Pedddle had the chance to chat to two of this week’s featured stallholders, small business owners Roma of Unique Sonder, who creates quirky handmade polymer-clay jewellery, and Donna of Donnydoodlesbydonna, who offers mixed media art in the form of homewares and greetings cards.
Check out our Meet the Maker Q&A below where we find out more about these two colourful businesses, chat adapting to online selling and back to in-person now restrictions have lifted!
Pedddle: Thanks for chatting to us! Where did it all begin for you?
Donnydoodlesbydonna: I’ve made and produced one-off pieces of mixed media art for years. Last year, I began to make one of a kind cards for both friends and family. In January 2021, with the encouragement of my family, Donnydoodlesbydonna was born. I now sell mixed-media art, cards for all occasions and print a range products from my paintings.
Unique Sonder: I’ve always had a love for arts, but found myself without time to explore them because of a very busy work schedule. In 2019, my work/life balance became completely unfeasible anymore and I gave up work with the intention of going back after a few months. This spare time reignited my passion for creativity, and I soon discovered the magical world of polymer clay and how to use it to create jewellery. I have very much learned as I went along, watching YouTube, reading books and researching materials and techniques. I am very proud of my journey so far!
Pedddle: We’d love to know more about your process, the materials you use and what inspires you creatively!
Unique Sonder: I work primarily with polymer clay (think play-doh, for adults!) but also dabble in Jesmonite and fibre arts. Polymer clay is an incredible, lightweight medium that has endless possibilities. In terms of colour, the world is your oyster as you are able to hand-mix any shade using primary colour clays. I have a particular interest in a technique called caning. A cane is very much like a stick of Blackpool rock; a tube with a design or motif running throughout. This technique allows for the creations of intricate repeating patterns.
Donnydoodlesbydonna: I use a wide range of techniques – watercolour, poster and acrylic painting, felting, and both hand and machine embroidery.
Pedddle: Have you sold at or been out to any markets recently?
Donnydoodlesbydonna: Yes! I usually attend three markets a month. I love to attend both markets and craft fairs, because it’s great to meet people who appreciate what you do.
Unique Sonder: I have moved more into attending markets than online selling, since restrictions began to lift. Part of this was intentional; being out in the world again and being able to interact with potential customers and other makers face-to-face is fantastic. However, engagement and my website sales have taken a plummet!
Pedddle: What do you love about shopping small?
Unique Sonder: In a world of fast-fashion, sweat shops, unsustainable fishing and pollution, shopping small is taking accountability; you can trace the source of your products, know the person who had made them and sleep easy at night knowing you haven’t contributed to unethical manufacture.
Donnydoodlesbydonna: It is so beneficial to shop small, because you are supporting an artist/crafts person in their work. It is also beneficial for the customer as they receive a unique, handcrafted product.
Pedddle: What has been your experience of running a business during a pandemic?
Unique Sonder began just before the pandemic hit, so online selling was the norm for me. It is since restrictions began to lift that I have had to begin to adapt the business to reach potential customers.
Pedddle: What’s next for your business that you’re looking forward to?
Unique Sonder: I’m currently looking at wholesale opportunities to expand Unique Sonder’s reach in the world.
Donnydoodlesbydonna: I’m always looking to produce new ideas, but need more space to do this. Currently, I’m in the process of setting up a studio which will enable me to expand my product range.