Creativity Found

Lynsey Warren – a magical journey from council tax inspector to crafter and champion of handmade businesses

October 31, 2021 Lynsey Warren Season 3 Episode 5
Creativity Found
Lynsey Warren – a magical journey from council tax inspector to crafter and champion of handmade businesses
Show Notes Transcript

Lynsey Warren is the owner and creator at Raindrop Crafts, as well as a handmade business coach and virtual craft fair organiser. As a youngster Lynsey loved art class at school, and doing craft activities at home, but she decided not to complete her Art A-Level and settled into a routine of office working.
Lynsey continued to dabble with crafting, from cross-stitch to making her won cards, but it was on a visit to a friend's house that she stumbled upon what would become her new creative passion, a craft that would literally take her on a magical journey.

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Music: Day Trips by Ketsa https://ketsa.uk/under Creative Commons License
https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Ketsa/Raising_Frequecy/Day_Trips
Artworks: Emily Portnoi emilyportnoi.co.uk

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Claire Waite Brown:

For this episode, I'm speaking with Lindsey Warren, owner and creator at raindrop crafts handmade business coach and virtual craft fair organiser. As a youngster, Lindsey loved art class at school and doing craft activities at home, but didn't know at the time that such activities could become a source of income. After working in offices and becoming a youth worker, Lindsay found the crafts that would change everything for her. Let's find out more. Hi, Lindsay.

Unknown:

Hi, Claire,

Claire Waite Brown:

you have tried a number of creative crafty activities over the years. What is the one that has stuck and led you to found your own handmade business?

Unknown:

Oh, Claire. That is that is a really interesting story, actually, because I have done many, many crafts. Over the years. I was a card maker for a lot of years. But I've been looking for craft business idea for a long time. And yeah, I kept looking and looking for the perfect thing. And I just, I needed something that was financially viable, that I loved to make. And I kept trying all sorts of different things. And then one day I went round a friend's house and I saw this beautiful fairy hanging on a dresser and I came home and thought I want to have a go at making those. Not at that point with thinking it would be a business but I absolutely loved it and not being a crafter. I don't always look at things and think I want to buy it. I automatically think how can I make it so after lots of research, I made my first fairy was really pleased and and then I started giving them as gifts to my daughter's friends because she was only about eight at the time. And they went down really well. And after about six months I decided then that I would go for it and set my own handmade business.

Claire Waite Brown:

Wow. Oh, that's so exciting. I can't wait to hear more about that. Let's go back to your childhood what were your artistic experiences like as a youngster?

Unknown:

Well, obviously we didn't have as many we didn't have the internet at all all millions of TV channels and all of that when I was young, so we had to kind of make our own fun a lot more so I think in a lot of ways that was a good thing for me because you know, I spent hours drawing colouring and making my favourite television programme was Blue Peter because I always used to do craft projects on there. And I used to absolutely love it. I used to craze my mom for the empty washing up liquid bottles because for some reason so many of their projects always seem to want one of those and my mum could never use up the washing up liquid quick enough for me. So that was really sort of one of my earliest memories and I I always remember I made these writing sets of my granddad they were a project on Blue Peter and they were actually washing powder boxes covered in wrapping paper but my mum took me out and we bought some writing paper to go in them so he gave them as Christmas gifts. Now that wasn't the normal thing. Every you know, the everyday thing that I really got to do. So I could remember just being so proud of given the sets to my granddad at Christmas, I was just I thought it was the best thing ever. So yeah, so blue. Peter definitely was a big inspiration to me. And then I kind of had family around me my dad was very much into photography. You know, in a he spent hours doing photography. One of my nan's was very crafty and she was into knitting had a knitting machine and she taught me how to knit and make little tassels and pom pom and all those kinds of things, and then our high school was just the best lesson ever. I could have just spent every day in the art class that that would have been me. So, yeah, so that was really a lot of the background of my sort of crafty journey. Really.

