For this week’s Meet the Maker blog, we chatted to makers who have created their own product ranges. In this Q&A, we spoke to Emma of TismeEm who has created her own range of ceramics and pottery & Faith of Sparkle by Faith who has created her own range of jewellery. Read on to find out how they both creates and launched their businesses, the process to creating their products and the journey’s they have gone on throughout.
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?
TismeEm: I’ve been painting and sketching on and off for years, and with a friendly push from my partner I decided to take the plunge whilst on maternity leave and create my own ceramics brand called TismeEm. I use my artwork to print designs onto ceramics with the intention to create items that would bring a smile or just be there for beauty’s sake! I love moments of quiet or moments with friends over a cup of tea; filling my home with jugs of flowers and making memories at the dinner table with family. So being bale to create ceramics that cab be part of those moments, is pretty special!
Sparkle by Faith: I bit about me, I am a full time veterinary nurse and make jewellery in my spare time. I discovered my love for jewellery making after I injured my back in December 2019 and let’s just say the rest is history! I completed a 7 week course on the basics of jewellery making but I am mainly self taught thanks to lockdown, I spent a lot of time watching you tube videos and practicing!
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.
TismeEm: The journey begins with my sketches and paintings; I mainly use watercolours but occasionally work with acrylics. My designs are inspired by the nature, seasons and night sky and I selected ceramics as a way to bring my art and nature into the home. I love to create simple and clean designs. I select ceramics made in Stoke-on-Trent which are delivered to my home studio; these include, but are not limited to, jugs, mugs and tea tidies to present my artwork and create special pieces that bring a smile and beauty to the home. My original artwork is printed onto decals, made specially to be fired in the kiln so that the designs fuse into the glaze. I chose this method because the finish is excellent and the design won’t scratch or fade and will last for many years to come. Everything is designed and handmade by me; I cut out each design individually, and hand decorated each ceramic piece. This makes each one unique and special and also gives me the artistic freedom to amend and play with the designs. Once the piece is decorated I let it dry for 12 hours before it is fired in the kiln. The finished product is then dishwasher and microwave proof. I make every effort to make my product delivery as eco-friendly as possible, reusing packaging materials where I can and purchasing recyclable or compostable packaging. Each piece is wrapped in tissue paper and I offer gift wrap and hand written messages if you’d like something to be sent directly to someone.
Sparkle by Faith: I love the process of making a piece of jewellery from scratch, I use eco silver in my work which is made from recycled silver, it’s amazing what you can create from some leftover scraps of silver, melting it down and making something for someone to treasure, it’s a really good feeling.
Pedddle: Do you remember your first selling experience?
TismeEm: Yes, I did a little happy dance! Even to this day when I am at a market and sell, I am so touched that someone loves my ceramics and wants them in their home – or to gift them to someone! I feel very lucky.
Sparkle by Faith: At the beginning I had sold a few things to friends and family but that feeling when you sell something you’ve lovingly made to someone you don’t know is amazing! I remember it was a amethyst stacking ring, I make most of my piece to order so it was really exciting to make it and post it out!
Pedddle: What challenges did you face when you first launched your business?
TismeEm: The biggest challenge was being in charge of everything! In previous corporate jobs I had a very clear remit… when you run your own business you are customer service, the maker, the marketer, the accountant, website manager… Getting my head round it all and making space to still be creative was a big learning curve.
Sparkle by Faith: The main challenge I faced when I set up is getting the exposure needed to actually make some sales, my first shop was on Etsy, it was slow at the beginning but has gradually grown but it costs a lot to be involved in their advertising campaigns so I decided to just try and build my Instagram and Facebook pages and advertise that way.
Pedddle: What’s next for your business this year – anything you’re planning, looking forward to, are there any new products/ranges etc.
TismeEm: I’m really excited for my new autumnal and winter ranges coming very soon, and excited for my first season of Christmas Markets! I plan to keep warm outside with plenty of mulled wine and layers!
Sparkle by Faith: I am currently working on my Christmas stock and have just made up some baubles containing 2 sets of stud earrings (Picture attached). I’m looking forward to what the next year will bring.