Today I'm off to Magnolia Square, which is back in Sydney after its successful premiere earlier in the year. A drawcard is an illustrator from the UK by the name of Mandy Sutcliffe - although you might be more familiar with the name of the prints she creates: Belle & Boo. She's talking and signing prints on Saturday between 11am and 1pm. For those of you in the rest of the country, you'll have to content yourself with buying Mandy's artworks via Lark & Friends.
Which five words best describe you? Loved, nostalgic, perfectionist, determined, loyal.
What was your first career job and what path have you taken since then? After finishing my illustration degree I taught for a short while at my old art foundation college. Then I moved to London and worked part time in a local art shop whilst pursuing my career in children's books. My first book was published 3 years later and I went on to have another 2 books published; one I wrote as well as illustrated. I had all sorts of other part time jobs along the way, my favourite was having a weekend market stall at Camden Market where I sold my own handmade books and albums. I was introduced to Etsy 3 years ago and I opened my first shop millmollymandy (which I changed to Belle & Boo 6 months later). It was only meant to be a hobby something to do it the evenings, but I sold my first print within minutes and I haven't looked back. I was joined a year later by my good friend Kate, who's background is in design management and we now employ 2 part time staff, it's a very exciting time.
What's your proudest career achievement? I think it was taking part in this year's trade show called Top Drawer, at Olympia London. We attended the year before and that was the first time we had left the comfort of the internet to present Belle & Boo to wholesalers from around the world. The reception we had last year was hugely welcoming, but I felt so proud of all our hard work at this year's show when we realised just how many people now knew who Belle & Boo were and came specifically to see us. Just last week I also felt very proud when I popped into the local book store here in Leichhardt Sydney and saw they sell Belle & Boo cards.
What's been your best decision? That's simple... joining Etsy.
Who inspires you? I always look back to my favourite childhood story books, milly-molly-mandy, Pooh bear, the flower fairies, but there are so many contemporaries also that I love, Jen Coarce is a HUGE favourite of mine.
What are you passionate about? Good drawing, chunky abstract oil paintings, sculptures of children, all chocolate, red wine, walking & talking with Russ, traveling, my family and here in Australia BANANA BREAD!
What's the best lesson you've learnt? Don't be scared of a blank piece of paper, my dad taught me that (easier said than done!).
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Maurice Sendack
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Contentment.
What are you reading? I am too embarrassed to say, it is such a trashy holiday read I am blushing just thinking about it, but perversely I am drawn to finish it.
images belle & boo