Bright, colourful and quirky geometric animal illustrations are how Founder Anna Carroll-Smith got her brand noticed and won our Business Booster Competition. Receiving a £3,500 prize package including exhibiting at Top Drawer S/S 2018, we caught up with Anna ahead of the exhibition to discuss all things small business related…
What made you decide to set up your business?
“I originally trained and qualified as a solicitor but quickly realised that it was not for me. I needed to do something that challenged me creatively but wasn’t sure what I wanted that to be. So in 2009 I packed up everything and went travelling for a year. Once I came back I had a better sense of what I wanted to do but it wasn’t until I had my two children (who are now 3 and 4) that I realised I wanted to work for myself and create fun colourful things. It’s all just grown from there.”
How do you come up with new product ideas and designs?
“Honestly, I have no idea! The designs themselves seem to just pop into my head and I draw them as they come to me. I then try and work out what products they would suit and what I would like to see them on. Sometimes I do draw for specific products (such as some fabric patterns I am currently working on) but this tends to be when I get approached about exciting collaborations or commissions. I also like trying new things and have a million ideas of what I want to do next. Sometimes making the decision of which products to make is the hardest bit!”
What do you do as a small business to get your name out there and get recognised?
“This is something that I’m constantly working on and is hopefully evolving as I grow. It can be really hard to get your name out there, especially in a marketplace that is already saturated. I like to think that my designs do the talking and it's just up to me to try and make sure as many people see them as possible. One thing I have learned though is that it is worth just emailing people/companies and asking to work with them. Seems simple, but to begin with I found this really hard. Two of the big collaborations I did last year thought would not have come about if I hadn’t just emailed them and asked!”
How important is a good website and social media in supporting a small business?
“Very important I think. I know that having a good website is the next big thing on my to-do list. I also know from looking at analytics that most of sales come as a direct result of social media posts. Staying in people’s minds and reminding them of what you are doing is key in making sure people invest in your business and care about what you are up to. People cannot love your products if they are not aware of them!”
Why did you want to exhibit at Top Drawer?
“I attended Top Drawer as a visitor in 2010 and was blown away with the exhibitors and their creativity. It has been a dream for me since then to exhibit myself. It is such an amazing opportunity to get your brand out there and get noticed as it’s such an important retail event. I cannot believe I am actually going!”
Discover more about Ted and Kip:
Who else is heading to Top Drawer London? Come visit us on stand Y54 14-16 January 2018 at Olympia London and meet the sponsored creative businesses using Printed.com to thrive - Ted & Kip and The Completist, plus brand ambassador The Curious Department.