What’s been happening over at ‘Design at 31’?

If you look back at the blog, you might notice that it’s been somewhat quiet. Neglected would perhaps be a more accurate adjective. You would certainly be forgiven for not realising that I even have a blog!

Ironically, my last two posts were me setting out my new year resolutions for 2019, one of which was a weekly blog. I kind of knew I was setting myself up to fail, but went ahead and did it anyway! I do caveat this, however, by saying that my 10 resolutions were more of a wish list, and that they were there to help guide me (and remind me) throughout the year what I would like to achieve, rather than a stick to beat myself with if I fail. Thankfully. But, 30 weeks later, boom, here I am with the weekly blog!

I haven’t just been sat around on Instagram though. Honestly. During the last few months, as I’ve started to think more and more about how I can upscale my hobby and things have taken off a little bit. So, with the sun out and a strong coffee in hand, I am feeling refuelled and ready to get back on the blogging horse (if there was ever such a thing!) and take you on this journey of furniture upcycling (to sound very X-Factor cliché) with me!

Design at 31′ is growing

It all started with a sale. If anyone knows about setting up a small business (of which I don’t know a thing, so this is all a very steep learning curve) it is scary, tough but exciting. I certainly feel privileged insofar as I can have a bash at this whilst still keeping my day job. Which does help in terms of cash flow for now. The flip of that is that every waking hour is now occupied with thinking about something work-related. But, I am aware that these things are never easy. Or everyone would do it, right? So hopefully, with patience, persistence (and the odd G&T here and there) it will pay off.

But, back to the story. So, after giving up all hope of this thing ever taking off, and starting to make my peace with that, I got a ping of an email from Etsy out of the blue. Someone was interested in my one piece that had been kicking about in my forlorn shop for some time. With a visit from the potential buyer to view the piece, some lovely compliments of my work, and my home, they took it there and then. And it was at that point I felt re-energised. The thing is, like many people I suppose, you can sometimes be your very own worst critic. You can see all the things on a piece you wish you hadn’t done, or you wish had turned out slightly differently. You can think that no one would like what you do, and when the only feedback is from family and friends (who have to be nice to you, right?), you can sometimes lose sight of what others might see.

But, that sale instantly pinged me back into action. It also spurred me on to get a bit bolder and braver with my work. I also did my first commission piece (below), which I was really pleased with the final result, as was the client, which again, helped to build up a bit of confidence.

Commissioned upcycle | Console table painted in Annie Sloan Chateau Grey, finished with dark wax

So a quick name change, to keep everything coherent and consistent, my Etsy shop is getting restocked under the guise of ‘Design at 31’. There’s still a lot to do to get things up and running properly, but I am now selling and taking on commissions. The business is registered. Logo being designed and business cards printed. It’s starting to feel real. I won’t lie. Confidence ebbs and flows. But, one of the driving forces behind all this is to see if, one day, I might be able to be my own boss and work in a creative job – something I never thought I would be able to do, because I didn’t know how with the career path that I’d taken. So I am pushing through all the nervous moments, and trying keep a clear focus the fact that I actually enjoy transforming pieces and giving a new lease of life to pieces that might otherwise be destined for landfill!

Here is just a bit of a peak at some of the pieces I have done recently, and to give you an idea of what kinds of things to expect:

Some of the latter upcycles above are now available to buy on my Etsy site.

What next?

I have a few other things due to be announced related to the business over the next month too, which will be revealed soon – as some are still in the planning stages. But, more immediately I am going to have a crack at getting more confident and bold in my designs, and play around with the different finishes, colours and effects.

I intend to use the blog in a number of interior and furniture-related ways. I will do some mini tutorials and how-tos (a beginners’ guide from a beginner type of thing), I will talk about some of my work, the inspiration and motivation and the different products available for you to try, should you want to have a go on your own and just some ponderings about the world of interiors more generally. One thing that this upcycling malarkey has taught me, is how bold colours, rustic and vintage interiors, and in particular chippy paint(!), makes me smile! So I will do my best to share all these things with you, and some ideas you might be able to introduce into your home.

So, in the meantime, please do pop along and say hi via Instagram, check out what’s on offer in the ‘Design at 31’ shop or drop me an email if you want to discuss a possible commission or if you have any questions on designat31@gmail.com. And stay tuned for what will hopefully be a more regular blog!

See you next week! (promise!!)
Gareth

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