artmisia-designs

Graduate Lucy Jamieson studied Visual Culture at the University of Brighton. She is now based in York and is in the early stages of establishing Artemisia Designs, a textile design startup. Here she shares with beepurple the story of her entrepreneurial journey so far…

Tell us about your work leading up to the creation of Artemisia Designs

My work began in childhood with an early interest in drawing , painting, William Morris/Edward Burne Jones and the period interiors of historic houses. My BA Hons. in Visual Culture at the University of Brighton ( 2000-2003) enabled me to develop these early interests through a more in depth exposure to  art history  and the history of period interior design through the ages.

Several years of sketching and painting followed; using repeated motifs to experiment with pattern on canvas. Then, two years ago my youngest daughter was given one of the paintings as a birthday present and suggested that I might want to stop selling originals and look at creating reproductions of them instead.

Around the same time, I also began to feel that selling original paintings was counterproductive in terms of  recompense for the effort involved; so I briefly experimented with cards and paper prints before it occurred to me that I could use my creative skills and knowledge of design history in order to establish my own range of textile designs.

What does Artemisia Designs do? Who are your customers?

Artemisia Designs creates and retails hand drawn and painted designs in the form of textile prints on a range of fabrics; for creative craft projects or original gifts, adding an individual touch to domestic interiors or for making your own clothing and accessories.

My business is still very much in the development stage so there are no customers as yet; although there has been interest in my work from Contrado UK, Plaskitt and Plaskitt of York, Yorkshire Life and Interior Design magazine. Designs will also be shortly available as a quality product range; from cushions, curtains and tapestries to bags, clothing and accessories, in association with Contrado UK.

How do you market your business?

I market my business in several different ways; ensuring that the business is present on social media through a dedicated Facebook page with shop in addition to a separate Twitter account. There has been quite a lot of outbound marketing; emailing interior design companies with details of my business and samples of my work and on the inbound side approaches to selected art and design magazines with requests to publish something about my creative work and business activity to date. The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook has been invaluable in terms of identifying target publications; and is an essential tool for anyone seeking a foothold in the creative industries. I have found that even if such contact doesn’t result in sales or long term representation – people will quite often show appreciation for what you do and provide equally useful pointers /suggestions as to how you might progress.

Where would you like to be in 5 years?

My aspirations for the business are to build it up from a sole trader website to a globally recognised brand and to  supply my work to high end customers through established interior design companies. Regular supply through high street outlets such as John Lewis and Habitat is also being considered as a long term aim; but it is still early days for Artemisia Designs so I’ll just have to see what opportunities I can find and what they might lead to. In five years time, global or at least  UK/Europe wide recognition of the Artemisia Brand would be ideal and maybe expansion in to made up products as a small retail chain.

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist-entrepreneur – and how have you overcome it?

My biggest challenge in this respect has been the issue of self-confidence and an underlying idea that I was somehow the ‘wrong’ sort of person to be successful . Overcoming this is ongoing but my main way of dealing with this problem is to keep reminding myself that you don’t know what you are capable of achieving if you don’t try – and it seems to be working pretty well so far.

What are your top tips for fellow artists seeking to set up in business?

Number one is your portfolio. Research and experiment with different styles, media, subject matter and techniques until you find something that inspires you to take it further. Don’t become preoccupied by marketing , publicity and sales during this stage. The creative work is initially the most important thing; because nothing can happen without it. The rest comes later when you have found your feet, creatively speaking.

Constructive criticism from others is always a gift and can often contain excellent indicators for improving your creative practice and marketing /business development. Use it.

Buy a copy of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. Their topically divided magazine listings can be invaluable at the marketing stage;and each Yearbook includes a range of articles on how to progress in a range of creative industries.

There are many different ways of achieving a particular objective . Don’t be overly preoccupied by how things ‘should’ be done or be afraid to try and find your own way. The results can be surprising.

Who has inspired you in your work and/or business?

William Morris, Artemisia Gentileschi and my children for their objective and helpful comments on the contents of my portfolio and suggestions as to how I might make better use of my creative skills.

What important skills do artist-entrepreneurs need to develop?

I think that self- belief is number one and probably the hardest to achieve but still the most important because nothing else can happen without it.

Research skills  are also very important, as are effective time-management and avoidance of procrastination in order to fit in portfolio creation and business development alongside and around everyday demands.

Patience and not expecting immediate results. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

But most important of all is probably the ability to listen, learn, accept criticism and use it to improve your own creative/professional practice.

You can find Lucy at Artemisia Designs.