Grrl Gang Art was founded by Punky Mom UK member Taynee in April 2017, run from her home in Leicester UK. With the support of her family and with Punky Moms UK firmly behind her, Taynee decided this was the right time to launch her illustration business, and Grrl Gang Art was born. We here at PMUK are big fans of Grrl Gang Art’s unusual and body positive style. All of the artwork is hand drawn, and Taynee’s unique style is instantly recognizable.
When was your company founded, and where are you based?
I started my Etsy shop in April 2017, although I finished my Illustration degree in 2007.
Everything is ran from our home in Leicester.
How many are involved in your small business?
I do everything myself. All the things.
I gather drawing reference, create artwork, run social media, source suppliers, package orders, post office trips, admin, order consumables, research new products, occasionally, I’ll have a shower.
I’m not into post office trips or packaging but I like to hand write the address labels and I am on first name terms with the awesome team of women at my local post office. I’ve yet to do my first taxes though, and I’m betting there won’t be much I enjoy about that.
What inspired you to start your own company?
I’ve always had a creative side project on the go, I did a bit of freelance after Uni and worked in graphic design for a short period before I started our family, but it was 100% the support and encouragement of Punky Moms UK that convinced me to give it a go, be my own boss and try to make money from something I’ve always loved. Illustrator’s agents said that my working style varied too much for them to market me, and my tutors were better qualified in children’s illustration and clever editorial work. Seeing illustrators like Mel Stringer and Frances Cannon, just drawing what they wanted to, made me realize there might be a place in the world for the pictures in my brain.
Did you have a background in business prior to starting Grrl Gang Art?
I have absolutely zero business experience. I spend a good deal of my day petrified, pricing things is horrendous, promo feels awkward, financial pressures, planning, goals and aims, are all a little alien and completely unwelcome.
Did you run into any problems or resistance while launching Grrl Gang Art?
My biggest ongoing issue is time and space. I work in the open plan, downstairs area of our home, and I’m either multi-tasking, looking after three children/running a home or waiting until the house is asleep before I begin work for the day.
How do you get the most out of your day as a working mom?
Using my time efficiently is a work in progress for me, as the rest of the household adapt to me having less time to do the things I’ve always been solely responsible for. I don’t have a great deal of downtime, if I didn’t love what I do I’m not sure I’d still be pursuing it. Social media is a tricky one, as I rely on it to communicate not only with my customer base but also announce and promote products and giveaways, I quite often find myself lost down an Instagram stories rabbit hole.
How is your family a part of your business choices?
My family, although not hands on with my actual business, affect everything I do. My daughter, Clementine, is my biggest fan and wants to steal away everything I draw, if I say no she wants to buy it with her piggy bank money. She tells everyone we meet about her Mum’s shop ‘Grrl Gang Art’ and joins me to draw whenever I make room for her.
My partner Steve is the only reason we have clean clothes right now, I’ve stopped asking his opinion on visuals so much as it became apparent after 15 years of arguing about something being green vs blue that he’s actually a bit color blind.
What music inspires you?
I work to music a lot, and our house in general is very musical, spanning all genres, but I have to restrict myself while I work or else I find myself getting a bit frantic. I love drawing to NPR’s “Tiny Desk” series, the soundtrack to Big Little Lies was made for me, acoustic and/or soulful are my go to work choices musically, generally speaking.
What is your favorite thing to do when you are not working?
If I get a spare minute then I’d probably draw something selfish. But aside from anything at all work related, I love to eat and cook and talk about food, I carry personal hot sauce, read menus and reviews for places I’ll never eat at and bookmark recipes I’ll never cook.
I have a guilty pleasure for crap telly, nonsense Buzzfeed quizzes and school run, car park crochet. I also spend a considerable amount of time torturing myself with online window shopping. There’s this wholly impractical sequin kimono that I check for stock levels/reductions pretty much daily.
What do you see in the future for your independent shop?
The long term (practical, boring) dream is to make enough money so that Steve can quit his job and run the house. Creatively, I’d love to branch out more into fashion options, born mostly out of frustration at choice in extended sizes. I’d love to get my work printed onto fabrics and made up into clothes that I’ve also designed. I fall in love with so many clothing items to find that their XL option is a UK 14/16. I’d love to produce fashions that people were excited to find in their size.
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