Tell us about yourself! Where is your hometown? Do you have any hobbies?
I live in a small town called St Helens in the North West of England. It’s about halfway between Liverpool and Manchester, which is great because those two cities have produced so many great artists, musicians and writers
– it’s a really creative part of the UK. We’re also just 45 minutes from the coast and an hour from the Lake District and Snowdonia mountain range. This means I have both vibrant cities and peaceful open spaces on my doorstep! With three daughters, two cats and one dog, my spare time is taken up looking after them. So hobbies? What hobbies!? Well, I love all kinds of music and I enjoy yoga because it clears my mind as well as invigorating my body. I also love watching crime and spy dramas – my recent favourites were The Bodyguard and Killing Eve.
Tell us about the space where you do your work. Do you have an official studio or have your carved out a nook in your home?
My work space is currently a nook inside our living room. For a while I was set up in another room, but as I spend any spare minute designing I felt isolated from the rest of the family. Now I can work as much as possible whilst still joining in with family time!
What is your background in art/design? What got you started creating?
I have always been creative and loved art. I studied graphic art and design at Leeds University and it allowed me to experiment with lots of different design media – painting, photography, digital editing – and it made me even more enthusiastic for art and design. After graduating, I worked for IKEA for more than 10 years in the communication and interior design department. I really enjoyed this as I have always had a passion for interior design. I also loved the challenge of coordinating all the practical aspects of ensuring a new room layout was completed on schedule. But I missed creating my own artwork and so began experimenting in my spare time. I was a little nervous and lacked self confidence, so when I came across Zazzle it was a great opportunity to test myself and try things out. For about a year, I continued my day job and worked on my designs in the the evening as well as looking after three daughters, which was pretty exhausting! I was delighted when my designs started to become successful, but it was unsustainable to keep juggling work and designing on Zazzle. So, it was really scary but I took the plunge and left IKEA to go full time focusing on my designs! It’s been quite a journey, but I love designing and really want to make a go of it.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I look all around for inspiration, from nature to interiors to fashion. I will make sketches or write notes, which usually end up making total sense to me and no one else! Always carry a notepad and pen!
When do you feel your most creative? Your least?
I think, like most people, I find it hard to force ideas and try to let them come to me naturally. I have always found I am more creative in the evening – the peace and quiet helps me to get in the ‘zone’ and then I can
be quite prolific.
What are your favourite products to design on Zazzle?
I love designing Christmas cards! You can never start too early!
I like designing all kinds of paper products, which comes from my own love of owning beautiful stationery.
If you could wish for one new product on Zazzle, what would it be and why?
I love plants and gardening. I could imagine Zazzle coming up with some great products for this sector.
What was the very first Zazzle product that you sold?
I sold one of the first invitations I had uploaded, it was titled ‘Starry Night’ and sold on 1st November, only 6 days after I had uploaded it. I was still experimenting at this stage, but from this moment I was hooked
Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Designers?
Believe in yourself – it can take a long time to find your own style. Also it can feel isolating working on your own, so engage with the Zazzle forum and fellow designers online.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?
I love animals! We used to own chickens and currently have a guinea pig, a dog and two cats. I would love have more land and then own a donkey, a llama, a pig and more chickens!