Wimborne Minster, Dorset, UK
Business founded in 2012
Sarah Lovell started her art print business after having her second baby. She drew and painted in her spare time, so she figured she’d take a go at making greeting cards, art prints, and coloring books. She says, “I am inspired by wildlife, my three small children and the magic all around us. I try to capture some of that magic in my illustrations.”
I hand illustrate/paint the original pictures with watercolor, gouache or acrylic and black ink. Then I send the originals to my printer (also in Dorset) who scans them in and digitally prints the cards and art prints or assembles the coloring books. The paper used is all ‘Carbon Captured’ and the inks used are biodegradable, so they are all very eco friendly products which is important to me.
How did you go about turning your passion into a business?
I started with a small collection of nine card designs that I showed to our local bookshop, and they ordered four of each. This was the beginning, and a big confidence boost. I now have over 50 cards, some of which are available as prints, and a range of coloring books which are all stocked nationwide! And I just got a new stockist in Spain too. I started with local shops, getting in touch via email, sending samples, phoning shops, and slowly increased my number of stockists.
Do you sell your work primarily online, or do you have a storefront? Is Instagram a good selling source for you?
I sell my work via my website, and I also have an Etsy shop. I get regular orders from both avenues, and my products are also stocked in a number of independent stores across the UK.
I love Instagram, and I find it a great place to connect with other artists/ illustrators. I try to update my account regularly with new work, and make sure my feed is interesting and fresh, so I can use it as a kind of portfolio.
Do you travel to trade shows?
I took part in my first big trade show in January. I was selected by journalist Charlotte Abrahams, to take part in the “Spotted” section of a big trade show in London called Top Drawer. This was an amazing experience, and put my work in front of a big audience, so since then I have started stocking a lot more shops across the UK.
What works best for you when it comes to marketing and promotion for your business?
Social media is a great tool, and I keep my Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram feeds updated daily as well as interacting with other via social media as much as possible. I also love the community feel on Etsy. I am part of the Dorset team, where the members really support their fellow Etsy sellers. I also think you can’t beat sending some one a beautifully wrapped parcel with some samples of your work via snail mail to really stand out from the crowd.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out—something you wish you would have known?
Let your spirit shine through in your work, make things that really make you happy and they will make other people happy too.