Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Meet a Member - Spratt's Designs

Hello I'm Sarah Spratt (Saz) owner and creator at Spratt's Designs, my own little company that I set up in 2014, with the aim to sell my creations that get made from sparks in my imagination, all bundled up with oodles of my love.  I live in a small town called Worksop which sits on the top of Nottinghamshire to the right of Sheffield as you look on a map, where I am lucky to have a wonderful man in my life who I married in 2004, and with us lives our Cat called Bob who we rescued as an unwanted adult in 2003, but honestly this is his house and we are his servants who annoyingly do other things besides just serving him.

So how did I end up here, running my own business?  Well……I have always had a strong artistic side, which with my big imagination made me far more creative than academic.  My artistic side lead me to take a degree in Stage Management & Technical Theatre where I would love to be set free on Set Designs, Prop Making and Scenery Painting, and for a long time this was my career.  Injury led me to have to take a different path, and for a long time I stepped away from my artistic side and went into training, first with medical devices and then training clinicians on using clinical systems, it was during this time my artistic side only came out for my own makes or gifts for friends and family. My health though couldn't keep up and eventually I was medically retired.  It was then that I was nudged by those friends and family to sell my creations to a wider audience and so Spratt's Designs was born.  Here I tied together all my artistic loves, Spratt's Designs would be for the graphic work I did for people, Spratt's Photography would pull together all the photography I work on and Spratt's Prints & Crafts for all my many crafting creations.  All of these creative outlets are pulled together by my special Spratt Fairy Logo that has been with me since 2004 and was drawn in Loving Memory of my Mother.

The best thing about having a background in Theatre is it allows me to have the skills to work with a wide range of crafting mediums, so one day I can be working with Vinyl images on Glass Blocks or adding Diamante's to a MDF Dragon and then the next I can be working with Glass Beads cascading from a Watering Can or stretching a personalised Canvas Word-Art onto a frame.  Being a mixed-media creator does however lead to a very eclectic collection of Arts & Crafts and have had customers sometimes feel overwhelmed when trying to choose from such a large range, but this is when I love to spend time with them and chatting about their ideas, some of my greatest creations have come from a spark of imagination from something a customer has said in passing.  There is also nothing better than a customer coming back and telling you how much better their order was than they imagined it would be.  Feedback makes any crafter puff up with pride; it's also what helps keep us going, well it does keep me going that's for sure.

Being disabled limits my freedom, so my house has become my crafting studio, it's a good job we don't have any children as I think they may have been moved into the garden shed by now as I have taken over the house.   I have to have a clean room for all the printers, required for the large Stretched Canvas Work to the small inserts for Keyrings.  Then there is the messy room, full of spray paints and glitters, as well as stock stored all over the other rooms.  I'm lucky to have a loving husband who doesn't mind glitter in his socks; however Bob Cat I'm sure doesn't appreciate going out all sparkly, I think it ruins his street cred.  My husband is wonderful, not only has he set up a link to my PC so that on bad days I can still work from bed, but he is also my assistant doing the heavy work that would stop me from certain creations.  He is also the one that can put up with me turning on the lights at 3am when a new idea has come to me, or losing his weekends to the occasional craft fair and stocking up my displays in the shops I'm in, as a crafter normal working hours don't exist.

Now I'd  like to say crafting is all roses and light, but like any designer there is a collection of 'fails' that I have, ideas that have not made the grade to become products for me to sell, and a book full of ideas waiting for me to have the time or equipment to make them.  Like any artist we will pick holes in any creation wanting to always be the perfectionist, and it can be terribly frustrating, but I also look at it as quality control, if I can advertise it then I am happy for it to leave this home and go up in someone else's home.  The hard part comes with promoting, not only does it take time, but I find that part of it is selling myself, something I'm not very good at.  I'm lucky I have had wonderful feedback from people and that helps me keep putting myself out there and I also have a little elf helper on social media who really makes a big difference too.  Becoming a member of the Professional Crafters Guild was a huge step though, it was the point of me letting people know I work hard at this, I am proud of what I make and you can put your trust in me, and in return the guild was there for me for support and to help me to grow.

Currently sell my work via Etsy, Facebook, my Website, a lovely couple of shops where I rent shelf space (one here in Worksop and one in Holmfirth) and direct to customers, I will be at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Christmas Fair this year again with my products, I count myself to be lucky to be a crafter, I have found a way to challenge my imagination and feel proud to have made customers happy with the creations I have made them.

Right I better get back to it, the Cat is tapping his paw and if I don't get back to work he'll make me stay back.

Spratt’s Designs PCG Feature Page


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