If you follow us on Instagram, you might have seen a certain Grumpy Bear appearing in the odd photo (he also appears on our Letterpress page!), who was created by brilliant illustrator and maker duo, Pygmy Cloud.
Along with bears, Pygmy Cloud create stationery, homeware and other gorgeous (often cheerier) soft toys.
We caught up about product design, market tips and side projects on top of side projects!
Talk us through a typical (or untypical!) day for you at Pygmy Cloud HQ.
To be honest – there is no such thing as a typical day at Pygmy Cloud HQ! Dave and I both freelance so we juggle work alongside Pygmy Cloud. I go into the studio about 2-3 days a week and Dave prefers working from home but pops in every now and again to help with making products if it gets busy. I focus my time on business planning, making and packing orders, and looking after our social media. Dave works on designing new products – mostly the illustrated items, and creating posters and ads.
When I pop to the studio (about a 20 minute walk from our house in Walthamstow) I’ll head in for about 10.30am (I’m not an early riser!). I make a list for the day (which I can now do on our new list pads – yay) and get to work on my tasks. Lunch is usually homemade at our local vegan cafe, the Hornbeam, or there is a lovely lady who delivers tasty lunches to local E17ers on her bike!
We’re having an open studio as part of the E17 Art Trail – so feel free to pop over and have a nose! The preview is on the 28th May and then we’re open for the following three weekends, so save the date!
You’ve sold at oodles of markets and also in a pop up shop. Is face to face selling important to you, and do you have any tips for fellow makers looking to do the same?
We love selling at markets! In fact, we just traded at one of our faves – Crafty Fox Market – on the weekend just passed. I think selling face to face is very important. It’s a great opportunity to meet customers and gain valuable feedback on products.
In terms of tips about doing markets, recently I have been trying to think of the bigger picture. Although getting sales on the day is important, I think of it more as a research and marketing opportunity.
I would advise having goals such as trying to build up a mailing list, analysing who is buying your products, meeting and making friends with other traders, testing out new products to see what the response is, etc. It’s not just about making money on the day, it’s about progressing the business too.
Your collection spans stationery, homewares, and soft toys – is there anything you hope to add in the future?
We have just added a few new stationery items to the shop such as two list pad designs and Cloud Paper Gift Tape. There are a couple of other projects in the works at the moment, mostly homeware which we’ll be launching at Made in Clerkenwell next month.
I’d love to design some ceramics (a teacup would go so well with our coasters!), but I think that will have to wait until later on in the year.
What other crafty things do you get up to around your making?
I sometimes write tutorials for craft magazines such as Mollie Makes, Simply Sewing and Crafty Magazine. I love to encourage others to get crafty too! My favourite recent tutorial was to make a paper Burger Garland for Mollie Makes – so much fun!
Occasionally I guest blog for the Crafty Fox blog with a feature called ‘Shout Out’ – it’s a great platform to share what projects my fellow designer makers have been working on.
Last year we held an exhibition in our flat called Show Something Else (the sequel to ‘Show Something’) where we exhibited 17 different artists’ work in our flat. It was a light hearted way to share the work of our friends, lots of which doesn’t get to be seen by others. Sadly, we don’t have time to host a group exhibition this year as Dave is having an exhibition of his illustration work and I’m having an open studio.
What advice would you give someone looking to turn their hobby into a business?
Write your business plan as early on as possible – it will help you to be focussed and make better informed decisions
Pygmy Cloud recommends…
Business advice – Craft Central
Really good seminars by advisors, specialists and practising designers on subjects like branding and marketing. The talks I have been to have been really informative and to the point – I highly recommend them!
Thank you Diana!
Really looking forward to their open studio, I hope you lot can make it too? You can follow Pygmy Cloud’s antics in the following places about the internet:
Twitter – @pygmycloud
Instagram – @pygmycloud
Pinterest – Pygmy Cloud Shop
Facebook – Pygmy Cloud
YouTube – Pygmy Cloud
Etsy – PygmyCloud
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