With all the uncertainty going on at the moment I wanted to update you with what’s happening here.
Drawn by Rhiannon is still open! Everything is carrying on as normal as possible here. Instead of visiting the post office, I will be paying for postage online. Then I can pop your orders straight into the postbox to avoid contact. PLEASE NOTE items are taking longer than usual to arrive due to staff shortages at Royal Mail. The boxes that I send orders in fit through your letterbox so you don’t need to worry about missing your happy post or having to come into contact with a delivery person. Unfortunately international postage is suspended for the time being.
If you’re away from friends and family but want them to know that you’re thinking of them, I can help! Just select the gift wrap option when you add an item to your basket. Then at checkout you can leave a gift message and I’ll add a handwritten note to your order and send it straight to your loved ones. The blue kraft paper is currently unavailable so until I can get back to the studio, gifts will be wrapped in brown kraft paper instead. They will still be tied with lovely blue polka dot ribbon and fastened with paper tape so it will still be plastic free.
Plus if you live in Beverley I can hand deliver your order for free! Use discount code BEVFREEPOST at checkout to remove the postage charge. Please note this is only available for orders being delivered to Beverley. It will be invalid if the delivery address is not in Beverley.
What’s next for Drawn by Rhiannon?
I’ll be spending the lock-down photographing new items that I’ve made other the past couple of months. These will all be available to buy very soon so keep an eye on the ‘New In’ section on the homepage. There are a few sale items that I don’t have access to right now so I have removed those from the website for the moment to avoid disappointment.
The spring events have either been cancelled or postponed so I will update you once I know more. You can find all the events for later in the year here.
If you have any questions about anything, please get in touch. I’ll be keeping an eye on the developments and update you all if anything changes.
Finally a huge thank you to everyone that is continuing to support Drawn by Rhiannon at this difficult time. Being a small business is hard work at the best of times. With all the spring events being cancelled, online orders are more important than ever. Thank you so much for shopping small 💖
After the crazy Christmas season stock levels were looking a bit low. That could only mean one thing – time to order more fabric! I always like to spend January designing new prints so once I had a collection ready to go I put in the fabric order. If you don’t know anything about the pattern design and fabric printing process check out the about page. The first new print to be released was the sea turtles design which you can read about here.
With so many new items being made I thought it would be a good idea to make a quick list of what’s coming up in the next month. Lots of items are being restocked too so if there’s anything out of stock on the website don’t forget to sign up for product alerts on the product page. If you spot something on the list that you would like just let me know!
Reusable makeup remover pads
The reusable makeup remover pads were hugely popular over Christmas – I couldn’t make them fast enough! They’re really pretty and they’re kind to the planet too. Here’s a list of the new makeup pads coming soon:
Turtles Houseplants Bluebells Chickens Unicorns Apples Giraffes
Plus lots more extras of the favourites already on the website too!
The pencil cases were another firm favourite over the festive period. Their handy size means they can be used for all sorts of purposes. A handbag makeup bag, a travel sewing kit, or even a teabag pouch.
If you’ve not heard about beeswax wraps yet check out my post about them here. These are a super easy way to start your journey towards less single use plastic. A lot of the fabric allocated for these was just to make sure stock levels are topped up but there were a few new ones too.
Bluebells Turtles Houseplants
Wash bags are another product that are super versatile. Being made with water resistant fabric means they can be used for a whole host of reasons.
It’s great having the water resistant fabric for the aprons. It’s just so much easier to have a wipe clean apron if you’re a messy chef! A few of these completely sold out over Christmas so it was time for a restock.
Our planet is super important and Drawn by Rhiannon is committed to minimising the environmental impacts that come with running a business.
As lovely as it is to bring wonderful new items in to the world, it’s important these items aren’t causing too much of a negative impact on the environment. Here are the steps that Drawn by Rhiannon is taking to help save the planet.
