Presents of Mind blog

indie businesses chart new way ahead

UK creative and independent designers and craftspeople are rising to the challenge of progressing in today’s mass-manufactured and competitive marketplaces.

They’re establishing a stronger platform and louder voice by sharing ideas, skills and resources in collaborations and collectives.

One such initiative – an enterprising link-up between Nottinghamshire craft house Spratt’s Designs and South Wales outdoor gifts specialists Adventure Accessories – made a big impact on Twitter after its launch on the top-trending weekend hashtag hour #UKGiftHour.

The two businesses joined forces to produce a traveller notebook and activity stencils set, (pictured above) a 40-page A6 journal with cork fabric cover and accompanying activity shapes enabling buyers to plan and record trips and adventures.

Saz Spratt of Spratt Designs created the special adventure stencil and Sarah Skilton of Adventure Accessories adapted her notebook designs to incorporate it.

“The set has three options with the notebook – the bookmark stencil, an A6 'page-size' stencil or both stencils together,” Sarah explained. “We have sold a full set with both stencils and Saz has sold the stencils separately too.”

The promotional video about the set has now received over 15,700 views.

“The decision to team up was logical one,” Saz added. “We both make products that work well together. By joining forces, we felt we could increase the reach of our small business and double the promoting efforts.”

Both agreed that good communication is key to a successful collaboration. ”When we decided to make a go of working together, we got to know each other a little better – what did we like most about our business, what did each of us think our strengths were and what did we like least,” Sarah said. “For me, photography is my weakness, but I enjoy blogging and social media.”

So Saz created the launch video and took charge of product photography. Both created the wording for the listings because, Sarah explained, “SEO does not like duplicate exact matches - and being able to use each other’s keeps the adverts and promotions fresh.”

The idea to collaborate grew out of Instagram’s #MarchMeetTheMaker promotion, which asked participants to name who they would like to work with.

Sarah and Saz already knew each other from Twitter chat hours – and indeed had bought from each other – when Saz “half-jokingly” responded that it would be fun to combine her stencils with Adventure Accessories notebooks.

“I replied this was an awesome idea and that is was something we could look at together,” Sarah said. “We started messaging on Twitter which quickly became a couple of emails and then Saz created a WhatsApp conversation at the beginning of April. We now message each other several times a day.

“Not only have we created a great product together we have also formed a lasting friendship.”

Background


• Sarah Skilton (above) created Adventure Accessories in 2018. A small creative handmade business based in Carmarthenshire, South Wales, it combines a passion for adventure with a love of crafts. Sarah helps you to reconnect with nature and find unique handmade gifts for outdoors; with inspiration and ideas for everyday expeditions. www.AdventureAccessories.co.uk

• Saz Spratt (above - working on another of her designs) started Spratt’s Designs in 2014 when she was medically retired from mainstream work. She was not prepared to do nothing. Starting with relearning skills she was taught and gained while training and working as a stage manager, Saz has been able to add gold leafing, graphic design and traditional painting skills to the wide range of crafts she loves to make. www.spratt-designs.com

• #UKGiftHour is a top-trending Twitter weekend hashtag hour which showcases original and thoughtful gift ideas from UK independent makers and creatives. Creator David Knight, a former journalist, also set up the gift ideas referral website Presents of Mind, which matches gift suggestions from indies and creatives to the firsts and fame of each and every day of the year. www.presentsofmind.co.uk

"#ukgiftam works!"

We promise #shopindie fun and support on #UKGiftAM incorporating #UKGiftHour – but there’s a strong sales emphasis too. Here are some of the latest examples of #UKGiftHourPower at our weekend Twitter marketplace.

Clockwise (from top left):

This colourful penguin from Hazelhurst Ceramics sold within 10 minutes of appearing on #UKGiftHour – so the Norwich-based hand-painters got busy with listing some more

Lucky horseshoe book mark from VanityFairGifts, a Devon-based booklovers gift ideas site that discovered and was good enough to tell us

 

#UKGiftAM works! Just took another order πŸ˜€

— VanityFairGifts (@VanityFairGifts) March 9, 2019

 

Little mermaid painting from Glasgow artist Amazingraceart who says she has been kept on her toes lately by happy dancing at #UKGiftHour sales

Thank you @UKGiftHourPower I’ve sold another painting (Happy Dance)all due to #UKGiftHour πŸ‘πŸ˜˜You are the best πŸ‘Œ

— Grace (@amazingraceart) March 30, 2019

Hand-drawn rainbow mug from Manchester print designer HandDrawnWorld that drew enquiries from #UKGiftHour admirers

