I recently put out a call on twitter looking for new craftspeople to take part in the Creative Corner series. I have delighted with the response and one of the first to get in touch was the talented Card maker Hannah from Sew Bloom. Take a read about her creative process and the work she produces.
Hi, I’m Hannah and I live in West Essex with my husband, two kids and an unthinkable amount of crafting supplies! I run Sew Bloom alongside raising my little ones.
2. Tell us a bit about Sew Bloom.
I’ve dabbled in crafting for years as a hobby, but late in 2015 I came up with the idea for my linguistic-inspired greeting cards. In 2016 I ran a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to pay for the materials to get the business off the ground, including getting stamps custom-made from my own designs so I could print the cards myself. It was successful, and shortly after, I opened an Etsy shop to sell my handmade cards to the public. I also approached local shops and cafes to stock my cards. The business has grown, and I now offer a wide range of handmade cards, which can also be personalised, to suit every occasion. I also offer a bespoke design service to create the perfect card for an individual, based on a hobby, special place, or theme.
3. What made you start Sew Bloom?
I used my Kickstarter campaign as a way to gauge interest from the public, and I discovered that there was a niche with whom my linguistic cards really resonated – such as speech therapists and language students or teachers. As no-one else was selling cards like mine, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to have a go at starting a small creative business of my own.
4. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
I am self-taught, and have tried a variety of crafts over the years, including sewing, (hence ‘Sew’ Bloom), which I have managed to incorporate into some of my card designs. I recently taught myself lino cutting, so I could produce my own stamps from my hand-drawn designs. This was certainly a learning curve, but I was pleased with the results of my first efforts!
5. Explain your creative process.
First of all, I do the hand-stamped lettering, then once it’s dry, I apply the decorations. Finally, I add my logo and information stickers to the back of the card. Before I package my cards, I always try to take a photo so I can share the picture later on social media, or add it to my Etsy shop if it is a new design. I often share ‘work in progress’ photos on Instagram Stories and social media.
6. Describe your typical day.
Most of the day I am busy with the kids, so I usually make cards in the evening. Occasionally, if an order comes in and I’m itching to make a start, I’ll stamp the lettering when they’re having some down time, so it’s dry for me to finish decorating that evening. My daytime Sew Bloom work usually consists of posting photos and updates on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and also some business development to find new stockists for my cards. I sometimes get around to tidying my crafting area too!
7. What’s your biggest seller?
Last year it was my ‘happy birthday’ linguistics card
Use code ‘CWC15’ for 15% off orders in my Etsy shop (no minimum spend)
I had orders from Australia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States for this design – it is so exciting to send my creations around the world.
8. What have been the high and low points of running Sew Bloom?
Every sale is so exciting for me, as well as receiving positive feedback from customers. I’m really proud that all my reviews on Etsy have been rated 5 stars. It’s also been great to build relationships with some excellent local businesses who sell my cards. Another high is that I’ve made some wonderful friendships within the crafting community online, and we all support each other, even if it’s a just a ‘like’ on a photo! Low points would be when there is a noticeable gap between orders, but it encourages me to tidy up my online shop and think of new ways to market my business. Being a ‘one-woman-band’ also means I have to do all the less glamorous parts of running a business, such as my accounts!
9. What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?
Firstly – work out your niche and the best ways to target that audience. Secondly – plan ahead! There are only seven weeks between Christmas and Valentine’s Day, and it takes time to come up with designs, make prototypes, finalise the item and photograph it (especially on grey winter days!) Thirdly – try to participate in networking activities. This could be in online groups, twitter hours, or even better – face to face. To build relationships and help spread the word about your business. Lastly – even if you’re going through a slow period, keep up the faith in your work and capabilities. I try and celebrate every milestone, even little ones such as every ten new sales.
10. What are your aspirations for Sew Bloom?
I’ve had 135 sales so far online, I’d love to reach 200 by the end of this year! I’d also love to get more stockists around the country. To help my business grow and to reach a wider audience.
11. Where can we find you?