Designed and handmade in the UK
This isn’t just some catchy tagline. Drawn by Rhiannon is committed to supporting British businesses and reducing transportation pollution. Because of this, keeping everything in the UK just makes sense. All the lining fabrics, thread, and packaging supplies are sourced within 12 miles of Drawn by Rhiannon HQ. Other haberdashery essentials such as zips and D-rings are currently sourced from Birmingham. Ongoing research is being carried out to find a more local supplier for these. And of course, everything is handmade by Rhiannon in her studio in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Eco friendly fabric printing
Once the fabric has been designed by Rhiannon, the files are sent to a fabric printing company in London. The cotton fabric is printed using digital pigment inks. This process of printing requires no water and uses around 95% less energy than screen printing. There is virtually no ink waste and no soapy residues from production. All this helps to reduce the environmental impact and the print quality is fantastic with fab vibrant colours!
Plastic free packaging
It’s lovely to receive some beautifully packaged happy post but not if it’s full of nasty plastic. All the packaging at Drawn by Rhiannon, as well as the gift wrap options, are completely plastic free. Orders are either wrapped in blue polka dot paper bags or blue tissue paper depending on size. Items are then packaged in cardboard mailing boxes, sealed with paper tape. The paper bags and mailing boxes can be reused or put straight in home recycling bins. The tissue paper can be reused or put in a compost bin as it’s biodegradable
As well as implementing eco-friendly policies in the running of the business, Drawn by Rhiannon wants to encourage other people to think in a more sustainable way too. Through the eco range of reusable products, Drawn by Rhiannon is offering simple changes that will drastically reduce plastic waste in customers’ homes. Find out more about the reusable beeswax food wraps and the reusable makeup remover pads. Stay tuned for more reusable products being released soon to help you reduce your environmental impact.
If you have any questions or suggestions about Drawn by Rhiannon’s environmental policies please get in touch. You can use the contact page or social media.
During the build up to Christmas in November and December I’ll be at markets all around the north east. These fab handmade gift markets are the perfect place to buy extra special presents for Christmas this year.
Read on to find out about all the events that Drawn by Rhiannon will be exhibiting at this year…
Saturday 9th November – Park Hotel, Tynemouth
The perfect place to start your Christmas shopping this year, with over 75 stalls from local businesses. The Park Hotel is situated by the roundabout just as you come in to Tynemouth, right by Longsands bay.
Saturday 16th November – Azure garden centre, Cramlington
Azure Garden Centre is hosting a Christmas Boutique every Saturday and Sunday in the lead up to Christmas. I’ll be there on Saturday 16th November for the opening day from 9am – 5pm. The boutique will feature local independent traders showcasing a range of unique crafts, seasonal gifts and food items. The garden centre is located close to Cramlington town centre and the A1 and A19.
Sunday 17th November – Redfox Gardenworld, Gateshead
I’ll be at the Redfox Christmas market on Sunday 17th November from 10am – 4pm. Support lots of local businesses and find unique gifts for your loved ones. There’ll be a chance to try your hand at candle making, have a delicious mulled wine, browse the stalls, sample freshly cooked pizza and hot doughnuts, create a Christmas wreath and much more!
Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th November – Spanish City, Whitley Bay
Spanish City is an iconic landmark in Whitley Bay and I’m very excited to be exhibiting at their first ever Christmas Fayre. With a variety of stalls, this is the perfect chance to enjoy a fabulous festive weekend with friends and family. I’ll be there on Saturday and Sunday from 10am until 6pm.
Wednesday 27th November – Kings Priory School, Tynemouth
From 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 27th November I’ll be at Kings Priory School for their Christmas shopping evening. Tickets include a glass of fizz or wine and can be purchased from either Percy Park Road School Office, Huntington Place School Office or from the Out of School Club. There will be a bar serving drinks and nibbles too.
Saturday 30th November – Trinity Church, Gosforth
I’m looking forward to meeting up with all my local Etsy friends for this year’s Etsy Made Local Newcastle Christmas market. The nation-wide Etsy Made Local Christmas markets are happening again this year and we will be running it for it’s third year in Newcastle. It will feature some of the best artists and artisan of the North East.
