Craft Britannia Shop of The Week #17, KitzieG
This weeks CraftBritannia Shop of the Week is KitzieG, where you can buy original handmade botanical papercut gifts and homeware – all inspired by the natural world. Laura tells us more from behind the scenes.
Describe your “typical” working day or week
I have a full time job outside of running KitzieG, so a typical day starts with an early rise followed by a rush to fit in breakfast, checking orders and convos online, and a quick walk with the dog, before starting work. I work in Renewable Energy, on development projects for new fuels, new technologies and business ventures. It’s an exciting, dynamic area to be involved in and no two days are ever the same. I often have to travel overseas with my work which, although a wonderful opportunity to see different places and cultures, can be challenging at times to keep everything moving when away from home. On a normal day, when I’m done for the evening, I like to take the dog out for a longer walk which is a great chance to wind down and clear my head, before enjoying a meal with my husband and then spending the evening catching up with orders and improvements in my shop.
When you are not doing Etsy related things, what are you doing?
My number one activity outside of Etsy is spending time with my dog – walking, playing and training him. He is a three year old Coton de Tulear called Jasper and the apple of my eye! As I often work from home, we spend a huge amount of time together and we have a really special bond. Since last summer I’ve also been renovating a beautiful old cottage in Dorset which was in need of some TLC, so weekends and holidays have been busy with repairs and decorating, which although time consuming, has been great fun and a fantastic excuse to shop for lots of lovely things on Etsy! In Dorset, we have an abundance of footpaths leading right from our doorstep, so I like nothing better than getting up really early, striding out over the ridge and back along the river, taking in the wonderful views and the local wildlife. There are pheasants, hares, egrets, deer, and badgers galore, which is a wonderful antidote to city life in London. I am also mad about interiors and design, and love nothing better than flicking through decor magazines and coffee table books, and browsing blogs with wonderful images of awe-inspiring homes.
What was the first piece you ever sold?
It was actually a set of botanical postcards (pictured below), which were purchased by a lady in the United States. I remember I had only recently stocked my shop and was just realising how much work I still needed to do to improve the photography, so getting my first sale so soon was a lovely surprise. I can still remember the buzz, and it’s wonderful that even two years later I still get that same excited feeling when a sale comes through!
What advice would you give someone taking up your craft for the first time?
For any craft, I would say don’t be afraid to put yourself and your work out there for others to see. Don’t worry about perfecting everything behind the scenes first before you launch – the great thing about Etsy is that with such an extensive, experienced community on hand, you will undoubtedly learn as you go and the opportunities for improvement and furthering your business are endless. Be prepared to listen and learn, ask for critiques and take on board the feedback, look at your work and your shop with a critical eye, and don’t be afraid to stop or change things that aren’t working as well as they could be. Above all, have fun with it!
If you could try a new craft, what would it be?
I used to be a bit of a geology fanatic and collected rocks and minerals when I was younger, so being able to design and make my own gemstone jewellery would be a dream come true. I would also love to try my hand at woodturning one day as I find it fascinating how a piece of wood can be read from the outside to distinguish how the grain and features will look in a finished piece. When I find more time, I’d love to sign up for courses in both these skills.
Which piece of equipment would you be helpless without?
Unfortunately I would have to say my computer! Not only to administer my shops, but I also rely on my illustration software for resizing and recolouring designs. Since I spend each and every day on a computer for work, it would be nice to have a rest from it in the evenings, which is one of the reasons I really enjoy sketching and cutting my original botanical designs by hand with good old fashioned paper, pencil and scissors! For that reason I would love to find some time to do more original one-of-a-kind paper cut pieces, so perhaps something to watch out for in my shop later this year!
Tell us about what inspires and motivates you
I was brought up in the Yorkshire Dales in the UK so have been surrounded by wonderful countryside from an early age. I love spending time outdoors, and get a huge amount of pleasure and inspiration from the British landscape, nature and wildlife both for my work and my own personal style. As much as I love the detail and textures of plants and flowers, I find myself equally drawn to their shape, structure and silhouettes and this was how my original KitzieG designs came about, as I was looking to capture a more modern take on the traditional view of botanical art. I’m currently in the process of redesigning my cottage garden (which is currently an overgrown den of weeds!) and have really enjoyed capturing some garden inspiration in my Garden Ideas board on Pinterest. I’ve also compiled a list of open gardens to visit over the summer months and am looking forward to taking lots of pictures and hopefully seeding some new ideas for KitzieG!
Tell us about one handmade item that you own and love
My mum is an artist and I have a couple of her original paintings hanging in my home. It was a wonderful surprise to receive them as gifts, as each time they were all set to be sold in gallery exhibitions and she secretly sidelined them to give to me instead – lucky girl that I am! Another special handmade item that I hold extremely dear is a beautiful embroidered tapestry cushion which my Grandmother started making many years ago and I then finished for her as a teenager when she could no longer manage to sew. She recently passed away, and knowing that it is something that we created and finished together makes it incredibly special to me.
What plans do you have for your shop in the future?
In August this year, it will be two years since I opened my shop so I’m keen to keep it fresh and plan to launch some new lines later in the year. You can expect more in the signature KitzieG style – fresh, colourful and inspired by nature. To make way, I’m currently running a sale in my Etsy Shopon several existing lines. I’m also keen to refresh some of my photography and I need to find more time this summer to promote. Outside of Etsy, I’ve been selling on a number of different platforms and have a much better idea now of what works best where, so some reorganisation across venues is definitely on the cards as well.
Thank you Laura, lovely to know you better, we love your stylish designs!
For the latest KitzieG news and offers you can follow her Facebook page @KitzieG and follow her on Twitter @KitzieGHQ. Laura is mad about Pinterest too and you can follow her personal boards at http://www.pinterest.com/KitzieG. You can also follow the CraftBritannia board here: http://www.pinterest.com/CraftBritannia.