If you’ve been wondering why the blog has gone quiet this year that’s because Drawn by Rhiannon is now on YouTube! The Drawn by Rhiannon YouTube channel is full of behind the scenes sneak peeks, how-to videos, print designing and so much more. Click the photo below to head over there. It would be super lovely if you could subscribe to the channel while you’re there!
With lockdown starting to ease I’m back in the studio. I’ve got lots of new items to sew so the website will be fully stocked again in no time! Keep an eye out on social media and the ‘New in’ section of the homepage for all the fab new items that will be landing very soon. I’m also working on some new products that I can’t wait to share with you all! Sign up to the newsletter to be the first to hear about when they’ll be available.
So what’s changed?
Events are still off the cards for the time being but I’ll update you as soon as I start doing markets again. Other than that, everything is pretty much back to normal. I’ll still be sending all orders contact-free by paying in advance for postage and popping the packages straight into the post box. Because of this international deliveries are still suspended for now as I need to visit the post office to process these. Please note there are still delays to the postal service. All orders are sent out First Class within 1-2 business days but please allow extra time for your order to arrive.
Gift wrap options are also back to normal. If you’d like to order something to cheer someone up, select the gift wrap option on the product page. Then enter their address in the shipping details section at checkout to send it straight to them. As with all Drawn by Rhiannon packaging, the gift wrap option is completely plastic free! Your gift will be wrapped in blue kraft paper and tied with blue polka dot ribbon. If you’d like to add a gift note, just leave your message in the order notes section at checkout.
Thank you so much for your continued support during this strange time!
Any questions? Drop them below or use the contact page. Stay safe everyone ❤️
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 cotton printed fabric, 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 which is powered by 100% renewable energy.
Eco friendly fabric printing
Once the fabric has been designed by Rhiannon, the files are sent to a fabric printing company in North Tyneside. 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!
Currently the water resistant fabric is printed in London but once a suitable base fabric is sourced this will also be printed in North Tyneside.
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, the reusable makeup remover pads, and the reusable sponges. Stay tuned for more reusable products being released soon to help you reduce your environmental impact.
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.
It’s not just the postal packaging that’s zero plastic; all product packaging is also 100% plastic free. The reusable beeswax food wraps are packaged in paper envelopes and the labels are printed on 100% recycled paper. The tags for the reusable makeup remover pads are printed on card and tied with vintage ribbon, and the packaging for the reusable sponges is also plastic free and fully recyclable at home.
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!
Spoiler alert: it’s a real roller coaster.
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?
Makeup bags are super versatile.
“That makeup bag is so pretty but I don’t wear makeup”. I often hear this from customers I meet at markets. If this is you, there’s no need to worry! Yes, the makeup bags are brilliant for storing your cosmetics. However they’re also great as project bags, toiletry bags, or giant pencil cases.
As for the wash bags, those are made with water resistant fabric so they have all sorts of uses! You could use them as pretty bathroom storage, or as a wipe clean bag to hold your favourite art supplies.
The difference is in the fabric
Inside, the makeup bags and the wash bags look different too. The makeup bags are made with a tough and durable cotton drill fabric and are lined with a complementary cotton lining. The wash bags are made with a water resistant fabric so aren’t lined. This is because a cotton lining would get damp when exposed to water.
As you can see, all the makeup and wash bags feature a zip along the top so whatever you choose to store inside will be safe. Each bag measures approximately 28cm wide x 20cm tall x 9cm deep meaning you can fit loads in. There’s enough space for an expansive makeup collection, or for all your toiletry essentials on holiday.
So many designs to choose from
What’s more, there are loads of designs to choose from! Here’s just a few of the latest prints available right now.
If you’re looking for something fun and fruity, the banana wash bag is the one for you! I love the contrast of the yellow bananas against the aqua blue background – very tropical.
If you’re more interested in insects (a big trend for this year by the way) then check out the fab ladybird wash bag. The classic combination of black, white and red will fit in well with any colour scheme.
Or if you’re looking for something super glam and girly to hold your favourite makeup essentials, look no further than the fabulous flamingo makeup bag.
Whatever your taste is I have a design suitable for you! Take a look at the full range here.
If there’s a particular design you would like to see on a makeup bag or wash bag, just let me know! Or if you have any suggestions of what you’d like to see next, such as mini wash bags, jumbo makeup bags… comment below to tell me.
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.
Meet the maker week 3 was all about future plans and dreams. My head is always full of ideas of where I want to see the business in the future so this was a great week for me.
Have you seen the first two weeks of the meet the maker challenge yet? Click here to them.
So without further ado, it’s time for meet the maker week 3!
Day 15: Motivation/goals
Feeling motivated can be really hard some days when running your own business, especially if you’re working every hour God sends and still not really getting anywhere. My end goal is to have my own place which is half shop, half cafe so that people can come and relax with a slice of cake and buy some lovely handmade goodies all in the same place.