Sunday 1st December – Jarrow Hall, Jarrow
On Sunday 1st December I’ll be at Jarrow Hall for their Christmas Fair. The Fayre will showcase the latest local talent and support artists, designers and small businesses across the season. There will be a wide variety of stalls including ceramics, baking, glass, textiles, jewellery, metal, mixed media, recycled materials, painting or photography.
Monday 2nd December – Christmas in Corbridge
From 4pm – 9pm on Monday 2nd December I’ll be at Christmas in Corbridge feeling super festive! There will be carols, a brass band and more live music, over 50 stalls, street food, late night festive shopping, alpacas to meet and Santa’s grotto. Also the penultimate day of the 2019 Corbridge Christmas Tree Festival inside St Andrew’s Church which will be open on Monday night.
Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th December – Poplar Tree Garden Centre, Durham
By this point Christmas will be in full swing! I’ll be at Poplar Tree garden centre all weekend from 11am – 4pm. There will be over 60 stalls with businesses selling unique Christmas gifts, plus mulled wine, a visiting Santa, Christmas tunes and real reindeer!
Saturday 14th December – The Wood Yard, Newcastle
For my last Christmas market of the year I’ll be revisiting The Wood Yard for their Winter Market. This is a fab event full of local makers and crafters so it’s the perfect chance to get those last minute Christmas presents.
I’m very excited for the Christmas market season to start and I can’t wait to meet some of you face to face! If you’d like to know more about the location of any of these markets, visit the events page by clicking here.
At Drawn by Rhiannon everything is done by hand from start to finish.
Every item begins with an image drawn by hand by me which I scan in to the computer to make a digital fabric design. I then make all the items myself on my industrial sewing machine. I also make all the packaging myself, photograph the items and edit them to make them as clear as possible. Finally I list them on my website and write up a description for every item. It really is all done by hand!
To show you what I mean here’s a rundown on how the new rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads were made by hand, step by step. (You can take a look at the finished product on my website here.)
Step 1: Drawings
I love that every fabric I design begins with one of my drawings. I use all sorts of materials to draw with but for the rubber ducks I decided to use promarkers. These pens are brilliant for creating bold graphic designs which was exactly the look I wanted for the ducks. I chose a selection of rubber ducks from my collection (I have almost 100 now!) and started to draw. I initially sketched the ducks in pencil to get a rough outline to work with. Then I went over the lines I was happy with with a black marker and coloured in the shapes. These are the pages from my sketchbook that I scanned in.
Step 2: Digital print design
Once I’m happy with the drawings it’s time to make the digital print design. The drawings always need a bit of cleaning up so I go around the edge of the drawings erasing any fuzzy edges from the scanner. Thanks to the bold line work and colours, the duck drawings scanned in really well and were fairly simple to convert in to digital images. Next I make sure the colours are where I want them to be. For example, some of the ducks had scanned in with bolder colours so I wanted to make sure that the colour depth was even across all the ducks. I never want to over-edit on the computer otherwise the drawings will lose their hand-drawn character.
I had a good idea in my head about how I wanted the duck print to look which made it easier to arrange the design. Sometimes I’m not sure how I want the finished design to look so it can take a long time to work out a composition that I’m happy with. For the rubber ducks I simply wanted them in lines with a half drop repeat.
Step 3: Making
When I’ve finished the design, I send it to a fabric printing company in London. They print my designs on to the fabrics then send it back to me to be made in to all sorts of different items.
With the reusable makeup remover pads there are quite a few steps required to make them. First of all I have to cut out the printed fabric and the backing fabric. For the back of the pads I use a soft cotton towelling that I source locally.
Once the fabrics are all cut out it’s time to start pinning. About 70% of making anything seems to be pinning!
After pinning everything in place I sew the two sides together on the industrial sewing machine. I then topstitch around the whole pad to make sure it’s really secure.
Then I repeat the whole thing four more times to have a total of five makeup pads per pack. The final stage in the making process is to make the little wash bag that the pads are stored in. I make these with tulle that I buy locally so that you can see which design pads are inside each bag. It’s also a handy little bag to keep for washing the makeup pads in so that they don’t escape and get lost in the wash.
