This week’s hump day happiness is provided by Zabby Allen. Zabby shares my love of snail mail and girl power. She has a series on her blog called #spreadthegirlpower so I sent her some surprise Girl Power post last month and she featured the shell stealing slug club in her April favourites – woo woo.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m a typical “slashie” and dread people asking what I do for fear it’ll take me half an hour to explain. I’m a freelancer and typically work for several companies during the week as an Artist’s Agent/Editor/Designer. I edit a mini mag called Girl Planet for Lucky Dip Club which celebrates creative girls around the world and I’m now Crafts Editor for Caboodle Magazine too.
When I’m not editing or working as an agent I spend my time designing pins, patches, prints and other things which I sell online. Sometimes I also do things like designing logos, wedding stationery or promotional material for clients. I also run a blog where I share things that inspire me and interview creatives that I come across on Instagram. I love the variety that my freelance life brings me.
How/where/why did Zabby Allen begin?
|I’ve always been creative and I had been wanting to set up shop selling my own designs for a long time. I put it off for ages because I just didn’t feel confident enough to put myself out there and I was pretty intimidated by the amazing things that I saw people doing on Instagram. Originally I sold notebooks that I made from collection of vintage postcards and hand printed vintage photographs, but they were so time consuming to make.
After a bit of a break I re-designed my website and opened up shop again – this time selling an enamel pin (of a glittery blobfish!) and some prints and notebooks with my digital artwork on. I have gradually been building up my collection of products and I have lots of exciting new things coming soon.
I’m so pleased I got over my fears and started selling, it’s given me a huge confidence boost and it’s so much fun to work on new designs.
What inspires your designs?
|Things that make me happy and things I’m passionate about… It could be a bright coloured house I spot on my travels, a particular colour palette or lyrics in a song. I love to travel and get outside and I find that a mini break always sparks my imagination.
One of my products is a staffy pin which says “Misunderstood”, inspired by my dog George who was rescued from Battersea. Like many of my products, 10% of each sale of these goes to animal charities. George is always inspiring me and one of my new pins will be his face with the word “Underdog” on his bandana.
My Girl Power pin is inspired by my love of The Spice Girls growing up and my supportive girl gang. This design has developed into prints and will soon be on t-shirts too. It’s been so rewarding to spread girl power around and get to know other creative women through this pin. I love the face women buy them for their friends, wives, children and colleagues and promote Girl Power worldwide!
Who inspires you?
|The creative community constantly inspire me to strive for more and do good. I feel so lucky to have such a supportive group of creative pals who I can turn to for help, advice and support.
Women like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Malala Yousafzai who promote feminism and women’s rights in such an accessible and positive way continue to inspire me and I’m working towards finding a charity to support through my Girl Power products.
What tools do you use to create your designs?
|Everything I do starts on paper. I scribble ideas in a sketchbook or my bullet journal before drawing them out in pencil and fineliner pens. Most of the things I create end up as digital designs, so I scan my drawings in and then edit or redraw them in Illustrator.
Sometimes I like to mix things up and get my pains or colouring pens out though – it just depends what I’m in the mood for and what the project calls for. I’m not very good at just sticking to one thing as you may have noticed!
What is your favourite item to make?
|Pins! The excitement of receiving a real-life manufactured product featuring your design is just wonderful. I am a big pin collector myself and I love the fact that they’re like tiny pieces of art you can parade around. I tend to theme mine these days so I can show off as much of my collection as possible – if I’m going to the seaside I’ll wear all of my summer and beach inspired pins!
Outside of work I find bookbinding really therapeutic – I studied Book Arts at uni and would love to bring a range of handbound books back to my shop, it’s just such a time-consuming process.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
|I have the world’s worst memory and so even if I have received a really profound bit of advice it’ll enter my brain but I’m likely to forget the exact words or who told me – terrible I know!
My creative pals are a constant source of advice and wisdom for me and having that support network has been so valuable since setting up shop.
If in doubt I refer back to my Anthony Burrill poster: “Work Hard & Be Nice to People”.
Zabby Allen goodies
I can’t begin to tell you how happy I was when I discovered that Zabby sold postcards AND letter writing paper! I had to throw in the pin too because it is just too cute for words.
- GIRL POWER
- GIRLS SUPPORT GIRLS (LIKE A REALLY GOOD BRA)
- HEY GIRL
- BFF (I.D.S.T)
I love the GIRL POWER postcard so much that I have framed it an put it on my desk.
I chose Zabby’s “hello there” letter writing set, however, there is also a “thanks” version. If you want an easy way to get into letter writing, this set is great as you can select an option where Zabby will send you your stamps! This letter writing kit brings more to the table than letter writing paper, envelopes and stamps. Within each set is a little envelope filled with giant brightly coloured confetti.
So what are you waiting for? Have a look around Zabby’s wonderful collection and #spreadthegirlpower!