1/First of all, we would love to know about your business, how you started and what inspired you to start Made by Shannon. We would appreciate if you could give us a short statement explaining your journey and outlining things that inspire you.
Made by Shannon began in 2014. I was studying fashion design in Manchester and decided fashion was no longer for me. After leaving I started to miss being creative so began making a few products from sewing books that I had. I gave my creations as gifts to friends and family and then decided to take them to a local market to see if anyone who wanted to buy what I had made. This was the start of Made by Shannon. 7 years later and I sell to over 140 retailers in the UK, Europe and the USA.
Being environmentally conscious has always been a really important value to me. This is because none of us can get away from the fact that we are ruining our planet with plastic waste and overconsumption.
I have always used recycled or FSC certified card, the fabric pouches are made from repurposed fabrics and the package is either reused or made from paper so it can be composted or recycled. Made by Shannon products are of a high quality. Our gifts are made to be enjoyed for years and our cards can be recycled or even planted!
I am inspired by two quite different aesthetics. The first is minimalism, I find the simplicity to be very calming and I enjoy the way it offers space to focus on the attention to detail.
The second aesthetic I love is vintage British countryside. The pastel, delicate florals of time-worn fabrics make me truly happy and inspired. My favourite part of my jobs in sourcing vintage fabrics at fairs and Brocantes in the UK and France.
You will find both these styles in my brand. The cards tend to be more minimal with hand foiled detailing and embossed envelopes and the pouches are made from paisley eiderdowns and faded florals fabrics.
2/Plantable cards! Tell us more about this idea
A lot of my customers shop with me because they know they are getting something that has been mindfully made. Something I have worked on over recent year is offering cards made from unusual papers, such as created with grapes, kiwi fruit, coffee grounds and hops from a brewery.
Throwing away cards after an occasion can cause a sense of guilt and so I thought that a lovely way for people to know that they are not inflicting that on other is to offer them the option to ‘grow it and not throw it’.
Our seeded cards are made in a British mill from recycled paper which are embedded with wildflowers and grass seeds. Once planted, the card will decompose and flowers will grow. They are perfect for births, weddings and other big life occasions because they offer a long lasting reminder of the special day.
3/As a small business owner, what's your work/life balance like? Do you ever stop working (haha)?
I think a lot of small business owners struggle with a work life balance. This is usually because their passion becomes their business. I love what I do and a lot of the time it doesn’t feel like work so it is easy to end up working 6 or 7 days a week. I have learnt over the years that is really important to take a step back now and then, not only to have time to rest and recharge but also to keep the inspiration and ideas flowing. I find that when I am away from my studio doing something relaxing I tend to get ideas for new products, designs or ways to improve my business.
4/Where do you get your ideas from and motivation to keep going? Are there any particular websites, films, social media profiles that you motivate you to keep going?
I have recently really got into the law of attraction and this has been game changing in terms of my mindset and believing that anything is possible if you trust that it will happen. You also have to do something each day to help work towards your goals. I follow a small selection of law of attraction and motivation Instagram pages and there is an amazing podcast called ‘The law of attraction changed me life’ which is hosted by an great woman who owns two businesses whilst single parenting three small children.
I believe being successful is all about your mindset and if you have limiting beliefs in what you can achieve then you will hold yourself back.
5/Is there anything that you'd tell yourself who was starting Made by Shannon? Words of advice?
What I would tell myself is: You aren’t going to make any money for a long time! I was pretty naive as to how long it would take for my business to start generating an income and this was for a variety of reason. One of them was that I knew how to sell but I didn’t know much about stock control and as soon as I had an idea I would go out and buy lots of supplies and make something, only to realise I didn’t like it or want to do anymore and would move on to the next idea. It is a great way to learn what products I wanted to sell and enjoyed making but l ended up with loads of supplies and materials sitting around that could have been money in the bank.
My advice to someone starting out is the find an expert in the areas you know less about. There are so many amazing mentors that work both one to one and offer courses. It seems like a huge initial cost but it will save you so much time and what you learn could help you make triple what it cost you to hire them.
SHOP NOW: https://www.madebyshannon.co.uk/