- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.6XeXEVt9.dpuf The Curiosity Project: Curb Your Curiosity: Giddy Kipper

20 April 2012

Curb Your Curiosity: Giddy Kipper

Today I get to interview the fantastically bubbly Heidi Bowman of Giddy Kipper. She runs a small but ever-expanding hand-painted wooden accessories company with her husband Steve and is also a mummy of two. I've always admired her work and I know you will too once you've read her interview...

• Introduce yourself to us! 
Artistic, giddy, giggly, talkative, likes to laugh, quite stubborn!

• Describe your style… 
Simple, nostalgic, a little bit quirky and a lot of fun.

Image © Eddie Judd Photography

Image © Emma Case Photography 

• What do you love about the medium you work in? 
We work mostly with pine - It’s very easy to work with. Everything is handmade and hand painted so we have free rein with our designs. The wood feels so lovely and warm too. Sometimes it’s a shame to cover up the grain.

• Where do you find your inspiration- who or what inspires you? 
I find my inspiration everywhere! It could be something I’ve seen in a book, a memory from a photo, a snippet of conversation or a trip to the seaside. I love to read books – I have all sorts of books about artists, interiors, party and wedding styling, homes & gardens and my favourite topic, the seaside. 

I love John Piper, Jim Dine and Peter Blake but I also love romantic painters like the pre-Raphaelites. Martin Parr is also a big influence – love his quirky photography and Emma Case takes the most amazing vintage-style photos.

I also love reading blogs (when I get chance! Not often with 2 little boys…) One of my favourites is the Happy Loves Rosie blog – full of quirky vintage finds and she has a brilliant caravan! 

Image © Happy Loves Rosie

The Amy Atlas blog is full of beautiful party styling and there are so many gorgeous wedding blogs I only wish I had extra days in the week to look at them!! (Rock’n’Roll Bride and Rock My Wedding feature really different weddings and shoots that I love).

• How do you translate your inspiration into a design?
I always try to envisage where the product will end up – I try to see it from a customer’s point of view. I want them to love their purchase. Really makes me smile when we get wonderful feedback from our customers about a special gift they’ve bought or something they’ve wanted for themselves

• How do you structure your working day? 
We have business premises (where Steve does all the messy woodworking) Catherine helps me to paint and Charlotte is our office angel but at the moment with a 10 month old baby and a 5 year old I’ve been working from home to make things a little easier!
Once the boys are packed off to Grandparent’s house or school I start work at the kitchen table until it’s time to do school run. Then once the kids are in bed we tend to start again and most nights I’ll be working ‘til 1am!

Heidi & Steve's studio. 

• We all get creative block. How do you combat it?
Thankfully I don’t seem to suffer from this very often – my biggest problem is that I have too many ideas and Steve can’t keep up with making the samples!!

• Share your favourite tool with us.
I guess my favourite tool has to be my trusty paintbrush! I love to paint and although running a small business can be very stressful at times I am lucky to have a job I enjoy.

• Describe your dream creative space…
Light and airy with white walls…like a beach hut interior. Lots of space with doors that I can fling open to let the sunshine in, preferably on a beach but then I wouldn’t get any work done at all!

Image © Louise Rastall

• What lead to the moment that made you decide to sell your products professionally?
After trawling around craft markets and fairs sitting in the freezing cold trying not to get hypothermia or in marquees with temperatures that could cook an egg we decided we needed to do something more professional! So we took a big step spent lots of money and exhibited at Country Living Spring Fair…it was a turning point for us. We now no longer do the fairs as we cannot afford the time away from the workshop with the amount of orders we get!

• What are the obstacles you've encountered on your journey so far?
I would probably say the biggest obstacle has always been the boring old cashflow problem! We started our business out of necessity with no funds and a clapped out car after Steve had been made redundant for the 4th (yes 4th!) time. We’ve had to do everything ourselves from scratch – teaching ourselves business basics, accounting, photoshop skills, photography, designing brochures and leaflets, PR and marketing…there’s nothing we can’t do now though. You learn to conquer your obstacles!