Farmyard animal badge from Watford fused glass designer Beautiful Glass by Zoe – which Lancashire seaglass designer Beachtcrafts couldn’t resist buying for her exam-taking daughter as a good luck token

Dragonfly glass earrings from Yorkshire jewellery designer Twiggypeasticks – snapped up by York bag designer @ZebraMingoCrafts after being featured in a #UKGiftAM blog

Reclaimed wooden candle holder from Sussex woodturner MJAWood who told us of great feedback he was getting including sales from #UKGiftHour

Good Friends T-shirt influenced by Peanuts creator Charles Schulz from London clothing designer and shop indie champion Masato Jones – one of several items of his that have found new homes after being showcased on #UKGiftHour

Just sold thanks to #ukgiftam & #ukgifthour #wearefam https://t.co/3OeSnZ3vMQ

— Masato Jones πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ (@masato_jones) March 30, 2019

Centre – Spring wreath in faux wildflowers and lilac eucalyptus from Suffolk independent homes and interiors shop Bells of Suffolk which led to a request for a sales link

Join us for UKGiftAM on Twitter every Saturday and Sunday from 9am-noon. We’re the #giftfinders at your fingertips!

• We reproduce product pictures with the sole intention of promoting the work of the UK indie or creative concerned. Where possible, we will link it to the owner's site to make it easier for potential customers to reach the buying point. We are not interested in or in any way attempting to pass off the products or pictures as our own. If you are an indie or creative and you are unhappy with any aspect of our presentation, please get in touch and we will cooperate to ensure all due permissions and credits are honoured and made clear #shopindie #supportsmallbusiness

allus a reet good choice

We’re calling into Yorkshire as we continue our round-Britain tour of UK indies and creatives who grace the timeline of #UKGiftAM, our weekend #shopindie Twitter marketplace.

Yorkshire makers and designers all have the character and ingenuity associated with the White Rose county – as we hope our gift ideas selection shows.

It’s not a definitive list –we’ll be back to highlight more from this talent-packed county after we’ve visited other UK regions.

Clockwise (from top left):

Glorious gargoyles, goddesses and all manner of animal and bird sculptures are the speciality of Sheffield stonemason Natural Stone Carved Creations

Fun Yorkshire-themed clothing, gifts and greetings cards from Nidderdale’s Fettle. A tidy 50p from every item sold goes to local charities

Breakfast Smoothie gentle facial exfoliator – one of a myriad of Mediterranean inspired luxury and beauty spa products from Sheffield lifestyle consultant Meltemplespa

Quirky bead and charm jewellery – in this case, Czech glass dragonfly earrings– from Huddersfield jewellery designer Twiggypeasticks

Leeds-based C.J.Hanley bring the personal handmade touch to flower/herb and veg planters, wine racks and candle holders

Feltmade friends from thisfeltedhouse – one of more than 70 local crafters, makers, designers and artists brought together under the Our Handmade Collective roof at the Grand Arcade, Leeds, by Handmade by Natalie and Little Shop of Lathers

Handmade book bag from York’s Zebra Mingo Crafts, creator of beautiful useful plastic-free bags in a variety of themes from fabrics

Yorkshire is definitely on the map at Hull-based Underdog Studio. They create prints of modern transport style maps for UK towns and cities – including Sheffield, Leeds, York and Harrogate

Centre – Personalised dippy egg breakfast oak board from Wooden You Love of Sowerby Bridge - specialists in handmade wooden items featuring the art of pyrography

Wherever you live in the UK, Join us for UKGiftAM on Twitter every Saturday and Sunday from 9am-noon. We’re the #giftfinder at your fingertips!

• We reproduce product pictures with the sole intention of promoting the work of the UK indie or creative concerned. Where possible, we will link it to the owner's site to make it easier for potential customers to reach the buying point. We are not interested in or in any way attempting to pass off the products or pictures as our own. If you are an indie or creative and you are unhappy with any aspect of our presentation, please get in touch and we will cooperate to ensure all due permissions and credits are honoured and made clear #shopindie #supportsmallbusiness

salute our crafty scots

Indies and creatives from all over the UK showcase their imaginative makes and gift ideas on the weekend Twitter marketplace #UKGiftAM.

But we thought we’d break it down a little with occasional region-by-region looks at some of the splendid artists and designers who regularly grace us with their talent.

Starting here with Scotland – which, as we all know, is more of a magnificent dominion than a region (can you tell we’re based in Glasgow - Ed).

