It's time for another #SPREADTHEGIRLPOWER interview! Two in one month - I am spoiling you! I really enjoy working on this series - it allows me to get to know more about some of my favourite creatives, and hopefully it will introduce some of you to some new people to follow on instagram and buy from too.
This month I chatted to Louisa of Baked by Lou. I think I first discovered Baked by Lou through Kayti (of Caboodle Magazine), who took some of Louisa's product shots that you will find below. Louisa creates the most wonderful colourful jewellery and accessories. I just love her 80s/90s aesthetic and the bold patterns and colours she uses in her designs. I got chatting to Louisa all about her business, her style icons and of course a good old dose of Girl Power...
Tell us more about your plans for your "She Shed" and how important it is to you to have your own dedicated work space.
I'm super lucky, we've recently moved house and it came with two sheds at the bottom of our beautiful garden, one of which I've turned into the 'She Shed'! Long term I'd like to get it insulated so I can use it as a full time studio, but while the weather's nice I'm painting jewellery and creating my ceramic pieces in there. I'm saving up for a kiln to have that in there too! (Right now I use the firing facilities of a wonderful council run space). I'm eager to detach my 'working' space from the rest of our home, so I don't take it for granted or spread my mess too far!
Do you still have a "day job" or is Baked by Lou your full time gig now? Am I right in thinking you've been a teacher in the past?
I've not taken the plunge for this to be a full time gig just yet. That’s a scary yet mega exciting prospect. I'm still very happily teaching, though not teaching art, I can still use a lot of creativity and technology in my role. So right now I'm doing both and although it leaves little spare time, I'm getting a lot of satisfaction from it all.
You say that Baked by Lou is inspired by 80s & 90s nostalgia and "fabulous women" - are there any particular women you keep in mind while designing your products and who would be your ideal/dream Baked by Lou customer/model?
My mum is the most fabulous creature on earth, but put her in front of a camera and she does that face when Chandler from Friends is learning to smile for photos! Iris Apfel is the ultimate fabulous woman who I'd love to wear my pieces. Or Baddie Winkle! I'm loving the Advanced Style instagram at the moment and enjoyed the documentary on Netflix.
I also adore Camille Walala and I'm looking forward to seeing her exhibition this weekend.
Do you have a favourite piece to make and why?
Probably what I make the least, and that's my ceramic pots! Just because of the challenge. They're chunky, fun and I put a lot of work into them. I don't know if it’s because of my skill level (or lack of!), but they're not a quick make and the time they take to make them extra special to me. But I also love creating bigger and bolder polymer dangles with added elements of pom poms and hand made tassels. I sometimes worry and think I should stick to one thing that works and keep making that but I can't help myself!
What did you study at uni and how have you translated the skills you learnt into your business?
I studied Art Practice which was a combination of Fine Art and Art History. It was a brilliant course to develop my aesthetic and practical skills. They gave us a lot of autonomy and I worked with a lot of inspiring artists. But learning to be a practicing artist just didn't happen, it was a shame not to have learnt more about surviving in that industry. Recently though, I attended a free funded course in Welsh Ice who offer cooperative working spaces and amazing business support and I learnt loads of the basics of running a business and becoming a sole trader. I also got myself a business mentor from Business Wales which is also free in Wales and been a huge help.
Your other half created your logo didn't he? What was your brief to him and does he play any other roles in your business?
'Brief' would be too professional a word for it, I ramble jumbled ideas and point at things and he's a mind reader and figures it out! He also came up with the name and he's a pivotal part in what Baked by Lou is becoming and I'm super grateful. I knew the type of font and style I imagined and he brought it to life. We sat down and played with layouts, fonts and colours for hours before it just clicked. He's my go to guy, is mega supportive, comes to markets with me and is my absolute hero.
Do you have any recommendations for fabulous women we should all be following on instagram?
How long have you got? My bff @jadefishercardco makes exquisite cards and illustrations and was a big drive in me putting myself out there and opening my Etsy shop. @themakearcade makes the most fun DIY kits! I also love @kaleejones_ who creates rad abstract pieces, I have some of her Mental Health awareness cards and a percentage of the proceeds going to Grassroots. My darling Lizzie from Fizz Goes Pop (in the photo below) makes vibrant floral crowns and jewellery. We have collaborated on shoots wearing each other’s pieces and love supporting one another.
What does Girl Power mean to you?
I'm finding this digital world of craft and creativity a very supportive one, everyone I've come across is cheering one another on and it's filled with girl and boy power! Girl Power is a friendly smile, a high five, a “you can do this” when someone thinks they can't and always putting each other on fabulous pedestals!
Thanks to Louisa for taking the time to chat to me. Check out her instagram to keep up with what she's up to (and for important She Shed updates!) and visit her shop to buy her jazzy jewellery and home accessories!