Claire Waite Brown:

It sounds wonderful. It sounds such fun. What did you do after school?

Unknown:

So it's funny, actually, because art was absolutely my passion. And I took an art a level at college. And, you know, I actually ended up dropping it after a year. You know, I look back with hindsight. And I wish in some ways, I'd have tried to stick it out. But what had happened was a year after doing it, I just had all these unfinished pieces of work, and quite frustrated in the way that the art teacher when I really needed help, never seem to be there. And there was a lot of sort of drawing portraits and things like that. And I think probably I was quite out of my comfort zone with it quite a lot. So I did drop it after a year, which was a shame. If I could have gone back and talk to my teenage self. Now, I would have probably said to do something different. But you know, that was a decision I made at the time. So after that, I kind of went off, I worked in an office. So I've done all various kinds of jobs, debt collecting for the DSS a council tax inspector, youth, we're never had a family. When I gave up that a level, there was always something missing. There was a part of me that always felt I was searching for something. And I never really knew what it was. I think if you're creative, it feels a little bit like an itch that has to be scratched. And I didn't know I didn't know what to do, really. So yeah, that's a little bit about sort of after school. Really?

Claire Waite Brown:

Yeah. So the jobs, did you kind of fall into the was there a plan?

Unknown:

Well, I think the thing was, sort of when I grew up in the 80s. And I went to college, like in the early 1990s jobs in our didn't they weren't available. I didn't feel like they were available like they were now or if they did exist. I certainly didn't know about obviously, we didn't have the internet and all that kind of thing, did we? So I didn't and the our a level was started it and along with the secretarial course. So the idea was that I was going to go and work in an office. And that's what I did. You know, the debt collection, that was all office space, there wasn't going out knocking on people's doors, when I became a council tax inspector that was knocking on people's doors, but it was kind of like an unexpected route, shall we say? Because no one really grows up thinking, oh, I want to be a council tax inspector, that was never my dream job. But you know, it taught me a lot of life skills, and I earn a decent wage. And at the time, I look back now and it was all just part of my journey. Really?

Claire Waite Brown:

Yeah. Oh, that's a very good way to look at it. So while you're doing these very uncreative jobs, and you've mentioned that you felt that there was something missing? How did you approach trying to scratch that creative itch? Or did you do that?

Unknown:

I think my husband, he was quite good in a lot of ways. Because when I got with him in my 20s, he had hobbies. And so he kind of encouraged me, really, I mean, I used to do a little bit of cross stitch, but it wasn't really, it didn't fulfil me creatively. And then I done a degree. And while I was doing it, I kept seeing these cardmaking magazines, they were sort of kept appearing in the shops. And I said to myself, right, when I've done this degree, I'm gonna go and buy one of these magazines. What were you doing the degree in? Oh, that was working with young people, because I'd kind of started to change careers thing because I'd done part time youth work. And then I ended up doing I went into a career working with young people. That was what my degree was in again, nothing art related whatsoever. So yeah, so I started doing that. I went and bought one of these craft magazines that I'd been looking at for so long. So I did get a magazine. But actually, even just before that happened, it was quite funny because my mom in law invited me along to this of all things wi craft day. I went along and I made these deck posh cards, and they were the SIRT first, first sort of cards I ever made. Well, I thought they were absolutely marvellous. Looking back now I don't they were so marvellous, but you know, at the time, I thought they were the best thing ever. So when I got my cardmaking magazines, and I started out trying all sorts of techniques. I did I did love the card making for a long, long time. But for me, I really wanted my own In handmade craft business. And so you, the card making was never really going to be that with the type of cards I personally make, they could make. I could take two or three hours making them. And I was never going to charge more than sort of three or four pounds form. So that was never going to be a viable business. So that was really why I kept carrying on looking really?

Claire Waite Brown:

Yeah. You've mentioned going to your friend's house and seeing this fairy. So from that, how did you start making your own?

