MEET YOUR LOCAL GIRL GANG MEMBER // PEACH PANDA STUDIO

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MEET YOUR LOCAL GIRL GANG // PEACH PANDA STUDIO

I am really excited to be introducing Illustrator, Designer/Maker and HSAD Student Rachel to the GIRL GANG this week. 


Rachel runs @peachpandastudio alongside studying at Hull School of Art and Designer. Her Etsy Shop is full of fun, colourful designs and she has been involved in and supported some ace projects in our city of Hull.

I was lucky enough to bump into Rachel on a Community Journalism Course at the Feral Art School. It's always nice to put a face to the name and figure out exactly whose cute stationary and colourfully pins you've been admiring on Instagram... 

I also couldn't resist asking to feature Rachel on The Rebel Girls Club Blog - So here's a little interview with our newest Rebel Girl Recruit!


Hi Rachel, welcome to the girl gang! I love your colour-popping
Instagram so much. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?


Hi Katie! Thanks so much, Instagram is definitely my happy place!
I’m Rachel, I’m 22 and currently a month away from finishing my Textiles degree which I’ve done for the last three years alongside running my little illustration biz, Peach Panda Studio.
I started the business so I wouldn’t have to get a ‘normal’ job whilst studying, and it’s been really cool that I’ve been making my income just from the cute doodles that I create.




Your Etsy shop does so well! How long has it taken you to establish your
online shop and social media presence and do you have any tips for
fellow freelance designer/makers?

I started the shop two years ago now, with a very small following on Instagram. In the beginning I chucked everything I had into it, making new stuff as often as I could afford to grow it into what I wanted. 

Before Peach Panda, I’d had a different business selling handmade textiles and accessories, but I outgrew it, and the name was making me cringe – ‘Rachel’s Fantasy Island’ – because I’d thought of it when I was 18! That earlier business taught me A LOT about how to get set up and keep going on Etsy, so that turned out to be a valuable experience that helped me grow Peach Panda. That being said, I’d advise other makers and designers not to worry about growth too much, particularly on Instagram. I always say; it’s better to have 100 followers that engage with you regularly than to have 1000 but only 50 that interact with your content.

     

       


I know you’re a degree student at Hull School of Art and Design. Has
the course helped you to figure out the industry you’re going into and
do you have a plan for when you graduate?

I absolutely do not have a plan! I’ve always liked to keep myself busy, so I imagine this summer will consist of spinning a lot of plates while I figure out where I’m going, but that’s definitely okay with me. The course has had its ups and downs (and I’ve been in the local news a few times talking about the downs!), but I’ve loved spending three years surrounded by creative pals that I’m sure I’ll be friends with for a long time. The best thing that HSAD has given me is the opportunity to lead a workshop on becoming a self-employed creative. I shared my experiences with my fellow students, invited local self-employed people to tell their stories, and created a facebook support group called Lets Make Money, which anyone is welcome to join! Maybe business support will be an area I go into? Who knows haha.



Your wall art on Preston Road looks AMAZING! How did it feel to be part of the Preston Road Take Over in Hull? Was that your first mural?

Thank you! The takeovers are always amazing events, I’m completely in awe of the Bankside Gallery team for pulling it all together every time. I’ve done two murals with them before this one, including the first ever Preston road jam where I painted rainbows, and the Clarence Mill jam in town where I painted an autumnal scene. Everybody should go for a look at those places if they can, the art on display is just amazing, there’s such a wealth of local talent on display.




And finally, we’re on a Community Journalism Course together with the
wonderful Feral Art School and it took us a while to realise we are insta-
buddies (oops). So tell me about YOU, what are you into when you’re
not designing?

Yes! The community journalism has been great, we’ve met so many cool local people through it haven’t we? I like to try a bit of everything if I can, hence the journalism! I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on the Feral Art School website for other courses I can take next.

I’ve also found myself becoming obsessed with sustainable shopping, particularly for buying clothes and I’ve decided I’m not buying new stuff this year, unless it’s from indie shops, otherwise I’m filling my wardrobe with preloved clothing!

Since starting the journalism course I’ve been thinking about starting a blog so I can document what I’m up to, since I plan to do a bit of travelling around the UK this summer, which will be fun! The blog will mostly be for me to remember where I’ve actually been because I’m terrible for that haha, but hopefully other people will find it interesting too.


If you'd like to find out more about Peach Panda Studio, be sure to check out Rachel's Instragram and Etsy Shop.

XOXO
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MEET YOUR LOCAL GIRL GANG MEMBER // MAKE DO AND PUSH

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Hello Rebel Girls, today I'm introducing Hannah to the girl gang, which feels like a serious #rebelgirlmoment for me!

