Featured Designer: Coffee & Paper Company

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Tell us about yourself!

I live in a town called St. Helens in England. It’s a small town, historically famous for coal and glass production. It’s in the North West part of the country, roughly halfway between Liverpool and Manchester, which is great because those two cities have produced so many great artists, musicians and writers. It’s a really creative part of the U.K. It’s a great place to live because, as well as Liverpool and Manchester, we are also only 45 minutes from the coast and 1-hour from the Lake District and  Snowdonia Mountain Range. This means I have both vibrant city amenities and peaceful open space on my doorstep. With 3 daughters, 2 cats and 1 dog, a lot of my spare time is taken up looking after them. I do have some hobbies. I enjoy yoga. It clears my mind, as well as invigorating my body. I also love all kinds of music — my favorites bands are Arctic Monkeys and Foals. I also love watching crime and spy dramas – my recent favorites are Bodyguard and Killing Eve.

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Tell us about the space where you do your work.

My work space is currently a nook inside our living room. For a while, I was set up in another room, but as I spend any spare minute designing, I felt isolated from the rest of the family. Now I can work as much as possible while still joining in with family time!

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What is your background in art/design? What got you started creating?

I have always been creative and loved art. I studied graphic art and design at Leeds University and it allowed me to experiment with lots of different design media – painting, photography, digital editing – and it just made me even more enthusiastic for art and design. After graduating, I worked for IKEA for over ten years in the communication and interior design department. I really enjoyed this, as I have always had a passion for interior design, so I was able to be creative but I also enjoyed the challenge of coordinating all the practical aspects of ensuring a new room layout was completed on time. I did miss creating artwork and began experimenting in my spare time, but I was a little nervous and lacked self-confidence. When I came across Zazzle, it seemed like a great opportunity to test myself so I began to make designs and upload them. For around a year, I worked at IKEA during the day and worked on my designs in the evening, as well as looking after my three daughters, which was pretty exhausting! I was delighted when my designs started to become successful, but it was unsustainable to keep juggling IKEA and my design work. It was really scary, but I took the plunge and left IKEA to go full time focusing on my designs! It’s been quite a journey, but I love designing and really want to make a go of it.

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Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

I look all around for inspiration – nature, interiors, fashion and will make sketches or write notes – which usually end up making total sense to me and no one else! I always carry a notepad and pen!

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When do you feel most creative? Your least?

I think like most people, I find it hard to force ideas and try to let them come to me naturally. I have always found I am more creative in the evening. The peace and quiet helps me to get in ‘the zone’ and then I can be quite prolific.

What are your favorite products to design on Zazzle?

I love designing Christmas cards! You can never start too early!

If you could wish for one new product on Zazzle, what would it be and why?

I love plants and gardening. I could imagine Zazzle coming up with some great products for this sector.

What was the very first Zazzle product that you sold?

I sold one of the first invitations I had uploaded; it was titled ‘Starry Night’ and it sold on November 1st, 2016, only 6 days after I had uploaded it. I was still experimenting at that stage, but from that moment, I was hooked!

What are your favorite product types to design on Zazzle?

I love designing all kinds of paper products, which comes from my own love of owning beautiful stationery.

What are your five favorite products in your store?

Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Designers?

Believe in yourself – it can take a long time to find your own style. Also, it can feel isolating working on your own so engage with the Zazzle forum and fellow designers online.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?

I love animals! We have previously owned chickens and we currently have 1 guinea pig, 1 dog and 2 cats, but I would love have more land and then own a donkey, a llama, a pig, more chickens! 2

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