This week’s Meet the Maker is all about our talented Illustrators and artists, who create unique, quirky and interesting pieces including; art prints, jewellery, home-ware and gifts. We chatted to Joel of Something From The Turnery & Kaley of Family Doodle Doo, about how they started their businesses, the processes they use, and the highs and lows they have faced.
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?
Something From The Turnery: I started Something From The Turnery a little under a year ago off the back of a whirlwind journey into rediscovering the craft my Grandpa had taught me a little of as a teenager. I was given his lathe for what I’d thought would be long term storage but I quickly became fascinated with the craft and experience of working with wood in this way. I had been working flat out in the music industry for all of my adult life before this and the change to something so tactile, away from technology and the pace was something I’d come to realise I’d needed for a long time. With woodturning holding such sentimental value for me, I feel a depth to creating these pieces no matter how small and I hope that translates to my customers as they find a place for them in their own homes.
Family Doodle Doo: My business started back in April 2014 when I wanted something to fill my evenings whilst my husband was at work, and whilst my son was really small. I originally started off doing illustrations for a year, before randomly deciding to buy some blank peg people to paint. From there onwards I decided purely to focus on creating peg people.
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.
Something From The Turnery: The process is everything to me, it’s working timber in its rough forms into something beautiful over and again that I can’t get enough of. Starting with reclaimed and sustainably sourced timbers, I mount them onto a wood lathe and begin to form them into their shapes using a variety of chisels (best watched on the process tab on Instagram to be honest) and finishing with a range of environmentally friendly , food safe finishes. Low impact, all-natural loveliness (even if I do say so myself)! I’m inspired amongst many things, by the idea of hospitality at the centre of my business. Starting out in a world where we were all forced apart from each other for so long gave me direction towards creating pieces both for living, and as gifts for loved ones whilst we couldn’t be there in person. I want people to remember that friend who gifted them their vase or as they pick up their bottle opener to raise a cold one to notice the beautiful timber it was made from. It’s making a well thought out contribution to someone’s everyday environment that’s valuable to me.
Family Doodle Doo: I originally started off just doing custom orders for people, mainly just peg doll families. I love taking a wonderful piece of plain turned wood, and turning it into something special for you. Each peg is hand painted by me. As well as doing custom pegs, I now also have a collection of designs that are my own ideas.
Pedddle: Do you remember your first selling experience?
Something From The Turnery: Yes! I had made a bowl that I was proud of and tentatively sent a picture to a friend, they immediately came back with “how much”! I had no idea but gave it a good guess after searching on Etsy for a while. It was genuinely a moment where I first felt the confidence to start up as a business.
Family Doodle Doo: My first selling experience with my peg people was at a school Christmas fair. All the different Christmas characters went down well, but I then went on to other events where I didn’t sell anything. It knocked my confidence quite a bit, but I came to learn the types of fairs I’d had stalls at, weren’t necessarily where my target customer was shopping. I also reminded myself that it they’d also been good for exposure.
Pedddle: What challenges did you face when you first launched your business?
Something From The Turnery: I think the most notable challenge for me has been in packaging and shipping my products, how to safely deliver a wooden object around the UK and further without plastic was harder than I imagined at first! Still learning to be honest.
Family Doodle Doo: I spent too many years treating it as a hobby more than a business. Once I started changing my mindset around this and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, things really started to take off. It’s a big challenge to get in that mindset, and really look at things like pricing properly, but it’s so important that you do in order to give yourself a good fighting chance.
Pedddle: What’s next for your business this year – anything you’re planning, looking forward to, are there any new products/ranges etc.
Something From The Turnery: There’s a lot to look forward to! I’m currently building my own website which I’m aiming to launch in time for my one year anniversary in September. I’m also excited to be in the early stages of a collaboration with another Pedddle member Natalie Laura Ellen (https://www.instagram.com/natlauraellen/). Natalie designs and makes beautiful lampshades (amongst other pieces) and I recently turned some prototype lamps from single pieces of timber to Natalie’s design which we’ll be finalising soon! For my own products it’s already looking like Christmas in the workshop! You can expect hand turned baubles and candle holders this year amongst a few other surprises too. Can’t wait!
Family Doodle Doo: For the rest of this year I’m really looking forward to continuing to introduce new designs and really push myself further out of my comfort zone. The big thing on my to do list is my own website to run alongside Etsy, but I think that’ll be a post Christmas job now!