The start of March always means lots of things - the promise of Spring, St David’s Day and…March Meet the Maker.
This lovely Instagram challenge was created by Joanne Hawker for Makers and Artists to show off their small businesses and give a snapshot of what goes into their creations including how they work, the materials they use, inspirations and what are their secret favourites.
I always enjoy joining in with March Meet the Maker and love seeing everyone’s posts and images, you can also see all the posts by searching for the hashtag #marchmeetthemaker on Instagram.
It seemed a shame to have my posts for the challenge just on Instagram where they are so transient so I’m going to keep popping them on here as I complete them throughout the Month.
Day 1 - You and Your Work
It's a bit of a bumper day today with it being the first day of meteorological Spring, St David's Day, Pancake Day and also the first day of #marchmeetthemaker !
Day 1's prompt is 'You and Your Work' so here is a little bit about me and Daffodowndilly.
- I'm Becky and I make/design all the things in Daffodowndilly.
- I design things like notebooks, cards, writing paper, enamel and wooden pins, calendars, keyrings and prints.
- I'm from Shropshire, sandwiched between Wales and the West Midlands.
- The first thing I designed was a Puffin card and I still sell that design today.
- I Love all the arts - if it's to do with music, theatre, art or the written word - I'm in.
- I also love fossils, the natural world and geology - my degree subject was natural science and I love popping little fossils in my designs whenever I can!
- I'm happiest outdoors, especially if there is a festival or outdoor theatre there too!
As it's a new month I've also launched a new blog post 'things to love about March' which you can read through the link in my bio!
Are you having pancakes today?
Day 2 - Brand Values
The words and phrases I try to align to with Daffodowndilly are:
- Find the joy - make stationery and accessories that make people happy to receive.
- Nature love - All my designs are nature inspired in one way or another.
⭐ Made in England - All the designs are created by myself and then either printed/manufactured by another small to medium company in England or by me in Shropshire.
⭐ Sustainability - I try to use as little plastic in my business as I can and to be sustainable in my paper choices.
I made the decision to only source my printing and manufacturing from within the UK to limit the carbon footprint. This also felt especially important to me as I'm from the Midlands where so much of our local manufacturing has disappeared.
I'm also constantly looking for alternatives to swap where I haven't managed to find a plastic free alternative - it's a constant work in progress!
Day 3 - Planning
I always prefer to do my planning in my notebook (usually one I've made up for myself from damaged fronts and a mix of printed and blank pages like the one in the photo! 😆).
I just find that the act of physically writing something down generates loads more ideas and is really helpful for organising when I need to decide on dates for sending designs to the printer or counting down to the launch of something new. Even if I transfer the plans to my laptop to work on afterwards, the initial planning always starts in my notebook.
Things definitely do not always go to plan, especially in the last 3 years but it's generally a system that works well for me. ♥️
Day 4 - 3 Things
So I thought I'd give you 3 facts about my enamel brooches ♥️
⭐1. After I've created the designs they are manufactured in Birmingham, actually only 26 miles away from me, keeping everything local.
⭐2. I love enamel pins/brooches and it was a dream of mine to create my own brooches. So when I opened the box in 2020 containing the first designs fresh from being made it felt unreal!
⭐3. The brooches have a stud back with either one or two rubber plugs to hold the brooch securely in place. The larger brooches like persevere and puffin for example have two studs and the slightly smaller brooches like each dawn and black cats have one stud.
Day 5 - Free
Day 6 - Free
Day 7 - Favourite
I actually love them all but a sneaky slight favourite product would be the notebooks.
I love all the stages of creating them:
⭐ From coming up with a design and tweaking it until I think it will work as a notebook.
⭐ Sending the designs off to the printers, waiting nervously and hoping they look okay.
⭐ Receiving the notebook fronts back from the printers, putting all the components together and then beginning to wire bind them into new notebooks.
⭐ Seeing a design that started in my head as a fully finished notebook. ♥️
Day 8 - Best Decision
Two of my best decisions have been to join @pedddleuk and @loveourshopsuk .
They have connected me to so many wonderful people who I may never have met otherwise and I love being part of their communities.💛
Another good decision was to buy a second hand binding machine because trying to hole punch all the notebook components using a hand powered punch was destroying my shoulders!
Day 9 - Hands at Work
So I'm slightly cheating and using a reel I made a while ago as I haven't had time to make a new one yet 😆! (Reel sound on for the best effect)
This is my Blackcap design and as well as a greeting card it is also available as a notebook, print, sticker and as part of the Garden Birds writing paper and gift note set.
Day 10 - Storage
I use lots of craft organisers and mini compartment drawers for the stickers, charms and keyring components.
Then the gift notes, postcards, writing paper, charts and notebook fronts are in sets of drawers.
The prints in a desktop wooden drawer tower.
The greeting cards are in shallow really useful boxes and my other supplies such as wires, greyboard, envelopes etc are in their own cardboard boxes and on shelves.
