In this week’s Meet the Maker, we spoke to two business owners who base their products around children! We’re excited to introduce featured stallholders, Roz of Pickbu, who creates fun, colourful patterned childrenswear, and Rachel at Dinky Artist, a small business specialising in personalised gifts and accessories from children’s own drawings.
We found out what inspires their products, their favourite part of the creative process and how their businesses came to fruition. Check out their Meet the Maker Q&A below to learn more about their fantastic businesses.
Pedddle: Thanks for chatting to us! How was your business started?
Pickbu: I was a theatrical dressmaker for nearly two decades. I’ve worked in theatre, opera, ballet and film, from the Royal Opera House to Shakespeare’s Globe via Harry Potter and Captain America. Fairly early on after my twins were born, we decided to move from London to North Devon and follow the surf rather than the crowds and unfortunately I couldn’t commit to the hours nor the commute, so I gave up theatre stuff. My children were basically in the 98th percentile and I struggled when they were small to find clothes that fitted and were fun. The mass offerings of the high street seemed to limit boys clothes to navy blue or grey and everything had either ears or dinosaurs, or both. I love both bears and dinos, but it did get a little dull! I figured the only thing to do was make their clothes myself. From here, Pickbu was born.
Dinky Artist: I actually set up Dinky Artist in 2018, but it was my side hustle while I worked in my full time corporate job. It was extremely challenging to do anything meaningful with the business, so I made plans to leave my full time job and take the plunge into the world of self employment! I saved up for twelve months and waited for my annual bonus so I could leave with some £’s, and now here I am: full time at Dinky Artist and I couldn’t be happier!
Dinky Artist is all about children’s artwork and creativity. One side of the business is product based, where I take children’s drawings and transfer them onto a whole range of products, and the other side of the business includes Art Therapy. I give resources to parents to practice “Art Therapy at Home”. A new section on my website is currently being built out and will be launched in a few weeks, which is super exciting!
Pedddle: What’s do you love most about creating your products?
Pickbu: Having spent so much time working with cloth, I have a definite love of more natural fibres. For childrenswear, I always wanted clothes that washed well and could move with them as well as breathe. To swap to organic fibres seemed a logical move, as every parent wants the best that they can manage for their child. Living so close to the beach, I see almost daily the litter and refuse from plastics and micro beads and so it seemed obvious to go for plastic free packaging too.
Dinky Artist: I am completely self-taught when it comes to creating my products. Firstly, I take the image of the child’s drawing which has been uploaded to the website when a customer places an order and I edit that drawing to remove the background and ensure all the colours, paints, inks, crayons etc all stand out perfectly. I do this on Photoshop and Procreate. Then I transfer the image to the products by firing them at 200 degrees. This ensures that they never ever come off and are all 100% dishwasher and washing machine safe.
About 90% of the time, a child has drawn a picture for this particular gift, so the drawing is purposefully for their Daddy or Grandma, etc. The drawings I get through are all absolutely glorious! And to know how excited the child will be to see their drawing on a present when it arrives in the post is the reason why I do and love my job! It’s so so thoughtful and special.
Pedddle: From your experience as a small business owner, how do you think the pandemic has the pandemic changed the way we shop?
Dinky Artist: Everything now is online and I think customers really like that. My own website has seen triple digit growth year on year, which is just amazing! I’ve always loved shopping small, finding all these amazing creative businesses and supporting their dreams of having a successful business is exactly why I buy from them or promote them.
Pickbu: I love markets, but unfortunately I haven’t been involved with any this year. Due to all the lockdowns and homeschooling, I had to make the decision to change how I work. I was originally doing large batches of ready-made tees which could then be sold on stalls or in shops, but with my children at home, it was more practical to make up samples and then make orders as they arrive. I would love to return to batch-work, but at the moment it’s unfeasible. What I have embraced are the online markets and small business directories which have worked out really well for me. I love these! There’s certainly less interaction, but it does mean I can do both markets and Mum-stuff simultaneously.
There are so many exciting skills out there and so many amazing people producing fabulous things, why stick to the high street and the mundane! It also makes gift giving so much more fun. As well as the stallholder community who have always been really helpful and friendly. I’ve made some amazing friends at markets who are always welcome faces at events and now on Instagram too.
Pedddle: Is there anything you’re looking forward to next in 2021?
Pickbu: Next up this year, I’m moving more towards more exclusive designs. I’ve got some new prints in both t-shirt and sweatshirt fabrics in development for this autumn. This will be my first year with a Christmas print too! I’m just waiting for it all to turn up. There’ll be another brand rep search in August too.
Dinky Artist: I absolutely cannot wait for Christmas! Yes, the C word! I’ve got so many plans and it can’t come soon enough. I’m launching new products and am really hoping to get some featured in the national press or some magazines, so here’s hoping that comes true!
I’m also really looking forward to supporting and working alongside all the amazing small businesses in the UK. I couldn’t ask for a nicer bunch of people and it’s so great to be on this crazy business ride with them!