Friday 12 October 2012

Tea and a Chat with Rosiepink Studio

Today I'm chatting to Annie and Lyn, who together make up Rosiepink.  Their felted artwork looks delightfully colourful, tactile and full of life.  Join me while we find out more...

Hello!  Good to see you, the kettle’s just boiled – what would you like to drink?
Hello Wendy! Two mugs of Yorkshire tea please, with milk but no sugar.  

So, tell us a bit about yourself and your business.
‘Rosiepink’ is me, Annie, and my mum, Lyn, working together as textile artists, but we both also work outside our studios - I work in I.T. in Bournemouth and mum works in a library in Southampton.  
We both love working with textiles, handmade felt in particular, and our business now centres around the sale of our ebook (pdf tutorial) ‘Creating Felt Artwork’.  We’ve started planning our next project, which will be a natural development from the first. 

What inspired you to start your creative business? How did it all begin?
We’ve always been creative and we like to learn new skills, so about six years ago, we went to a one-day felting workshop and by lunchtime we were fascinated by felt!  We came away having made pods and small bags and couldn’t wait to make more.  We quickly ordered some wool and set to in the kitchen practising making felty goods and over time we started to sell in a local gallery.  To cut the cost of the raw materials and generate income, we bought wool in bulk.  We sorted the wool into small packets to sell and had the advantage of getting our own wool at a better price.  At the same time, we discovered the joy of hand-dyeing scrim.  We wanted to use some in our work but the majority was sold, in pretty bundles, on Etsy.


How has your business changed and developed since it started?
We started out with the idea of making felted items to sell.  As we worked, the items became adventurous, larger and more decorative, and making felted art was a natural progression from that.  Felted art is popular and we received requests, through our blog, for workshops to teach how to make it.  Many requests came from abroad so we decided to write a step-by-step guide to making felted art that would be like having a workshop in your own home.   We chose to sell the ‘book’ as an instant pdf download to make it quick and easy for customers to receive - no matter where they live.

What are the main ways you promote your business?  Which methods have been the most successful for you?
Our blog is our most successful promotion of our business.  We believe that if a customer can see some of our work, learn a little about us and perhaps try out our free tutorials, then she will have confidence in our pdf ‘Creating Felt Artwork’.
We’ve written articles for felting, stitching and crafts magazines and there’s always a rush of interest in our blog from those.
We also sell on Etsy and Craftsy.

What’s your workspace like?  Can we have a sneak peek?  And do you have any workspace organisation tips for the rest of us?
We both have a dedicated craft room in our own homes.  The essential bits of kit common to both rooms are: stash, felting/project table, sewing table, computer and desk, camera and good room lighting.
The hardest part of any project is the actual starting, so don’t put essential equipment away.  
Set your sewing machine up on its own table so that you just have to sit at it to start sewing.  Have your sewing requirements, such as threads, close to hand and neatly organised so that you don’t waste time searching for something.
Set up a dedicated table for ‘work in progress’ so that you don’t have to pack it away and so that you can easily work on your project in even just a few spare minutes.  It’s also good to be able to just look at your project from time to time so that while you’re doing other things you can mull over ideas.
Keep a notepad handy and jot down any ideas you have - if you don’t they can just evaporate!
Tidy up and sort your stash now and again, not only because it makes life easier, but also you can forget what you have and sometimes just sorting through it is inspiring.

What other small (or not-so-small) creative businesses do you admire?
Sara's Texture Crafts -  Sara always seems happy and enthusiastic about her passion for fibres and offers free advice along with her wares.  Her stock is varied, colourful, good quality and fairly priced.  

What tips can you give to others who run (or hope to run) a small creative business?
The most important thing is to be passionate about what you do, then it’s as much joy as it is work and far more likely to succeed.
A business needs to make a profit, so calculate all your costs carefully before you decide on a selling price.
Register with HMRC as soon as you start trading and keep accurate records of all money in and all money out - then you need never fear the taxman.
Keep an open mind to different ideas and always be prepared to change direction if necessary.
Set goals.  If you want to launch a new product every six months, then you have to work out what steps you will need to do, and when, to accomplish that.  Nothing happens if you just have a vague idea of what you want.

What are your hopes, plans or ambitions for the future?
We’d both love to be full-time textile artists.

Finally, where are the places we can find you online if we want to partake in a little friendly cyber stalking?
Please drop in to our blog where we occasionally talk about what we’re up to and where we share free felting tutorials.

Thanks so much for stopping by – it was so nice to be able to take the time to chat with you!
Thank you for inviting us in Wendy.


Lynne said...

Wendy what a lovely post; I do love the work of this mum-and-daughter team..I shall be popping across to their blog right away.

I have done wet felting, years ago, and have no desire to start up again as life goes in different directions, doesn't it? But I love the way they have tken a craft and turned it into art.

Lyn said...

Hello Wendy - thank you for the tea and chat!

Wendy said...

Lynne - I adore their work too. Felting is something I have never tried, but I will have to try it soon! Seeing the things that others make inspires me and makes my fingers itch.

Lyn - you are so welcome. Thanks for sharing the info with us! I am going to be checking out your tutorials soon, I am sure! Your work is just gorgeous.

WoolenSails said...

I enjoyed reading your post and hearing more about Annie and Lyn. Wonderful tips on keeping our spaces organized so we can be more creative.


Handbags by Helen said...

That work is amazing!

Highland Monkey's said...

I admire your work so much. I'm going to have to keep practising!