How Did I Get Here?

Updated: Aug 1, 2020

Giraffes & Unicorns as a business has been through many phases before it became what it is now. I’ve been a gift shop for animal lovers, and market stall at craft fairs and an online card shop. I’ve sold products from other small businesses, products of my own, commissioned illustrations and even the odd lettering / design job. I used to say my biggest mistake was trying too many things and spreading myself too thin rather than focusing on doing one thing well, but how would I have learnt what that one thing was without trying all the others? When I first started the business, it was to make a bit of extra money, sell some cute things and have something creative to do along side my office job. I had no idea of the journey it would take me on and have such a big impact on who I am today. It didn’t take long to realise I wanted to focus on making my own products with my own artwork, which I didn’t really have the confidence to do right at the beginning, but after getting some lovely feedback at markets and experiencing the feeling when someone buys something you’ve created over someone else’s product - that’s the feeling I wanted to hold on to.

Original watercolour illustrations of animals with a positive quote in black text

It all started with these really simple watercolour illustrations with a positive message, I can't believe how simple they were and I was super proud of them at the time! I sold them as prints and got the designs printed on mugs (I actually still have some mugs left) and then I decided to get some fabric printed with my illustrations on and I made all sorts! Pencil cases, make up bags, compact mirrors, lampshades - you name it, I've probably sold it at some point. I had a couple of good years doing markets every other weekend with my own product range developing along the way but after doing the same stalls for nearly two years and not really having the time to work on any kind of online presence, I fell out of love with what I was doing and decided to take a break from it.

By this time it was the end of 2018 and we had recently moved into our first house, which in itself was and still is a huge project but more on that another time. Moving house made me realise how much stuff I actually had, how much dead stock I had of things I wasn't really happy with or things that didn't sell well and I knew then, I really just wanted to focus on the illustration and not the product development side of things.

2019 was all about growing my business online so I could have my weekends back and sell without having to leave the house and lug around boxes full of stock! I'd actually opened my Etsy shop in 2018 after doing Nikki McWilliams online Etsy course but sales were few and far between and I didn't have much on there at all. The following year things did pick up on Etsy as I expanded my card range and one card in particular seemed to find itself at the top of Etsy searches and meant I was getting a few sales a week, that might not seem much for some but for me it was great.

With things ticking along in the background I had much more time to work on new things and really think about where I wanted to take the business and after doing another online course at the beginning of lockdown, this time it was Leona from Indie Roller's Digital Bootcamp, I finally had the vision to create this site and start moving things in a slightly new direction!

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