An interview with Claire from Claireabellemakes…
LL: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your brand Claire!
C: Thanks for having me on the Look Lane blog! Super excited to be here!
LL: What inspired you to set up Claireabellemakes?
C: I started Claireabellemakes in 2012 after finishing a Masters in Arts Management. I wanted to be more creative so I started a blog to share my projects and meet creative people online. Soon after I started selling handmade accessories on Etsy and things have evolved ever since! Now I have developed my collections using wooden letter tiles and bicycle themes. I like to put a positive spin on everything I do, so this comes out in my designs.
LL: Where do you work from?
C: I work from a home studio which was converted from our spare room. It is a lovely light space but often pretty messy – I need to work on this! We live by the river in Cambridge so I really enjoy popping out to the post office each day or to get fresh air. It’s such a great city to live and work in and I am lucky enough to have creative pals close by for working brunch dates!
LL: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
C: I’m really inspired by my home city which is filled with bicycles and it was the place that inspired my popular enamel bicycle pin. In my spare time, I absolutely love playing word games which inspires my Scrabble inspired designs. I get pretty competitive playing Boggle and Scrabble…
LL: What advice would you give to any designer-makers just starting out?
C: Do what you love and do it well. I’m not formally trained like a lot of makers, so I had a lot of self doubt at the start. I kind of learnt along the way which gave me a chance to develop my brand to something that I really believe in. I think it’s important to research your market and really target who your customer is. Look at pricing your products properly – make sure your profit margins are worthy of your time and effort. I definitely undervalued my work at the start! My last piece of advice would be to take good photographs of your products. If you can’t do that, pay someone else to. It’s so important for selling online and you will stand out if your product images are eye catching.
LL: What is your studio playlist?!
C: At the moment Ed Sheeran (so excited about the new album!), Marian Hill and sometimes silence if I really need to focus. I also love watching stationery videos on You Tube whilst I make – they are weirdly addictive. Sometimes I listen to Podcasts from Blogtacular or 10,000 hours.
LL: What is your favourite social media platform?
C: I adore Instagram. Some people feel that it has become overly curated, but I try not to worry too much about that or about numbers of likes and comments. I want my Instagram to be a fun activity, so I post the more ‘curated’ pictures on my main feed and use the stories part for behind the scenes videos and quick snippets. I love the conversation there and the support from other makers is so great. I recently joined a comment pod to try and help each other out since the algorithm change and that has been useful as well as fun. It’s definitely brought more engagement to my posts and the chats in the comments are great.
LL: Who are your favourite designer-makers?
C: There are so many I’m loving! At the moment I can’t get over the glitter and holo creations of Pup Tart and I’m obsessed with all the biscuit pins Nikki McWilliams is releasing. Zeena Shah always inspires me with her beautiful printing work and embroidery too. I don’t think I’d have the patience! Two of my favourites to hang out with in person are Jo from Hello Sunshine and Kate from Daphne Rosa – we all live in Cambridge and I don’t know what I would do without them to bounce ideas off. They are so talented it inspires me to keep going and to grow.
LL: What are your plans for the future of your brand?
C: This year I’m focusing on getting my work into shops and I’m building a shop section on my own website which has been a long time coming. I really want to grow my stationery collections too as this is a huge passion of mine. I also want to make time to spend days with my creative pals because I always have fun when I do that. I am planning a creatives photowalk in Cambridge this Spring and will be attending Blogtacular in June too. I can’t wait!
LL: Thanks for talking to us!