Step 4: Packaging
I include an information tag with the reusable makeup remover pads which also gets made by me. I designed the tag on my computer to include how to use the pads and the cleaning instructions. These tags are then printed on to card and cutout using my cricut machine. The cricut machine saves me a lot of time and cuts a lot more accurately than I would!
Step 5: Photography
Once the makeup pads are made, in their little bags and tied with a tag, they’re ready to be photographed. I do all my product photography myself in my studio. Luckily my studio has nice big windows that let in lots of natural light so as long as the British weather is being kind, I can usually snap some pretty good product shots.
Then it’s just a case of editing the photos to fix the lighting and make sure the colours are true to life. Finally they’re ready to list on the website!
I always write a small section about the inspiration behind the print design for a personal touch and make sure important details such as size and fabric type are listed.
If you select the Christmas gift wrap option, this is how your item will be wrapped. It features Christmas print kraft paper tied together with red twine and finished off with a festive cinnamon stick and jingle bell. A hand written charity Christmas card will be included so please leave your gift message at checkout. (If you would like to know which charities are being supported this year please get in touch.) Your order can then either be sent to you or it can be delivered directly to the recipient. Just type in whichever address you would like it sending to at checkout.
If your order is for a birthday gift, an anniversary present, a well done surprise or any other occasion, this is the option to choose. Your item will be wrapped in blue kraft paper and tied together with blue polka dot ribbon. A hand written note card will be included so please leave your gift message at checkout. Your order can then either be sent to you or it can be delivered directly to the recipient. Just type in whichever address you would like it sending to at checkout.
In case you didn’t know, Drawn by Rhiannon is run by me, Rhiannon.
The business isn’t named ironically – my name is Rhiannon and I draw stuff. I’ve had a few questions sent through social media recently so I thought I’d round them all up and do a blog post Q&A! Let’s dive straight in.
How did you start?
I studied fashion design then fashion graphics at university. After the first year of university I knew that I wanted to focus on print design so I moved from fashion design to fashion graphics. My final major project was a collection of homeware items made with my printed fabric – sound familiar? At the end of year show I had several people ask me if I would be selling any of the things I’d made so I was like hey, people want to buy this stuff! Using my FMP as a starting point, I opened Drawn by Rhiannon and it’s just grown from there. The puffins were the most popular design from my first collection so I decided to use the puffin as my logo.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! I love travelling and many of my favourite designs have been inspired by things I’ve seen on holiday. I’m also super inspired by the beautiful North East where I live, as well as animals, random objects and food.
Do you do this full time?
I work pretty much full time hours at Drawn by Rhiannon but I also work part time in a craft shop. This just makes sure I know all my bills will be paid. Plus it’s great to use some of my skills at the day job too. I would really love to just work on Drawn by Rhiannon all the time as my main income so hopefully one day I will be completely full time here!
How long does it take to design a print?
I get asked this question all the time and it’s such a difficult one to answer! Every print design is completely different so each one takes a different amount of time to create. There’s the drawing and colouring stage, the digital cleaning and then arranging stages. Some things are quick to draw but then take forever at the computer stage. Others take such a long time to draw but are relatively easy to digitalise. The pineapple took over 5 hours to draw! One thing that I can say about all my designs is that they are all a labour of love.
What are your future goals?
Like I mentioned earlier, my aim is to run Drawn by Rhiannon full time. I’d love to have my own shop filled with things I’ve made plus other local artists’ work. And I’d have a little tearoom in there too because I love baking!
Did you always want to be a designer?
Not at all! I was always changing what I wanted to do when I was older. For a long time I wanted to be a pilot but then I found out how much it cost to train and that you had to do physics so that kind of went out the window…
When I first went in to the fashion world, I thought I wanted to be a stylist. Then I wanted to be a fashion journalist – until someone who worked at a fashion magazine came in to give us a talk and told us that it was exactly like what you see on the devil wears prada. I basically fell in to fabric design because I never knew the job existed! It was only after a print design project in my first year that I fell in love with pattern design and knew that was what I wanted to do.
What do you do in your spare time?
