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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

That Moment When You Realise You're Doing Well

This is such a sappy post.

I am a sap.

But I'm not gushing about the love of my life (even though he is the BEST dude!) but instead it's about my business.

Silly Badger Designs is something I really didn't know if I could pull off but in typical me fashion I ran in, jumping in the deep end and loving the challenge... there wasn't a point at the beginning where I thought I couldn't do this.

Sure I've had moments where I've wondered why I'm doing this, what's the point, people don't really care about what comes out of my mind and then I'll see the orders I receive or I'll get a review that just gets me so choked up.

I love what I do. I love that I have this opportunity to splash some colour in to the world and to bring ratty joy to lots of people.

I can honestly say when I first started Silly Badger Designs there was no part of me that could have imagined what I've become. I didn't have a plan, I was winging it every second.
And that worked for me, it allowed me to see my strengths, to learn new skills, to hone old skills to grow.
I would never have imagined myself making rat products like I do, I never would've dreamed that I would be drawing peoples pet rats, giving them a memento of a dearly loved and lost pet, something that someone would treasure.

I never thought that possible.

And as I write this my printer is setting up ready to print out some new products, something that I'm making from scratch and I'm checking my Etsy stats and just seeing the massive jump I've made in stats and sales in just a year...
Unfortunately this year has been a financial struggle for us at times and making enough money has been a constant stress for me as a self employed person, I'm not complaining, this is life and we've been living together for just over a year, money being tight is just something that happens but it has taken my attention away from the improvements in my business.

Lately I've been looking at everything I do from the shop to the site, the images, the artwork, the packaging and I'm seeing such a huge improvement, I'm seeing myself learn and it makes me feel so warm and fuzzy now that I can take a step back and see the whole picture.

And you know what? It makes me want to jump with sheer joy!

I have the most amazing customers and commissioners who get me doing some incredible work, working with people who have lost pets or who just adore their pet and want to show it to the world.

I've been doing lots of gift commissions lately that I can't show for obvious reasons and there is a super new product coming very soon! A product I'm very excited about and can't wait to share.

So after my little sappy post I will leave it here and get back to work!

Thanks for reading and following my little adventure in to the illustration/creative world!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Rat Week at the Badger Den!

So this week I had a few commissions to work on and not much else thanks to me getting all of the Christmas designs sorted last week.

I will admit I felt a bit lost and commissions can be a slow task with the communications that need to happen etc and people get busy so a lot of commission time is spent with the painting in the works waiting to get the customers approval so I was lost on what to do.

I feel like this is the first time in months where I'm actually ahead of everything and ridiculously organised for the near future so this really has been an odd week. Super relaxing and probably what I needed after being so insanely busy but odd.

So as my current commissions are ratty based (I'm having so much fun!) I thought I'd stick with that theme and have a ratty week!
So this week I had a new ratty painting each day so I'm now holding five new designs!

If all goes to plan I will have these illustrations available as A5 and A6 art prints tonight and three originals for sale!

So check out Silly Badger Designs Etsy Shop from Friday evening GMT to find out more!

I haven't had a chance to draw any fun rats for a while now as it's all been very Christmas based so I've loved having this week to take the time and create some adorable paintings! It's been nice and refreshing and broken my art block a bit.

Sometimes you just need to go back to where you started and remind yourself why you're doing this.

Which takes me back to my commissions that I'm also loving at the moment, I'm working with some awesome animal lovers which makes everything that little bit more awesome. I can honestly say right now when it comes to my job I am extremely happy and so grateful for all the opportunities I'm getting along with the love that I'm getting for my work and the new designs recently.

So a HUGE thank you to everyone who's liked stuff, left wonderful feedback, made orders and left sweet reviews that make me all warm and fuzzy inside! You're what make my job worthwhile!

Now I need to head off and get some product photos taken so I'm ready for the uploads later on!
See, I'm in such a good mood I'm not even moaning about the product photos! ;)

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!

Friday, 1 September 2017

Hello September!

How is it September already!?

I'm now starting to feel as though 2017 is being pulled away from me and leaving me behind! Although I will admit I have been able to keep up with so much lately that I've been run off my feet to the point that I will admit to not even knowing what day it is!

But September is here and the Autumn feelings are starting to kick in... so what does that mean?

It means the Christmas Update has happened at Silly Badger Designs

Of course I know this is way too early for most people but I also know there are a few early birds out there that like to get a head start. It also works well for me with listing times etcas I'd prefer not to have Christmas stuff heading over in to 2018!

Oh gosh, did I really mention 2018!?

But anyway! There are lots of new shiny goodies over in the shop now for you to browse through, many are ratty related and some are just damn cute!

You may recognise a couple of designs including this one! Of course this is one of my favourites and now comes with it's own 3D red ribbon on the top. 

