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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.

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