What’s spare time again? Running Drawn by Rhiannon whilst working part time in the craft shop too doesn’t leave much room for spare time. But when I do get the chance to take some time off I love to travel. If I could get paid to travel I would drop everything and do that instead! Other than that I love baking and cooking, music (my ukulele featured in one of my print designs), and going to the beach.
Which is your favourite print?
Oh that’s so tough! There are some prints that I honestly can’t stand to look at because I spent so long designing them that I kind of never want to see them again… but I think my favourite prints might be either the bananas or the pandas. The bananas were really fun to design actually and I was so chuffed with how they came out! The pandas remind me of the amazing trip to Edinburgh zoo that inspired the design so I love that print.
What is your favourite item to make?
This changes all the time. I used to get so sick of sewing zips because everything I made needed a zip. Since then I’ve expanded my product range to all sorts of things that don’t need zips. At the moment I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for sewing coin purses and pencil cases.
If you have any more questions for me just comment below and I’ll answer them!
It’s lovely to see Drawn by Rhiannon items in their new homes!
I spend so much time designing and making all these items that it’s brilliant to see them in their new homes. When your order arrives, simply take a snap of your new item and upload to Instagram or Facebook. Don’t forget to tag @drawnbyrhiannon so I can see them!
It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a quick snap of your new item in use, or just out of the packaging!
It’s great to know that your order has arrived safely and that you love it!
It’s been especially fun seeing the beeswax wraps in use. So pleased so many of you are embracing a more eco-friendly lifestyle!
Every time you upload a photo of your purchase to social media and tag @drawnbyrhiannon, you’ll be entered in to a prize draw to win a £10 Drawn by Rhiannon gift voucher to spend on anything you want!
So what are you waiting for? Grab your phone and get snapping and sharing!
I love my job. I have always wanted to work for myself but I can tell you for free that running a small business is not easy. I’ve been running Drawn by Rhiannon for three years now and pretty much every day is a struggle. However, for me nothing beats being your own boss. Today is a beautifully sunny summer’s day so I’m writing this blog post with an old fashioned pen and paper outside in the garden. Of course I will have to type this up later but that’s a job for this evening when the sun goes down. And that’s one of the first things I love about running my own business – the flexibility.
It’s great to be flexible.
I have never particularly been a morning person so starting work at 8am every day isn’t an ideal situation for me. I find I’m much more productive later on and in to the evening so I love that I’m able to start work at 10am and work until after tea instead. Sometimes I can be working until two in the morning if that’s when inspiration has struck and that works great for me.
On the flip side, the negative aspect of working from home is that you’re never able to switch off. I’m lucky to have a fabulous studio at the bottom of my garden where I do all my sewing and most my designing. Unfortunately my internet doesn’t stretch to the studio so all the website designing, marketing and general computer work has to be done inside the house. There’s always a never ending to do list so the temptation to just quickly finish off a few things soon turns in to several hours of work when I’m supposed to be taking some time off. The work life balance is something I’m constantly battling with to prevent me from spiralling in to a full blown burnout.
Freedom is liberating
The main thing I love about running a small business is being able to design what I want. You wouldn’t believe the amount of junior designer jobs that mainly consist of making coffee and doing dry cleaning runs. I didn’t go to university for four years to do that! This is part of the reason that I wanted to work for myself because I didn’t want to lose my creativity or all the skills I worked so hard to learn. I love taking inspiration trips and deciding what prints to design next. And I love not having to work to a trend brief or having to stick to a restricted colour palette.
On the other hand, not having anyone to bounce ideas off can be difficult too. When you’ve spent several hours working on a new print design, staring at the screen and nudging layouts a millimetre here and there, it becomes impossible to know what looks good any more. As the business grows I plan to take on a couple of staff to help with the workload which would be a huge bonus (and would hopefully stop me going stir crazy and asking my pet rabbit which colour background she thinks works the best). Until then I rely on all you lovely lot to keep me sane so I really appreciate you replying to my questions and commenting on my social media posts.