Unknown:

Well, I came home and started to research found videos that showed how to make them. A lot of them were American. So I had to try to buy the supplies in the UK wasn't easy. And I spent loads of money buying all the wrong stuff. But in the end, I've got the right supplies. me my daughter actually made the first ferry together, she was eight at the time. And she was really excited to have a go. I mean, she needed a little bit help. But yeah, we both sat and made a ferry. And it was I think even that first ferry I made this is gonna sound really corny, but it was love at first make because it was like a little bit of magic had happened. I had these real simple supplies like wire and wood and be for the head and this embroidery thread to cover the wire and, and to make the hair. And it really was a little bit of magic it happened. But you know, at the end, there was this beautiful little fair baby. She wasn't perfect, but I still loved her. I look back on though, that memory of making that first fairy and just, there was just something so special about it.

Claire Waite Brown:

Oh, that's brilliant. I love sharing my guests stories with you. But podcasting isn't cheap. There are hosting fees and software costs, tech to buy and time to invest in planning and editing to make sure the guests sound great. And listeners hear the best content. If you would like to financially support creativity found, please visit K O hyphen F fi.com/creativityfoundpodcasttellmeabitmoreaboutthematerialsandhowyoudesignyourownfairycharactersso.

Unknown:

That's a good question, Claire. So I mean, the materials involved they are it's why for the body. And then a wouldn't be as I've mentioned for the head and embroidery thread to cover the wire and things like that. And I think what kind of happens me I started off making some quite simple just flower fairy. So skirts were made out of silk flowers and things like that. But then, as the years have gone on, I've just developed it. And actually some of my card making skills have come into play with different things like when I've made wings and paper flowers that I decorated the fairies with. They were all things that I was using in in my other papercrafting if I hadn't have done the cardmaking the ferries might not have turned out how I'd wanted. I just get the inspiration comes from all over really from different fabrics have got through the seasons. I've just been busy making some more and ferries to release. Yeah, so that's really a little bit about Yeah, how I come up with designs. It's just a mixture. Really?

Claire Waite Brown:

Yeah, it is really creative in that sense, then that you can, as I say, create these characters and be inspired by various things around you. Let's move on to the turning this lovely activity into a business, which you said is something you always wanted to do. But how did you actually do it and make it start to earn you some money where the cardmaking wasn't doing for example?

Unknown:

Yeah, so it did take about six months of just practising making the fairies giving them gifts and getting really nice responses. And in a way I had kind of I did put it off. I mean, I could have probably started it before. But I am the sort of person one so I'm in doing something normal in so I knew it was gonna be time consuming. And so I needed to wait till the right time merely. So I kind of began in in the January. I think I was back in 2017 now and I set up an Etsy shop and I done those kinds of things before I sold a few little cards and stuff like that. So you know, I had a little bit of an idea of what I was gonna do and things like that. And one thing that really helped was I'd had a card making blog for years so I was friends with lots of crafters and I've been involved in the crafting industry. So I set up my Etsy shop and I'd already got like a good Instagram following just on a personal account. So when I started that business I, in some ways it wasn't like starting from scratch because I probably had about 1500 followers on Instagram by this time, just started on a personal account. I had friends on Facebook that were craft isn't. When I launched my shop, I got a sale that very first day. So that was a real boost to the system. I started expanding my range, making different fairies, these little pig, Bunny dolls, all sorts of things. And it just it did really take off. It was a good journey. Really.

Claire Waite Brown:

Yeah. And you started going to the craft fairs, tell me about those experiences and how you felt on a personal level going out there in front of all the people.

