News & Articles

the giftware association

New member: Shed on the Fell

Sarah McLean Photography

Tell us a bit more about yourcompany

On the side of Longridge Fell in Lancashire’s stunningRibble Valley there sits a shed…

This shed is my art studio and home to my business,Shed on the Fell. The ethos for Shed on the Fell was to embrace the beautyaround me and to share it. My products aim to champion the best of Britishwildlife, flora and fauna, bringing the spirit of the fells into your home.

After gaining a degree at the Birmingham School ofJewellery my first love of drawing was rekindled when I returned to the Northof England. My signature style emerged during winter evenings in front of thefire as my children slept. Deer, hares and robins were the first creatures totake shape. Christmas cards were handed out for family and friends.

Shed on the Fell began quietly with the creation ofmore greetings cards, then artworks, then blossomed into an array of images on cushions,ceramics, coasters, bags and latterly illustrations for Ribble Valley Gin Co.

Who is your audience?

Anybody who likes my products! Having said that I havefound that people who value British wildlife and the great outdoors seem tohave an affinity with my images. My work tends to attract predominantly (butnot exclusively) female customers who want something a little unique orbespoke.

How long trading? History?

My first tentative steps back into creating again cameduring the late autumn and winter of 2016. Once the children were in bed Ispent time developing a mixed media style, layering paper-cut collages over inksketches. The business really took off in the following spring when I took partin the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate. It gave me a self-imposeddeadline to find suitable suppliers, establish a website and work out acompetitive price point for my products. Ultimately, I became much morebusiness-like about the way the company was run. The BCTF was a great successand I gained my first licensing deal with Shruti (now part of Half Moon Bay),creating a Country Animals homeware collection that was sold nationwide. Icontinued to develop my artworks and built up a network of connections withsome hugely supportive galleries throughout the UK. I have been fortunate tohave a continuous flow of private commissions since this time, which is alwaysnerve-wracking for me but ultimately very satisfying.

3 best words to describe companyand your products

Elegant. Countryside. Images.

Where do you find inspiration?

I am lucky enough to live in a quiet gem of a placecalled the Ribble Valley where I am surrounded by gorgeous countryside. I liketo go on walks with Seb, my trusty chocolate Labrador around my local area,which provides all the inspiration I need.

Do you use social media to promoteyour business? How has this landscape changed over the years and within thehome and gift industry?

I have found that Facebook and Instagram in particularhave been a wonderful platform to share my work, become part of a supportivecommunity and also get work. I find that more people have contacted me throughsocial media for licensing opportunities and commissions in the past year.

Do you do any advertising / PR?

Besides a few interviews in Lancashire Life and LiveRibble Valley Magazine, my business has had most of its success through tradeshows, personally establishing relationships with galleries and shops,commissions and through social media. It seems to be working well for me at themoment but I would not disregard the idea of advertising in the future if Ifelt Shed on the Fell would see the benefit of it.

What do you wish had known at thestart of the business that you know now?

Have faith in your own ability, trust your own judgementand never rely on Velcro to hang paintings at a trade show!

Is the economic climate improvingor is it getting tougher to trade?

I think when Shed on the Fell started the economicclimate was tough to begin with. Customers and buyers tend to be morediscerning when there is less money around but equally there will always bespace for strong ideas and good design to flourish. I hope that Shed on theFell can inhabit that space and continue to grow in the future.

What do you see as being thebiggest problem for giftware suppliers in the gift industry?

There is no doubt that when you are manufacturingproducts internationally, issues such as Brexit and the state of the Britisheconomy will impact upon your business. Hopefully, giftware suppliers can ridethis wave of uncertainty and come out stronger over the next few years.

If we could help you with oneaspect of your business what would that be?

I joined the GA to get business advice and theopportunity to forge links with businesses, enabling us to work togethercreating unique, bespoke images for their products.

What news do you have to share sowe can celebrate your achievements in 2019?

I still get a buzz from seeing my designs or artworkin shops and galleries. This year has been very exciting as I see more Shed onthe Fell products in shops throughout the country. The past few months havebeen really rewarding, working with Ribble Valley Gin Co to develop images fortheir new range of gins – look for them in your local supermarket! I’mcurrently working with a musician to create the artwork for a set of EPs whichwill be released next year.

What are you looking to achieve in2019?

My main aim over the next twelve months is to furthermy career as a designer. I am looking to develop lasting relationships withbusinesses, helping them visualize their brand and offer exclusive imagelicenses to them. 

Go back