If you happen to be young and creative in this world, it can sometimes mean you aspire to be your own boss. To be free from the shackles of a corporation, to have the ability to call your own shots and answer to no one aside from your customer (and perhaps the bank manager), is most people’s dream right? However, the reality of setting out on your own is a lot tougher than many people first anticipate. Unless you are extremely lucky and have your own funds to kick start your business, have a lovely bank manager or a private backer, the reality is you will have to start off small. Therefore we have seen a growing trend in people turning to Etsy, ASOS Market Place, Big Cartel, Ebay and so forth in order to launch their own small-scale businesses. These social-shopping sites eliminate a lot of risk and cost involved when setting up a new company, and their growth in the last five years has been phenomenal. Sign of the times, no?
They say a recession is the perfect economic climate to start a creative business but it does mean either biting the bullet and quiting the day job with you’re fingers firmly crossed or working like crazy and juggling employment with getting your start-up off the ground. While Etsy and friends, along with social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc can also really assist a start-up and make your product more accessable to the masses than ever before, it still means a whole lot of late night shifts if you plan on retaining the day job. Personally, I have a new idea everyday of what I want to do (at the moment it is freelance nail art, writing, my own ebay shop blah blah) so I really admire those who buckle down and take the plunge. Now, we talk a lot about fashion designers on Style & Then Some, but one other area that I am a major admirer of is surface pattern design. Having lived with three talented printers in my student days, the industry is dominated by the likes of Paperchase, Hallmark and so on, so when Hoppity Roo came to my attention, I decided to pick the brains of the fledgling company’s director…
Hi Hoppity Roo! Firstly, congratulations on the newly embarked business adventure. Why did you decide to fly solo and branch out on your own?
After studying printed textiles and surface pattern design at Leeds College of Art, I graduated in 2010 and entered the world of greeting card design. I worked for various gift dressing companies and currently work as an in-house designer for a greeting card manufacturer in West Yorkshire. I decided to create my own business as it is something I have always wanted to do.
And what are you’re main sources of inspiration for your products?
My main sources of inspiration is everything around me, from nature, animals, food, florals, I like taking the ordinary and making it into something extraordinary!
Do you have any pearls of wisdom for other designers, or those looking to get in to the industry and start their own business too?
Keep going! Never give up on your dream. Enthusiasm, passion and hard work can get you a long way. Also seek out your own opportunities and contact as many people as you can. Just keep at it!
You have already been stocked in lots of fantastic outlets in the north. How did you manage to secure this?
There was actually a lovely shop in Horbury Bridge which is a lovely little village near me, and I went in one saturday and was looking at the hand crafted items on sale and got chatting to the girl in the shop. I asked if they sell things by local designers and she said yes and to bring my designs in. So, the first step was the pocket mirrors. I then emailed other independent shops including Leeds Craft and Design Centre and arranged to visit them. I always try and visit my potential stockists personally to show and deliver stock and build a relationship with them. The first couple gave me fantastic feedback so I carried on.
Things already seem to be gaining momentum after only being launched a few months. Do you have any plans for expansion this year?
Yes, definitely. We are looking to expand our product ranges, maybe tea towels, aprons, cushions and lampshades. we also want to visit a few craft fairs this summer and see how that goes.
Finally, where do you see Hoppity Roo in five years time?
In five years time I hope to have an expansive range of products for sale in shops up and down the country, and really crack the market!