Small shop feature presents Hunter & Lola

Hi! I'm Tina, owner, designer and maker at Hunter & Lola, and mother to three year old Chase. Here's a little bit about me, and how I got started with the adventure that is owning a small business!

From a young age, I've loved design, and being creative. When I was about 17, I started to teach myself how to use creative software such as photoshop and illustrator so that I "play" with photos, and create marketing pamphlets for work. I found that the more I learnt, the more I wanted to learn. And so this led me to my first job as a website administrator, and later into product management and marketing. Since then, I've had over 10 years of experience in product marketing and e-commerce - and my current day-job is as a Social Media & E-commerce Manager for another local small business. Meaning I pretty much live on social media!

Over Christmas 2016, I took on the task of redecorating Chase's bedroom with an Adventures and Monochrome theme. Whilst I found some amazing small businesses to get my decor from, I struggled to find certain items that I wanted, or items that looked a specific way. So I ended up sourcing the materials, and making them myself. I started out with creating some wooden rain clouds and felt ball garlands to hang up in key places around his room. Then decided that the room needed "something else" to make it perfectly unique.

I'm a massive fan of geometric design. and really wanted to include some geometric elements in Chase's room. But it had to fit in with his theme. I had already purchased a bedspread for his new room which included teepees and dinosaurs. This gave me an idea... Geometric Dinosaurs! I hadn't seen these done in décor before, and so set about designing a set of dinosaurs which would later become the very first product to be 100% designed and made by Hunter & Lola, and one of our best sellers. Since then, we now have an entire collection of products dedicated to the “little” dinosaurs that inspired the brand as it is today.

Shortly after finishing Chase's room, I found out that I was being made redundant. It was a messy redundancy, and the company really went to town in making my last six months as miserable as possible. By the time I started work in a new position elsewhere, I realised that with my mental health in pieces as it was, I just couldn’t face being back in an office atmosphere. After some trial and error, I ended up turning down some great positions, and instead focused on making my creative hobby into a business.

Over the past 18 months, I’ve had my share of hurdles in this business. But have also had my share of successes. Whilst I started out using only a couple of my own designs mixed in with shapes from a wholesaler, I've spent a lot of time designing behind the scenes. And am now very proud to say that the majority of my products are now 100% my own original designs. Including my signature hand-painted galaxy collection, and a range of animal eared rainbow stackers, which are handcrafted in the UK from FSC certified pine.

When designing my products, I like to ensure that I'm always using the very best materials, and were possible, that my materials are responsibly sourced. I want my customers big and small to love my products as much as I love making them. And I feel that part of that, is knowing that by buying my products, they're not only supporting my dream, but also other small businesses who have helped me in my journey to creating these products. That's why all of my own designed products are made using FSC certified wood, and 100% fair trade, AZO-free wool.

Finally, I thought that I'd show you my workspace. I've always had a home office, but when I decided to move forward with Hunter & Lola, I realised that my current layout didn't really work as a "creative space". Though it still needed to be functional as both a place for painting, and an office space. So I ended up splitting my room into two areas. With lots of storage space in between. It's still a work in progress, but I love how functional it is, and how light the room is for working. It definitely helps keep me smiling!

That's all from me, I hope that you enjoyed learning more about me and Hunter & Lola. I never seem to run out of new ideas for products (seriously, even my notebooks have notebooks!), so am excited to share these all with you, and to see how the future pans out for Hunter & Lola.

View more of our products, and get a peek at my world by visiting our website or following me on Instagram @hunterandlola_

Tina x

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