 I have admired the lovely Hannah, Founder of Make Do and Push from afar and now I get to introduce and feature her as a REBEL GIRL. Good times!

Hannah is the self-confessed 'Mother of Explorers & Chaos Coordinator', as well as being an award-winning Blogger and Photographer. Everything she posts is so full of warmth and has a rare open and honest feel to it that is sometimes hard to find in a world of reality vs insta-reality.

I'm not a parent, but I love my day job working with children and through Make Do and Push, I am reminded that we all have the strength inside of us to do what makes us feel happy and fulfilled. Hannah runs her own business and juggles being a Photographer, Writer and Mother, so yeh, it's official - She is a total  GIRLBOSS! 

Read her interview with The Rebel Girls Club below...


  



Hi Hannah! Firstly, as a reader I just wanted to say how uplifting and lovely your blog is... I’d love to know what inspired you to set up Make Do and Push? Was it a lightning bolt moment or a project that basically evolved over time?

Hello! Thank you so much!

I started Make, Do & Push when I was pregnant with my first daughter, six years ago now. I wanted a way to document my journey into the wilderness of Motherhood, and also wanted a creative outlet as I was working for the NHS as a business manager at that point, and felt very stifled in that role. I thought starting a blog would be a good way to get me writing again (my degree is in English and Drama) - turns out it was!


Society can put a lot of pressure on women. Not only do we have the ordinary pressures of life and work, but our bodies come under enormous strain and scrutiny as well. What do you hope your female readers take away with them after visiting Make Do and Push?

I always try to be as honest as I can on the blog (and on Instagram), and I hope that my female readers and followers come away feeling less alone, having related to something I’ve written. Be it realising that postpartum bodies are jiggly, bloody and don’t bounce back immediately (as some celebrities would have us believe). Or that miscarriage is something that we can and should discuss as women. I want us to be open as women, as there are so many things we’ve been conditioned to repress, gloss over and change about ourselves to make us more pleasing to men and society as a whole.

 





I love how you’ve documented ‘baking a (baby) bun’ on your blog. I can imagine it gets pretty hectic running your blog, photography business, take care of yourself and parenting… Do you have any advice for other mums who are juggling pregnancy, motherhood and building up a business like yourself?

Make time for ‘you’. I’m struggling with this a lot now our youngest has arrived, as I want to soak up as much of her newborn-ness as I can because she’s our final baby, but I didn’t take maternity leave (social media never sleeps!) so I also have clients to communicate with, deadlines to complete and photos to shoot. But making sure you take time out and take care of yourself is so important.



Also, communicate with your partner. My husband is incredibly supportive, and will help take some of the load when I’m feeling overwhelmed or burnt out. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so making sure you look after yourself as well as your family is imperative.




Some of the brands you’ve worked with are fab and I love how you photograph their products whilst going about ordinary family life, it’s really refreshing! I know you run a photography business, alongside blogging full-time. What kind of methods did you use to promote yourself and keep followers of your blog engaged?

Thank you so much!

Instagram is probably my key place for promotion. In fact, I’m over there more than I am my blog at the moment because I love Stories and my brain is rather sleep deprived, so writing has taken a back seat for a few weeks.

Also, Facebook and Twitter are great places for promotion. I also attended a number of blogging conferences when I first started, so I could network and meet other bloggers.





And finally, Hull is evolving every day and new places keep popping up! Here at The Rebel Girls Club we love to support local… So I was wondering where in Hull you like to relax or explore with your family at the moment? #motherofexplorers

Oh goodness! There are SO many places! My husband and I love our coffee, so Two Gingers is a firm favourite of ours right now (although I’m sad that Donut Friday has been paused because Bea (Hello Baker Girl)’s donuts are incredible!). I also adore Marla’s for yummy lunches, and of course Trinity Market for a whole plethora of amazing food.



My son has a milk allergy, so we love vegan coffee shop Blondes in Cottingham, which is also dog friendly!

In terms of exploring, we LOVE going to the beach as a family - especially in winter/spring when it’s colder and less busy. Fraisthorpe, Wilsthorpe and Danes Dyke are favourites of ours for dog walks.


Thank you so much Hannah for agreeing to be featured on The Rebel Girls Club. Welcome to YOUR LOCAL GIRL GANG. 


Hannah's Social Media Links 
www.makedoandpush.co.uk

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MEET YOUR LOCAL GIRL GANG MEMBER // JB MILLINERY

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It's time to add another rebel to our local girl gang and who better to choose, than the truly inspirational and talented Milliner - Jess Bennet of J B Millinery.*

Jess is the Designer and Creator of some stunning headpieces. Her designs make me want to gallop to the races or gatecrash someones wedding (watch out all you love birds!). 