This is the first time I've had Christmas designs available through Etsy as last year I just ran out of time so I'm quite excited and proud that I managed to get this all done!

Running Silly Badger Designs has been such a full on adventure and one big learning platform, I've learned so much about business and art but at the same time I'm learning so much about myself.
A year ago I wouldn't have believed I could've been this organised!
A year ago I would've expected Christmas stuff to start popping up around late November or not at all!

So this has been a massive boost on all sides and I'm very excited to release it today!

So go enjoy some early festivities or grumble at me which is more likely!

As I've been ending every instagram post that includes anything with Christmas in it... I'm so sorry! :P

I'm now hoping to spend the first weekend of September resting and chilling out after not having a weekend off in over a month!

And then on with commissions! (pet portraits are still open!) 

Have a great weekend and happy September!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Pet Portraits and Etsy Update announcement

It's approaching that time of year, Autumn and September are just around the corner and that's when things start getting busy for me!
I want to post this here for anyone who's interested in a pet portrait in the near future after my experiences last year.
I'm still offering pet portraits, they're still at £25 for A5 and £35 for A4, for more information please go here
I've found it's better to get your order in earlier rather than later for any orders even Christmas orders that seem far away right now and especially if you're not in the UK.
I don't want anyone not receiving orders in time for certain dates.

But that's not me saying get your orders in now, just bear in mind that it's better to get custom orders to me by the end of October/mid November to guarantee it will be delivered.

And on that slightly festive note... oh gosh the joys of running a small art business!

My Christmas products are going to be going live on September 1st! Yes, a  week tomorrow! This is mainly for anyone who wants to be super organised and so that Christmas products don't go in to 2018, I'd rather not have cards and decorations hanging around in February!

And yes, this year unlike last year where I was running extremely late and didn't really know what I was doing I have lots of products planned!
I have a variety of cards, some gift tags (one set is featured above!) and some tree decorations going live next Friday and there's a part of me that is super duper excited by this even though it's still very warm and sunny outside and I'm still wishing I could go sit on a beach for an afternoon in the sun and relax.

I'm now in full glitter and winter mode! That's what happens when you spend two days solid working on Christmas products!

So next week will be full of printing and packing products and taking those annoying product pictures before the update goes live!
I feel like I'm going to be working over this bank holiday weekend!

Hope everyone is having a glorious summer!

Remember custom orders are always welcome! 
You can also find me on:-

Monday, 7 August 2017

Colouring Pages!

This has been a new adventure for me as I had never offered this kind of listing before, it's a nice listing as I have less work to do... Me not enjoy going to the post office? Whatever do you mean!? ;)

But this past week among other things I have been working hard on transforming some former pages of line art in to some fun downloadable colouring pages!
These products don't include any physical item, instead once you've made your order you will be emailed a link via etsy to download as many copies of the lineart you like so that you can print them out and colour them to your hearts content!

These colouring pages are suitable for all ages of colouring enthusiasts like myself, yes even an illustrator enjoys colouring in things other people have drawn!

There are currently three designs available.

A fun illustration featuring a cute pair of blue tits in a catkin tree!

A busier illustration of a couple of great tits in a tree surrounded by foliage.

The busiest of the bunch, my woodland badger surrounded by spring flowers including daffodils and violas.

So whatever your level of skill or need is at there's something to suit anyone here, so if you're interested go to the Silly Badger Designs Shop now to get your paws on some!

Happy Colouring!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

End of July Etsy Update!

Silly Badger Designs Shop!

Yes, it has finally happened! The Etsy shop has had a nice shiny update with some super fun new items! I've had lots of fun creating this lot and have had so many good comments already! What a great way to end July!

So what's new? I hear you ask! Well to start of I'm going to show off a product that should have been made a while ago. If you've been reading my blog for a while now you may remember my little high fiving raccoon affectionately named Meeko after the raccoon in the Disney Pocahontas film. Well I absolutely love that little guy but he's never been made in to anything, he was just available through my redbubble shop but in such an ocean of artwork I feel like he gets a bit lost in the crowd.
So earlier this year I turned him in to a cute celebration card!

And now you can get your paws on him through the shop!

Next up is one of my new art prints, I've actually listed 4 new art prints to the shop in this update including my two new wildlife prints of a fox and a rabbit, a lovebird print that's looking very adorable even if I do say so myself and this...

Meet Bailey bear. Bailey started life as a daily doodle to make myself happy. I am having a bear moment right now so anything beary goes! When I posted a picture of the doodle up on instagram I had a lot of people saying they loved him and thought I should make it in to a real drawing and of course I didn't need much encouragement to do so. So Bailey came to be and he's just brilliant. He's available as both an A5 and an A4 print and is proving to be a hit with people wanting artwork for their bathrooms!