Now for some serious talk – money. As much as I love what I do, at the end of the day I can’t keep doing it if it doesn’t make money. I’m fortunate to have a part time job in a craft shop which ensures my house and bills are paid for each month so I don’t have to worry about becoming homeless. However, if you’re working 30-40 hours a week running a small business, you kind of want to see some profit return on that right? This is something I still find very tricky to manage, especially as the gift-orientated things I make are really quite seasonal.
I was on such a high at the end of 2018 as I’d had my best Christmas ever and was actually taking a full time wage. Obviously this was due to a huge amount of work and I spent most of the Christmas break in complete brain dead zombie mode but that’s how it is. I even earned enough to book a holiday in February to Belgium (check out the blog posts about that trip here) which I was absolutely over the moon with.
However after all the buzz of Christmas, the start of 2019 hit me like a tonne of bricks. I barely made any sales and at Easter time I almost packed the whole thing in. Which brings me to my final point.
Confidence and motivation
Without a doubt the hardest thing about running a business is having the confidence and motivation to keep it going. There are times when I’m consistently working 12-14 hour days and only seeing pocket money in return. When you put your heart and soul in to something and people don’t really seem that interested it can destroy you. Sometimes I just have to keep ploughing on because I know if I stop and really take a look at things I might not be able to carry on (sometimes doing the books at the end of the month can be really devastating).
The words ‘I can’t do this any more’ have gone through my head more in the past three years than in the rest of my life combined, but so have the words ‘I love my job’. The minute I receive a message from a customer saying how much they love their order, or see someone smile at a print I’ve designed on my market stall, it makes it all seem worthwhile.
I would love to say that Drawn by Rhiannon has been an overnight success and every day is better than the last but that wouldn’t be true. It would mean the world to me if you could all support me to help me achieve my dream by shopping small and interacting with the brand on social media. One day I hope that I can do this full time and employ some wonderful people to work alongside me but I’m not there yet. After all, nothing good in life comes easy does it?
It’s the last instalment of meet the maker with week 4! Hopefully you’ve been following along and have seen the other weeks. If not, here’s a link to week 1, 2 and 3. Now let’s get on with meet the maker week 4.
Day 23: Top tip or advice
I’ve just written a new blog post with my top 10 sewing tools and tips ✂️ check it out here.
Day 24: Customers/feedback
I love hearing what you guys think of my work so if you’ve ever bought something from me, please leave a review on Google! Just click here and leave a quick comment?
Day 25: How it’s made
Everything is handmade by me in my north east studio on my industrial sewing machine ✂️
Day 26: Self care
This pin is by the fabulous Pom Pom Paints and I really need to take this advice! I am absolutely dreadful at giving myself time off but I’m trying really hard to be better at this as a few weeks ago I completely burnt out and it felt awful. Self care isn’t selfish guys!
Day 27: Anything goes
Following on from yesterday’s self care post, I thought I’d post this to show you that I have actually been taking some time off in the past week (turns out working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week is a bit much…) I love being outside and I find gardening really relaxing ? a week ago this was a big patch of weeds so I think it’s quite an improvement ?
Day 29: Most difficult make
For me the hardest thing to make is the insulated lunch bags – they’re quite tricky! They’re made up of a layer of water resistant fabric, a layer of insulating fabric and a layer of wipe clean lining so it’s quite tough to sew through. I’ve got just three left – pineapples ? unicorns ? and flamingos ? once those are sold I won’t be making them again so grab yours while you can! Find them here.
Day 30: Support
I’m very lucky to have a super supportive family who help me at markets, advertise to their friends and just keep me going ❤️ also the support that I get from all you lovely customers and followers is fantastic so a big thank you to everyone!
Day 31: Product in use/wild
I love seeing photos of my items in use so if you’ve ever bought anything from me, please take a quick snap of it and share!
And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed the March Meet the Maker challenge and found out all sorts of new things about Drawn by Rhiannon. If there is anything you’d like to know more about, please comment below with blog topic suggestions.
⭐ Drawn by Rhiannon is open for UK orders. Items can be sent as a gift straight to the recipient if you can't visit them during lockdown ⭐ Please allow extra time for orders to arrive due to Royal Mail staff shortages 📬