This week we’re talking to Allistair from Folksy shop Hole in my Pocket
Could you describe your shop?
Hopefully it’s a bright and fun place to get cool and unusual things to hang on your wall or put on your shelf. It houses a range of illustrated prints, a series of hand painted Russian Dolls and some short art books I’ve written, including the story of a lonely Lighthouse Keeper, the Adventures of an Intrepid Spaceman and a tribute to all the brave soldiers who meet sticky ends in action/ disaster movies. I think my favourite items in my shop are the Ship’s Crew Russian doll set. They each take a long time to make but I enjoy sitting at my desk with the radio on or listening to an audio book and painting away, especially if its grey and raining outside.
Who does your Folksy shop appeal to?
I’m still relatively new on Folksy but so far it’s been great to see that the range of things in my shop seem to appeal to lots of different people. I’ve had orders from all over the country from tons of friendly folks which has been fun. By far the most popular items have been my range of Scottish Prints which are a twist on the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster. They are not really representative of my normal work but they are a bit of tongue in cheek fun and people seem to really like them. It’s not a bad motto to have either, especially today as I do this interview. (25 Jan – Burn’s Day) “Eat Haggis and Ceilidh On.”
Is this your day job?
I actually have a few jobs. I’m an Architect by day for a commercial firm and then in my free time I run an arts collective called Hole in my Pocket. Under this banner I’ve worked on a range of interesting projects, from short films for Channel 4, building a Victorian Storytelling Machine, trying to solve the MP’s Expense fiasco through creative means, forming our own religion and attempting to get to the remote island of St Kilda with an Air-hostess trolley full of wine. (These all make sense if you visit our website www.holeinmypocket.com.)
My girlfriend Ann Nisbet (Folksy: Flaneur Design) and I also run a website about the Southside of Glasgow. It’s all about the unusual and unique things you can find here and we try to cover and promote a lot of the creative and crafty people who live in our bit of the city. If you are a creative/ crafty type from South of the Clyde let us know. (www.southsidehappenings.co.uk)
Have you been into craft and the handmade lifestyle for long?
I’ve always made things, my poor wee sister has been getting homemade gifts since we were tiny. Though the things she gets these days are hopefully a lot better than from when we were kids – homemade pop-up books on how to play chess are probably not a seven year old girl’s favourite present.
Despite making things since I was wee it was only when I finished my course at Uni that I started making things to show in galleries or to sell. And it was only in 2010 that I realised what an amazing world of crafty/ arty types there are on Folksy and that there were opportunities to do the things I most enjoy and make some extra pocket money.
Where do you promote your shop
I use all the usual online ways to promote my crafty goods and my Hole in my Pocket projects; Twitter, Facebook, Blogger and our website. I also promote my shop in a few small boutiques, gift shops and occasionally at art fairs.
Do you have plans to expand your business in the future?
I currently work as an Architect four days a week and run Hole in my Pocket, Southside Happenings and create my own work in the other three days. It works, but I’d love to get a better balance in life and spend more time sitting at my desk making and painting.
I guess the ultimate dream is to get a really great wee studio someplace with good views and be in a position to be able to wake up in the morning and spend the whole day with a paint brush or pencil in hand following up on my newest idea.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about opening up a shop here on Folksy?
As other people have mentioned in their Folksy interviews I think the best thing I’ve learned is to be super-organised about all the boring bits – packaging, invoicing and walking to the post office. That way you can spend more time doing the fun bits, making things and chatting to the customers and visitors who come to your shop.
I’ve tried to make sure I always have a large collection of postal tubes, envelopes and labels in stock with a nice clear space to lay everything out, ready for lots of orders to pour in.
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