Welcome to a brand new series of blogs at Braw Wee, meeting the lovely makers and designers behind the brands that we stock at the Emporium! First up, we chatted to Claire Barclay, the most colourful lassie in the Southside!
I'm a Glasgow based illustrator who creates greetings cards and accessories, a lot of which are inspired by being 'Pure Dead Scottish' and the fun quirks and sayings we Scots have. I love colour and all things jazzy and strive to create Scottish gifts that are quirky, fun and a bit different from all the rest. I also work on custom commission pieces such as family portraits, pet portraits or wedding stationery.
- Tell us about your brand
- What inspired you to get started?I used to live in Edinburgh while I studied at art school and people would always chuckle at the Glasgow patter I'd come out with (there weren't that many Scots in my class!) and it made me realise how fun this lingo was and that I wanted to celebrate that! I also used to cringe at all the cheesy gift shops I'd walk past while living there, and thought there was a gap in the market for quirky and fun Scottish gifts that could be enjoyed by Scots and tourists alike. My first wee illustration exhibition I had that kicked everything off was in a pub in Leith and that's where my boozy designs such as 'Beautiful Buckie' and 'Luxury Lambrini' stemmed from. I sold loads of prints over the exhibition period so decided to get them up on Etsy and the rest is history.
- What's your favourite thing about being a small business?My favourite thing about being a small business is getting to build personal bonds with customers and stockists, I have lots of amazing people who have bought into and supported my brand from the early days and I would not be where I am now without them!
- What's your proudest achievement?My proudest achievements so far have to be going fully self-employed with my business which I have been for over 2 years now, and also getting my greetings cards into the high street store Paperchase this year which is very exciting!
- What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about starting out?Just go for it! I used to swoon over so many illustrators and indie brands online and be desperate to work for someone like that, and then one day it hit me I should just create my own brand and do it for myself. It's the best decision I've ever made and there's never a dull day in the office. Also say yes to as many opportunities as you can. Work hard and be nice to people and it'll pay off!
- What's coming up next for you?
I'm currently working on a whole new range of designs so that is exciting, and planning to add a few different products to the collection too, so I'm excited to launch these in summertime.What’s your favourite Scottish Band/ Artist song at the minute?I have to say I'm not very up to date with the current music scene (ha!) but I'd love to give a shout out to my best pal Janice Burns who is a wonderful Scottish folk musician: https://www.facebook.
com/jburnsmusic/.You can shop Claire Barclay's fabulous range online now right here!