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  • Writer's pictureNikita Sarah Johnson


Updated: Sep 26, 2021

There are many reasons I shop with small businesses. They are more ethical and sustainable, a lot of time, money, work and effort has gone into making the products. Items are handmade but most importantly you know your order is helping someone’s dream become a reality. As a small business owner myself I know these things all too well.

Every month I plan to share four amazing small businesses that I support and deserve your support too. I bought a lot from small businesses in February and March so it was super hard for me to pick just four favourites.

Zacrosso | Illustrator & Artist

Zac is an incredible artist based in Leeds. His illustrations are unique, striking and colourful. He takes the ordinary and makes it impactful. I was lucky enough to have a chat with Zac about his work and ask him a few questions.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your shop?

I’m a colour-blind artist interested in community minded illustration that celebrates everything from your local towns, to your favourite flowers. I specialise in watercolour and colour pencil illustration and sell high quality colour artwork prints as well as custom commissions on my Etsy shop.

What advice would you give to other creatives that want to start selling their work?

My advice for creative start-ups is honestly just to take the plunge and stick some stuff up for sale. Etsy is my favourite platform but research, because it allows you to see what best suits your style and who your audience is.

The moment you make the first sale (probably to a close family member or friend realistically) you'll start breaking down those mental barriers that tell you to get a crappy part time job and you'll begin to take yourself seriously. Remember to celebrate the small successes, to make any amount of income from the comfort of your home, making work that you love is an amazing thing to do. During a pandemic this is all the more impressive and you should be kind to yourself. Take yourself seriously, and remember to interact with your audience and people relevant to what you create. The networking, personal backstory; Love and care that goes into your craft is just as important as the polished final outcome you put up for sale.

From my own experience and my friends who run shops, a really important quality to hold onto is perseverance. Sales, good connections and success online is all about small continuous improvement. Showing up every day to talk and display what you do, generating ideas and offering something unique and relevant to your audience.

If you're an artist wanting to sell prints just get yourself an affordable HP printer, some matte photo paper, cello wraps, hard backed envelopes, some branding materials like business cards etc and you're ready to start selling. If you're not ready to go that far, you can order artwork prints online from some great companies like, ''. Just remember to be realistic about how much you spend on prints as you don't want to be swamped with excess artwork prints that don't sell.

Finally, what has been your favourite project to work on?

This is difficult! One of the benefits of working for myself and selling prints is that I only ever really paint about what brings me joy. My favourite products have to be my Leeds artwork prints. I was never really interested in the local area or particularly fond of where I grew up; It was only since coming to Leeds four years ago, that I understood what it was like to feel like I fit in within a community and could be proud of where I lived.

Keep up to date with Zac's work - Instagram | Website | Etsy

ikldesign | Graphic Designer and Illustrator

Izzy is a Graphic Designer and illustrator. She owns the shop ikldesign on Etsy. Her work is both cute and endearing. All of Izzy's designs spark positivity in these hard times. Izzy kindly was able to answer a few questions for me about her practice.

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you chose to start a shop?

Hi I’m Izzy, I sell art, stationery and gifts with the hope to spread positivity and a little bit of cuteness along the way! I started ikldesign as I’ve always had the passion for creating art & I love to spread positivity. So, my shop allows me to do this with my artwork and products!

I get inspired by my surroundings, pop culture, travelling and by all the talent I see on Instagram.

What advice would you give to other creatives that want to start selling their work?

My top advice is don’t think too much and just go for it. What’s the worst that can happen?!

I would also say that if you love what you do/create it will show. So don’t compare yourself to other’s with your sales or engagement. Just be you!

Finally, what has been your favourite product you sell?

My favourite product would be the ‘Good Days Keyring’. I’ve always wanted to add key rings to my shop and I love how the design works as a positive reminder that you can carry around with you!

Keep up to date with Izzy's work - Instagram | Etsy

Jasmine McKnight | Artist

Jasmine is an artist from Manchester. Recently she has been selling her funky vibrant earrings on her Etsy shop. Her jewellery is inspired by different prints and themes adding a bold statement to any outfit. Jasmine chatted to me about her work and answered the following questions:

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you chose to start a shop?

I’m Jasmine and I recently graduated University with a fine art degree and I sell earrings in my shop but hope to move into selling my art when I have the motivation to make some!

What made you start your shop and what inspires you?

Originally when I finished University I wanted to get a job as a Graphic Designer or something along those lines in the creative industry. I spent a couple weeks applying to lots of jobs but unfortunately didn't hear back from any of them. So I decided to stop before I lost all confidence in myself and start my own business. While job hunting I made polymer clay earrings as a hobby. Everyone around me told me I should sell them, so now here we are! My dream was always to eventually work for myself, so I guess this has forced me to start that dream early! Especially while I have the security of living under my parents roof without worrying about bills to pay! At the moment I’m inspired by characters in film and tv for my different styles of earrings. My style of art that I developed at University used a lot of fluorescent colours that glow under UV light, so that inspires my designs too!

Any advice or tips for other creatives that want to start a shop?

Do it!!! But at your own pace. Don’t compare yourself to how well other small businesses might be doing. Everyone has to start somewhere!

Your favourite product you sell or have made?

The neon yellow and purple cow print hearts I made for a custom order.

Keep up to with Jasmine's work - Instagram | Etsy

Sophie Anna | Graphic Designer

Sophie is a Graphic Designer and student currently running a small business whilst completing her degree. Her work is a mixture of quirky and creative by showing varied ways of drawing the ordinary. Sophie was kind enough to spare some time and answer a few questions about her art.

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you chose to start a shop?

I’m Sophie, I own the small business SophieAnnaArt where I sell prints, stickers and cards!

What made you start your shop and what inspires you?

I decided to start my store after friends and family began asking for custom artwork, my friend suggested it would be a good idea to try targeting a wider audience.

Any advice or tips for other creatives that want to start a shop?

I started my store November 2020 selling Christmas cards (none of which had been printed yet) and I didn’t have any packaging what so ever! I wasn't sure I would get sales but then suddenly my business began to grow. Now I am always extra prepared before I start listing an item.

Your favourite product you sell or have made?

My favourite product I sell I think it would have to be the quirky portrait prints that I make. They are the most enjoyable to do and I love the outcomes that are created from them!

Keep up to date with Sophie's work - Instagram | Etsy


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