A big welcome to Annie Brougham who is an amazing designer, she creates gorgeous cards and the most beautiful illustrations. If you haven’t seen her stuff, I highly recommend that you go and check it out! Here she shares more about her fantastic business.

1) Why did you start your business?

I have always been interested in drawing and painting, and kept a sketchbook from a really young age. My Dad is an Architect and was always encouraging me to draw when we were out and about and on holiday. My Mum is a florist and used to point out plants and flowers to me, so looking back it’s not surprising that my interests are in these areas. I had thought about studying illustration when I left school, but in the end I did a degree in Art History, which I then studied for a Masters degree in, before spending a few years working in London galleries and in event management. It never quite felt ‘me’ though and I really wanted to do something creative. I have always made my own greetings cards, and I started getting asked to design special cards for friends, which lead on to other commissioned artwork and eventually selling a few designs in a some local shops. After sharing some of my illustrations on Instagram I was approached to do a florist logo which lead to more branding work, and through Instagram and via word of mouth I started to get more and more interest, until eventually I was able to take the leap and work on my business full time at the end of 2017. It’s been fairly slow progress and I’ve definitely come at Illustration in a roundabout way, but I don’t regret coming to it a bit later. I gained a lot of experience working for other small companies in London which has definitely helped me with my own.

2) What do you love about running your own independent business?

Being self employed full time has been quite a shock to the system in some ways. I worked three to four days a week in a busy independent coffee shop alongside my illustration work before, and loved the social aspect of that work. However, I absolutely love working from home in my little studio, it’s something I dreamed of as a little girl. I work best between 10 and 7 so it’s great to be able to design my day, and being an only child I’m very content in my own company. Often the day disappears in a flash because I’ve been so absorbed in my work. I also love being able to pop into the garden on my lunch break (although I’m not very good at taking more than ten minutes!) and being able make whatever I want to eat from the comfort of my kitchen. I’m such a home bird so I love being cosy with my two rescue cats all day instead of being in an office.

Having my business has restored my sense of identity that I felt I had lost a bit when I worked in other non-creative roles. It’s extremely hard work having to juggle a million job roles but also extremely rewarding. Whilst I certainly won’t be earning mega bucks any time soon, I feel far more content on a daily basis than I did when I was employed in other work.

3) What is your favourite product or service and why?

My work is split into two parts; commissions – mostly branding, and my own products which I sell through Etsy and my website. My favourite products are probably the cards and prints from my latest ‘Natural Year’ collection. For a good year of being full time I felt as though I was running on the spot, just trying to keep everything ticking over. I was saying yes to everything because I wanted to find my feet and build my portfolio. Now I feel like I have learned what works at bit more and what I enjoy, so I can put more of my time into designing my own products. ‘A Natural Year’ marks the start of some exciting new things I’ll be adding to my shop this year.

4) Let’s spread the indie love, name some other independent businesses you support.

I have worked with so many inspirational businesswomen since I started. I love Myrtle and Soap; beautiful natural skincare and soaps, Cucumber Wood Candles; gorgeous natural soy wax candles with essential oils, Field Garden and Bloom; freelance florist, garden and nursery contractor, The Wildflower Nursery; bee-friendly wild flower plug plants and Abigail’s Flower Truck to name a few. I also really admire Particle Press for gorgeous floral and wildlife prints, The Hidden Pearl Studio for perfectly pretty cards and Lovely Envelopes for beautiful paper goods and stunning packaging.

5) Which is your favourite social media platform and why?

Without a doubt Instagram. Without it my business really wouldn’t be anywhere near what it is now. Most of my commissions and sales come directly of the back of it. I also love the community of lovely people I have met through it. People are so supportive and the independent illustration / card business is so friendly, everyone is always ready to offer advice and help if you need it.

Thank you to Annie for sharing more about her business journey and for being so generous in spreading the love for so many #incredibleindependents out there. I hope that you will go and check Annie’s work out and that of many more independent businesses. I really love hearing all about them so please continue to share them with me!