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Meet the Maker; That Girl in Green, Handmade by Tinni & Gemma Rappensberger

Meet the Maker

Meet three fabulous small businesses…

This week’s Featured Traders are That Girl in Green, Handmade by Tinni and Gemma Rappensberger Embroidery, three fabulous small businesses that we wanted to get to know a little better. Let’s Meet the Maker behind the scenes of each business…

Pedddle: Tell us a little more about your business.

That Girl in Green: We’re a mother/daughter team (Gill and Rosie), selling handmade gifts – all in the colour Green! We have created, curated and commissioned some amazing gifts. Some are made by us and some are designed by us and sourced from the talented group of Artisan friends that we are privileged to be surrounded by.

Handmade by Tinni: I’m Paulomi and I am the designer behind Handmade by Tinni – statement jewellery with a heart and soul. I create modern, unique pieces of jewellery with organic cotton rope and yarn.

I take great pride in making each piece by hand. My aim is to make you look beautiful and proud when you showcase a Tinni jewellery piece! Nothing is machine made and you get to know the actual person who made your jewellery.

I mainly use age-old rope knotting crafts and processes like macramé; creating colourful, unique and bold designs is what makes my textile jewellery stand out!

I chose organic cotton as my main design medium as I am passionate about sustainability. It is sustainable, bio-degradable, soft to wear, anti-allergic, colourful, and extremely flexible, so lets my imagination flow. It’s also lightweight and locally sourced and produced. Being organic, it saves us from pesticides and is way better for the health and land of the farmers and protects wildlife too.

I’m passionate about incorporating sustainability into my brand. I am based in London and make all my jewellery here. By supporting my brand, you are minimising your carbon footprint! Transport puts out a huge amount of Co2, which can be reduced by minimizing the distances during production.

Small businesses are often run by people who live nearby. As the UK continues to recover from the pandemic, the experience of buying locally from a friendly face offers a dose of normality that many people may have missed.

Gemma Rappensberger Embroidery: My name is Gemma and I’m an embroidery artist based in East Anglia. I grew up on the beautiful Suffolk Coast and now live in the countryside on the Essex/Cambridgeshire border where I design and make original and contemporary embroidery from my home studio.

Through my observational illustrations of items we often forget, such as worn-out trainers, favourite biscuits with Granny, a leaf found on a trip to the park or fishing at the beach, I hope to recall the associated memories, stories and conversations that these items can invoke in you, as the viewer.

Each illustration is drawn by using free motion machine embroidery with added hand embroidery details displayed in a wooden embroidery hoop. Each of my embroideries is a unique one-off, beautifully made with attention to detail, ready to be displayed in your home.

All of my artwork is made using natural materials. All my embroidery hoops are made in the UK using FSC solid beech wood and each hoop is carefully packaged in acid free tissue paper and sent in a cardboard box with paper bubble wrap for protection, and all packaging is recyclable.

Pedddle: Sounds fab! What first gave you the push to launch a creative business?

That Girl in Green: I am a jewellery designer and have been in business now as Rohanna Jewellery for nearly 20 years. My passion has always been putting together eclectic mixes of shape and texture but with colour as the key theme. 

My daughter Rosie is a ceramicist, having recently graduated with an MA from the Royal College of Art. Her passion has always been sculpture, with an emphasis on birds and their eye-catching plumage. 

We created That Girl In Green on a trip up to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, over a glass of Prosecco in a beautiful restaurant. My desire was to do something a little bit different, and Rosie wanted to collaborate on a commercial side to her ceramics practice. 

Handmade by Tinni: Handmade by Tinni was a destined step for me, born out of my passion for handcrafted unique jewellery. (Tinni is my pet name – it is like my alternate personality – cheeky, full of fun and colourful).

When I set-up my brand finally in 2020, my design inspiration came from the bright colours of nature, amazing places that I have travelled to over the years, and most importantly from the rich heritage of India.

2020 was a huge turning point for me. I followed my lifelong ambition and finally launched my own sustainable jewellery brand. I love colour, I love handcrafted jewellery and I love travelling. My brand combines all these
inspirations to create something unique.

Also – I am totally addicted to jewellery! My mum often teases me, saying that I am building a secret jewellery museum. And being an Indian by origin, I am spoilt for choice and variety. I am extremely proud of my eccentric collection, which is a mix of vintage, one of a kind or contemporary design.

I decided to launch my brand in a very challenging time when the whole world was going through a crisis. Our life the way we know it, has changed drastically and some new habits are part of our normal now, hello ‘zoom’, ‘sanitisers’, ‘masks’, ‘lockdown’… etc. It is nerve wracking and scary for any business, let alone a new independent creative launch. Plus, I am a social person and pretty much thrive on face-to-face meetings and interactions.

The lack of human interactions at craft fairs or exhibitions really added to the challenge. But when life throws you a lemon, you learn to make a lemonade with it! I adopted my digital persona in no time and was able to turn the situation around creatively in my favour.

