Meet The Maker Begins

This month is #marchmeetthemaker month on Instagram, set up by the talented Joanne Hawker, to give designers and makers a chance to reveal what life is like behind the scenes. I’ve taken part in this for the second year so each day (nearly) I’ve been following the prompts. Here's what has been happening.

It’s Day 1 of #marchmeetthemaker and I’m going to attempt to carry out the 31 day challenge. May be a little tricky at times and I may not manage all the prompts. But here goes... Prompt number 1 is ‘Favourite to Make’ - this for me is cats! Whether it's a design or product, cats are my favourite. I love cats and after years of drawing them I finally have one of my own - @pebbles_by_the_sea - I hope there’s a few more cat designs to come and a lot more cat products. Lets see...

Day 2 of #marchmeetthemaker and it’s ‘How you Started’. I started selling my own designs on homeware and gifts back in the summer of 2013. I had a handful of designs then and thought I could make a living by selling my products through my online shop. But I opened the shop and no one knew I was there. I didn’t realise it would be so hard to get customers. It was like having a shop down a back alley. So I took to the streets and did some events, fairs and shows. This one here was my first - a pop up on King’s Road London. It was exciting times and the start of something special for me - getting out from behind the computer and out in the world to sell my wares!

Day 3 of #marchmeetthemaker and it’s ‘Flatlay’. Here are a few of my favourite things. Cat, cup of tea, something sweet and my sketchbook. Actually the sketchbook has been gathering dust in recent weeks. I’m no artist and I’m not sure I’m an illustrator. I can doodle. But most of my work requires computer software. I’m trying to get back to drawing. A great suggestion from was to design for the bin. This has really helped. In our world of sharing anything and everything, it can sometimes affect creativity. I know it has affected mine recently. So I’m designing for the bin. Ok, essentially I’m not tearing out these pages and chucking them away. It’s a decent sketchbook afterall! But I doubt very much I will be sharing the contents. Except of course with fur friend Pebbles who is never far from anything I’m trying to do!

Day 4 and I’m running a little behind. It’s ‘Tools and Materials’ for #marchmeetthemaker - It's pretty basic really. A pencil so I can attempt to draw what I want to design. And an iMac so I can open Illustrator software to design it. If I can't draw it the chances are, I will struggle to design it.

It’s quite difficult to get a good close up of a Jin Designs Character but every now and then you might just get lucky. It’s Day 5 of #marchmeetthemaker and the prompt is... yes, you’ve guessed it... ‘Detail or Closeup’.

'Full or Part time' is Day 6 of #marchmeetthemaker and it’s full time for me. I originally started Jin Designs as a part time business but when I got made redundant it gave me the final push to go full time. It hasn’t been easy but I can focus totally on the business. Sometimes I wonder if going part time could be an option to ease the financial pressure and also do something where I’m working with other people. It can be quite solitary working for yourself but I think the business needs me full time to move forward. Creating my own team would probably solve this but that’s another story!

There’s not a lot of glamour at Jin Designs as I attempt Day 7 of #marchmeetthemaker which is ‘Less Glam Side’. I deal with every aspect of the business and there are a lot of mundane tasks. I think my least favourite is the accounts where I’m often found with head in hands doing battle with Xero reconciling. But needs must and one must embrace these tasks when running a business. It’s probably at these times where most cups of tea are made and biscuits are consumed! Also known as procrastination.