Day 11 - Seasonal
I'm heavily influenced by the seasons and all I want to do in Spring is draw flowers or draw polar bears and robins in Winter. So I try to use these moments of inspiration to create the designs for next year's Spring or Christmas instead of fighting it.
As it takes time to turn designs from my head into fully finished prints, notebooks or writing paper I have to generally finish the designs for a new season at least a couple of months before that season starts. However I do try to make most designs as "evergreen" as possible so that they are good to use all year round.
The gift note design shown in the image is 🌼 Spring Bouquet 🌼 and it is also available as a notebook (without the white writing area) and as one of the designs in the Spring Flowers writing paper set.
Day 12 - Free
Day 13 - Free
Day 14 - The Numbers
Here are a few stats for Daffodowndilly 💛💛💛
Day 15 - Time
Each design is individual in the amount of time it takes to create.
Some designs only take an evening to get right but others might take a month of doing a bit, leaving it and then tweaking or erasing until I'm happy.
Day 16 - Goals
With such uncertain times at the moment I'm keeping many of my goals short and sweet and setting monthly and weekly small goals to keep me motivated.
Some examples might be:
⭐ Launch a new product range in April - with all the small steps that go into creating and actioning this.
⭐ Go for a walk every day to keep me moving.
⭐ Write a blog post each month.
⭐ Finish creating a wholesale range.
I do have bigger goals too but at the moment I find that smaller goals work better for me.
Day 17 - Sneak Peak
Here's a first look at one of the new bag charm keyring sets coming soon ⭐.
Happy St Patrick's Day 🍀 as well!
Day 18 - Sell Yourself
I think Daffodowndilly's USPs are:
💛 Everything is designed by me so you won't find it anywhere else.
💛 It is all designed and made/printed in England.
💛 Nature inspired designs translated into stationery and accessories. Jewel tones, block colours and fossils snuck in to a design whenever possible!
Day 19 - Free
Day 20 - Free
Day 21 - Materials/Tools
Materials (what do you use to create your work)
I mainly use my ipad and pencil to draw the designs (sneak peek at a new snowdrop design too). I use a mix of Adobe Fresco and Procreate to draw on the ipad as they discontinued my usual program Adobe Draw.
I also use Adobe Illustrator on my laptop to finalise the designs ready for printing.
Other tools I use regularly are my beloved notebook binder, a set of pliers and cutters for making keyrings and a badge maker for creating the button badges.
I'm hoping to use my cricut and printer a lot more in the near future but at the moment they take a slightly more back seat role.
Day 22 - Mistake/Lesson
Day 22 of #marchmeetthemaker - Mistake/lesson
There have been so many 😆
So here are are just 3 of them:
1. Drawing on the wrong layer of my digital drawing- or not labelling the layers. This is an ongoing mistake I often make and I should know better by now!
2. Thinking a product or design will sell because I love it! A lot of my bestsellers are often designs I wasn't as happy with personally.
3. Ordering the wrong size of something - I now have quite a large quantity of extra thick greyboard in my room.
However every mistake I've made has led me to a better or easier way of doing something or a better decision. For example, I'm going to use that extra thick greyboard to make some notepads instead of notebooks.
Mistakes always lead to growth 💛
Day 23 - Product Range
I use the designs I create to make stationery and accessories so the product range I've built up includes:
🌼Stationery🌼 - Notebooks, Greeting Cards, Writing Paper Sets, Thank You Letter Sets, Prints, Gift Notes, Stickers, Envelope Stickers, Calendars and Diaries, Downloadable Wallpapers, Tea and Coffee Charts, Postcards and Milestone Sheets
🌼Accessories🌼 - Enamel Brooches, Wooden Brooches, Keyrings and (coming soon) Bag Charms
Day 24 - Milestone
So as my Instagram follower count has just ticked over 3000 people I thought I'd dedicate this prompt to you all!
Thank you so much for every like, comment, share and message. You are all so wonderful and it means the World ♥️.
Day 25 - Workspace
So here is a mini tour of the new workspace I'm moving into. There is still a lot of unpacking, moving and tidying to do but I'm getting there gradually!
Do you like my seagull packing helper?
Day 26 - Free
Day 27 - Free
Day 28 - Low Stock
I've only got a handful of the Each Dawn pins left at the moment. I will be restocking at some point this year but if you would like one soon then now's the time. 💙
Day 29 - New vs Old
So this is one of my newest products/designs, followed by one of my oldest designs.
Day 30 - Day in the Life
A slightly late Day 30 of #marchmeetthemaker - A day in the life.
Some days will be filled with admin and a lot less creating and order packing but this gives you a little flavour.
Day 31 - Looking Forward
Last day of #marchmeetthemaker22 - Looking forward! With Daffodowndilly I'm definitely winging it and enjoying the journey.
I think the last few years have shown that the best laid plans can go totally out the window so just keep going, evolve into what works at that point in time and try to enjoy the ride!
Thank you for reading, I've loved taking part in this brilliant challenge by Joanne Hawker. I'd really encourage you to have a look at the other posts on Instagram with the hashtag #marchmeetthemaker as they are brilliant.