Today I'm having a chat with Janette Baker, the woman behind My Sweet Prints & Wallstudio.
When i started my blog a few years ago, i recall Janette was one of the first people who commented on one of my posts and its been great to see how successful her business has become. Its such a pleasure to see her prints hanging in friends homes!
I found it really interesting to hear about Janette's background & also about the newer venture, Wallstudio (hello flamingos & pineapples!).
I hope you enjoy it too!
Name: Janette Baker
Job description/ Role:
I started a Bachelor of Business in Banking in Finance, as my gap year saw me working for an investment bank. But after getting through the first year I realised it just wasn't me. So I studied Graphic Design at Shillington College which was a fantastic hands-on studio environment. When I finished my Design studies I worked at ACP Magazines in advertising design on the Homes titles. It was amazing to work on my all-time favourite masthead Real Living as well as Belle and House and Garden.
Does what you studied at university relate to what you currently do?
Having done the first year in a Business degree has turned out to be invaluable as it gave me the basic knowledge in, accounting, marketing, management, law etc. I would have been pretty lost over the last three years in small business without that fundamental knowledge. And of course my Design studies are what gave me the skills to start the businesses in the first place.
Tell us a bit about My Sweet Prints/Wallstudio?
My Sweet Prints is a range of prints, most of which are personalised and typographic in nature. There are lots of children's/nursery design but also beautiful wedding/love/home prints. And Wallstudio offers three collections of contemporary, on-trend and affordable canvas art; The Abstract Collection, Welcome to the Tropics and The Wallstudio Classic Collection.
What are your favorite pieces?
I just love the 'Welcome to the Tropics Collection' which features Pineapples, Flamingos, Palms and has such a bright summery vibe to it. But I also love 'The Abstract Collection'.
How has your work evolved since you started?
I guess I started out focusing on children and nursery prints with My Sweet Prints as that has been my own focus with two small children of my own. And now with Wallstudio I get to design things that I love for myself, my own home and asthetic.
Who are you clients & how do you find them?
The My Sweet Prints customers are generally women with young children and we are so thrilled to have lots of loyal customers who come back to order prints for each child, their friend's new arrivals, marriages etc. We have been really lucky to have been featured in many magazines and newspapers over the years. Hopefully we have the same success with Wallstudio!
How did you find starting your own business?
I started My Sweet Prints on a whim over three years ago. I had designed a few prints for friends and everyone kept saying 'You should sell them!' so I set up an etsy shop and it all started from there. We now have our own online site and over 35 shops who stock our prints. My sister-in-law Sue now works with me too! I started Wallstudio canvas art back in 2011 as I wanted to offer affordable, on-trend canvas art featuring bright colours and patterns. But shortly after launching it, I fell pregnant with my second son, and Wallstudio sort of fell by the wayside. We have now spent a lot of time researching and designing a new range consisting of three collections which make up the new-look Wallstudio and we are so excited about it!
Did you start off doing this ‘on this side’ while you worked full time?
No, I started My Sweet Prints when I was at home looking after my first son.
How have you marketed yourself & your work?
When I first started My Sweet Prints I sent out a mini press release to blogs and websites and I have advertised on a few blogs from time to time but I've found social media to be a great form of advertising as I've had a blog () for nearly three years as well as twitter (www.twitter.com/mysweetprints), facebook () and instagram (@mysweetprints & @wallstudio).
What is your favorite part about running your own business?
I love the reward of seeing your business grow, getting orders from return customers, lovely emails and recognition in press.
I also love the flexibility of being able to work from home.
And the hardest?
As much as I love working from home I find it really hard to juggle looking after the kids, working, and growing the businesses (which is something I seem to be able to spend endless time on).
What does your schedule in a typical day at work look like?
I don't really have a schedule as I work around the kids and when they are sleeping whether it be day or night. But I usually try and spend at least an hour or two on work every day. Luckily Sue looks after the day to day admin, customer service and the packaging and posting. So I'm able to spend time on business development, marketing etc.
Who or what inspires you?
I'm a magazine addict so I get lots of inspiration from home and fashion mags but also things like window displays, colour and nature.
Any favorite websites/blogs/magazines?
My favourite design websites are decor8, Jen Bishop's Interiorsaddict, and The Design Files.
Magazines are Real Living, inside out, Belle, Adore, Lonny and Rue.
It would have to be coffee... with two little boys giving me the run around day and night I can't live without a morning coffee!
And outside of work what do you love to do in your downtime?
Spending time with my family and friends.
Shopping, eating out and just generally any quiet time I can manage to get (silence is golden when you are around kids all day).