a local craft fair or start a Facebook page. Shout about what you do and see how people respond!
Name three of your most popular designs.
Anything with cats, birds or foxes on!
What’s new with your craft for 2015? Tell us about some of the exciting things we can expect to see from you in the shop or at the Emporia market this year.
2015 marks the official start of my journey into full time self employment. I am currently working on my new and improved 2015 collection which launches in April. You can find some of my new designs exclusively at Emporia including floral hare and fox brooches and little wooden bird hair slides.