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Turning Your Creative Skills Into A Business

Turning Your Creative Skills Into A Business

2017-09-20 
| by Editor | Posted in News, Business & Finance

Ever thought about starting your own arts & crafts business? We asked local illustrator, Genny Rowson of Gentangle Designs to share her experience of turning her creative skills into something more...

“At the very start of this year (after becoming inspired by Pinterest), I went off to the art shop, brought a pad and pen and started illustrating for the first time in ages. I've always been creative and have a degree in graphic design, but have never used it in my professional life. The funny thing is, no one really knew I had this creative side to me (apart from the odd fancy dress costume)! 

“When I first posted my illustrations on Instagram I was totally surprised by the positive reaction I got from friends and family, and for an instant thought I may be having one of those X-Factor moments where Simon Cowell asks the contestant why they think they can have a career in music and they say, ‘well my mum and dad say I'm great’...but I thought I’d explore this further regardless!

“I started off by doing lots of research online, but also by going along to a few markets and craft fairs like SoLo Craft Fair to get a feel for what it was about, what people were selling, how they set up their stalls and to see whether I would be offering something different. This is where I first met Mandy from Coco and Ginger who was the very first person / stall I came across when I walked in. She had just started her own business, was incredibly helpful and friendly and told me I should just go for it. Talking to fellow traders and crafters is one of the most important parts of venturing into something new like this – there is a lovely sense of community and the majority of people are willing to share their story and offer you tips and advice. I think it’s just as important to pay it forward by helping the next person just starting out.

“My first ever event as an exhibitor was at Beckenham Market at the beginning of September. I hoped to do well, but my primary objective was to enjoy myself, chat to as many people as possible and to at least cover the cost of my pitch (which I more than did). The greatest thing about the day was to hear from people who had purposely come to visit me, because they loved my work. It was a huge confidence boost!

“I think the hardest part of the adventure so far is getting the right balance of what product to sell, the payment of product up front versus how many of each piece you will sell and the constant trying to keep on top of things, especially when you have a full time 9-to-5 job on top of your mini-business. It’s been exhausting, but enjoyable. You also need to balance what you enjoy doing versus what your audience want to see (and buy). The other important aspect for me is getting my name out there. I’m still trying to build my online presence and my followers and I’m intending on joining a local social media masterclass held in Tooing by Y-Connect to learn more about how I can do this.

“There’s currently a great campaign called Just A Card. The idea behind it is if everyone bought just a card or a small something from a local business or start-up rather than just giving compliments on what they see, there would be less small businesses closing down and we would uphold the diversity of unique, boutique and one-off businesses in our communities. It’s not easy turning your hobby into a paid hobby and then into a business – there will be hurdles and diversions in the road, but if nothing else, it’s certainly an experience and so far for me a positive one.”

Gentangle Designs will be exhibiting this Saturday at the Tootopia Handmade Fair (12-4pm at The Antelope, Tooting) and on Sunday at SoLo Craft Fair (12-5pm at the Prince Of Wales, Brixton). You can also follow Gentangle Designs on Instagram, TwitterFacebook and visit their Etsy store.

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