First of all, how have you been coping with the pandemic this year?
The pandemic has been absolutely crazy for me. After years of designing in the fashion industry, I started my career as a freelance print designer at the start of January. Everything was going surprisingly well until the pandemic hit and then I lost over 90% of my income overnight. As a new freelancer, I wasn’t eligible for any of the government schemes, so it was a pretty scary and stressful time.
I had a lot of spare time on my hands, so I decided to design some art prints for my bathroom. I posted them on Instagram and the reception I had was unbelievable. So I set up my Etsy within a matter of minutes and got selling. So in a weird way, I kind of have the pandemic to thank for my business.
Has it affected how you operate your business?
My Etsy business was born in the pandemic so it’s all I’ve ever known.
Although I have been taking part in these new online market stalls which have been really fun and have given me the confidence to do one in real life.
How long have you been selling on Etsy for?
Just over 3 months.
What did you study to be able to work on your art for a living?
I studied textile design for fashion at the Manchester School of Art back in 2012, and I’ve been designing prints and graphics for the UK high street ever since
What is the Elizabeth Rachael mission statement?
Haha, I have no idea! Probably something like ‘art that makes you and the earth smile’. I don’t take myself too seriously and I’m always up for a good laugh and I feel like that reflects in my work a lot. Plus after years of working in the fashion industry, It’s important that everything I do must be as eco friendly as it possibly can be. This is really important to me.
What’s your best seller?
Definitely my Great Tits and Nice Bum prints. These are actually the two that I designed for my bathroom, but my customers send me pictures of them all over the house
What are you currently working?
I’m working on a new collection of contemporary prints.
My work current work is very loud and proud but this is just one side of my personality. RuPaul always says he’s “an introvert masquerading as an extrovert” and I think that’s very true for me too. My personal style is a lot more minimal. I don’t wear or own much colour and my house is very boho, so these new prints reflect the side of me that’s chilled out and zen
How did you find the process of creating products for the Zoella X Etsy Collab?
It was really fun! Tea towels are a new product for me, so that part was a bit daunting but I don’t think I would’ve had the courage to venture into a new product had I not been part of this collab.
What’s the best thing about working for yourself?
Definitely being able to call my own shots. I’ve spent years having my work criticised by design mangers or buyers and although all that criticism has made me the designer I am today, it’s a pretty nice change to be able to design exactly what I want.
How long does your end to end process take when designing and selling something new for your shop?
It really varies. Sometimes I can design something in 20 minutes and get it listed within the next 10 minutes if I’m really loving it (this is what I mean about calling the shots, it’s great when my ideas are flowing)
But other times it can be days if not weeks before I’m happy with a design.
For my tea towels, there’s been a lot of sampling and quality checking so that’s been a real lengthy process to make sure everything was at a standard I was happy with.
What inspires you?
Nature. I absolutely love plants and my house is covered with them.
The majority of my work comes from nature. I’ll never get tired of it.
How do you relax outside of work?
I like being outside if I can (I live in Manchester so it’s not always weather permitting) But other than that I’ve always liked sitting in silence haha. I could spend hours sitting in a nice bright room alone daydreaming. I’ve always been a daydreamer.
If you could give one piece of advice to our audience who want to start making their own products what would it be?
Just start. I’m the queen of procrastination and making excuses. And starting is always the hardest part for me. Whether it’s the gym, chores, or setting up your own business, once you’re over that hill, everything becomes a bit less daunting and a lot easier.