In today’s interview, we’re getting to know more about Kathleen Meaney, a highly creative artist making beautiful greetings cards and gifts. Kathleen’s giving us a guided tour behind the scenes of her unique business – The origins of her illustrations, the products, the inspiration and what the future of her business will be. We also get a look at her personal favourite designs & other gorgeous works she’s been creating over the years.
– A look behind the scenes of Kathleen Meaney’s designs –
How it all started
Tell us about yourself and your business?
I was born and raised in Edinburgh and graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2012 with a degree in Illustration. Since then, I’ve enjoyed working on a wide range of illustration projects, including books and all sorts of commissions, but recently I’ve mainly been working on creating my own ranges of products and greeting cards to sell on Etsy, at fairs and in gift shops.
How would you describe your design style and how did you develop it?
I tend to draw mainly animals and other cute things using pencil and watercolour, then I add textures or other bits and bobs using Photoshop. It wasn’t until my final year at art college that I started turning my illustrations into products. It all started off with greeting cards and prints, then I began making my handmade earrings and keyrings, and now it’s expanded into other gift items such as coasters and zip pouches.
You seem to have amazing reviews and high ratings. How important is customer service for an Etsy shop?
I think good customer service is extremely important for an Etsy shop. High ratings and good reviews help give new customers the reassurance to buy from a small business that they’ve perhaps never heard of before. Accurate product descriptions and photos, good communication, fast shipping and a nicely packaged order all seem to help!
What inspires your product? (or who)
I am fascinated with animals and enjoy creating images and little characters that both children and adults will like. I love the world of children’s book illustration- these are the illustrators who inspire me most. I have tonnes of children’s picture books at home!
What is the best thing about being an illustrator?
Being able to enjoy creating something that someone is then willing to pay for is such a lovely feeling. A nice comment or review from someone who likes what you do can really make your day when you have a small business.
…What is the most difficult thing about it?
Finding the time to bring all the new ideas for products that are in my head into reality can be difficult!
What is your personal favourite product/design in your collection?
My favourite animals are pigs and dachshunds so I have a soft spot for the pig and dachshund earrings I made. Those and the sloths always make me smile!
The most popular product in your current range?
My bestseller since I started creating my own products has consistently been my hedgehog studs. Sloths are definitely popular right now though!
Did you expect the success of your sloth designs?
I first decided to make sloth products simply because I think they’re really cute and thought they would work well as earrings and keyrings. These were a hit so I designed a sloth Christmas card last year and Etsy went a bit crazy for it, which was a nice surprise! Following the success of the Christmas card, I’ve now brought out a sloth birthday card.
Do you have any creative projects in the coming months?
I allowed myself some time at the start of the year to slow down a bit and recover from the Christmas rush but now I’m beginning to feel the need to create some more new designs. I’m constantly being given new suggestions of animals to incorporate in my products so watch this space!
You have a successful Etsy shop, you go to many fairs, …where do you dream of seeing your products next?
Some gift shops around the UK sell a selection of my products but I’d love to expand on this and reach a wider audience.