Busy busy busy

A whole week since my last post and it’s been a busy one – starting your own business takes up rather a lot of time!

Here’s just a few things I’ve been doing this week…

My first delivery of greetings cards arrived from moo – printed with my own designs. I am very pleased with them, and will be putting them on sale soon.

A sneak preview of my greetings cards – on sale soon.

Where will I sell them? Through my folksy store! I set it up this week and the cards will be on there very soon – as soon as I’ve had time to take some fantastic pictures of them.

My course is also really busy at the moment (check it out here if you want to know more) – this week I’m working on a live brief from wallpapered.com to design a mural or wallpaper design inspired by maps. Here is a sneak peek of what I’m planning – can you guess what it is yet?

Some drawings that will appear on my finished piece – come back to see what kind of map features meat and cheese!

And finally I ordered my first yards of fabric from Spoonflower – after a few rounds of samples I am happy with the colors so have taken the plunge and will be hitting the sewing machine as soon as it arrives. The end results will appear on Folksy, plus I’m planning to sell at a Christmas market or two.

I’ve ordered fabric in this design to make some comfy cushions

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Renegade Drawers

A slightly belated post about a craft & design filled weekend.

Saturday – a visit to Designers Makers market at Old Spitalfields Market. I’m checking out places that I might like to sell my wares in the future. Designers Makers has a great range of really talented makers, with some lovely products. It took some strength not to buy anything, especially one of these wooden necklaces by Anna Wiscombe. I really like the colours.

Then a short walk to Brick Lane to the Renegade Craft Fair. Originally from the US, Renegade has visited London for the last couple of years, and there was another brilliant mix of talented folk. The willpower didn’t quite hold out here and I indulged in a new necklace from Lovely Pigeon. You can find them on Not On the High Street:

My other favourite exhibitor was Jo Robinson, who was selling her funny and characterful prints.

On Sunday I headed over to Olympia for Top Drawer, a trade show for designers and product manufacturers to present their work to retailers. It was an eye-opener, lots of amazing work, deals being done and trends to observe. There was a good mixture of bigger manufacturers, some of whom I will be approaching with my designs in the future, and independent and inspiring designers and makers.

Here are a couple of my favourite designers:

Tamasyn Gambell

Esme Winter

Passion for Pattern bloghop

There’s a good chance that you have landed on this post via the Passion for Pattern bloghop, but however you got here, you’re most welcome.

If you’re not following the bloghop, but would like to start from the beginning and check out a host of talented pattern designers, head over to Claire Smillie’s blog and set off .

Like many of us in the hop, I’m studying the online course The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design – you can see some of my work below. I have learned a huge amount and am well on the way to my first line of products featuring my own designs.

If you’d like to know when they are released, sign up to follow my blog!

Scroll to the bottom to find out your next bloghop destination…

Hand-drawn motifs, inspired by ceramics made by my grandmother.

Some mugs to go with the jugs! I’m working on tea-towels and mugs featuring these designs.

A geometric collection, produced entirely in Illustrator with no hand-drawn motifs – quite a challenge

My entry in the OhhDeer cushion competition – Supa Sofas (c) Anna Dent

Fabric samples of Jugs & Mugs designs. It was a windy morning!

Design for wrapping paper and cards – Under the Microscope

Another paper / card design – On the Horizon

Thanks for visiting – now hop on over to see the colourful, individual and prolific Julie Hamilton’s Artistically Afflicted blog.

A helping hand

A bit of a diversion from design today, I’m going to share some of the resources that are proving useful to me as I start putting together my own business.

Firstly, The Design Trust (ok, not completely diverted from design yet). Set up to support designers to set up and grown their own businesses, there are loads of articles on their website, and they’ve recently launched a business club and published a guide to starting a successful craft business.

Design Trust

Another resource for new businesses is Enterprise Nation. A community for small businesses, their website has loads of guides and tips, offers for new businesses, and a HUGE guide with step-by-step tips on how to get your business up and running.

Enterprise Nation

Next up, a helping hand with the sometimes intimidating world of copyright and Intellectual Property. Own-It, run by the University of the Arts London, offers lots of advice on their website, and also can help you find professional legal advice on copyright issues relating to all manner of creative industries.

Own It

The British Library Business and IP Centre is another good resource for IP advice, plus free events and workshops, and access to their business library where you can research your competition. Plus you can get a British Library reader pass, which makes me feel dead brainy.

British Library Business & IP Centre

Finally, the Start Up Training School provides training in the many tech skills you need to make the most of online business opportunities without having to spend a fortune. I’ve just taken part in their annual 1k in 1 Day workshop, where they help 1000 women to set up their own website in 1 day.

Start Up Training School

Hope you find these useful, and do leave any of your tips below!

Patterns 4: all wrapped up

This week was the start of Module 3 of the Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design e-course that I’m taking.

It’s been amazing so far, so much to learn and it’s helped me move my plans forwards far quicker than if I’d been doing it all by myself.

The design brief this week was to create a range of wrapping paper for a target audience of late 30s affluent female customers – I don’t quite fit either of those traits just yet! No florals, branches, leaves etc allowed – a good restriction to make us think a bit more creatively.

The collection is for Spring / Summer 2013, so I’ve gone for fresh greens, yellow and a soft pink.

Here are some of my designs:

Cat or fox or bird?

Bang the drum

Under the microscope

On the horizon

Sunrise

Open for Business & Pattern Inspiration

I had a really fun and interesting day yesterday at the North London Vintage Market.

I was sharing a stall with my friend Catherine who runs Madison County Homeware, and I was selling cushion covers made from 50s French fabric. I got some great feedback on the choice of fabrics, and I’m pleased to report I even sold a few! If you’d like to snap one up get in touch.

Here’s our display:

Cushions on display

There were lots of other stalls with loads of bits & pieces I would have snapped up if I wasn’t trying to make money rather than spend it, and lots of pattern inspiration for my own work. My favourite traders were The Vintage Studio, with lovely crockery and clothing made from vintage fabrics, House of Amelia‘s beautifully selected homewares, and Ruby Loftus who has a great range of vintage fabric as well as Scandinavian ceramics.

Here’s a selection of the patterns on display :

Crockery and a silk dress from The Vintage Studio

Abstract shapes and figures from the House of Amelia

Plates by Bjorn Wiinblad and a lovely jug from Ruby Loftus

The next market is on Saturday 3 October.