One year on from starting a small business, nobody said it was going to be easy and I am so glad they didn’t. From accidentally under charging for postage, to trying to advertise during a global pandemic, it has been challenging but also the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced.
Being in shielding for the first lockdown with my family I had to think of ways to occupy my time. For years I have had lino tools sitting in my online basket, promising myself that the next pay day I will purchase them. I now had no excuse and plenty of time to be creative, so I bit the bullet and finally ordered them – and I’ve never been happier.
Print making is something I always enjoyed at college and wanted to explore further. With a sketch book armed with doodles and all the tools I needed, I started to create lino cuts which now are known as my ‘lino doodles’. Over the coming weeks I posted these onto my personal Instagram stories, which was a huge deal to me as I’ve never had the confidence to share my work previously.
One evening I was on a Zoom call and several of my friends said they wanted a print. Me being me, I ignored them as we had all had a few glasses of wine and the prints were no where near finished. The following morning I got a message from one of them asking about prices and to say that I should set up a Instagram page to display my work. That is when KatieCelaschiArt was born.
Slowly but surely I started selling lino prints that had taken me weeks to print – these were also my first charity pieces for Black Minds Matter. Since opening KatieCelaschiArt I have raised money for many mental health, cancer, and local charities, along with donating items and my time too. Lino printing was helping me through my own mental health in lockdown, so I wanted my work to help in whatever way it could.
After the first lockdown I moved in with my partner due to having to return to my full time job and it still not being safe for my parents – they are still to this day in intense shielding. I had gone from creating my lino cuts in the corner of my bedroom floor, to taking over the whole kitchen!
With markets opening up, this was a chance for me to meet new people, and get my name as a trader and artist out there. It was such an incredible experience but very challenging – finding the right market for my niche, expenses for market equipment, and also that lovely British weather not being on my side. Too sunny and my ink would dry out, too wet and my framed pieces would draw in condensation.
Finally I thought I had mastered it all and then the next lockdown hit, and I was back to relying on social media and online searches to sell my products. This was all SO new to me and I was still getting to grips with it. Anyone that has mastered this please get in touch as it’s something I am learning daily – I never thought as a young adult I would find social media so hard to grasp!
Over the Christmas period I had large amounts of orders of my Lino-printed personalised wooden slice decorations – these sold out multiple times which was insane to me! I am still shocked when people buy my work, that they would want to have it in their home or gift it to someone close. This was the first chance I got to shine – all of the practice packaging I had done, the thank you notes I’d made, and the items I had designed, were finally going to their new homes. I never realised how much work went into running a small business – that I needed to do accounts, that it would take over the whole house, and eat up my savings.
After Christmas I started to change my style of working to hand etched items such as wine glasses and mirrors, all still with my doodles. It’s been great to play with new media and see that people truly enjoy the creativity of my doodles and what they will become next. It’s been a hard few months for most businesses and orders have been hard to get, I’ve also sadly in the past month had some health issues and am recovering slowly.
I am starting to work on what is coming next for KatieCelaschiArt and look forward to another year as a small business owner.