Design duo, Michelle and Leanne, started their Zazzle store The Arty Apples after realising that life is too short to not follow your passions. They now work on the business full-time from their homes in the Cotswolds, and are even getting younger members of the family involved!
Where is your hometown?
We both still live in our hometown where we were born. It’s a small market town in the Cotswolds.
Tell us about the space where you do your work. Do you have an official studio, or have you carved out a nook in your home?
We both work from our homes. As all of our design work is done on laptops, we have the freedom to choose where to work. Some days we will work at our desks, sometimes in the garden, and other times lounging on the sofa!
What is your background in art/design? What got you started creating?
Michelle: After working for many years in retail, I had had enough of middle manager demands and staff issues. So I started to learn some new skills in digital design. I then made the decision that life is too short to not do something you love, so that was the turning point for me. We now work full time on the business, and I enjoy it every day.
Leanne: I always dreamed of being a graphic designer and I studied Art and Graphics for GCSE. However, the careers advisor steered me towards Maths-based subjects because I had a natural aptitude. So art was put on the back burner. After becoming a mum, I decided I had to go back to my passion and set up a creative company.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Anywhere and everywhere. Once we get an idea for a product, we tend to research other examples to ensure our products would be different from what’s currently on offer. We draw inspirations from magazines, children’s books, illustrators and greetings cards.
When do you feel your most creative? Your least?
We both create our best work around the middle of the day. We’re certainly not early birds or night owls!
What are your favourite products to design on Zazzle?
Photo backdrops! They are a fairly new product and they complement the work we already have in our shop.
If you could wish for one new product on Zazzle, what would it be and why?
Zazzle has recently added some products we had been waiting for, such as photo backdrops! It would also be amazing to have letterpress because we know customers, particularly of wedding stationery, would love this option.
What was the very first Zazzle product that you sold?
Fall-themed address cards
Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Creators?
Don’t give up because it does take a while to get noticed and royalties can be slow to start. Just keep adding high-quality designs and the hard work will pay off!
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?
We both love anything crafty, and we teach Leanne’s daughters, and Michelle’s granddaughters, in the hope that one day they will open their own Zazzle stores!