Meet The Maker: Flamingo
Flamingo is an independent card, art and gift shop based in Widcombe, Bath. I was lucky enough to interview Flamingo about their shop and business.
Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?
I’m great thank you.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I have been in the greeting card business for twenty-eight years after starting my career at The Andrew Brownsword Collection based in Bath. During my time there I worked as a Design Manager for sister company Gordon Fraser Gallery and then Hallmark UK when they acquired the companies. I have always had a love of designing and making cards.
I adore your business. What made you decide to set up Flamingo?
After taking part in the Widcombe Art Trail for a few years I discovered there was a market for what I was creating so when the chance came to take on our shop premises we thought why not?!
What does your shop sell?
We sell work from other local artists and designers which compliments what I create and also offers variety. Flamingo products are a big part of our offering but we only source what we think are the nicer pieces. We also have a range of products including tea towels, mugs, bags, aprons, doormats, prints and cards featuring our popular destination designs covering well known places and rugby themes. Recently we designed our own brand candles with a local company and have those in now ready for Christmas.
Why did you call your shop Flamingo?
My husband Simon and I spent a long time deciding on a name and in the end it came down purely to our love of Flamingos!
How has your creative process changed since the start?
I have probably got a bit quicker in the execution of the various processes as time has gone on but some things such as pouring resin over artwork still takes time, but I have developed an easier way to apply it.
How did you manage to learn and hone your craft?
I learn’t a lot about the manufacturing and design process of making cards during my early career and then everything from then on is self taught including learning to use a Mac.
Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?
Social media has been a brilliant tool for us to get our message out to way more people than we could have done had we set up a shop before everyone was using it. I am still learning how to use it effectively but we find it does help to create sales. It is also a good way for us to keep up-to-date with everything going on in Bath as we don’t always have chance to get out and see things for real so don’t feel out of the loop.
Who inspires your shop?
That’s hard to say. Inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime. But I guess the people that have created brands whose names have become household names such as Emma Bridgewater, Jo Malone and Dyson are great inspirers.
Do you have any favourite pieces from your shop that you adore at the moment?
I love our flamingo light and all of our candles fragrances. It’s nice that I get to be surrounded by things that I love all day while I am working.
What do we hope to see in this up and coming year for your Instagram page?
We have got lots of creative ideas we are working on but one of the main things is developing our designer doormat range. So expect to see more of those soon!
What’s your typical working day?
It is varied. If I have commissions on the go I need to work from home so I tend to work on those in the morning then spend the afternoon in the shop. Simon and I have no rules as to who should be in and when so it works well that we can be flexible.
What’s been the biggest struggle in getting your business off the ground?
I can’t think of anything that has been a particular struggle and I love every element of running our business - even the paperwork!
Do you have any exciting plans for this year?
We are planning to take our products online so that we can reach a wider audience so are busy working on the shop part of our website now.
What advice would you give to people looking to define their own style?
Do what you love!
Do you have any advice for anyone starting their own shop?
Do your homework. We spent time sitting opposite the premises counting footfall passing by (it helped it’s a pub!).
What’s next for Flamingo?
I have been asked to be a judge in the Bath Life Awards in January so that will be an exciting start to the year, then there will be more ideas and designs coming to fruition.
What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?
It’s not exactly creative advice but my grandmother told me to learn to type as in those days she thought businesses will always need a secretary so would be a good job to fall back on.
Little did she know that touch typing would be such a great help to me in running this business enabling me more time to be creative!