For today’s interview please welcome Alice from Alice Palace.
1. Firstly, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about where you are based, for example in which country and part of that country? My name is Alice and I run my own company called Alice Palace. I do all the design work and my sister Liz runs the studio, which is based in Evesham in Worcestershire, UK.
2. Please tell us a little about the nature of your craft/design based business. I do lots and lots of illustration to create greeting cards, wrapping paper, art for walls (mounted prints and canvases), personalised gifts (cushions, mugs, bags and aprons) and bespoke wedding stationery.
3. How did the idea for your business come about? I had a mountain of illustrations building up and didn’t know what to do with them until someone suggested they’d make nice greeting cards, and that was the beginning!
4. How long now have you been established? Alice Palace was set up in June 2004 – so nearly 8 whole years now! And Liz has worked for me for 3 years.
5. How do you decide on your designs, and how do you come up with your great ideas? I’m not sure of the answer to this question – mostly I decide on designs if I like them – and that seems to have worked so far, but doesn’t sound like a very good answer! My ideas come about from everything that I do – and I try to do lots!
6. Do you undertake your business on a full-time basis or do you have other work/family commitments? When I started the business 8 years ago, I worked part time as a graphic designer as well until the time came for me to take the plunge and work on Alice Palace full time. Then when my son Albert was born 18 months ago, I had some time off and have then gradually built up to doing five hours a day in the studio (mon to fri) and to make up extra time I also work a few evenings when he’s asleep. It works well now because I am in work everyday (while Albert’s in nursery) and then I get to spend the afternoons with him. But it is very hard work trying to run your own business, whilst also being a Mum! I’m glad that the business was already well established and I’m lucky that I have a totally brilliant studio manager!
7. Tell us a little about your typical day and what is involved in running the business? I normally leave the house about 8am and me, my dog Jemima and Albert walk into work. We tend to spend about half an hour at work (with Albert playing and I check my emails) before walking to nursery with him. I then work like a crazy machine (it’s not very relaxing!!) and I’ll spend the afternoon doing something with Albert. Once he’s in bed and me and my husband Mark have had tea and a chat, I work from home to catch up with any work I didn’t manage to complete, and when I’ve finished that I make a list of everything to do the following day – and then it all starts again!
8. What advice would you give to others who are considering running a craft /design based business? You need to put 100% in (especially at the start) and it takes over your life. It’s all your responsibility and if you want it to work, you have to try and remember that it is a business and not just a fun hobby!
9. As this is Art of Crafts I have to ask, do you enjoy any other crafts in your spare time? If so, please tell us more. I love photography and am constantly taking pics! My blog tends to feature many of them!
10. Finally, if people want to learn more about your business/website do you have a web address, Facebook page or Twitter profile where they can find out more ?
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As a thank you I will send you my two ebooks 'The Big Book of Craft Interviews: Vol 1 & 2' and you will get access to my weekly newsletter.