I spent the last weekend at Jenny Hyde's Creative Business Retreat. The setting of Voewood was pretty dreamy to me. This big old house in the Norfolk countryside with curiosities at every turn; Jesus looking down at the dinner table, mosaic fish on the floor, hoover bags in frames... it was all just a bit bonkers and weird.
Jenny worked her usual magic and I came away from the weekend with my focus and inspiration restored. These being exactly the things that go poof in the madness of packing orders constantly over the Christmas and Valentine's period, thus leaving me with a tired and confused marshmallow for a brain.
I was asked many times over the weekend how I started this little venture, which led to flashbacks of the PhD/business juggling act I performed at the very beginning. I started the 'business' on a whim under the name of Owlish Grey, with only the intention of hopefully bringing in a bit of food money while I was no longer being paid to write up the work I'd done in Auditory Neuroscience. Very quickly this little hobby took off and I had to bring in my younger sister to work by my side. At the same tiny desk in a small box room, Kerry made jewellery while I analysed endless brain data.
At the time, my main selling products were these woven Kumihimo bracelets with big chunky stones on them. They were very popular but a completely unviable product in all reality since they each took a day to make and I was only charging £25.
The work I was doing for my PhD was all about how the human brain processes pitch in complex voice and music sounds. I found it fascinating that sound waves were so personal to an individual, as the length and shape of their vocal chords would dictate the waveform shape and two people saying the same words would each create a sound wave entirely unique to them. With an online shop already created, I saw an opportunity to try something new and combined my loves for science and art into the Personalised Sound Wave Print (below).
This idea took off quicker than I could ever have imagined and I suddenly found myself faced with the decision to either close my shop and focus on the PhD, or take a leap and pursue a creative career instead. There's a long story in between but I took the leap and haven't looked back.
I later changed the name to Newton and the Apple and turned the attention for all of our products to all things interesting. My days are mixed with researching new things like ink blot tests or moon phases, designing new products, and a million other things that come with running a small creative business. Every day is different!