This week's Mischief Meets interview is with Silkie Lloyd of boutique stationery and homeware company Rosehip. I've been a fan of Silkie's work for a long time and have a number of her notebooks in my extensive collection. I love the simplicity but boldness of her designs and the bright colour combinations.
Silkie is also a fellow classmate on Holly Becker's BYW Bootcamp and from the conversations we have had over email she is a truly lovely and inspiring lady. Here is what she has to say...
We are a small independant stationery and greeting cards publisher's. I am the principle designer (In fact the only designer,although we are looking to publish other artists and print makers during 2013)
• How did you start doing what you do? Have you always been creative? What made you decide to start up on your own?
I decided to start up on my own when I had my first child Oscar and realised that to be self employed would be the only way I could be with him all the time while he was small, allowing me to be able to choose when and how much I worked. Little did I know that would mean long hours working during the evening after bedtime! Which carried on when my second boy Felix came along. They are both at school now so there's tons more time. I studied Graphic Design/Illustration at Bath Spa University college but majored in photography so everything I do now I have taught myself since starting the business.
• Where do you work? Describe your studio space.
We have a lovely studio/office very close to Bristol Historic dockside, I try to cycle to & from work everyday along the river. This is really important for me as it's a perfect time for thinking up new designs and ranges and is fantastic for clearing my head after a long day sat in front of the computer. The studio is always in various states of flux...the mess ebbs and flows depending on my workload!
• Do you have a team or do you work alone?
I work alone in terms of design but I have had wonderful office manager's whom I couldn't do without. I realized at a certain point that I couldn't do it all myself and that my design process was suffering because of the day to day managing of the business. Employing someone to help with this side of the business is the best decision I've made and has enabled me to have a much clearer vision for the company.
• What is a typical day for you?
I drop the kids to school, cycle to work and have a cup of tea. I then procrastinate and move piles of paper around, pretend to write lists, mess about on the internet for a while and then finally I get around to starting work...firstly answering emails and then later drawing or working on designs on the computer. It's a mission of mine to work more effectively and not waste time...but I find it so easy to spend hours ambling around the internet admiring all the fantastic design and illustration talent out there!
My day ends either at 3pm when I go to pick the kids up or sometimes I get a good long day at the studio...I have discovered that late afternoon is when I am most creative.
• What do you find most satisfying about the work you do? What are your biggest challenges as a creative?
I love that I have built this business pretty much on my own (with lots of support and practical help from my partner) and that I am in complete control of the design process. I absolutely love color and am always really pleased when I find a new perfect combination of color to work with. I have struggled a lot with the day to day impact that running a small business can have,how this impacts on my ability to create good design and at times my home life.
• Which 3 items couldn’t you live without?
Black Ink, paper and adobe illustrator/photoshop
• What is your design process?
I start by a single piece of inspiration, be it a color combination, style or a piece of vintage imagery and I will then spend a good while researching and creating moodboards, either actual or virtual. I will then start drawing in pencil and then ink. These sketches are then brought into photoshop or illustrator and I will work on them from there. I quite often don't have a clear idea of the end result and am happy to let the designs to take shape as I go along.
• Where do you find your inspiration? Do you have any favourite books,
I love old fabric (of which I have loads of pieces!) vintage children's books and toys. I love to read Selvedge and all the interior magazines which I find a constant source of inspiration. And of course there is Pinterest, which is fabulous but a teribble time consumer for me. I have had to be very strict with myself on this otherwise I could lose hours of my working day! I do look at a lot of blogs too, I find them really useful for keeping in touch with whats going on out there,especially as I work alone.
• Are there any designers/artists you particularly admire?
The list is endless but here goes:
• Which are your favourite blogs/websites?
I find myself visiting a lot of interior design blogs but my old favorite is of course Print and Pattern. I regularly visit Design Sponge, Decor8, Bright Bazaar, Meet me at Mikes, Oh Joy and Bloesem..and many others too!
• Anything exciting in the pipeline?
I'd love to start publishing some new designers. There's so many fantastically talented people out there I think it would be fab to be able to showcase up and coming designers...if you are out there please do get in touch!
• What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own
- Have a business plan
- Be well prepared and organised!
- Speak nicely to your bank!
- If you are designing and making products make sure you have done your sums and are actually going to make some money from what you've made.
- Understand cash flow and margins.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help and advise from people in the industry.
- When you get big enough make sure you delegate jobs.
- Share knowledge and inspiration and be open.., I'm a firm believer in sharing and connecting with our creative communities...connect with social networking...it's fun and enlightening!
- Remember you are only as good as your last design! Keep making new work all the time and be true to yourself.
Silkie I have to say I think you have my ideal job! Despite your busy lifestyle you still seem very organised and focused. Thanks for sharing with us. I look forward to seeing your business grow.
You can find Silkie's designs in leading department stores and some independent shops or on her website here.
Images are courtesy of Rosehip