Day 16: Workspace
I’m very lucky to have a fabulous studio at the bottom of my garden where I do all my drawing, designing, making and photographing. I’ve just written a blog post with a behind the scenes tour of the studio which you can read here.
Day 17: What I’m working on
I’m currently brainstorming a whole new range of items that aren’t fabric based. I’m thinking greetings cards, mugs, stickers… that kind of thing! These are now available to purchase in my Redbubble shop.
Day 18: Mistake or lesson
I have made so many mistakes with my business I can’t even count them all… but as long as I learn from it then it’s all OK.
Day 19: Dream collaboration
I would absolutely love love love to see my designs used on clothes! Originally I trained in fashion design so I’ve always got that in the back of my mind. Seriously tempted to make a banana dress to wear at markets…
Day 20: Design process
If you didn’t know that I design all my fabrics from my hand drawings, where have you been?? So just in case you weren’t sure, here’s what happens…
1. I see something that inspires me which I photograph for later.
2. I draw it – pens, pencil, paints.. whatever takes my fancy!
3. I scan the drawing into the computer and design a digital print.
4. The designs are sent to the fabric printing company in London.
5. When the fabric returns, I cut it up and sew it in to lovely things!
From start to finish it’s all done by me! (Except the physical fabric printing, I don’t quite have enough money for a fabric printer yet…)
Day 21: Throwback
I decided to choose this photo of my FMP show at Southampton Solent University as this is basically where Drawn by Rhiannon began! I made a homeware collection of cushions, notebooks, towels and buttons and several people asked me if I would be selling any of it, so I did ? The puffins were by far the most popular design so when I officially started Drawn by Rhiannon I chose the puffin to be my logo.
Day 22: Proud of
To be honest, the thing I’m most proud of is the fact that I’m still going! Running a small business is really challenging so I’m just really chuffed that I haven’t given up. Other than that, I’m proud of all the markets that I do every month. There’s so much prep work that goes in to a market and it’s an early start and a long day, so it would be easy to decide not to do them. But I love seeing all you lovely people in real life and getting to chat to you!
(I realised half way through doing these blog posts that there were more than four weeks in March so meet the maker week 3 and 4 will have extra days in them to fit all the days in.)
Welcome to meet the maker week 2! Have you read the first week of the meet the maker posts yet? If not, click here to catch up.
Read on to find out more in the meet the maker week 2.
Day 8: Product range
I love making matching products, especially if they’ll be used together like the flamingo makeup pads and makeup bag ? would you guys be interested in a special offer if you buy a makeup bag and matching makeup pads together? Let me know!
The flamingo makeup bag is available here, and the flamingo reusable makeup remover pads are available here.
Day 9: Story behind the name
Mine is super simple – my name is Rhiannon and I draw. I wanted a name that wouldn’t restrict me in the further if I wanted to branch out from fabric homeware items so I decided to go with Drawn by Rhiannon as no matter what products I would be making, it would always start with one of my hand drawings.
Day 10: You
In case we haven’t met before – Hello, my name is Rhiannon! I design all the fabrics from my hand drawings and hand make all the items myself . I’m one of those people that doesn’t particularly like having their picture taken so I chose one of me behind my market stall from last week at the make and mend market ? I love meeting all you lovely people in real life at the markets so if you’re ever in the north east when I’m at a market, please do come and say hello.
Day 11: Reducing waste
This is something I’m really passionate about so I’m working on a whole new line of products to help you reduce waste. This includes the reusable makeup remover pads and the reusable beeswax food wraps. I’m also thinking about reusable sponges and reusable paper towels. If you would like to see any other eco-friendly products please let me know.
Day 12: Hands at work
After all the sewing, the next step is photographing everything, editing the photos and uploading the new products to the website. I use Photoshop to even out the lighting and tidy up the background. I also use it to make the colours look as true to life as possible ?
Day 13: Photography
Photography is my biggest struggle with running my own business. It takes me as long to photograph and edit the photos as it does to make the items in the first place! I’ve finally worked out a good set up but it hugely depends on the British weather…
Day 14: How I learnt
I learnt how to draw properly when I started my fashion degree. You wouldn’t believe the difference having proper drawing lessons makes! That’s where I first learnt about print design. My mum taught me the basics of sewing when I started A Level Textiles and then I was thrown in the deep end with industrial sewing machines and overlockers when I started my fashion degree. After two years of unbelievably complicated garment construction I realised fashion design wasn’t for me. When I switched my major to fashion graphics, I learnt more about digital art and started to refine my print design skills. Every print I design teaches me something new so I’m constantly learning everyday.
Other than that, everything I’ve learnt has been through experience. I’ve made so many mistakes and felt like giving up a lot, but I keep on trying. Running your own business is really hard work so a big shout out to everyone who has made it a success ?
Meet the maker week 2 really focused on background information about me. Would you like to know more about my design process, education or past projects? Let me know by commenting below. Week 3 coming soon!