I was always obsessed with the art of hat-making as a child, so getting the opportunity to interview and feature Jess is a real pleasure. Not only does this woman have an outstanding amount of talent and skills, she is also a HULL lass with loads of ambition!

Be sure to check out her full collection online and find out more about this total mega babe BELOW.

(*Photo Credits go to Jason Shipley & Josh Moore)




Hi Jess, could you start by telling all of us Rebel Girls a little bit about yourself?

I’m a mum who is also an obsessed hatter/artist from Hull who loves designing, creating and making exciting millinery.




I have a Textile Design background and when I was small, I really wanted to make hats. So much so, I did my work-experience aged 16 at ‘Hats on Top’ *Top Deck of Prinny Quay to all you Hull folk*. What inspired you to choose Millinery and start life as a Designer/Maker?

I  did a degree in fashion design, and there was nothing I loved more, than when we got to make hats. I was totally hooked. I loved the freedom of it, compared to the maths-based pattern cutting and construction of fabric. It was love at first sight!



I know you offer a bespoke service to customers looking for that special piece of headwear. What has been your favourite design so far or the piece you’re the most proud of?

The hat that I’m most proud of is from a mini collection that I did, inspired by bees. It’s a large beehive made from lotus pods, with a huge tassle fringe. Almost like a haunted Amy Winehouse/Marge Simpson. I’m doing another collection based around this one piece later in the year, so watch this space!





Working Freelance can make that work/life balance a bit tricky. Do you have any advice or valuable lessons to share with anyone who is looking to embark on a creative career or set themselves up as a Freelance Designer?

You have to be laser focused on outcomes. I have a year goal planner that I work with. Its a lot of organising and creative planning. 

I feel that when you are obsessed with something you eventually get to where you want to be. In a nutshell, know your outcomes.



Here at The Rebel Girls Club, we talk a lot about Hull’s creative industry. We are a small Northern City and this can have it’s challenges. Has it been difficult to establish yourself and promote JB Millinery here and have you seen any positive changes since we became City of Culture?

I’m still trying to establish myself, but I’m confident I’ll get there eventually. People seem proud of Hull, more so than before. I think Hull has HUGE potential to become a more creative city.  I think connecting with your creative tribe within the city helps you and your business grow. It's essential to be around inspiring, uplifting people who are sharing the same city space as you. People like yourselves are helping this happen!




And finally, we would love to know what the future holds for J B Millinery? I love to hear about people’s goals and dreams, however big or small!

I have two major collections coming out this year. One is based around bees which are a massive muse for me creatively and the second is based on women that I find inspirational. Both are very different but I’m equally excited for them. 

Long term I want to keep designing, creating, and pushing myself to make J B Millinery a household name in fashion. I just want to keep going and see how far I can actually get!





Thank you so much Jess, for letting The Rebel Girls Club interview you. I can't wait to see what 2019 brings for you. 

Be sure to check out J B Millinery on Instagram or visit the website.


XOXO
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MEET YOUR LOCAL GIRL GANG MEMBER // I SPEAK STYLE'S DEBBIE HUNTLEY //

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 It's time to introduced another Rebel Girl to our local Girl Gang this week. 

The lovely Debbie Huntley had already become an insta-crush of mine before we even started chatting. So imagine my joy, when I delved a little deeper and found out more about Debbie and her background in Fashion. Also known as I SPEAK STYLE, Debbie is a Designer and was named 'one to watch' by Clothes Show Live and ASOS Market Place.




Debbie is a self confessed style and interior-lover, as well as a first-time Mum. She has her own Independent Label as a Freelance Fashion Designer and has been featured in ELLE and Instyle Magazine, to name a few and has had her designs worn on the red carpet.

To top it off she's a local lass, so welcome to your local girl gang Debbie. It's a pleasure to get the opportunity to feature your work and find out more about you.


I'm not going to give away anymore spoilers, but I hope you all enjoy reading Debbie's interview with The Rebel Girls Club and join me in supporting another talented Designer/Maker in Hull.


Hi Debbie, could you start by telling all of us Rebels a little bit more about yourself?

Hi Katie, I am a currently on Maternity leave from my role as Designer and Garment Technologist for the PPE industry, my main background is Fashion Design where I worked on my own independent label and as a Freelance Designer. Most days at the minute I am rocking the- very tired first-time mum look- who will happily go and fuel herself with some fellow rebel girl's baked treats and I am slightly interior obsessed!


I’ve seen some of your collections and love the wedding dress you designed. What inspired you to get into Fashion Design in the first place and do you have a creative background?

