By Kate Marsden
I first met designer Liz Mosley when we had stalls next to one another at a Crafty Fox Market in Brixton (I think last year) although we’d known each other online for a while. I’ve always been really taken with Liz’s style and items such as her “winging it” pins feel particularly apt for me! Read on to find out more about Liz, her work and her discoveries in her new home town of Cardiff.
Tell us a little about you. What do you do?
Hi! My name is Liz and I am a graphic designer primarily, but I also run a little online shop selling cards, prints and other treats like enamel pins and washi tape. I love running my own small business especially as it helps me understand the struggles and joys that other small business owners face who often end up being my clients in the graphic design side of my business. Working with one woman bands and small business on their logos and branding is my favourite thing to do.
What does a typical day involve?
I am currently juggling running my business with looking after my son so there isn’t really a typical day. Recently I have started to have some childcare two days a week and so on those days I have a longer stretch of time to get stuck into work and push my business forward which has been really exciting. On those days, after I have dropped my son off I will head back home to work from my little home studio in our spare room. Usually in the day I am completing tasks for various freelance projects, packing orders from the shop, writing for my blog and taking photos for Instagram and my website. I love the variety of it all and having more time and space to be creative. On days when I am looking after my son, we spend a lot of time at the park, hanging out with friends and playing, but then when he goes down for his nap I am back to work, and trying to tick as many work things off of my to do list as possible in the limited time I have. It is definitely a constant juggling act, but I am mostly enjoying the challenge, and also the fact that I can fit my work pretty flexibly around looking after my son.
Where do you work? What is your studio space like? What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
My studio space is a small box room in our house. It is not a big space but I love it because it is my own space where I have all my tools and books and is full of inspiring and creative things. The good thing about working in the house though is that I can move about depending on what I need to do. I am often setting up spaces for photoshoots in the bedroom or the living room depending on where the light is best. When I am not working I love spending time with my family and friends, usually with food involved. I also like doing other crafty and creative things, like sewing and knitting (I am not very good at either but I enjoy them).
What do you consider to be the main challenges facing designer makers at the moment?
I think marketing and helping people find your products is a real challenge these days, especially as there are so many talented designer/makers out there. It is not always easy to stand out. The internet has been amazing for small business though as with social media there are lots of ways to get your products and services in front of people, and with a bit of a strategy and hard work it is possible to find the people who love what you do! I think to do that, it is important not to be afraid to shout about what you’re doing and why people should buy it or hire you. If your anything like me it is something that doesn’t come very naturally - so I really have to put myself out of my comfort zone, but if you don’t tell people what you offer they will never know!
What ambitions do you have for your business over the next few years?
I would love to work with more small businesses, creating logos and branding that they feel really represent them and get them excited about their business and pushing it to the next level. I am also hoping to increase the range of products offered in my own shop and put together a wholesale catalogue, and hopefully have my products stocked in more physical shops. Although I love shopping online, there is still something special about visiting a physical shop and there are so many incredible independent bricks and mortar shops out there at the moment.
Do you have any tips for fellow designer makers/small business owners who are reading this and may be just starting out?
I think my tip would be to really think about your unique selling point. What problem are you trying to solve with your products, who are you trying to help? I would also say get over your fear of promoting yourself quickly. You need to be happy to shout about your shop and what your selling so that people notice you and your products. Twitter and Instagram are invaluable tools for doing this.
Please share any favourite independent shops/galleries and tell us why you like them.
I recently moved to Cardiff and so one of my favourite independent shops has to be Home by Kirsty. Kirsty is such an incredible supporter of designer/makers and she has amazing taste so her shop is a total joy to visit. We also visit Bradford quite a lot and I love visiting the shop Rad Studio, another shop full of beautiful products from a whole range of creatives and small business owners. While we are there a visit to Salts Mill is a must, and it has to be one of my favourite gallery spaces to visit.
Had you realised the Just A Card campaign message suggests cards as an example of a small purchase - we’re about encouraging all sales as they keep businesses afloat?
Yes, I realised that the Just A Card campaign is more than just cards. It’s about encouraging people to realise the value of their purchases with makers and independents however big or small. It doesn’t have to be a card, it could be a notebook, washi tape, an enamel pin - any sale has an impact for a small business owner and they all add up. If you love a shop, or love what someone is doing buying from them is a good way of making sure they stick around and keep doing what they are good at. It is such an important campaign.
How important is the Just A Card campaign message to you and your business?
It is so important. Every sale really does count and is such a spur to keep going and keep designing and making things that people love to use or put on their wall. Also it’s just lovely to be part of such an amazing community of designers and makers. I recently designed a print for a commission that said ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ - and I think it is so true, the more we promote shopping small and shopping independent the more it benefits all small business owners.
Where did you hear about the campaign and which Social Media platforms do you use most frequently? What do you think people can do to support Just A Card, and how will you be doing so?
I think I originally heard about the campaign on Twitter, pretty early on when it started. My main social media platforms are Instagram and Twitter and so that is where I follow the Just A Card campaign. As I mentioned before I recently moved to Cardiff, and as my husband and I were walking around our new area we were talking about the shops and cafe’s that we love, and we were thinking about how we need to make a conscious effort to visit and shop in them as much as possible, even if it is a little bit more expensive, because that is the only way to ensure they stay in business.
I think it’s the same with online shops. There are so many online shops that I would be really sad if they shut, and so I need to put my money with where my mouth is and support them as much as I can.
Along with making a difference with your shopping, another great thing to do is share the campaign as much as possible. People who don’t run small businesses often don’t realise the impact that each and every sale has on the businesses and also the love and work that goes into all the details of the business. If we keep sharing the campaign more people will be reminded and in the long run it will benefit all of us!