Welcome to our new series Maker of the Month. We'll be introducing some of our stall holders to give you an insight into their craft, how they got started and what exciting things they have coming up next! First up we have Melissa from MelaBella Gifts who is a regular at our Aberdeen Ministry of Crafts.
Melissa of MelaBella Gifts
How did you start?
I had the idea in my head for a very long time but I never had the guts to just go for it! A couple of years ago, I was in a job that I wasn’t enjoying so I decided to hand in my notice and go travelling for a couple of months. When I came home, I didn’t have a job to go to so I thought it was the perfect time to start up!
Why did you start?
I started because I wanted to show some love and appreciation to our Doric dialect. The words and phrases that we have are THE BEST and I wanted to portray these fun/cute sayings in a quirky way through home décor and gifts. There are a lot of words and phrases that some kids don’t know and if they don’t know them, I fear that in decades to come the dialect could die out. I hope through my business I’m helping to keep the dialect alive!
Who or what do you find inspiring?
I’m inspired by everyone around me! All my inspiration comes from conversations I have with family and friends. I also get a lot of inspiration from Doric books.
What’s your favourite and least favourite thing about running your business?
My favourite thing about running my business is the reactions I see/hear from my customers. I love it when I see customers hysterically laughing at one of the phrases or when they get a little comfort from a phrase, as it reminds them of someone. It’s these moments that are really special.
My least favourite thing would have to be the bookkeeping! I’m definitely more of a creative person than a numbers person!
What are you proud of?
I’m proud that I just decided to ‘go for it!’ It’s quite scary taking the leap to run your own business because you don’t know if it’s going to be successful or not. However, I’m really happy with how things are going and I hope I’m here for many years to come!
What’s your favourite thing about MoC?
The MoC team leaders are great at what they do and they’re really supportive of the crafters. The other crafters are a lovely bunch and it’s great to chat with them. Everyone is in the same boat so it’s good to offer advice and hear what other crafters are doing.
What’s your favourite thing you make? Do you have anything you really don’t like making?
With my products, I only draw something once and it’s then printed onto a product but don’t be fooled that this means less work! There’s the packing, wrapping, framing and everything else that comes with it. So, my favourite thing to do is the initial drawing and painting of my designs.
How did you come up with your name?
My name is Melissa and in Greek it means ‘honey bee’ and in Galician (a language derived from Spain) ‘mel’ means ‘honey’ and ‘abella’ means ‘bee.’ So the words were merged together to make ‘Melabella.’ I would love to take the credit for it but it was actually my fiancé, Michael, who thought of it!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully I’ll still be creating new Doric products but in a bigger space! I currently work out of my wee spare room, so I’m hoping I’ll have a dedicated office where everything will be organised and tidy. At the moment I’m really struggling for room!
What would be your absolute dream outcome for your business?
My ultimate dream would be to have my own shop. Myself and my sister have spoke about running a shop since we were wee quines so to make that come true would be AMAZING.
What’s new for 2019?
I love working on new products! This year I’m adding more prints, coasters and tote bags which will be showcased in the Summer.
What are your goals?
I always have goals, I think it helps to keep me focused in a personal and business life. I’m hoping to grow my business through attending more fairs and increasing the amount of shops I have stock in.
If you could try your hand at another skill (craft or otherwise) what would it be?
I’ve always been fascinated by knitting! I think it’s such a lovely skill to have however, I don’t have the patience for it!
Who is your support network?
My fiancé, family and friends are AMAZING. I really couldn’t do what I do without them. They’re really supportive and they’re always there to listen, offer me advice and help when they can. From packing cards, framing prints and setting up for fairs, they really do so much for me and I’m so grateful for it.
What’s your drink of choice?
I love gin and you’ll probably notice that from some of the products I sell!
What’s your cheapest and most expensive item?
My greeting cards are my cheapest item and my large framed prints are more most expensive item.
Do you have any advice for other crafters? Is there something you wish you’d known from the start?
If anyone is thinking of starting up their own business my advice would be to just go for it! You won’t regret it.
Follow MelaBella Gifts on Facebook here
If you'd like to be a stallholder you can apply here for Aberdeen and here for Dundee. If you would like to be featured as maker of the month please email Ashley from our Marketing Team - Ashley_M_Morris@hotmail.co.uk