Sunday, 22 January 2017

Behind The Brand: Rose Walker Design

Image of Colouring Book
image taken off

Rose Walker Design is an online website, founded in January 2016 by a lovely lady who goes by the name of Bethany Walker. Whether you're looking for prints, colouring books, compact mirrors or jewellery, I'm sure you'll fall in love with the brand in an instant after reading this interview and checking it out..

1. Hi Bethany! Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your interests?

Hey! I’m a 20 year old university student in my final year. I’ve always loved illustrating and ever since I could hold a pen I was drawing pictures! I work as a barista and food service assistant in a cafe and as freelance as a designer and illustrator.

2. For those who may not already know, could you explain how the name ‘Rose Walker Design’ came about?

My full name is Bethany Rose Walker, so I just took two thirds of that! I’m pretty rubbish at coming up with names, as it’s so hard when you’re trying to make a brand for yourself. I’d much rather come up with it all for someone else any day! I previously ran a shop called Autumn Rose Jewellery and I wanted to stick with the “rose” part (“Autumn” was actually the name of my pet at the time, so I basically named my jewellery shop after a fish). It started off as just "Rose Walker" and then I added the “Design” on the end much later when I made my shop official and registered for my website domain name. It just seemed to fit - a natural transition from handmade jewellery to illustrated products!

3. What made you decide to start up a small business of your own? Has it been a challenging journey?

I loved making things and would give them as birthday and Christmas presents and because people loved them, they suggested I sell them. I discovered Etsy whilst researching how to set up a shop, which made it really easy to begin with next to no knowledge about how to work a business. I then moved to BigCartel, because it became a lot more cost effective - rather than paying per listing and sale, which became expensive, it’s a set monthly fee. It’s been a case of learning as I go along - sometimes things don’t sell well or you predict the postage costs wrong, but you gain more from those little things and it makes your business stronger. Quite quickly I became part of a lovely group of girls and they’ve pretty much got me through everything from cute packaging to tax returns! I’ve had a strong support system from the beginning and I think that’s one of the main reasons I’ve got to where I am now with my shop.

4. On your website, it says that you’re a Graphic Design (Graphic Illustration) student. Did you start studying before you began running your online shop?

I started Rose Walker Design whilst I was a second year student after realising that’s where I wanted to go with my business. I kind of let Autumn Rose Jewellery die down as I didn’t have the time to be making jewellery and running a business alongside my studies, especially whilst I was living in student accommodation - not an ideal place to run a shop from! However, after learning so much more about illustration and moving into my own place, I set myself back up with a shop. Design fitted in a lot better with my course and I no longer had the issue of the two clashing. They compliment each other well and I think having that real life experience with freelance work has definitely strengthened the work I produce for university!

5. Could you tell us a little more about the whole process behind getting product onto the website? What are the stages that need to happen beforehand?

It depends on what I am producing. My colouring book took over 6 months to complete whereas I managed my two pocket mirrors within a few days. I hand draw everything first, scan it in to my computer and trace over it digitally - editing out imperfections or changing the image entirely. It’s so much easier using Adobe Illustrator to create vectors of my illustrations, because I don’t have to keep redrawing it when I change my mind or things aren’t quite right, and I probably spend just as much time checking it before I send it off for manufacture! I don’t hand make my printed items though. Instead, I use a company called Awesome Merchandise who are able to print your work on a huge range of products. I’ve found them to be the most reliable, so if anyone is looking to get their work turned into a physical product, I’d highly recommend using them.

6. All of your individual prints (the Owl, the Octopus, the Bee, and the Fox) are centred around the same theme. Have you always been into nature?

It’s definitely one of my favourite themes to illustrate. The majority of my colouring book pages include animals and flowers! The floral octopus was the first ever print I produced, which I suppose started off this whole journey for me. The other three followed later after my class and I had the opportunity to work with a live client for a university project - it was the first time I had ever worked in that style before and I didn’t even realise I could draw like that as I had always stuck to my cartoon-like animal drawings. I was quite happy with how they turned out so I figured I’d get each of them printed and create a “Woodland Animal” print set!

7. What tips would you give to someone wanting to go down the same sort of path as yourself?

I don’t want to say “spend £27,000 and three years of your life in University!” but that has honestly been what has shaped me and my business for the better. I’ve learned so much, and although it’s been stressful, it’s entirely worth it. As for the business side of things, I can only suggest just learning what you can, keeping everything on record and organised… oh, and always get proof of postage even if you hold up the post office queue for hours with your two hundred parcels!!

8. Could you see this becoming a full-time career, or do you think it will just remain as a small project on the side?

I want it to be my career eventually, but first I want to work in a design company as part of a team. Once I’ve done everything I want to, gained design experience and built my shop up more, I’ll put all of my time into my business - ultimately I do want to be my own boss, but that takes time and I know I can make myself better at what I do by working for someone else first. How amazing would it be to say I’ve worked for Marvel or the BBC and have all that design experience?!

9. Do you have any hopes, or dreams for the future of Rose Walker Design? Is there anything you’re most proud of that has happened so far?

I’m pretty proud that I actually managed to finish the illustrations for my colouring book - I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I committed to producing them in time for Christmas! It was possibly the biggest challenge I’ve given myself, especially when my university deadlines were around the same time - it's safe to say I didn’t sleep much! I just hope my shop continues to grow, as my favourite thing is seeing peoples pictures of my prints on their wall, or how they’ve coloured in the pages of my book. I never get tired of that and I’d love to see more.

Facebook: /bethanywalkerdesign
Instagram: @rosewalkerdesign / @bethanywalker2706
Lots of love always,
Jade xo


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