Beetle Cherry is a-changing this year – I will be opening my very own ‘illustrated wildlife park’ full of some extra-special hand drawn animals. And I can’t wait! So here’s a bit of a sneak peak and some background for you…
I started Beetle Cherry about 3 years ago. It was my reaction to desperately wanting to leave my office job to do something creative, and with nothing creative on my CV my only way was to go for it solo. I had no plans, no experience and no concrete ideas about what to do so I just started making stuff – mostly jewellery to begin with, and then some prints. I came up with the name Beetle Cherry as I wanted something which referred to animals in a slightly abstract way (cos I like them), but that didn’t limit me to what I did with my business, which was a smart decision looking back now. It evolved, changed, grew and generally snaked itself along into something of a (very) small business. In May 2013, I got my dream job – designing childrens books at a publishers.
I have since been on a whirlwind 18 months of designing fun books, leaving Brighton and buying a house, growing my own veg, visiting lots of zoos, volunteering with the Sussex Wildlife Trust… but all this change meant I abandoned Beetle Cherry. All my creativity was being used up at work and all my energy being used up commuting. I did some craft fairs at Christmas, thinking I’ll just take all my current stock and sell it right? Wrong. I forgot how hard it is, and how amazing everyone else is. I temporarily thought about giving up on Beetle Cherry completely, but realised what I actually needed to do was go back to basics – ask why I’m doing it, who I am, what I’m passionate about, and rebuild my brand. So that’s what I’m doing.
To kickstart things, I bought The Design Trusts’ great ebook ‘Guide to start and run a successful craft business’. It asked loads of tricky questions but got me thinking about the big stuff, like what I’m passionate about, what I see as success, what I’m good at, and not. As I started writing things down, I quickly realised something really obvious – I should bring my two interests together – being creative, and being passionate about conservation and saving endangered animals.
So that’s what Beetle Cherry version 2 is going to be – my very own illustrated wildlife park (ie my website!), full of hand drawn endangered animals for you to love, learn about and take home.
I’ll be drawing a whole host of endangered animals (red pandas, snow leopards, lemurs, african wild dogs, rockhopper penguins… the list is sadly quite large) to look after in my park, which you guys can then ‘adopt’ to hang on your wall at home. I will also be donating some of my profits to conservation charities so we can all help wild animals. I plan to sell all the types of things I’m already selling (so prints, cards, brooches etc), as well as some exciting new things, but everything I do will be focused on endangered animals.
And I want to teach you some interesting things too, so when you buy your print of a red panda, I’ll tell you a cool fact about it, where they live and what they eat.
I’m going to blog more too, about what I’m drawing but also interesting conservation projects, amazing animals, places I’ve visited and my attempt at being more conservation-minded in how I live. I’ve got tonnes of ideas, but I will be taking the time to develop them, I might even ask you guys for some feedback on things. And to really help things, I am now working freelance designing children books and projects for some animal charities, so I’ll have more time and flexibility to focus on my new ideas.
I hope to relaunch Beetle Cherry in spring or early summer, and in the meantime I will continue with my huge clearance sale to give all my current stock new homes and raise some money for Beetle Cherry v2.
I’d love all of your support so please stick with me, and if you have any suggestions/thoughts/comments please do let me know!