With February being the month of love, including Valentine’s Day and our recent Random Acts of Kindness Market (which was hosted on our brand new sister website, Tresstle.com!), we asked three of our makers about their small businesses, giving meaningful gifts and the things they’re looking forward to in 2021. Join us in getting to know Rachel Mammone Paints, Anna Pearson Metalsmith & Planets In Time better.
Pedddle: Tell us a little more about your business…
Rachel Mammone Paints: I’m Rachel and I create watercolour and pigment galaxy paintings which are inspired by dreamy night skies and coastal pieces inspired by our beautiful seas. I can create custom pieces in any shape or size, or prints, and I make handmade celestial decorations for your home too. Everything is created in my home studio in Hastings, East Sussex and printed locally in Hastings too!
Anna Pearson Metalsmith: I’m a metalsmith, creating artwork, jewellery and gifts from copper, pewter, sterling silver and cold enamel. I can customise and personalise pieces too.
Planets In Time: We create personalised prints of our unique hand-painted solar system artwork, digitally aligning the planet positions of each print to accurately match the alignment on your chosen special date. We do this using open-source NASA data, and the accuracy lies in the angle of each planet relative to the sun. Using our online editor, you can enter your special date and see the planets align before you! You can customise our prints and add a caption so that it’s entirely bespoke for a special occasion, be it a birth, birthday, wedding or any other date that means something to you!
Pedddle: With government announcements due soon, lockdown is set to ease in the coming months and we can finally start looking forward to things. What are you most looking forward to this year?
Rachel Mammone Paints: Summer! I always think sunshine makes everything better, and summer is the best with the beautiful colours in nature and warmer weather. I’m really hopeful that this summer we can get back to a few more normal things, including seeing friends and family and of course real life markets – I can’t wait for a real market with lots of other lovely small businesses!
Anna Pearson Metalsmith: I must admit it is having my children go back to school/nursery! Having the small ones at home has been challenging, especially since home education is taking it’s toll on my making time. As much as I love having them around more, I am missing my days in my workshop!
Planets In Time: Christmas! Hopefully we’ll all have a better Christmas this year. We’re looking forward to participating in Christmas fairs (we hope!). People are astonished by the quality of our prints when they arrive, and we hope to be able to show people that same quality in our first in-person experiences at the end of 2021.
Pedddle: Whilst we’re still in lockdown, now is a good time to plan. What are you working on at the moment?
Rachel Mammone Paints: I am currently working on a new collection of original paintings inspired by beautiful mountains as well as night skies. Each piece is created with beautiful pigments from Peru, mixed with watercolour paints, and focus on the idea of a strong mountain standing tall amongst the chaos – a real metaphor for what we have all been challenged with this past year. These will be launching on Friday 26th February on my new website, which is also launching on that day!
As well as these, March is Endometriosis Awareness Month and each year I create a collection of original paintings, of which a percentage is donated to Endometriosis UK – raising money and awareness for this condition which I and 1 in 10 suffer from. I’ll be starting to share sneak peaks of both these new collections over the next few weeks over on my Instagram page.
Anna Pearson Metalsmith: I’ve been really taken with using hopeful messages in my work recently, mainly the phrase “This too shall pass”, which has become my personal mantra over the past year. I have a range of items with that stamped on, such as keyrings, pin badges and hanging ornaments, but my latest and newest work is a bookmark. It incorporates the cloud motif, the phrase and my trademark use of colour. It’s so new that I’ve not listed it anywhere yet but it’s definitely my current favourite item and will be listed online very soon!
On the jewellery front, I made myself some little beaded earrings, a rainbow of beads on sterling silver hoops. I shared these on my Facebook page and they proved really popular as a lot of my friends asked to buy a pair, which has kept me busy recently.
Planets In Time: At the end of 2020 we launched our print in a new design, added additional sizes and started offering a framing service – and the response was fantastic! We didn’t think framing would be as popular as it has been, and the smaller print sizes we offer are adorable for those with many children – they look great as sets!
Pedddle: As we mentioned, February is definitely the month of love, with Valentine’s Day recently giving us a chance to show our loved ones how much we care. Which of your products make the ideal loving gift?
Rachel Mammone Paints: A lot of my work is inspired by the night sky and what better way to show someone you love them to the moon and back than with a celestial piece of art! All of my prints and most paintings can be personalised with quotes, important dates, places and any other text you’d like, and can be gift wrapped with a gift note too. Customers can also order a full custom painting as well, choosing the colours they like and any other details or text that they would like added in too!
Anna Pearson Metalsmith: The new item I’ve been working on, a bookmark with the phrase ‘This too shall pass’ is a great little reminder for the times we’re in, and that things will get better for us all.
For my own Valentine’s Day I cheated a little, and used the same “This Too Shall Pass” phrase but stamped it onto a heart instead of the cloud shape, and used red only instead of the rainbow of colour that I normally use! I gave one to my husband and its now hanging in his makeshift home office!!
Planets In Time: When we launched last year, we thought that about 90% of our buyers would be buying these as gifts for children’s birthdays, new born babies etc… so we were surprised that roughly half of our orders have turned out to be for romantic occasions! We perhaps didn’t capitalise on Valentine’s Day as much as we should have, but I think it’ll soon be the second most important campaign for us. Our prints are great for romantic occasions (…it’s written in the stars, etc!), and we want to push more of that angle this year.
Pedddle: We’ve recently launched Pedddle’s brand new sister website, Tresstle.com, an events platform to help small businesses sell online. Have you got any online markets coming up?
Rachel Mammone Paints: I do! I’m taking part in (and organising) The Pop Up Emporium‘s next Pop Up Market on 27th and 28th February. There are 30 amazing small businesses joining this first Pop Up of the year, and I’m really looking forward to it!
Anna Pearson Metalsmith: I recently took part in the Random Acts of Kindness Online Market with Pedddle, celebrating International Kindness Day. It was my first market with Pedddle/Tresstle and I am very pleased to be finally be organised enough to be involved!
Planets In Time: Actually – no! But we will plan a few shortly. We’re taking a bit of time to strategise around markets for 2021. Given this is such a gift-type product, we want to focus on planning in the first few months and then building up to next year’s winter season.
Pedddle: Sounds great! With so many online markets going on, what is your top tip for selling online as a trader?
Rachel Mammone Paints: Preparation is key! For online markets I like to set up a stall from home and plan what I’d like to showcase on the day. I plan my photos and videos ahead of markets so that on the day everything is ready to go! It’s also great to be present on social media, engaging, liking, commenting and sharing on the day, so having posts pre-planned is really helpful.
Anna Pearson Metalsmith: Keep your social media up to date and post lots of lovely images on Instagram. I really do need to take my own advice more often though as I am notoriously bad for posting regularly!
Planets In Time: Engage. Whether you capture a customer’s e-mail for a discount, or if they have made a purchase with you before – talk to your customers! For a small business, people are so willing to talk and help drive the development of your brand and business… physical retail just can’t match the opportunity for an on-going conversation, and the more you do it the more you will uncover what tweaks you can make your business to delight your customers!
Pedddle: Instagram is the ideal outlet for artists and makers – if you’d like some tips on getting started with social media, click here.