Of course, there are many, many more gifted artisans than those featured here. But you can rest assured, we’ll be back at the end of our round-UK tour to start a new cycle with them.

It’s going to be a bit like painting the Forth Road Bridge. . .

Clockwise (from top left):

No round-up of Scottish craft or guile would be complete without the inclusion of west coast jewellery designers ArgyllSeaGlass who ‘rescue mermaid’s tears and transform them into beautiful seaglass jewellery like this frosted aqua necklace and earring set

Puffin painting from Edinburgh artist and designer Morvenna – in this case, transformed into a pack of five greeting cards. Her ‘unique Scottish artwork for distinctive living’ also embraces original art, prints and homeware and accessories

Aquamarine pebble stack jewellery from Glasgow jewellery designer Chalso Jewellery Semi-precious stones, Swarovski, crystal and Sterling silver all feature imaginatively in her designs

Scottish thistle art from Glasgow artist Amazingraceart – one of the many vivid Caledonian visions she bestows upon wildflowers; forest, lake and sea scenes (sometimes with their angel or fairy inhabitants) and, of course, Heiland coos

Single pink tulip seaglass artwork from Fife beach-find artist and potter Fifeseaglass Wave upon wave of cute images in all sizes of frames, also available as cards

Seascape by Ayrshire landscape and abstract artist Rose Anson Rose builds and layers directly onto canvas until she captures the moods and emotions she feels are right. Commissions make up a lot of her work

Celtic hip flask handcrafted in Scotland from polymer clay - Lothian designer Bedecked Beads also fashions the modelling clay into stunning classic and contemporary brooches, necklaces, bracelets and pendants

Kitsch pins and cards from colourful Edinburgh illustrator and pun-peddler Lady Kerry

Centre - Salad bowls from Highland ceramic artist Mudness Ceramics - just one example from a range of richly-coloured and exquisite collections of mugs, plates, yarn bowls and objets d’art

If you like to spend weekends in fun and supportive company, join us for #UKGiftAM on Twitter every Saturday and Sunday from 9am-noon – whatever part of the UK you’re from!

• We reproduce product pictures with the sole intention of promoting the work of the UK indie or creative concerned. Where possible, we will link it to the owner's site to make it easier for potential customers to reach the buying point. We are not interested in or in any way attempting to pass off the products or pictures as our own. If you are an indie or creative and you are unhappy with any aspect of our presentation, please get in touch and we will cooperate to ensure all due permissions and credits are honoured and made clear #shopindie #supportsmallbusiness

making first impressions count

What collective term should we give creative newcomers to #UKGiftAM? A galaxy of gifteds? A marvel of makers? There’s a flourish of first-timers every weekend to the Twitter hashtag hour that showcases and celebrates #shopindie #giftideas – and here we highlight some more who have burst onto the scene recently.

Clockwise from top left:

Peppermint foot lotion and moisturizing kaolin clay mask from Staffordshire natural and organic artisan skin carers NaturallyQueenBee

Man’s best friend teapot from Stoke Art Pottery, curators of handmade pottery from leading potters and ceramic artists around the world

Fake taxidermy trophy head from Hull sewing passionista and fabric gift ideas sage KraftyKoriginal

Handmade wall hanging from London home décor specialists It's OK Kid

Feather print Malini Fayre cushion from Cheshire’s happening hub of home accessories My Kind Of Interiors

Children’s book The Reynolds Five Adventures – based on a family’s real-life travels around Northern Ireland and Scotland – by Northern Ireland author and illustrator Sarah Jane Reynolds

Greeting cards packed with puns and innuendos from Docklands card designer doyenne Dippyfish Cards

Cork wrap journals and notebooks from Cambridge traditional bookbinder and contemporary designer Handcrafted Books by Sue Day

Centre – steampunk sterling silver heart pendant with Victorian clockwork cogs from jewellery design dynamos ClockworkPunk

Remember to #shopindie #shoplocal and #supportsmallbusiness not only in gifts but also in as many areas of your buying as possible.

And if you like to spend weekends in fun and supportive company, join us for #UKGiftAM on Twitter every Saturday and Sunday from 9am-noon – you’ll want to come back time after time!

• We reproduce product pictures with the sole intention of promoting the work of the UK indie or creative concerned. Where possible, we will link it to the owner's site to make it easier for potential customers to reach the buying point. We are not interested in or in any way attempting to pass off the products or pictures as our own. If you are an indie or creative and you are unhappy with any aspect of our presentation, please get in touch and we will cooperate to ensure all due permissions and credits are honoured and made clear #shopindie #supportsmallbusiness

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