Whenever I promise to blog and I don't, I feel bad. It's not like I'm an actually 'blogger' so that it really matters, but I still feel bad! To actually 'just get on with it' (as I have a pencil saying!) I've taken myself out on a breakfast date along with my laptop to write a little post and share a but about what the heck has been going on?!
The answer to that is, everything has. I have mentioned in previous updates that for me last year was the warm up… and that is very much the case. This year is just ridiculous! & everything I had hoped for Oh Squirrel is happening. So let's have a catch up!
One of the reasons I feel less 'bloggy' these days is that I use Instagram as a bit of a diary, so if you follow me over there you probably know all the news, but here is a little run down, in my very favourite format - a list! All the images are from instagram, so they may be a little familiar!
1. Sashes. Last year, my housemate joked to me that I was going to just end up making sashes for a living at the rate they were selling… as usual, she was right. This year, by the end of May (counting from January of this year) I had made over 1000 sashes! ONE THOUSAND!!!! There are so many processes that go into each sash - it's not just like I get the order and it's made - they take a good half an hour plus each… so to have made 1000 with my own (very tired and scratched up!) hands is a pretty ridiculous milestone.
What's the future for the sashes? I'm NOT outsourcing them - they will still be made in the studio and I'm adding more and more fabrics every month. I will eventually launch birthday ones and properly launch Baby Shower…. and also sashes for little people too, pending all the QA procedures I'm looking into. I am so proud of my little sash!!!
2. Studio Assistant! This is pretty big news for me. I work hard, ridiculously hard. So much so that in the week before I took a trip (coming later!) I totalled up over 100 hours. It wasn't big or clever, I just had to do it because all the orders needed to be made! It took three different people to 'have a word' with me separately on the same day for me to finally do something about it. When setting up Oh Squirrel I've had lots of help from friends, but it was time to get in a permanent assistant - and so I have! The lovely Léa joined and everything has changed! Having another person in the studio is making so much difference in terms of workload, and also in making me a more organised person. I am so grateful to have serendipitously found such a wonderful fit for Oh Squirrel HQ! Léa brings so much energy, enthusiasm and fun to the studio and (I hope!) really enjoys working here too. Plus we share the same love of anything nautical! & she amazingly manages to ignore my awful singing to the radio! Result!
3. Press. Another game changer! In the last few months Oh Squirrel has been in Mollie Makes, Simply Sewing (a few times) and also on Emerald Street TWICE! There have been a few other call ins so let's just wait and see. When I finally sort the website out I will have a little press section which I'm super excited about. It's so lovely to see your hard work featured in such an exciting way!
4. Markets! I am DONE for the season now! I did 4 in total - Renegade, Crafty Fox, Bust Craftacular and the Crouch End Craft Fair. To be totally honest, I don't think they could have gone much better. Yep there was a migraine incident, a broken down car, forgetting my card reader and all the usual fun and games… but I had a really awesome time at all of them! Especially Renegade where I hung out with my pal Hannah from Pup Tart all weekend and had so much fun. Meeting loads of customers and instagram friends was so great too. I'm taking a break for the Summer now as I need my weekends for wedding stationery appointments (and the occasional weekend off too perhaps!) but I'll be back in the Autumn.
5. Stockholm. I went on a little holiday! I spent 4 days in beautiful Stockholm with an old friend, eating all the food, cycling everywhere and just generally having a proper rest. It is a great city to relax in - too many cocktails, a bit too much shopping, and just generally time to breath. More of those please! We stayed in a gorgeous Air BNB apartment which is always my accommodation of choice when on trips.
6. #OSTM. The mysterious hashtag! Something really REALLY exciting has been happening that I'm hopefully going to be able to share with you this month. It is really exciting! I promise! Here is our secret meeting… If you're really curious then search the hashtag on instagram and see if you can guess. & no it's not just an excuse to sit around eating pastry, honest!
7. Weddings. I am so fortunate to have so many lovely wedding clients! This year I seem to have lucked out with working with the nicest couples who are fun, creative and have some amazing ideas! I'm totally booked up until August now (although if any current clients who are waiting on emails from me read this then don't worry, you're counted in!)
8. Studio. I have finally sorted out the studio. Proper tour coming soon! When I moved in I got busy with orders straight away and never had the time to make it look how I wanted. So the other weekend I just made it happen. It's always going to be a work in progress, however everything now has a place, looks beautiful and the space is really working. Hopefully at some point I'll have an open studio, and of course a studio tour on the blog!
9. Branding. Whenever I get a spare hour, I work on new things. One thing I've really been excited about is the updated branding. It's all been coming together slowly, but I'm so happy with it! Last night I ordered a bucketload of new stamps, and next week there is another exciting order going in. I absolutely LOVE how the branding totally reflects everything that Oh Squirrel is about.
10. Katie! Ok, that sounds a bit self centred, but I guess as Oh Squirrel is very much a brand created from my personality, it'd be nice to tell you a bit about what I've been upto? Don't worry, skip this if you're no interested! I have been working a lot (did I mention that?! what a martyr!) so when I find the evenings and occasional day off I love to fill it with something fun. I volunteered for Punchdrunk the other weekend which was incredible as I got to work on a really amazing creative school project - I absolutely LOVED this and got so much out of it (see below pic of me looking very happy making props out of old books!). I've had a very great honour of becoming a Godmother to someone very special, so am constantly thinking of all the lovely things I want to do with (and make for!) the most beautiful baby in the world - I can't put into words how honoured I am about this special role!!
& I guess I've just been enjoying the Spring. It really is hard to 'switch off' when you run a business, but I'm trying to take at least an afternoon on a weekend to sit quietly, read a book, catch up with friends or just enjoy my city. It's a work in progress! I do feel a lot of the time that I'm working my life away, but I am really happy! Oh and I'm still making playlists, even though I'm not publishing them
& lastly. Here is an image that sums everything up. Yesterday I did the local Craft Fair in Crouch End. This is the 4th year I've done it! I started out doing it when I was still working full time in fashion and dreaming of this being my life. A lovely older gentleman came to see me - he is probably a similar age to my own Grandad. He comes every year to stock up on cards, and he does buy the cheeky ones! He spent about half an hour choosing, and I spent this whole half an hour trying not to cry.
The reason this really makes me a bit emotional is this is what I've always wanted. Oh Squirrel is an inclusive brand for everyone who appreciates personality in products. I remember being hauled into an office at my old job and being told that I needed to change my personality to fit in (yeah, that full story is for another day!) and now I make a living out of creating products out of it. My customers are the lovely hen party girls wanting to spoilt their friend on her hen weekend with something that truly reflects her instead of the usual tat. They are the happy couple getting married and wanting to have things around them on their special day that truly reflect who they are, and are handcrafted just for them. They are the lovely online customers who treat themselves on payday and sometimes come up with a special idea that then inspires a whole new product. They are PEOPLE!
Another thing to just quickly mention is this website. It is so very out of date and will be updated as soon as I can. I feel a little embarrassed directing customers to it in the current state but please bear with me on it.!
Thank you for reading my ramblings!