• The biggest high of your career so far is...
Well last year was pretty awesome but this year has started on an even bigger high as we won Best Special Touches category at The Wedding Ideas Awards 2012  and we’ve just met Dragon Theo Paphitis after winning a Small Business Sunday accolade!

Ever the professional...

• What's the biggest lesson you've learnt on your creative journey so far & what advice would you give to a newbie?
It’s extremely hard work but you will reap the rewards if you have the determination! We had no idea this is what we would end up doing and our business has evolved over the years. We are so proud of our achievements (being able to run a business with 2 small children in tow is a feat in itself…we’re good at juggling!) The fact that we have done all this by ourselves makes it all the more pleasing. Be prepared to sacrifice your social life (and sleeping!!) for a while and you’ll go far!

• What's next for you?
We already have a storefront on Not On The High Street but we have just opened another (Giddy Weddings) dedicated to our wedding products for which sales have rocketed recently! 

We are also working on our own website which we’ve not had running for a while as we’ve been so busy keeping up with orders! We have 2 staff members but will probably have to take on more this year to ease our workload. We’d eventually like to open a shop by the seaside and run the mail order business from there too. Lots of very exciting things are happening for Giddy Kipper right now so who knows where it all might lead!

• Take us on a crawl (tour) of your favourite shops. Where do you like to shop and why?

Although she sold her part of the company recently I still have a soft spot for Cath Kidston! My house is full of CK goodies and I have a favourite pair of spotty pumps.

Heidi's collection of Cath Kidston

I also love …

'Lotte' Notebook at Lark

☞ Lark  – a treasure trove of sweet little gifts and kitsch home decor

☞ Acorn & Will – fabulous vintage accessories galore!

☞ Happy Loves Rosie – fabulous vintage pieces

☞ Notonthehighstreet.com – bursting with the most amazing small businesses so much talent in one place

☞ Hope & Greenwood – The best vintage sweet shop ever!

Image © Hope And Greenwood

• What's on your bedside table?
Photos of our gorgeous little boys,  two old printers stamps (our initials H & S) and a vintage style alarm clock (although the 10 month old usually does that job for us!)

• iPhone, blackberry or android? And why? 
Blackberry. – love it easy to use very quick. Never had an iphone (although I’m tempted…) and didn’t get on with an android phone I had. I make items like phones and computers stop working!

• Complete the sentence: "If I need to relax, I…"
Sit on a beach! It’s the best place to chill out – listening to the waves, making sandcastles and eating fish and chips!

• You're planning your last ever meal and celebrating with a dinner party. You have 6 seats around your table-who would you invite to join you and what would you serve up?  
It would have to be some big Italian feast – lots of pasta and garlic (and red wine) Ooooh! And some cheesecake! Found it hard to decide who to invite….has to be a fun evening.

My 6 guests would be…
Eddie Izzard – fascinating character, very funny, very clever.
Derren Brown – gobsmacking memory man and illusionist and also a brilliant portrait artist.
Anna Friel – just because I think she’s a great actor, really natural and I reckon would be a really good laugh.
Richard Reed – Co-founder of Innocent. Love the ethics of the company.
Cath Kidston  to grill her on her business knowledge.
Elvis – had to really. He can serenade us and he seemed like a very kind, funny man.

• Give us a song! Which one song helps you whistle while you work? 
Oh I love my music...how do I choose just one tune?? My ipod or radio is always on while I paint – I have a very eclectic taste.
I am going to go for this song…Beautiful Child by Rufus Wainwright

Thanks Heidi, that was so much fun! Your personality really comes out in your work and I'm sure you've helped inspire others to take the plunge and start up their own business.

Follow Giddy Kipper:


This afternoon we meet our next mum in the 'Having It All' series trying to split herself into five...not a mean feat I can tell you.

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