The Resilient Retail Blog

Grumpy British Blue Cats? Our brilliant Member of the Month for December knows exactly what’s popular with her customers!

During arguably the busiest month for retail I still had a brilliant chat with our ‘Member of the Month’ for December, Ellie Good – Founder of Ellie Good Illustration. We chatted about how her customers love Grumpy British Blue Cats, finding your local small business buddy and keeping your cool when Ellie Goulding wears one of your products! Congratulations Ellie – we love your work and are thrilled you are part of The Resilient Retail Club community.

Why did you start your small business?

I did a degree in Fine Art, and then worked for years on magazines and then in graphic design. After I had my kids, I wanted to return more to the practical application of my creative skills, and I also wanted to somehow use my skill set for positive environmental impact, so I started making my own recycled greetings cards. My cards went down well, and I realised that I should have been doing illustration all along! I decided to work on expanding the range into product as well – and here I am now.

Tell us about your background before Ellie Good Illustration

As I mentioned I worked in the art department of magazines after finishing my degree in Fine Art and then progressed to graphic design. For a while I published my own magazine for a couple of years in London called EggMag, about living a more ethical lifestyle – without living less! It was received well, but it was tough, financially with no start-up funds. I learnt so many lessons that I still try and keep in mind with my business now.

What’s your best selling product, and why do you think it’s so popular?

My Grumpy British Blue tea towel is a real best-seller, as is my Airedale notebook. I think they are two of my most characterful illustrations, so the images resonate with people. At markets, people often come over to my stall because one of these two has caught their eye and made them smile. That is the BEST feeling for me!

What’s the nicest thing a customer has said about your business?

That’s so hard to answer because I’m lucky to have had a lot of lovely comments! I recently had a customer who was so happy with her tray, she ordered two more from me and said that all the trays are such amazing quality and the designs are all so fabulous she wanted them all! I think the biggest compliment, though, has got to be when Ellie Goulding wore one of my tote bags about 3 years ago!

What are you most looking forward to about 2023 with your business?

I have found that as a creative running a small business, it’s hard to find the time for the actual artworking, which is ironic and very annoying. But this needs to be front and centre as it’s my illustrations that set my business apart from others. I am looking at streamlining by trying to cut out any unnecessary admin, partly to save costs with my assistant, and partly to free up my own time for the creative. I will also be looking at getting more commission-based work this year and am working on a super exciting journal collaboration with a life coach.

As recommended by Ellie Good Illustration

Each month I ask our Member of the Month’ to name 3 things that have inspired, supported and helped with running their business – here are Ellie’s.

I think us small business owners are so lucky at the moment because there is SO much support out there now. Obviously the RRC is fantastic and I also have a wonderful, entrepreneurial network of friends and family that are always up for bouncing ideas around with. However 3 things that I repeatedly love and turn to, that might help others too, are:

  1. Seth Godin’s book ‘This is Marketing’ – it’s a short, concise and inspiring read on purposeful marketing. (I’d also recommend his podcast Akimbo!)
  2. Mary Portass’s podcast ‘Beautiful Misfits’ is wonderful. She interviews some super interesting people all with a small & purposeful business angle.
  3. If you work on your own, like me, find someone local in a similar situation as you and make a weekly time to check in with them. I have a friend, who also has her own small biz and we aim to go for a walk and a business-focussed chat every Tuesday morning. We get some fresh air, bump the step count up as well as learn from each other!

 

If you’d like to find out more about Ellie Good Illustration visit her website here and her Instagram account.

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