Living life in lockdown has been hard on all of us and I am sure a few of us could say this 3rd lockdown in particular has affected our productivity, but to my pleasant surprise, two of my closest friends have turned their hands to creative hobbies which have resulted in successful ventures away from their day jobs! This really is something to celebrate and makes me think of how many people are looking to creative hobbies to fill the gap of socialising and spending time with loved ones.
I caught up with my two friends (turned creative business owners) to ask them about their new ventures away from their usual work. Of course, I wish I could say we caught up over a coffee in one of our favourite indie places but that will have to wait for a while!
Louise is a blogger I met 3 years ago, I followed her on social media and invited her to an evening and we became friends. Her style and dedication to her job have always inspired me as well as her love of the area she lives in and writes about with 'Southsea Wanderer'. This girl is usually my one friend that I can rely on to tell me what is happening locally, she is on the pulse of everything culturally in Portsmouth and leads a vibrant social life! I asked Louise why she wanted to create a new venture and this is what she said…..
“During the first lockdown, I found I was working long hours at my 'day job' and didn't have the usual outlets to decompress – socialising with friends, eating out, or travelling to interesting places – so I was looking for something creative to do of a weekend (I'm not very good at sitting still!).
I started out designing wall art for my own home, having not found quite the right thing online. I then found an outlet in Etsy to sell my designs to others too. I loved the creativity of Etsy sellers and soon found myself wanting to create more, so I turned my hand to making and hand-finishing jewellery and accessories too. I now sell around 50 different items in The Mildred Trouble Shop and have been amazed at how well my designs have been received. I'm hoping to do some craft fairs and makers markets when things open up again.
And the name? Mildred Trouble was my roller derby name when I had a short stint with the amazing Portsmouth Roller Wenches. Quite often players pick nicknames or puns on childhood favourites. Unfortunately, I wasn't a natural and have since stopped playing but my love for roller derby has lasted – as has my affection for fictional witches."
My second friend Betty I met because we lived on the same street and kept bumping into each other, we then realised our children were the same age and the rest is history. Betty works at Gunwharf Quays and has been on furlough twice because of the pandemic. I caught up with her to ask her why she started making jewellery during lockdown and this is what she said….
“I am a creative person who loves to make or redesign things. I studied Graphic Design at University but currently work locally as a Visual Merchandiser, focussing my skills and passion on creating beautiful window displays. The pandemic has meant I have been furloughed from my job and I found myself fulfilling my need to create by reimagining other areas of my life; changing and painting rooms or reorganising furniture in my house. With the continuation of lockdown, I also revisited a jewellery making hobby I started 12 years ago. I figured as I have an abundance of time right now, I should continue with what I started all those years ago. I shared images of my creations on Facebook, simply to show my friends how I was spending my free time and it generated so much interest!
I decided to make it a business and have been learning so much on this journey about projecting an online presence through social media, web design, and online shopping. I recently opened an Etsy shop 369bgdesign to sell my pieces and I am in the process of making my own website. My jewellery is designed using mainly gemstones combining beauty with their many properties.
I believe gemstones can work if you actively engage with their energy. Whilst they do not bring you luck, love or money; they can amplify your own vibrations, activate your own “program”, bringing you awareness to see new opportunities, open your heart and attract love, focus your efforts and improve your life, and so on…
Why 369bgdesign? I wanted to create a logo with my initials but in an abstract way. During the design process, I saw ‘369’ inside my logo and this number represents compassion, idealism, and creative expression. I took this as a sign and the 369 energy is an inspiration to others."
How lovely to look back on the pandemic in years to come and think that you used your time to do something creative? There has been a huge increase in virtual lessons, Open University courses and Pinterest has seen a huge spike in people viewing videos of how to sew, crochet, and do DIY.
If you have started doing something that is creative in lockdown and would like to share your story please get in touch with us.