Words

A sustainable business – my strive for better

November 23, 2016

Image credit Gather and Tides

I’m all for clearing out junk in the home. So much so I even made a post about minimalism here.

My husband views my ‘tendency’ for “gutting out” as a bit of an illness. This urge to clear out normally raises it’s ugly head on a weekend.

You know the kind- all is well and quiet in the world of family time, there are no work emails to distract the mind, a general state of untidiness has already descended the minute the lads come in from school and dump their School bags on the Friday.

So, with all of this in front of my very eyes, I take a head staggers and start to trail everything out. Literally.

“You have to crack an egg to make an omelette” my good friend once said.

Nothing will do except a good clear out from top to bottom of a drawer, a medicine cabinet,  the baby’s room, my shoe boxes, even the pots and pans can take a bashing.

Feeling overwhelmed by “stuff” is something I struggle with. It sits better with me knowing that someone somewhere else can use what I no longer will.

Looking around my house and feeling overwhelmed often is perhaps not the best trait for someone who is in the business of selling prints which in themselves can be viewed as “stuff”.

Perhaps it is to the detriment of my yearly income that I don’t like to harp on about sales over and over again, but if you meet me for more than five minutes you will learn that my driving force behind these long hours, juggling three kids (one aged six months) and keeping a large number of people happy on social media, e mail and face to face, is not to line my pockets.

I adore my job and I am feeling more and more empowered as the years go on and the weeks fly by, but cluttering people’s homes is not what I’m after.

Charity shopping was always a favourite activity of mine. My friend Holly and I rummaged through rails on the search for a decent coat or a head scarf (we went through a fab phase of head bands in 2001).

I felt early on that second hand doesn’t mean second best.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is another quote people would comment, and that was often the case in my life. Finding gems among the rubble and high waisted jeans  felt good… Saying that, the high waisted “mum bum” is no longer frowned upon. Another sign that fashion comes and goes like the seasons.

Now that I simply (sadly) don’t have the time for charity shop overwhelm because of the kids and my work schedule I tell myself;

“Buy once, buy well”.

Meaning that if I spend a little extra on a product that is decent quality then power to it.

Best of all, where my kids are concerned, if I pay a little more for a clothing item for them then I can pass it on after use.

Pieces in my wardrobe in this “buy well” category include a pair of Stuart Weitzman heels , My  Charli Cohen leggings or Lorna Jane top for gym wear from OMMActive that were three times more expensive than my tk maxx finds and needless to say have lasted the washing machine pace that comes with gyming every darn day.

So how does this post relate to my business?

Mainly by encouraging you to select well as you browse through my print shop.

The print shop has grown to over eighty prints and we are reaching the needs of so many and cater for all ages from baby’s to grandparents, local visitors and tourists.

As with every business we can improve more and expand further but here is a little bit in bullet form about my business, my ethos and way of working.

I have considered the journey my art takes from when it flies about like a light bulb in my brain until it lands at your doorstep and features on your wall.

  • I have been refreshing my memory on mixing my own oils and use a new eco friendly palette. Drying time is the same as shop bought oil tubes but the toxicity for our environment is less.
  • My signature mark is to start and finish each print using graphite pencil. This is a pencil without a wooden casing and cuts down one more step in it’s making process. Making it last longer than a pencil and I don’t need to purchase as often.
  • In the past we used foamex boards and have now located recycled foamex with the exact white face as the old version. They are lined up for January commissions.
  • I photograph and edit all of my own images before they are sent to print cutting down man power.
  • Media design print is where my prints are made. They are a family run Belfast based company that has been around for 27 years and expanded gradually. No shipping or transport is needed.
  • The ink used for my prints has a seventy year colour guarantee meaning that you should not need to buy that print more than once in your lifetime, hopefully! Furthermore the re fillable ink cartridges save waste.
  • Recently we decided to enclose important information leaflets about my business inside your packaged print which are biodegradable and wrapped using recycled black tissue paper.
  • We are struggling with but aim to find a solution in 2017 for the switch from plastic lids on the end of our tubes to something else which is as secure. For now we encourage you to re use your tube as much as possible after you have your print framed.
  • My weakness is stickers that I use for my branding. They’re just so pretty!! However, they have been slimmed down to two stickers a package with the view to having ready made branded tubes down the line- can you imagine how exciting that will be for me!?
  • Our free shipping service (which we offer on all orders in the UK +Ireland) occurs twice a week using the post office 1.2 miles from my studio unless someone requests the recorded option.

There you go!

A brief run down of my business at face value.

Also my studio is so well insulated that the heating is put on once in the morning and stays warm until the evening, even on a freezing cold day. My brother thought of that one so I can’t take credit.

Naturally with everything I see loop holes but living more consciously in my business as well as my home which regularly takes a battering if I decide to “gutt” the place, is something I want to always improve upon.

I am so passionate about having my prints on the walls of many.

My theme of placing importance on the everyday means that I hope people will associate my abstract pieces with the colour match in their bedroom, or the prosecco glass with the afternoons they spend with best friends. I want your purchase to be more than a quick solution to needing a gift.

Art brings so much life to a wall that I am an advocate for choosing well and enjoying that print for it’s lifespan and your life span, knowing that it has an important role in your own life and those who receive your personalised prints (that is another little extra we do- we can ship directly to your family members to save you the bother… and the petrol)

Happy shopping.

4 Comments

  • Reply Hev Clarke November 23, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Love this 🙂 and I also loved your headbands during the uni years x

    • Reply Aly January 5, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      Heather! Sorry for the delay. Haha! Uni days were the days, right? Happy new year to you and thanks for the comment!

  • Reply Deborah November 24, 2016 at 12:07 am

    All the feels Aly! Love what you’re doing. Love a good raid out myself! x

    • Reply Aly January 5, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      Thank you for reading and commenting and sorry for the delay! Happy new year lovely x

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