Tag Archives: illustration

Who Will Save Us?

11 Mar

Year 6 pupils at Shaldon School have been busy developing their enterprise skills whilst developing their environmental awareness.  Pupils will be selling the beautiful, informative, and inspiring book “Who Will Save Us?” by Rebecca Morch in the school hall on Thursday 14th March from 8.30 – 10am.  They will be serving teas and coffees, and running a raffle with first prize a beautiful original painting by the author – donated in recognition of Shaldon being the first school to get her innovative project off the ground.

The funds raised on Thursday will go towards creating and installing a greenhouse made of recycled plastic bottles.  This is in conjunction with Ease – the eco-building company who created the Eden Project, and Shaldon’s fantastic Cafe Ode at Ness Cove – which has been named Sustainable Restaurant of the Year 2013.

Who Will Save Us? is a book written and published by Rebecca Morch.  It follows a group of young penguins learning about the world.  They discover the impacts of climate change on their own world and ours.

penguins

‘The Who Will Save Us? Children’s and Young People’s Project’ gives children the opportunity to sell the book themselves, to raise money to spend on their own environmental projects.  As well as spreading the climate change message, the children and young people involved are gaining valuable business skills. 

How does the project work?

Schools buy a minimum of 30 books.  The funds for this need to be raised to begin with – for example by approaching the school’s governers for a loan.  This involves putting together a business proposal.

They then need to sell the books – for example as part of a school fayre.  This involves creativity, organisation, marketing and sales skills.

Once they have sold all the books they need to decide how to spend the profits (£75 profit if they sell 30 books).  This could be spent on things like creating a garden in the school, buying a water butt or compost bin, or even solar panels for the school.

Over 50 schools have taken part in this scheme so far.

In Rebecca’s own words:

My thought is, that if I change the running of my own life, I am living by example to my son and other people, who then, hopefully, will grow up to be naturally planet-aware and responsible beings.

My belief is, that every species has a right to live on this planet.

My hope is, that you will enjoy the book, and it will inspire and empower you in some way.

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Interview with Rocket and Co.

13 Aug

I discovered Rocket & Co. through Facebook and instantly fell in love!   Susie makes beautiful, individual artworks from recycled and often vintage bits and bobs – buttons, maps, scrabble tiles, comic books.   Susie is from Taunton, Somerset and has a degree in illustration, and still does freelance illustrations.  Rocket is her cheeky cocker spaniel!

Like so many of the people I have met so far through Opportunity Plus South West, Rocket & Co. started after Susie became a mother and wasn’t able to continue with her previous job as a designer.  She needed to create a business that would be flexible enough to fit around her son.  Rocket & Co. started in October 2011.  Read on to find out how she did it:

What made you decide to start your own business?

I had my first child in February 2011.  The job I had before my son was born required me to commute 4 days a week, which meant leaving at 6.30am and getting home at 7pm.  Continuing to work like this after my maternity leave ended wasn’t an option for me, I wanted to be at home with my son as much as possible. ‘Rocket & Co.’ developed after my sister asked me to have a craft/art table at an event she was organising.   I had 3 weeks to think of a new idea of what I could make and sell.  I’d previously made gifts for friends and family using scrabble tiles and vintage music sheets and had some lovely feedback, so I choose to develop these ideas. It was really only intended to be a side line to my freelance illustration work, but since then it has grown quickly and I now spend most of my work time on ‘Rocket & Co.’

What is the best thing about being self employed?

Of course I love working from home and being able to spend so much time with my son, but this can also be the hardest part as it can be hard to focus and avoid the distractions of home life.   I get a huge amount of satisfaction and pleasure from creating and developing the ideas I have and having the freedom to work on projects I feel excited by.

What has been difficult?

Finding the time to do as much work as I’d like to do.  I’ve become a bit of a night owl, starting work at 8pm and often working until 3am.   It’s tiring, but because I love doing it it’s not that difficult.  I almost work the same amount of hours I did when I was employed full time yet I am now also a full time mum.  I’m still getting the hang of keeping receipts, records and keeping all the important bits and pieces in order.  I’m an organised person but I haven’t quite got to grips with my paperwork!   It is also difficult not knowing when the next pay cheque will come, I think the main thing I miss about being employed is the guaranteed payday at the end of the month.

How do you market your business?

I started promoting ‘Rocket & Co.’ through Facebook and found it was a really good platform for marketing my products.   I had a good response immediately and it motivated me to use it more.  Facebook has been my main avenue of marketing through social media although I do occasionally ‘Tweet‘.   I would say that at the moment 80% of my orders/sales are through Facebook.   It is a great way to keep people up to date with news and products and it’s free to use!!!   I have a website for Rocket & Co. and I promote the company with leaflets and business cards at any art/craft events I take part in.   I intend to take marketing to the next level in the very near future and I’m currently working on press packs and looking into suitable magazines for advertising.

What are your plans for the future of Rocket and Co?

I have a lot of ideas that I’m excited about and look forward to working on.   The main area I’m going to focus on is the promotion of Rocket & Co.  As great as Facebook is, I feel there are a lot of potential customers out there who I am yet to find and I want to make sure I’m getting Rocket & Co. ‘out there’ and seen by a larger audience.   I currently exhibit one off artworks in one gallery in Taunton and I’m keen to get my work in some more galleries in the South West.

What tips would you give someone wanting to start their own business?

If the business you’re starting is something you feel passionately about then I think that’s the most important thing, as you will always have the enthusiasm and drive to work your hardest on it.   If you work from home and have a child try and have a space that is behind a closed door to work in, it’s very easy to get distracted by your nearest and dearest!   Make sure you register as self employed, keep all business related receipts, record all sales and try and have a system!   Enjoy being your own boss and remember why you’re doing it!