In March 2018 Victoria Eggs took part in #MarchMeetTheMaker; a month long Instagram challenge by Joanne Hawker where small business owners invite the world into their lives and share the finer details about running a small creative business and how you do it!
In this first of three blog posts we look at days one to ten and start getting to know Victoria Eggs...
Day 1 · You
#MarchMeetTheMakerThis is me, small handmade business owner, Victoria Eggs (yes... that is my real name!). I love colour, whether it be in my designs, my flat or wearing bright jumpers! I’d travel great distances for good sushi or brunch (my favourite meal of the day). I’m married to a perfectionist painter and decorator, Dan, who helps set up all my trade fair stands like a pro! I listen to Tracy Chapman like she’s going out of fashion.
Day 2 · Where
#MarchMeetTheMaker I live in North London and work from my home office which looks out onto the busy Essex Road (full of London buses and taxis; these feature heavily in my work). I grew up in Royston, Hertfordshire, a town 35 mins from Kings Cross by train, and visited London regularly as a child. I knew then that someday I wanted to live there. I lived in Birmingham for 4 years whilst studying a degree in Fine Art & working. In 2006-7 I spent a year living out of a backpack whilst traveling around the world. In 2009-10 I lived in Potts Point, Sydney for a year which I loved! I moved back to the UK and straight to The Big Smoke in October 2010 where I’ve been ever since.
Day 3 · How you started
#MarchMeetTheMaker I’ve always loved art and design. As a child I was never far away from a pack of crayons, and art was my favourite subject at school and college. After sixth form I went on to do an Art Foundation year, (a full year of experimenting in all creative mediums... bliss!) followed by a degree in fine art where I specialised in film and photography. After graduating my photographs inspired a range of greetings cards which I began selling into local shops and galleries, these were then noticed by a local greeting card company who sold their products worldwide and I began designing cards for them in house. After 2 years of card design I moved to Sydney and found work as a freelance T-Shirt designer for Ben Sherman (a very British brand) along side working for an award winning branding and wayfinding company. This truly inspirational year Down Under lead me back to the UK with a sketch book full of all things British, & the memory of drawing a tea cup and saucer whilst looking out onto Sydney harbour bridge, and realising that something so simple could tug on your heart strings and transport you back home in a flash! I returned to London and began trying to capture this feeling and launched a range of T-shirts, tea towels, mugs and bags on Spitalfields Market a few months later in March 2011... some 7 years ago.
Day 4 ·Favourite to make
#MarchMeetTheMaker I love these egg cups for a few reasons. It’s egg related for starters! 🥚🍳Since launching my company people always assume that I must sell some sort of egg based product, due to my slightly unusual surname. So I thought it was about time I added something eggy into the collection last year with this London themed egg cup. The illustrations look so intricate when shrunk down to this tiny size and I love the little solider that’s snuck into the side. It was only recently that I realised egg cups haven’t made their way to America. During a photoshoot I handed a loaf of bread to a lovely American intern and asked if she’d mind making me some soldiers. This request was met with great confusion! For those of you not familiar with ‘soldiers’ they are thin strips of toast which can be dipped into a soft boiled egg that has had the top of its shell removed. What a treat!
Day 5 · Photography
#marchmeetthemaker When you have a product based business photography is one of the most important areas to invest in. If your customers can’t physically touch your products and you’re relying on images online or in a catalogue to sell them, then they need to be able to see the quality. If you can’t take good product photos yourself then I’d recommending finding someone who can! I work with a fantastic photographer @yeshen.uk and stylist @mugdhasapte on all my shoots. To get the most out of each photoshoot you need to have a clear plan of what you’re shooting and set of props you need for each shot. They’re such great days and it’s lovely seeing your products come alive.
Day 6 · Workspace
#marchmeetthemaker is about workspaces. Here’s me drawing away, although I’m more likely to be found at my computer! I like a tidy office; tidy office = tidy mind, this is certainly true for me. Every Monday morning the office is spotless, ready to start the week, however the same can’t be said for Friday afternoons after a week of notes, sketches, purchase orders and samples. I like to think it’s those pesky trash fairies but it might actually be me! 😳We have music on all day, we’re currently enjoying some Funk Radio! 🎶I work from my home office along side my lovely account manager Tara, and a large part of the business is run from this room; designing, sales, marketing and logistics. It’s a busy and productive room with lots of natural light and great tunes! What’s your favourite music to listen to whilst working?
Day 7 ·Routine
#marchmeetthemaker is all about my routine. For those of you that follow my stories you’ll know that I get up and go for a walk round my local area, usually Clissold Park, every morning at around 7am. Working from home means that it’s quite easy not to leave the house, so I make sure going out in the morning and at lunch are part of my daily routine. I have a detailed ‘to do’ list, which always includes something I really don’t want to do! I try and start with this and then it’s up from there for the rest of the day. I like to be organised and group my tasks together to get the most out of my days, however inevitably some things take longer than expected and others crop up at the last minute that need dealing with. When I’m working on a particular task, I turn off my emails and mobile to avoid distractions and focus my time solely on the task in hand. This is when I’m most productive. Who else loves a ‘to do’ list?
Day 8 · FlatLay #marchmeetthemaker today’s flatlay day, and it’s a little last minute as you can see! Here I am lying on the floor surrounded by my products, it seemed like a good idea at the time 😳It’s reminded me that I need to do some proper flatlays in my next photoshoot!
Day 9 · How its Made
#marchmeetthemaker I carefully select manufacturers from across the UK 🇬🇧to make all of our products, right down to the woven hem labels. Our wonderful manufacturers send the finished items to our fulfilment warehouse in Essex where it is stored, picked, packed and dispatched to customers around the world. ✈️🌎Our textiles are all screen printed and sewn by hand and this week the BBC filmed the new Harry and Meghan Royal Wedding tea towels being printed. (Massive thanks to @bbcradiolincs for this video) Once the tea towels have been screen printed and dried, they are sewn by hand, adding the branded hanging loop and packed into a commemorative Royal Wedding belly band, making the perfect souvenir! 👑
Day 10 · Time to relax
#marchmeetthemaker today’s post is about what I do to relax. It’s very easy to let running your business become all consuming, there’s always something to be working on, and being based at home makes it even more difficult to switch off at the end of the day. In the early years I worked until I fell asleep, got up and did it all again! Whilst this might be necessary when launching a business, it’s certainly not sustainable. I’m now very aware of making time for myself and taking the time to unwind. I’m far more productive and focused when I’ve had time to step away from the business. My weeks include lots of long walks, yoga, Latin dance classes with my husband, and life drawing, along with spending time with friends and family. (I’m also a big fan of the Headspace ap, if you haven’t tried it give it a go!) The thing I love most of all is travelling and exploring new places, I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled to some incredible places all around the world and experience different cultures. This video is one of my favourite places, and arguably one of the most relaxing places I’ve been, Lake Iseo in Italy. After 10 minutes here I feel completely relaxed and time seems to slow down. It’s such a special place and I can’t wait to go back again this June. I’m also visiting Cuba for the first time next month, I’m beyond excited and I’m also looking forward to putting my dance lessons to good use! 🕺🏻💃🏼What’s your favourite way to relax?