Chloe designs beautifully simple illustrations and products from her garden shed (ah, the dream) in Leicester, and recently launched her first product range – Babes & Hunks.
We chat about creating everything from purses, to marketing plans!
How did you become an illustrator and maker, and how has the journey been so far?
I graduated from De Montfort University in 2013, after studying Graphic Design & Illustration. I was lucky enough to be a part of the Enterprise Inc Scheme through DMU which really helped me begin my creative journey.
I worked part time up until last summer when I made the decision to give illustration a go full time. I have recently got a new part time job which is going really well, and I do my illustration alongside that now. The journey so far has been really fun! I’m really glad I gave myself seven months working just for myself full time. A lot of it was spent emailing, planning and writing lists, but I feel like it was definitely worth it!
What kind of products do you create now, and what do you plan to add in future?
I recently released my first range of products, which includes a tote bag, purse, notebooks, greeting cards and hand embroidered prints. I love to combine line work, embroidery and pattern, and I hand embroider on to my digital prints to give them an extra dimension.
My plan is to release two ranges a year. These will include prints, stationery items and two surprise fabric and homeware items which I have never created before – you won’t know what they are until the range is launched!
What was the inspiration for your new Babes & Hunks collection, and how was the launch?
I began the range simply by drawing swimwear, without anybody wearing it, but then decided to add people to the illustrations. I think I got a bit carried away with drawing them – creating different body shapes was really entertaining and the outcomes were all so different. They came naturally without me knowing how each one would turn out.
I researched into all aspects of releasing and making a product range, such as marketing, how many products to make, and how I wanted the range to come across – mainly stalking a lot of people on Instagram and Pinterest! I bought a book on photography so I could take better photos, and create the right feel.
I’ve always wanted to create fabric wares and I wanted them to match with my stationery items. As it was a Spring/Summer range I also wanted to keep the fabric products in keeping with the season. That’s why I decided on a little coin purse to take down to the beach, and the Babes tote/beach bag.
I decided to create five products as I knew it was doable in the time I had allowed myself to design, make and market the collection. I also thought that five products wouldn’t be too overwhelming for potential customers to look at. Creating greeting cards that match the art prints was a good idea too, as people who like the subject matter don’t necessarily want an A3 print, but might buy the card. I also wanted to create a range that made people smile!
After creating the products, I created a marketing plan, researching around 50-60 shops, blogs, collectives or any individuals I thought might be interested in seeing what I was up to. I then worked out who I wanted to send postcards or emails to and set dates of when to send them.
Social media is a massive part of being a freelance illustrator/maker and I noted down when relevant hashtag chats were on Twitter (for example #crafthour and #handmadehour), and made sure I stuck to my deadlines to tweet, Instagram, and share on Facebook. I created Instagram posts for weeks leading up to the launch so it was kept fresh in peoples minds!
I also attended two markets just after the launch to get face-to-face feedback, and sell my products in different cities rather than just online.
Tell us about Codswallop Collective!
Codswallop Collective is made up of myself and five friends. We all went to uni together and decided to start Codswallop to give us more opportunities as a group, stay in touch and also have fun. We were lucky enough to exhibit at Pick Me Up last year, have been involved in Glug Brum, and have an exciting exhibition coming up in the LCB depot in Leicester in May!
Being part of a collective definitely gives us all more opportunities, plus it pushes me to work harder as I don’t want to let anyone in the collective down. When I find events, exhibitions that might be a bit daunting as an individual it’s great to know it might be more doable as a collective, and a lot more fun as you can discuss what your working on, meet up in person, share ideas and get feedback on what to do next! We all have a very different take on illustration which is what I think makes our collective interesting.
What advice would you give someone wanting to follow their dream full time?
Go for it! I think giving yourself the chance to focus on your creative career is something that is really important. When I gave up my part time job, I knew that it was something I needed to give a proper chance, whether it was for a month or a year. I was prepared to be a little bit skint for a while and work really hard to get my work noticed.
I illustrated full time until I got a little bit too skint and then started looking for a part time job. I would say, before you go full time, make sure you create a short term plan, as well as a long term plan and then stick to deadlines, and, of course, have fun making!
Blog – Design Trust
Brilliant advice on starting up, product ranges, marketing – it has everything a creative business needs!
Blog – Print & Pattern
Always nice to have a browse though, as well as the Print & Pattern job board for freelance opportunities.
Thank you Chloe! I can’t wait to see the next collection.
You can keep track of Chloe’s news and new designs, and even buy and Babe or Hunk for yourself in the following places:
Etsy – ChloeHalluk
Twitter – @chloemhall
Instagram – @chloehall_illustration
Facebook – Chloe Hall Illustration
Blog – littletealshed.wordpress
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