December the 6th is Small Business Saturday – and a great day to remember all of the small businesses (in our home towns and further afield) when buying Christmas Presents.
My dear, dear friend Kati has her own small business, personalising ceramics and selling the gorgeous pieces from her Etsy store. In honour of the day, she dropped by to tell us a bit about her business, and share her story.
PV: How did you first get into your Small Business?
Kati: It started out during my first year of uni at Bristol – I’d been feeling a bit down and stressed with moving away from home and all the work. I was sat in a café with my friend Kaye and there was a lovely calligraphy poster on the wall. She was saying that it’d be so cool to be able to write like that so I whipped out a piece of paper and gave it a try. I loved the way the words looked on paper and thought that they may look cool on ceramics too so I got a sharpie and made my first mock-up. Making the mugs gave me an outlet for my creativity and I had so many ideas in my head for cute designs. I made one for myself, my flatmate Cecily suggested I should try and sell them and here we are.
PV: How has it grown and where are you hoping to go with it?
Kati: It’s grown massively actually; I’m so surprised and happy with the way it’s turning out. For the first month or so after opening it was a very slow process but after my first sale in mid July I knew it was worth it. I spent a lot of time editing my listings to make them more accessible, I bought advertising from Etsy and I’ve now hit 40 sales. Over the Christmas period I’m hoping to be really busy and my new plan is to extend my stock: I hope to make home décor and shirts! In the long term it’s something that I would love to keep going alongside my studies and, hopefully, my future career.
PV: Have you learnt anything cool in the process?
I’ve learnt that pretty much anyone can be good at art if they want to be. I was never any good at drawing or painting and I always thought that I wasn’t particularly creative. My first calligraphy efforts were quite stilted and over the six months my shop has been open I’ve improved drastically. I would say practice really does make perfect and I would encourage anyone to pursue creative ideas.
PV: What’s your favourite custom order you’ve ever made?
My favourite was probably a pair of mugs bought as an engagement present. It was for a long distance couple, she was in Brazil and he was in England, and as I’m in a long distance relationship too it really tugged at my heart strings. They slightly edited one of my existing designs and added the words ‘I miss you’ to the back. Their plan was to move in together over the coming months once visas were organised and I just thought it was a really gorgeous love story!
PV: Can you recommend some mugs to give as gifts this Christmas?
One that’s been selling an awful lot in the run-up to Christmas is my ‘you’re my favourite’ design: a perfect gift for a boyfriend, girlfriend or family member.
I also have three separate Harry Potter fan designs but this one is probably my favourite:
Custom mug orders are also always popular. I’m really enjoying the busy Christmas period and hoping that I can break that all-important 50 sales mark!
Me too! Thanks Kati for dropping by and for being so awesome, you can explore Kati’s shop by clicking this link, and I definitely recommend it if you’ve still got Christmas gifts you’re looking out for!
This is the perfect solution if you love to give handmade gifts but just aren’t that good at, you know, painting your own ceramics (it’s okay – happens to the best of us) I love hearing about all the different custom orders Kati gets to do, all of her lovely designs are such beautiful and personal gifts
I’ve done a bit more exploring on Etsy and below I’ve featured a few more shops that are well worth a look! Etsy is a total wonderland so have a good old look around – you’re sure to find just what you were looking for (and you’ll often find that you’re supporting a small business too!)
Darwin and Gray – ‘Handmade Pennants and Scatter Cushions’
Teacup Piranha – ‘Retro Fantasy Travel Posters’
Draw me a Song – ‘Music and visual art fusion prints’
Two more small businesses worth a mention: Exit Left Apparel (a small clothing company actually run by a guy that used to go to my college), Rob has loved these t-shirts for years, and it’s so nice to have clothing that’s not your normal high street stuff! I once tagged these guys in a picture on Instagram (of me and Rob wearing our ELA t-shirts in Turkey) and joked that I needed an extra small because it was like a dress on me. They commented and offered to print an XS shirt just for me – customer service at its very best (and it’s one my favourite t-shirts of all time ❤ )
Social Print Studio (also Prinstagram, although due to Instagram trademark law, currently ‘the site formerly known as Princetagram’) I have loved this little printing company for a long long time, they print your precious Instagram pics and are committed to the highest standards of quality for your treasured photos. They do all sorts of things nowadays – including photo books, calendars and framed prints, all with lots of care and personal lovin’ (plus their newsletters are hilarious).
I hope you’ve got some inspiration for ways to support your local (and internet-local-sort-of) small businesses! Don’t forget your local independent butcher and grocer too for your Christmas food goodies. And definitely don’t forget that the lovely Kati does custom mugs that would just be the perfect gift! She’s seriously good you guys, I’m drinking from one of her mugs right now and my tea has never tasted so good 😉
p.s. Order soon because Christmas shipping is a nightmare and lots of handmade gifts may take time to put together and post!!