Shop of the Week: Ukulele

It’s a Monday again and I’m happy to introduce you all to Georgia, our Shop of the Week owner. This young designer lives in the sea-side city of Brighton, England and is the proud owner of two shops at Etsy.

Ukulele is filled with lots of whimsical things i love – hair fascinators, brooches, bandeau, earrings and necklaces; and BangBangCrashis a fun store for cute animal costumes. Today, let’s get to know more of her and how she successfully manages her home based business.

What’s the inspiration behind your shop’s name?
I wanted the name to be something which sounded pretty, and rolled off the tongue, but also didn’t take itself too seriously. Ukulele is perfect – it looks lovely when its written, sounds nice when spoken and comes with a sense of playfulness, it has elements of folklore and music wound up in it, and that brings in a bohemian element as well.

How old is your shop?

I have been trading on Etsy for almost two years now in total, with my other shop, BangBangCrash. Initially this is where I sold all my accessories, but last September I started making all-in-one animal fancy dress costumes they fitted so well under the name that I decided to set up an alternative place for my jewelry etc.

I think this was a real turning point for me as, although I loved the name BangBangCrash, I felt a little confined by it when it came to making more feminine pieces. Ukelele has been up and running for about nine months now, and provides me with the perfect place to mix fun and colour with luxurious romance.

 
What inspired you to start your own home business?

I have always been artistic and making things has been something I have always loved to do, whether it was making birthday presents for friends and family, or clothes and accessories for myself. At University I studied English Literature, and when graduation started to get close I had to make a decision about what my next step in life was going to be.
I had spent the last three years writing and, although it is something I will certainly come back to later in life, I decided that for the time being I would prefer to focus my artistic talents and try to forge a way for myself as a maker.
It was a scary decision to make as I had never attempted selling any of my handmade goods before. My first stall was before I graduated, at a local ‘handmade’ event in a pub, it wasn’t exactly professional, but I sold a lot of stuff and it gave me the confidence I needed to make the decision to go in to business.

Can you give us a peek on the creative process involved in your craft?

Ideas come to me constantly, often at quite annoying times such as when I’m brushing my teeth or nodding off to sleep! As soon as I have an idea I write it down so I don’t forget it, and then I will come back to it and spend a little time pondering on it and drawing an idea of how it will look. The next stage is trial and error.
Sometimes designs work fantastically first time around, and sometimes they take a little bit of playing around to get right. Occasionally I will leave a design that has been bothering me for a few days, and when I come back to it everything clicks in to place, and I figure out how to make it work. I love this aspect of the human mind- that even when you aren’t consciously thinking about something your brain is working through it independently.
My favourite things to make are the floral fascinators, they take time, but are so much fun, I buy various bunches of silk flowers from various different places and then I sit in amongst the pile, picking colourful blooms and seeing which ones go together, adding a leaf or a bird or a butterfly here or there, it’s so much fun to be surrounded by so many pretty things!

What was the toughest challenge you faced so far?

Running two businesses can be really hard because when I spend time on one business I end up worrying about the other, and this can leave me feeling frayed. On the whole I am a confident and happy person, and I am able to remain calm and focused but everyone has their down days and occasionally I can find it difficult keeping positive, and I let the stress get the better of me. I think as a new, small business it can be really easy to worry and feel lost and overwhelmed.
her workroom

How did you get over it?

When I feel like I might be loosing faith in myself, I talk to the people around me. I am lucky to live in a beautiful big, shared house, with a lot of other creative people, and so there are always friendly faces around. if I feel like things are getting too much for me, I can go and chat to someone and that helps me get my feet back on the ground and put everything in perspective.

Please Name:
the things you do when you’re not busy in your shop:

I face-paint at festivals and children’s events, I hula-hoop in the green near my house, I watch friend’s gigs and I dance in clubs, I have barbeques with my housemates, I curl up and watch movies with my boyfriend, I go shopping for second-hand treasures.

The sea is only a five minute walk from my house and one of my favourite things to do is to watch the sun set over the shell of the broken down pier, with the starlings swooping around, it’s always a magnificent sight.

stuff inside your bag you can’t leave home without:
My red lipstick
My I.D (I suppose I should take it as a compliment but people really don’t seem to believe that I’m 24!)
A tub of bubbles (I’m a bit of a bubble fanatic…hmmm perhaps my indignation at being asked for I.D is a little ill-founded….)

your favorite shops

I LOVE Spin Thread. Her jewelry is the perfect combination of elegance and brilliant colour.
The  House of Mouse cracks me up. I’m a sucker for anything cute and this really takes the biscuit.
Julish Land. This fairy-tale jewelry is beautifully unique.

your top 3 favorite picks from your shop:

What tips would you want to share for aspiring home based entrepreneurs like you?

Maintain your individuality, don’t try to fit in with what’s already there but forge your own way forward, and don’t give up on yourself; starting a business takes a lot of self-motivation and that’s a difficult thing to maintain when you’re second guessing everything. Stay strong and focused and have faith in yourself and your own ideas.
Georgia, owner/designer of Ukulele
Any message to your customers and the people who support you? 
Just a big smile and a bucketload of love, I wouldn’t have got anywhere without the support that I have received, so thank you.
~*~*~*~
 
If you like anything you see here, please hop over Ukulele for more sweet things and enjoy Free WorldWide Shipping!  (there’s Free WorldWide Shipping at BangBangCrash too)  Thank You So Much Georgia for this interview:)
***
if you want to be featured as Shop of the Week,
please send me an email at
theshopbug@yahoo.com
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