Since I’ve started my business I cannot express how much it has meant to have received support from other artists. One thing I have always found about the bullet journal community is that we all love to learn from each other and inspire new work. Often in creative industries it can feel competitive – but another person’s success does not mean the demise of your own. In fact, I’m a firm believer in what goes around comes around. With this in mind I thought I’d seek out some new independent designers and share my thoughts on them with you. I ordered stickers from three relatively new Etsy stores and I was so impressed with what I received – there is so much talent out there and I would encourage anyone to look further than the most popular, busiest stores – sometimes the smaller ones will add a beautiful, thoughtful, personal touch to your order, and take it from me, it means the world to them when you support their work.
Bumble And Doodle
I found Ellie’s work on Instagram – I was immediately captured by her adorable, cosy sticker sheets. She is clearly a highly talented illustrator and I was super excited to order some of her work – its high quality and attention to detail will definitely inspire some of my future work. I was particularly in love with the book themed stickers (pictured below) because as an avid reader I’m always looking for new book-themed stationery! I asked Ellie a few questions about what it’s been like setting up her own Etsy store and what her plans are for the future! This is what she had to say:
“My names Ellie, and I am from the valleys in South Wales.
I got into sticker making as I wanted to make my illustrations into products that I could sell for extra pocket money. Ever since I’ve really enjoyed the experience of people buying my art.
Setting up my own business by myself was a huge challenge. I’d say the hardest thing was branding myself towards a particular market/style, and balancing it with a full time job. I have so many ideas in my head that I just want to get down, but I never have enough time.
The highlights of setting up a small Etsy shop was definitely gaining my first couple of sales. I am probably my worst critic when it comes to believing in myself. So whenever I get a sale, or someone shout outs to me to compliment my art, it gives me so much encouragement to keep going with this.
My plans for the future is to go to uni and study a degree in illustration as I love learning more and improving my art. After uni I would love to see where my small Etsy shop takes me, as well as working with clients for art commissions.”
It’s so interesting to read Ellie’s answers as we see eye to eye on many things – I too find it difficult to juggle life’s many plates – my job, home life, social life and my career path in general – thankfully journalling is what keeps me calm and grounded so it never feels like work!
I am really looking forward to making use of Ellie’s gorgeous stickers in my journal so keep an eye out on my Instagram – they are sure to feature. In the meantime, grab some of your own on her Etsy page!
I am a big fan of this beautiful Etsy store. Rather than sticker sheets Alice, who runs Paint Soup, cuts each sticker out individually – this means they’re a little larger than the stickers I make and as such provide a real artistic feature to my journal – you can see how I’ve used them in a February weekly spread below. They are really high quality stickers – printed on lovely, glossy sticker paper and her designs are truly adorable.
When I asked her how her business was going and to tell me more about herself this is what she had to say:
“My name is Alice, but I illustrate under the name Paint Soup! I was born and raised in Devon but am currently based in Brighton.
I started making stickers shortly after I first opened my Etsy. The first thing I was making at home to sell were pin badges made of shrink plastic. I was just looking for things I could do at home in my little uni room by myself. I had a cheap printer when I was in first year and just started printing and hand cutting all my stickers from there! I still make most of them the same way!
So far its been so rewarding! My shop isn’t the biggest on Etsy, but every sale I make gives me a little buzz. Its so nice to see that people are willing to pay for my art and my products. It feels like a very wholesome community. It can be quite hard to juggle everything, with work, uni, and the shop. I always feel a pressure to be making more and doing more but its always worth it!
My personal highlight so far was probably towards the end of last year when I was lucky enough to get a table at Nowhere Illustration Fair which was a completely lovely experience. To be honest though one of my favourite things is figuring out ways I can make all of my products from home, it makes everything feel more personal I think.
The future is quite scary as I’m coming to the end of my time at university, but I just want to grow my Etsy and freelance work. I would love to attend more illustration fairs and expand my selection of Etsy products as much as possible! It’s a terrifying but exciting time!”
It’s so lovely to find fellow UK based artists to support. A lot of the most successful Etsy stores – especially those focussed on journals – are based in the USA. It feels much kinder to the planet to order stickers a little closer to home, and of course you do not have to pay hefty delivery charges!
I’d thoroughly recommend checking out Alice’s page for your next stationery fix! Here’s her Etsy Store. Heads up – she also does adorable pins too!
Cattle Dog Press
I placed the first ever order in this Etsy shop but I’m sure it will be the first of many! Ally, who runs Cattle Dog Press, based in Tennessee, USA only started her Etsy store a few weeks ago. Her stickers seem to be inspired by nature – she also sells gorgeous Koi Fish stickers which I’m very tempted to treat myself with…
Her stickers come packaged in a lovely little envelope, equipped with a handwritten note and a freebie sticker. The attention detail in packing the order was lovely – you could really feel the love put into it.
I asked Ally if she could share a little info on how she got started and what her future plans are. This is what she said:
“I used to draw stickers for my friends and when I started getting into digital art I realized I could do a lot more with them!
Starting out a business is definitely a challenge! Sometimes it seems like getting noticed and growing a presence over the internet is just luck, but the community of other artists and crafters is such a great support. For me the most challenging thing has just been keeping up engagement. I’m a full time student with a job and a dog and posting something or making something new everyday just isn’t always possible. But it’s never a chore, I truly enjoy doing it:)
What I’ve enjoyed most so far has been getting to create a brand and choose every aspect of what I want my shop to be like! And of course I chose to make it inspired by my dog…
Right now I make die cut stickers and I do all of it by hand. My biggest future plan is to invest in a cutting machine and start making whole sticker sheets!”
Check out her Etsy page here. I’m sure she’d gratefully receive any support and I can assure you the quality of her illustrations is super.
Though she is not a UK based store I felt it was still important to support her and her work and how fun to think that these little sea creatures have travelled all the way across the pond to reach me!
That’s all for this week! I hope that I’ve convinced you to look beyond the number of Instagram followers and take a punt on a smaller business – it means the world to the artists behind the products and you’ll so rarely be disappointed by the quality. If anything, those starting out have more to prove and therefore work harder!
I’ll be back very soon with more content. Have a fab weekend!