For this week’s Meet the Maker, we had a chat to Helen of Art Hyde Out, Charlotte of Art by Allum & Shubheska of Fluffmallow about how they launched their art and illustration based businesses, the challenges they have faced, and what’s next for them.
Pedddle: Tell us a bit about your business and how it started – e.g. where did you first become interested in producing your products/learn the skills it takes to produce them?
Art Hyde Out: I am a graphic designer by trade but whilst quiet in lockdown returned to my drawing roots. My initial interest was to see if it was possible to portray the unique characters of my own dogs in a scribble style drawing. Once I had exhausted my own dogs and extended family pets (including horses, rabbits and a tortoise), I started taking commissions. This led to scribblings of a vast selection of animals and the extension of my work to limited edition prints.
Art by Allum: I’m an abstract business based in Surrey and my products are majority original paintings of mine, commissioned pieces, coasters and some prints too. During lockdown my mum was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and art became an important tool to help me through that. I had a huge canvas yet to be used and thought it would be nice to make something that will last forever with my mum and its gone from there.
Fluffmallow: Hi! I’m Shubheksha and I run Fluffmallow, an indie biz focussed on mainstreaming the marginalised (more on that to come). I have always wanted to have a handmade biz where I can sell cute stuff and that’s exactly why I started Fluffmallow in March this year. It’s my labour of love to bolster representation for marginalised communities through my art. I love stickers and stationery and I’m a professional hoarder if I may say so, so I just started doing that. I’ve always been a creative person but I didn’t think I could “draw” or be a “real artist” until I just decided to do it and learn along the way. I’m still learning so much!
Pedddle: Following on from the first question, we’d love to know more about your process, the materials you use and what you’re inspired by.
Art Hyde Out: Most of my work is in pencil and chalk. My process starts with creating the eyes and nose of the animal as these are the most crucial areas for my scribble style. Once I’m happy with those areas I work outwards, sometimes adding colour, sometimes leaving monotone. Inspiration can come from anywhere whether it’s a walk with dogs, trip to the zoo or the character of an animal.
Art by Allum: I use acrylic paint and alcohol inks on canvas and yupo paper. Acrylic paint in a pouring fashion is the majority of my work on canvases but I’m now doing more contemporary work too. My inspiration comes from nature like the ocean and colours I see around me, but also other artists are incredibly influential. I always have a colour scheme and composition in mind and try to keep that front and centre when creating, sometimes it’s perfect and other times it’s more difficult to get the effect I want but nonetheless rewarding.
Fluffmallow: I try to source eco friendly materials wherever possible and do not use any plastic in my packaging at all down to the sealing tape which is also made of paper, hence recyclable. I do not outsource my stickers yet and they’re all print and cut in my London home. I’m inspired by people more than anything else. People who have been repeatedly put down and made to feel small either because of their race/gender/sexuality/mental illness/disability and yet strive to build a better world for all us. As I belong to many of these communities myself, my goal is uplift them through my work.
Pedddle: Do you remember your first selling experience?
Art Hyde Out: Yes, it was very exciting and scary to be drawing for someone else.
Art by Allum: My first customers were my friends and family so selling it was quite easy as I knew them all but did find it hard to stick to my pricing as I so desperately wanted my products out there. Now I stick pretty firm to them as I truelove believe in my abilities and the time that goes into each piece.
Fluffmallow: After I launched Fluffmallow, I remember being absolutely terrified thinking nobody will buy my stuff and it’ll all be a waste.~ 600 sales later, I still feel the same way every time I launch a new product
Pedddle: What challenges did you face when you first launched your business?
Art Hyde Out: My business sort of evolved through drawing in lock down so my main challenges have been getting noticed and finding platforms from which to engage with customers and get my work seen.
Art by Allum: Challenges when first making was firstly time as I work full time and then space for creating and then drying pieces as they take a lot longer to dry than a normal painting. Also finding new customers was always a challenge and will always be a challenge.
Fluffmallow: Knowing and learning how to run a business, especially alongside a full time job. I didn’t really have any community around me as I work in tech full time so I had to figure out a lot of things on my own to get here.
Pedddle: What’s next for your business this year – anything you’re planning, looking forward to, are there any new products/ranges etc?
Art Hyde Out: My plan is to find places to show my work and (this week) am preparing for my first event at The Cheshire County Show. After that I will be concentrating on more scribbling in the form of commissions, originals and prints with the aim of expanding all ranges. Fingers crossed!
Art by Allum: Exciting things upcoming and looking forward to is of course the Christmas season, and growing my client base. I’m going to experiment in making my coasters into baubles for gifts for people and I’m also thinking about doing smaller paper originals of my more contemporary style to help hone in on it and also make it more personalised with easier framing options and sizes.
Fluffmallow: Omg, I’ve SO MANY things planned for this year. So far, I have already expanded my product range to include stationery, notepads, enamel pins, cute paper shipping tape and I definitely want to keep building on that. I would love to design more stationery and maybe even dip my toes into washi tape 🙂 I’m really excited to see what this year holds for Fluffmallow 🙂