Social media was a big help and with the use of intelligent hashtags, engaging content, clean photography and my creative prowess, I was able to transform visitors to my social page to become my followers and then customers. Afterall, I am a sales and marketing professional at heart!

Gemma Rappensberger Embroidery: I’d always thought it would be something I would attempt but I always wanted to get the timing right. I’d had a career in the fashion accessories industry and had taught in FE colleges, so I considered this to be the next complimentary step. I finally went for it in autumn 2019 and even though 2020 was not the best year, I don’t regret it!

Pedddle: What’s next in store for your business?

That Girl in Green: Our lockdown project has been creating an online presence for That Girl In Green. We are busy polishing the website, Instagram and Facebook pages. We are also in the process of creating a new range – it’s top secret, but a hint is that it will be using ceramics!

Handmade by Tinni: I love what I do, and I will be doing that consistently! I would hope that in 2-3 years, I would be able to scale up the business and grow into a fairly well known sustainable design brand in the UK.

I plan to explore creative partnerships and brand collaborations to add some spice into my business. At the same time, I will work on my wholesale partnerships and grow the revenue from that angle.

However, I will always remain true to my brand essence of being a small independent design brand that is sustainable, colourful, and unusual – just like me!

Gemma Rappensberger Embroidery: I have just finished a private commission, so I am now working on a new collection of embroidered artworks.

My highlight of 2021 so far has been taking part in the Random Acts of Kindness Market, organised through Tresssle, and at the moment I’m taking part in March Meet the Maker, organised by Joanne Hawker. I hadn’t taken part before and it has been really nice being part of the bigger creative community on Instagram and seeing all the lovely makers come together to share their work through the month of March.

Pedddle: What is your favourite product that you’ve ever produced and why?

That Girl in Green: Our best selling range has been our eco range – Beeswax Wraps, Reusable Make Up Wipes, Reusable Straws and Cutlery kits. I think everyone was ready to embrace a plastic free environment, so our timing  was perfect.

Handmade by Tinni: It is very hard to pick between all your creations as you put little bit of your soul in each of them! However, if I really must, I will choose the ‘Love’ word necklace. This was the first design that really earned my place in our creative community and became my signature design.

I have since created several custom word necklaces as I can make any word (4/5 letters max recommended), like your name, belief or just fun words, into wearable pieces. This is truly unique and a great statement. However, for home décor, I can make longer words or sentences.

All my designs are offered in 28 colour options, so that you will always find your ideal colour choice.

Gemma Rappensberger Embroidery: This is a hard question, but I think I would have to say that I really enjoyed embroidering my illustration of my New Balance 574 trainers. They’re a well worn favourite of mine, and I loved how and where they were showing signs of wear. Last year my embroidery of these trainers was exhibited at the Norfolk Makers Festival in Norwich, made using free motion machine embroidery with hand embroidery displayed in a 7″ embroidered hoop.

Pedddle: What’s your best tip for other crafters, for selling at a market or pursuing a creative business?

That Girl in Green: Only make things that you enjoy making and are proud of – this will come across and be an important part of your brand!

It’s also important to create a consistent recognisable look – with your products and labelling. 

Always put a lot of thought into your market display and try and see what your customers see – this will give you an insight into how to encourage them to stop and talk to you. If you’re selling at an online market, it’s just as important to have a good layout of products inviting people to look at them more closely.

Also, use other designer/makers for advice! Generally we are a really friendly crowd and want to help others succeed in their small businesses too, and are happy to give help to others. 

Handmade by Tinni: Be visible and engage with your audience – I discovered early on that the secret to social media success is engagement. After all, it is called ‘social’ media for a reason – be social to be successful.

With the intelligent use of hashtags, interactive content and using all channels available on the platform like ‘lives’, ‘reels’, ‘stories’ and posts, I engaged with unique clientele and found my community. It’s also good to tell your audience which markets you’ll be at, so social media can help your in-person market success too.

A good stall set up is always key at an in-person market. This is your visual advertisement to attract customers. Make it visually attractive and eye-

Email marketing is also really useful – talk to your customers beforehand and give them an extra hook or special gift to buy early and maybe more. Collect the email addresses whenever you can at in-person events and allow sign-ups from your social media. They are gold! Make sure you are connected to your customers afterwards with valuable content.

I am attending the Local Makers Market in Wanstead on the 1st of May and the Craft & Flea in Guildford on 29th of May. I’m so excited to go back to real fairs!

Gemma Rappensberger Embroidery: My best tip for selling at a market in person would be to have a stall set up with your pieces displayed on different levels, for example on plinths or display stands for the table, which I think can look more interesting for the potential buyer and makes your stall stand out. It’s also easier to see everything when people walk past.

If you’re selling at an online market, doing a stall set-up at home is also a good idea, so that people can see your products laid out and look through your full range.