Rich Little Things has wealth of talent
SHE achieved a first class honours degree while bringing up a baby and has turned her passion for style and graphic design into thriving craft business, Rich Little Things. Liz Douglas has always been a grafter and all that hard work is definitely now paying off.
A self-confessed night owl, the gravitational pull towards her desk starts at dusk. It’s something that started as a student when her daughter was asleep and, a decade later and mum to two more girls, it’s still the time of day she feels most productive.
Liz has built up a loyal fan base for her personalised button ‘letters’ which are popular as birth and Christening gifts but she’s now diversifying into product ranges featuring her original illustrations that showcase her artistic talents.
“I was always more graphic design rather than art focused at secondary school and I wanted to be an architect but by the time I’d been to college and it came to applying for universities, I was done with learning and didn’t enjoy studying maths and physics,” she explained.
“So at 18 I got a job in a bank but I soon realised that I didn’t want to do this job forever – I really wanted to draw.”
Devoting seven years of her life to train as an architect was unrealistic so, two months pregnant, she enrolled on an interior design degree at Teesside University, aged 19.
Freya was born in the April of her first year and she credits the university for helping her stick it out to succeed. When she went to lectures her baby was looked after in the campus crèche and, two years later in 2006, Liz graduated with a First.
She got a job as an interior designer with a local firm but it did not stimulate her creatively and when she was made redundant it was the push she needed to launch her own business.
Friends were impressed with the stationery she produced for her own wedding and through word of mouth requests came in for similar high quality, bespoke designs.
Then she made pictures for daughters Freya and Ruby (now nearly 12 and five) with the first letter of their names made out of different sized buttons and when she posted photos of the finished framed artworks on Facebook, unsurprisingly the orders came flooding in.
“I’d built up a recognisable style but I still didn’t feel I was being creative enough until a childminder at playgroup asked me if I could do a handmade papercut card. Finally, I was designing and I was being creative which ticked every box for me,” explained Liz from Stockton who is also mum to three-year-old Lola.
Her original papercut illustrations are sold as prints and cards as well as on notebooks, pocket mirrors and tote bags through her Facebook page, Etsy shop and stockists including Maison Royale in Darlington.
With more than 5,500 ‘friends’ following Rich Little Things on Facebook, Liz doubts her brand would be as successful as it is today without the power of social media.
Her posts give sneaky peeks of new products and details of her creations ready to buy as well as the musings of a mum combining a growing business with a growing family.
This year she’s aiming to buy her own heat transfer press so she will no longer have to outsource the printing of her designs and would then also be able to offer the service to other local crafters wanting limited edition print runs, for a fee.
She added: “My plan for this year is to get more stockists, expand my range and increase my skills and knowledge by going on a screenprinting course. The business really took off three years ago but I’m ready to take it to the next level now.”
Facebook: Rich Little Things
Etsy: Rich Little Things