INTRODUCING OUR BRAND NEW SERIES: MEET THE MAKER
You might have heard, we've re-opened Grace & Thorn with a f*ing bang and we've introduced a whole new line of products - all in keeping with the G&T ethos obvs. A big part of the drive to build on all the products we could offer you lovely lot was being able to support local makers just starting out in their creative businesses, and to give them the platform to showcase their wares (without charging them for the privilege).
We discovered Kim on Instagram and instantly fell in love with her handmade plastic not plastic bag pots. One of our best local makers, Kim runs Birkim Bags out of her front room and like the gem she is, had us over to chat all things Birkim.
So tell us a bit about who and what are Birkim Bags?
BirKim bags is me, Kim. Hi. It was created from a desire to play with clay, whilst highlighting the current issues around single-use plastic and the current state of the world. With a bit of fun thrown in. People are always drawn to them and it’s a great conversation piece, whether it's about the design or why your other half got you the Cheap Bastard pot...which has happened.
We f*ing love em, where did you come up with the idea for them?
Awwww thanks for the love! I'd had a block of clay in my room for over a year, waiting for inspiration to hit. I didn't want to just make stuff for the sake of it so it just sat there. Then earlier this year, I woke up at around 3am and suddenly decided that a plastic bag would be such a great design. I always need more plant pots so I needed to make it functional so be able to hold the basic watering that plants require and I found a way to do that.
(Very first Birkim baby!)
What inspires the wicked logos / how you decide to reinterpret them?
I bloody love a good swear and thanks to years of my dad throwing puns and dad jokes around, I instinctively went for alternatives to the branding to add a bit of joy and fun into it.
I tend to have a play with them but some of them appear obvious to me. It's hard because there's a lot of brands I want to play around with but want to stick to those that use plastic bags. I also prefer to use the older logos as they stick out more for me.
You seem to have many fingers in many pies (nails/doughnuts), how do you manage your time between jobs and running your own business?
Being freelance wasn't a choice I made, I kind of fell into it when I was finishing my degree (I went back to Uni at 26). I started off with odd shifts and would work several jobs around each other. I still work various jobs but they have their own busy periods so I can figure how to spend my time. This is perfect for me to be able to work on my own stuff just as much as others.
(Our order lined up ready for logos)
When other jobs are quiet, it allows me to clear my head a lot more and be a bit more creative with what I'm doing instead of just churning out pots for the sake of it. I do love a challenge though so I'll always be on the look out for new jobs or contacts, just as I like to learn all the time and its brilliant to see and help lots of other women led businesses.
What’s the best and hardest part of this running your own business game?
The best part is when someone receives their pot and they share it on Instagram with excitement. It's such a great feeling when someone loves your work.
The hard part is just getting on with it. It's hard to explain, but I'm really good at being practical and logical when it comes to other businesses, and helping people as I see it from a different perspective. It's hard to do on my own work as it's laced with self doubt.
I think the insight into how to push forward and finding the motivation is what's hardest. I also find it really hard to push my work, knowing how to get it out there. A lot of if feels like luck.
Which is your favourite Birkim Bag design and why?
The original 'Thanks For Nothing' in blue is my fave as it's a shoddy type and wonky but it's the original design I did.
Top London tips/spots
My fave bar is a place called Highbury Library in, you guessed it, Highbury. I'm biased as my friends run it but it's the only place I like to venture out of the house for some company.
The best cafe is Finks Salt & Sweet near Clissold Park. Great food and lovely wine.
Shoreditch is the best place to wonder with a coffee and see amazing street art. It's constantly changing too.
Best tip? Take a bus. London is great for people watching and seeing the city. Least if you're stuck in traffic, you have phone signal and you can walk. The 76/149 & 243 are the best ones as they take a while and you get to see incredible street art/the city & over the bridges.
My favourite flower is any variation of a daisy. My fave plant is my string of hearts because they hang down and I'm so happy that I can keep them alive.