Doing something creative is at the heart of my every day; whether it’s stealing 10 minutes to do some crafting, writing a blog post, designing stickers or working with my clients, at work, on a new concept, it’s what keeps me happy. On the days where I’m in a slump, days we all struggle with from time to time, it’s other creatives that keep me going; just last week I was listening to Emma Gannon’s podcast and I felt more inspired to write than I had done in months! The ‘A chat with…’ series gives me a chance to gain insight and celebrate fellow creatives’ work.
So with all that in mind, today I’m back having a chat with Teri from The Lovely Drawer. I’ve met Teri a few times now and she also designed a postcard for Fred & Bell in the summer; working with Teri was easy peasy and she completely understood what I wanted from the get go. Teri is a designer, illustrator, stylist, crafter; her style is instantly recognisable and always has a clean and crisp feel to it. Today we talk small business, juggling workloads and keeping creative. I especially loved Teri’s mentioned of Trello, a girl after my own heart!
Hey Teri, it’s so great to have you here. Let’s kick things off with a little introduction to who you are…
My name’s Teri, I’m 29 and I’m a Christian, wife, designer and blogger. I live in Shepherds Bush in London, residing in a cosy Victorian terrace flat where I also work. I’ve always been a creative through and through so there’s never been any doubt on anybody’s mind that I would end up doing something along those lines.
For readers who haven’t heard about The Lovely Drawer, could you tell us all about it and how it came to life?
The Lovely Drawer came about because my husband nagged me to start a blog. He thought it was a shame that I didn’t document any of my little projects and felt it would be a great online portfolio for the future. I kept on resisting, using the excuse that I didn’t have time. I was working as an in house designer for a greetings card company at the time and as I started to feel less and less creatively stimulated I thought he might just be right. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but it served as a creative outlet and gave me a space to push myself to try new things and improve my skills. I kind of forgot anyone read it most of the time and in the beginning I’m pretty sure no one did. The name came from my final project at uni which was all about our attic and the drawers that mum would hoard with all sorts of crafty bits and pieces. It was always fun to root around and think up new projects from what I found.
I started getting freelance design work from it soon enough and so juggled that alongside my full time job for about a year. It brought me to breaking point and I decided I needed to reduce my days to four at my day job, which was a relief. Six months later I made the jump and left my job to brave starting my own business for real. I’ve been doing it full time for just over 2 and a half years now.
As well as blogging at The Lovely Drawer, you sell wedding stationery and prints and run brush lettering workshops. How do you go about juggling them and keeping yourself organised?
With difficulty is the answer. I frequently feel overwhelmed but at the same time I love the variety that doing lots of different things gives me. This year I actually started using Trello for online organising so that I have a clear idea of work flow and events, as well as getting reminders. I quite often panic that I haven’t ordered enough materials for a workshop or missed a print deadline for a client but it’s usually fine. My blog is probably the most fluid and least organised part of what I do to be honest. Unless I have a sponsored post I’m working on, all the other content is just created in and around my other commissions. Sometimes I get frustrated I don’t have more time to give to it! I also took on two interns at different points this summer which was a massive help so I’m hoping to advertise again later this year for a longer stint which may lead to something more permanent.
I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but it served as a creative outlet and gave me a space to push myself to try new things and improve my skills. I kind of forgot anyone read it most of the time and in the beginning I’m pretty sure no one did.
In 2015 you won Best Craft & DIY blog at the Amara Interior Blog Awards; would you be able to share any successes or opportunities that have come about as a result of your win?
I think the main thing I noticed straight away was my inbox filling up with abundant press releases (sigh). Aside from that I think it mainly just got my name out there with other brands which is great. I’ve had many more brands reaching out to work together and more that fit my kind of aesthetic than before too. I’ve also had the opportunity to do more craft workshops aside from brush lettering on top.
I’ve always admired your Instagram feed and brand styling; how do you go about creating a consistent and fresh look across all channels?
Aww thanks! That’s lovely to hear. I think it’s a case of being very deliberate and doing a lot of curating rather than mindlessly branding and posting. My number one tip is to keep things consistent. Find your general aesthetic, colour palettes, photography style and stick to it. I always keep things simple and clean with lots of white negative space where possible. I use salmon, black, white and grey through all my branding and have tried very hard not to change that so that it’s recognisable.
Stepping away from your busy day-to-day, what’s the key to a happy life for you?
For me it’s God and finding joy in him rather than my situation. Situations change and life goes up and down but he stays the same. My happy place is with my husband and my church family, spending time with people rather than behind a screen. I guess within that is a work / life balance. That’s a tough one that I’m yet to master!
My number one tip is to keep things consistent. Find your general aesthetic, colour palettes, photography style and stick to it.
And finally, who would you invite to your famous person dinner party (dead or alive) and why?
Well firstly Mary Berry so that I could rudely ask her to bake dessert! I would also love to invite Louis Theroux and just listen to him recall stories of all the fascinating people he’s met.
Thank you Teri for your time!
Teri has also very kindly offered a 20% discount on all paper goods to readers of This Little Space of Mine with the code LOVELY1. Pop over to The Lovely Drawer to enjoy this special offer.
Thanks for reading – hope you enjoyed the post as much as I enjoyed putting it together!