And the final product I'm going to feature today is something a little different to my usual. I have been toying with the idea of making new products, something different and handmade so when I got my paws on some printable shrink plastic there was no stopping me.

You may recognise the ratty designs from a lot of my previous ratty work, they feature on the cover of my ratty zine, ratty faces design on redbubble and my rat mum/mom and dad designs. I made them in to charms and made some little bag charms out of them with lots of beads and fun. For those who don't know, I'm not only an illustrator, I'm just a crafty little badger who makes lots of different quirky things!
These ratties were so much fun to make and I'm hoping people will like them. I'm also planning on potentially putting together a little ratty gift bundle as it gets closer to the festive season and it will probably include one of these alongside the zine and a bookmark.

As always, all of my products are completely hand made by myself so they are all made with love, if you're interested in what you've seen or would like to see more of the update as I didn't want to make a mega post full of products you can go over to the Silly Badger Designs Shop and take a peek or even buy something!

Thanks for being awesome!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Being Self Employed and Freelance

I feel I have to get this out somewhere, over the past 18 months of running SBD and actually being self employed I've had so many people with the attitude that I sit around all day and have it easy.
I don't have a "real" job. I don't do much work.

I let it go most of the time because it just means that people don't understand the reality of what I do.

Being self employed is not the easy route. Being self employed and running a small business where you make every product yourself and do all the paperwork and dealing with customers and marketing yourself is not simple.
In fact on most days I can work more hours than the average employed person, I don't have weekends and holidays and I most definitely don't have a normal routine!
If work needs to be done then it needs to be done and most of my work includes a deadline.

I love running my little business, it's opened up so many opportunities for me and it's given me a chance to work with companies by designing logos or work for websites etc. I love the challenges I receive and all the work I get to do.
I actually enjoy all the advanced planning that needs to happen with this kind of business, I've been plotting Christmas since late April! I enjoy the packaging designs and creating each product by hand. I like being an independent business and I love the fact that each product I make is made completely by myself.

I love my job.

And it is a job.

I hate the stigma that goes with artists/illustrators and self employed people running craft businesses. I hate the fact that it gets classed as a fake job or a way of getting out of a real job. I hate how people think it's so easy.
All the people I know running small businesses work their arses off to earn their money. They have to work with people who can be rude and spiteful comparing handmade work to something that's been mass produced. People running a small creative businesse are paying the bills with the money they earn, they're keeping a roof over their families heads, putting food on the table, they are real people who work super hard for the money they earn and in this business the money isn't great because people believe it should be cheaper.

Being self employed doesn't make you better than anyone else but it sure as hell doesn't make you worse than anyone else.

I'm not meaning to sound like I'm ranting here because the people who support me are blooming brilliant. I've just seen so much negative lately towards people I know including myself and it's starting to grind on me.

I've heard so many nasty things about being self employed or running an art business like it's fake, like you're a lazy hippie and should get a real job.
The people saying this really don't understand that by running a small business you are taking on many real jobs at once!

But like I said, I'm not saying either side is better, it's a job and it puts food on the table, that's the base fact of it all. Yes, I love my job as I'm sure many other small business owners do but when it comes down to it we are doing it to survive, we're just lucky enough to be doing something we love.

It just winds me up when my job is seen as nothing, I don't make real money, I don't do real things, it's not worth anything. It makes me feel ashamed of myself...
It makes me doubt everything so much and lately I've dealt with a lot of bad stuff with my business and it really makes me feel like giving it all up. Like it's not really worth anything.

Okay maybe I'm ranting.

Using myself as an example, the fact is that I make people happy, I have many happy customers who tell their friends/family about me or who return themselves for more. I have a client base who return for their businesses, I have amazing reviews from a variety of people I've worked with from companies to private customers all saying good things.
I make good money from my work for someone whose business has only been going for 18 months! People know of me and people like my work.
And yet I allow simple minded, rude people to make me feel like I should give it up because it's not a real job.

It's insane.

So to all the other self employed awesome people running their own small businesses like troopers who put their heart and soul in to every product they make, the people who spend hours creating, the people who put so much care in to making everything perfect, who have insane hours trying to get everything done in time and so much more.
You are amazing and inspire me every day. You make me realise that I might not do what everyone believes to be perfect but I'm bloody brilliant at what I do and I shouldn't give up.
Nobody should give up on what they love and what they're good at.

I don't know why I felt like I needed to rant this, I guess everything has just been building up lately and I'm feeling like I need to stand up for myself and to stand up for other people in similar positions to myself.

Just remember, self employment and small business doesn't = waste of time and fake. It actually means extremely hard working and determined person.

Sorry for the rant, I guess it had to come out somewhere, normal business will resume soon I promise! Once I've gotten all these product descriptions and images ready...
If you managed to read this far then thank you.