We absolutely love the amazing illustrations from Sal at Little Black Heart and were thrilled when she agreed to answer some of our questions, to inspire Handmade Sellers in their work. Have a read below to find out more about the talented artist behind the ghoulish creations…
1. Could you tell us a bit about your background, and how Little Black Heart came about?
I’ve always loved art – as a child I would spends hours and hours drawing and doodling. I left school at 15 with no formal qualifications, and was in full-time employment doing various jobs from then on. None of it was remotely art related – although I still enjoyed sketching in my spare time – but I just drifted along without any clear idea of what it was I wanted to do with my life!
Then last year, my sister was using a few of my drawings for her own business – embroidering them onto her fabric products. People seemed to respond well to the designs, and I just thought “why not put a few on the front of some cards, and see if they sell, too?” -and it’s snowballed from there!
2. What were your biggest fears when taking the plunge and going full time, and how did you overcome them?
After moving house and leaving my job in retail (which was making me miserable!), I was actually spending all of my time renovating our new house. When I first started producing a few cards to sell online, it wasn’t much of a “plunge” for me – just something I thought I could do in my spare time, to help generate a little extra income. My biggest fears were that nobody would like any of the things I made!
3. We love the way you are so active on Facebook. What’s your reason for this?
I use Facebook because it works for me – I can show pictures of any new work I produce, generate interest in the things I have for sale, and easily interact with people who like my work.
4. How do you decide upon the pricing of your drawings? Is there a magic formula that you use?
My arty friends are always telling me off for selling my work too cheaply. Whilst I fully agree that handmade and original work should cost more than something mass produced in the Far East, I also think that the things I produce should be priced reasonably enough to sell! In general, any original artwork that has more detail, or more time spent on it, will be priced higher than other items. Things like cards and prints, where I’m just running off a copy, will be a little bit less. But I make sure each item is priced at a figure I think someone would be willing to pay for it.
5. And what is it about running your own business that makes the tough times seem worthwhile?
I get to do what I love – what I’ve always loved, and what I always wanted to do, even if I spent many years not realising it! I get to work from home, and draw and paint and make things all day, every day… and I love it!
6. What do you do in your spare time when you are not producing fabulous drawings?
Currently, I don’t have any spare time! I’m still trying to renovate the house (though that’s taken a bit of a back seat while I’m so busy) and I also enjoy doing homely things like baking, growing my own fruit and veg, making things with the produce I’ve grown… good old fashioned hobbies!
7. What’s next for Little Black Heart?
I suppose I would like to take a step back and re-assess things. When I started out, just a year ago, I had thought I would just sell a few cards. Since then things have snowballed somewhat, and I think now it would be good if I took 5 minutes to think about a more cohesive collection of items, and also to see what other products I could produce with my artwork on.
8. If you had one piece of advice for newbie sellers who are just starting out, what would it be?
Don’t expect miracles overnight! It takes a lot of hard work and careful promotion to build up a successful business – and I’ve found that the old clichés are certainly true: what you put in is what you get out! If you’re willing to work hard, you will benefit from it.