I recently caught up with Vanessa Scott-Hayward, the creator behind SixOSix Designs to find out a little about how she got involved in crafting and to find out her tips and tricks for effectively running a craft business.
Could you tell us a bit about Six0Six design and how you started crafting?
I set up my design business Six0Six design in 2011, but as far back as I can remember I have been creating. I grew up surrounded by creative people and it seemed a very natural progression that my career would be in the creative world.
On leaving school, I got a place at the Mackintosh School of Art and I studied Architecture there. While I didn’t go on to practice, it taught me so many valuable skills that I went on to use when setting up my own business. I then did an apprenticeship with my father, a furniture designer, which gave me front line experience of working for myself. Really, until you do it you haven’t a clue how hard its going to be!
Everything that I design is made from scratch in my studio in a little village in Co. Kildare. I have a wonderful assistant Grainne who I would be lost without!
Where do you derive your inspiration from?
I get inspiration from everywhere. From the things that I love to do. Reading, books, travel. From the materials that I use and the stories they tell. I scribble and draw all my ideas down and they all end up in one of my design notebooks. Perhaps one of the simplest ways that I get my inspiration is from what customers ask for. My new wedding map print was inspired by a customer commission for a wedding card.
I know you love them all, but what is your favourite item from the collection? If you had to choose…
I have always loved making the keepsake boxes, they take a long time to make, which is perhaps part of why I like the process. I love working with the old maps and getting all the details just right so that the map is seamless and the box is perfect!
Where do you source your materials from?
I work with a vast array of vintage materials. Sourced from second hand stalls, charity shops, house auctions, flea markets and old book stores. I love using materials that have a history to them. I try to use Irish suppliers as much as possible, KM Evans and Klee are two of my favourites. Nothing is wasted in my studio. Paper offcuts get used for studio to do lists, paper scraps get saved and I make my own paper in the summer months! All my materials are eco friendly whenever possible.
It really seems to me that there is a definite revival in the craft scene at the moment. Why do you think so many people have turned back to crafting now?
I think that the more technology we use the more people want and need to escape it. And I think that crafts give us that. A feeling of connection to what we wear or use in our homes. We all live busy lives and crafts; the use of your hands; slows us down and reconnects us to ourselves. You also feel a real sense of satisfaction with making a physical thing that I think a lot of people don’t get through their jobs.
How difficult is it to start a business from scratch and to be a budding entrepreneur?
Very! I think that there are advantages to being self employed and one of them is getting to do what I love BUT I probably work 60 hours a week and you never really switch off, so if you are going down the start up path be prepared for a lot of long hours. A large part of your day is not necessarily taken up with making but with selling. There is a lot more going on in the background than anyone really understands. I would say that if you do have an idea, don’t give up the day job yet. Test it out, set up an Etsy shop do some local fairs (but be selective and research them beforehand). Be professional about it and run it like a business NOT a hobby but also be realistic and know that it can take you a long time to get to a place where you can earn an income from it.
What advice do you have for other people thinking of starting out on a crafting / entrepreneurial road?
I love this question! Mainly because I made so many mistakes along the way most of my DO’S are as a result of the things I did wrong.
1 – BE ORGANISED. Keep track of everything. Freeagent is a great resource. (use this link to get a discount if you like)
2 – ACCOUNTABILITY Have an accountability partner. Someone that you know will call keep you on track. Tell them your goals and help each other keep track of them.
3 – PLAN AND PLAN AGAIN Have yearly, monthly and daily goals and to do lists.
4 – DON’T OVERWORK YOURSELF Don’t burn yourself out. You need to take time off, at least one day a week where you turn everything off (including your emails).
5 – And have a mailing list.
People can purchase Vanessa’s designs from her website http://shop.six0sixdesign.com/ . In Cows Lane Designer Shop and The Blue Door, Monkstown, also stock Vanessa’s gorgeous merchandise.
Check out Vanessa’s social media
There is also a 20% discount for you all on sixOsixdesign.com with the code summer16.
Happy Shopping x