Thank you, the wedding dress was a delight to design and make and given it was for one of best friends it was very special to be able to be trusted with such a responsibility. I always just liked fashion, I have a friend who can remember me drawing a dress when I was younger and me claiming I was going to be a fashion Designer. My entire education is creative I studied Art, Design and Textiles at A-level, followed by a Diploma in Fashion which fueled my love of designing but gave me an insight into pattern cutting which I love! I then made the decision to take my studies further in the specialism and went on to complete my BA Hons Degree in Fashion Design with Manufacture, Marketing and Promotions, I interned for Alice Temperley and Paul Smith in London on my gap year-both amazing experiences which gave me great insights into the luxury fashion market. I love most creative industries as I think fashion, art, textiles, photography etc all cross paths at some point so I would definitely say my book collection confirms the creative love.




Here at The Rebel Girls Club we love sharing people’s wow moments! What has been your favorite project or the thing you’re most proud of achieving over the years?

I would have to say whilst running my own small independent label; L.2.Mae , I was shortlisted as one the 10 emerging Designers to watch in conjunction with the Clothes Show Live and ASOS Marketplace. I got to exhibit at the Clothes show Live which I used to love visiting as a student and I got interviewed by the iconic Caryn Franklin once more which was amazing as I used to watch her on TV as a child- maybe that was an early influencer, who knows?! The events presenter Annaliese Days actually wore a piece to present a runway show on one of the days which was great exposure and Ashley James was attending the event who is a keen body positive spokesperson and as part of my mission statement was to design for women, I used various size models in my photoshoots which she loved so she wore a piece of my collection to a film premiere on the red carpet which was great to see. So, a few yippee moments all within one event.

 



I know you’re a Mum, alongside working Freelance. How do you find keeping a balance between parenting and pursuing a creative career? I was wondering if you had any advice for creative working mums like yourself?

As a new mum I had a lot of plans for my maternity leave from my main job as a Designer and Garment Technologist …but that was very naïve of me! Motherhood is hard and non-stop but now she is nearly 7 months it is becoming easier to carve out the evenings as ‘my time’ to work on my creative projects and plans for the future. It does make you become a master at time management meaning you can have a to do list and eventually work your way through it. Take your time! Its something I’ve learnt becoming a new mum, I’ve always led a fast paced and hectic life with juggling studies and part time work and then full-time work and projects- I constantly have a million tabs open in my head- but I know that things take time and it’s not a race and to be gentle on yourself and keep working to your goals and plans. Procrastinating is key for any creative I think as pressure just puts up barriers to your thinking, so if you spend a week thinking about what you want to create or do…but don’t do any of it…it’s fine. Its all part of the process. Slow down and take your time and a glass of red wine always helps.




I know friends who have interned in Fashion or tried to establish themselves in the Fashion Industry and I can imagine things get pretty competitive! Do you have any advice for people who are looking to establish themselves as a Designer/Maker?

What I love about the industry-and other creative industries- is how much it has all changed since the development of the digital platforms. When I was even studying it was all very competitive and trying to find people who worked at places seemed top secret-it’s like their email addresses were the crown jewels for only selective eyes! It’s all so different know, people work together more and its very transparent, it’s a huge industry so I think there is room for everybody. Be confident in yourself and your own work, that is something I’ve learnt over the years as you try and fit into a market but you’re not being true to yourself. Challenge things and think outside the box as that is what moves the industry forward and yourself as a designer. I am a very different designer to what I was 5 even 10 years ago as my mindset has changed with the more I grow and evolve as a person, so allow that to come through in your work. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people, if they don’t reply instantly don’t sweat it, reach out again and again and eventually they will. Knockbacks are part of any career it’s the get ups and working back on your goals that is key.
I feel like I am writing these words and reminding myself to take note of them!




I love your website and your Insta (please check them both out people!)
What do you feel like the future holds for I SPEAK STYLE?

Thank you. I will be focusing on a lot more of my own creative projects, in a sense I am starting again to re establish myself also and rebrand the label I worked on years ago. I’ve unfinished business as a designer for my own work and experiencing different job roles and markets fuels your fire again to regain your focus and work towards your ultimate goal. Sometimes you have to take a step back to fall back in love with things again which is what I’ve essentially done- Diane Von Furstenberg did this many time so here’s hoping the empire can be like hers!
I’m a huge nerd in anything about sustainable fashion and creating products that can be ethically made but also, I want to give back. If you are familiar with Selfish Mother she supports charities and that is something which I would like to do with specific products. I think becoming a mum makes you want to ensure even more that there is a better future for your child and giving back helps towards that, it makes you a better designer. I have some new products to launch this year, the samples are in, starting simple but with long term plans which I hope some rebel girls will feature in! As they say… watch this space.




Check out Debbie Huntley on INSTAGRAM and on her WEBSITE to find out more.

Thank you for reading 
xoxo

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