Unknown:

The one thing that really helped me with that was I worked with the business coach because sort of after six months, I was getting lots of sales but wasn't really making all that much profit. I wasn't charging nowhere near enough. And my business coach said to me about having a standard Kirsty all sorts have made for her. Now I've been to that fair is a visit and I suppose it was one of those things in the back of my mind. I was like what, for one thing, I'd love to have a stand here. But at the same time. I never thought that was something I could actually do. You know, and when she said to me about us, like what me. She believed in me so much that I it really helped me believe in myself too. And so I did to have a son that Kirstie Allsopp Sammy for. I think that was about 2018. And that was a real, that was so scary. I mean, I live in a tiny little village in Norfolk. And there I was going off to Hampton Court Palace with a van packed up of stock stayed in a hotel in that part of London, completely out of my norm. But I always like to think that my fairies have taken me on a big adventure. And that fair was was really one of them. So I've done that fair, and I'd loved it was such a good experience. I've done the ideal home Christmas show. But then also I've done little tiny shows. I've done indoor shows, outdoor shows, I've kind of done a whole range of mixture of them. I feel like I've learned so much from all those experiences.

Claire Waite Brown:

Are you good at talking to the customer at the shows.

Unknown:

But I think when I went to Kersey all sorts have made fair I went my sister Kay when a friend and we wore 1950 styles, vintage dresses with the big petticoats. And kinda we looked a bit like some of the fairies that I made, but without the wings. And that was actually a real talking point, people would just automatically talk to us and tell us how lovely we looked and all of that. So actually, the dress kind of attracted people into the store when I kind of done that without really knowing that was gonna happen, because it was a talking point. So but yeah, and it was it was lovely, just meeting so many lovely people. It was yeah, I own quite a people person. And I you know, I'd love the chance to meet people and and see who was buying myself and I even had one manner did have to square up a little bit because he looked at one of the fairies skirts. I was like, What are you doing? Oh, I was just seeing how they was made. And I was I was quite offended that he looked at one of my favourite skirts.

Claire Waite Brown:

Quite right to be personal.

Unknown:

Luckily, they all have their pants on. So it's absolutely fine. But you know, even so.

Claire Waite Brown:

Even so much upset. Brilliant. You mentioned about adventure. And I know that you said that your fairies have taken you on a journey. What do you mean?

Unknown:

So I started off sort of with a have made my own homemade business with my fairies. But then, you know, I had coaching and then I started doing well for my business and I started getting other people say to me, Well, how are you going your Instagram following? You know, how are you growing your business? And I suppose because I've got a background as well of working with young people always been a real I love working with people. It kind of sparked some ideas to think or maybe I could coach other people, you know, maybe I can help other people with their businesses because I love the making and all that side of things. But for me, I wanted I still wanted that interaction with people too. So I trained as a coach, I done coaching course at college, and I absolutely loved it as well as being creative. That was just the best course I ever done. I had an amazing shoe who was so supportive, and luckily I'm still in touch with the now and that I suppose that really sparked a whole new side of my business then because I then became a business coach myself to have made business owners. I now also own virtual cafes on Instagram. I have my own podcast, but not my own with with their lovely co host Danna, who's an Etsy expert. And I look back, and I think goodness, this all happened from making those fairies had I not pursued that creative passion, I probably wouldn't have been on this journey now. So I do very much feel they, it has been a journey with my fairies, I feel they really took me on a magical adventure that I didn't know is going to happen. And I just love that.

Claire Waite Brown:

Yeah. Oh, that's, that's wonderful. Tell me more about the handmade craft fair on Instagram.

Unknown:

So that's been a really great place for me to build a community of makers on Instagram. And I'm really passionate about the page. So I kind of promote people on there for free, I have sort of sharing posts, I feel like it's a place people come together, they tag their friends and they support each other via my page, I feel that's a really nice thing to do. And then, you know, I run virtual craft fairs, I tend to do them once a month. And people pay a small fee to have a virtual store. They get lots of support with that they have like a carousel post with up to 10 photos on and they share information about their products. But it is a lot more than that there's training involved, there's lots of little mini trainings, they get a zoom q&a with me, you know all about taking part in the fair. And one of the things that's proved really popular is that people taking part in the fair, I put them in little Instagram teams of sort of four or five. And they've worked so well, because the idea is that everyone in that little team supports each other during the fair in the run up to the fair share in on this stories, comment in and things like that. And because they're just small groups, a lot of those crafters make really lovely relationships in there. And quite a lot of times those people stay in touch after the fair. And I never expected that to happen. So that's just a lovely byproduct, again, of running those fairs and sort of bringing the handmade community together really, then for me, it is just an amazing supportive community that I just absolutely love being part of.

