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.”


• 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.

• 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.

• #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.

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Comments: 2 (Add)

Sarah - @AdventureAcces 25 July 2019 at 07:50

As Sarah (Saz) has said, thank you for sharing our story. I would recommend everyone tries a collaboration. They are immense fun and take you out of your comfort zone to try new things and meet new people. A definite confidence booster.

Saz 25 July 2019 at 07:42

Thank you for telling our story and bringing to life the story behind the collaboration

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