Claire Waite Brown:

Yeah, well, you must be as you said, you're sharing your experiences of starting your own hand made business and growing it and then what you've learned from the coaching. And it's certainly something that I think a lot of creatives that are that want to make their creative passion into something more than a hobby, really need help with.

Unknown:

Yeah, because I was this person too. When I started out, I could make beautiful fairies, I didn't have a clue really about running an online business. And I suppose I loved the business side, and I just immerse myself in learning. I've got the right support with a coach and I've worked with various different coaches over the years, I've took courses and sort of for nearly five years down the line in my handmade business, I'm still all the time training and learning so that I can pass that on to my coaching clients, you know, and then I share hints and tips on the homemaker offer page as well, because I want to help as many people as I can.

Claire Waite Brown:

Well done that is so lovely to hear. Thank you talking of tips. This brings in a subject that comes up a lot in the podcast generally with my other guests. Do you have any tips you've said you like the business side, lots of art, arts and crafts and makers are not mad keen on the business, I do have any tips on balancing the creative aspect of your business and the business side of the business.

Unknown:

So I would definitely say You know, you're not going to have one without the other, you know, you can make the most beautiful items, but they're not just gonna sell themselves without you doing anything. You have to be prepared to get yourself out there on social media, you know, and there's lots of ways that you can grow a successful business but you do have to be committed. So I would definitely suggest putting time aside every week to be making sure you've planned ahead on your social media, you need to be really active on that. I mean, Instagram is just an amazing platform to sell handmade. It's so visual. So for me I would say having dedicated time you know a little bit of time every day for social media and then weekly time where you're thinking about to another things, newsletters and Pinterest and you know all the marketing stuff that's gonna really help people get to know you and get yourself seen so much more. So all in the

Claire Waite Brown:

planning Hey, Lindsay.

Unknown:

Yeah, definitely.

Claire Waite Brown:

Thanks You tell me about your podcast,

Unknown:

I co host a podcast with a lovely lady called Anna. She does planners. So she's Alan's planners on Instagram. And basically all a lot of the episodes are all sharing really useful information, advice on how to run a handmade, craft business. And then we also have some guests come along as well. So we interview makers, we have some expert interview. So yeah, we try and do a little bit of mixture of things. Manana were quite different in some ways, like she's very much more loves the business side and came, started a business and then became crafty. Whereas I'd always been crafty, and then started a business. We come at things sometimes from different perspectives, but it's in a really good way.

Claire Waite Brown:

Oh, that sounds like a good mixture. A good meld to have, though. Yeah. Though, both of those experiences and strong experiences. Brilliant. Thank you, Lindsay. How can people connect with you that is Lindsay, the handmade business owner, and Lindsey, the handmade business coach.

Unknown:

So my handmade business is called raindrop crafts. And you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and I also have met to shop where I sell my fairies. My coaching I've got, I have got a page for that on Instagram, which is called Lindsey Warren coaching. So I've got that sort of dedicated Instagram page. And then I've also got the handmade crafter page. And if you want to find out any about those services, I've got my own website called Lindsey warren.com, where you can find out about the phase, the coaching and all the other ways that I can support you.

Claire Waite Brown:

Brilliant. Thank you so much, Lindsay. It's been really lovely to talk to you today.

Unknown:

Thank you so much, Claire, I've absolutely loved coming along and chatting to you about your

Claire Waite Brown:

brilliant thank you.

Unknown:

Thank you so much.

Claire Waite Brown:

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