Sunday, 28 February 2016

Meet The Maker - Rock The Bump

We interviewed Zoe Keeping from Rock The Bump - Pregnant Belly and Body Casting. 

Introduce yourself and your business:
My name is ZoŃ‘, I am a work at home mum to two young children and Owner/Artist of Bournemouth based business - ‘Rock the Bump – pregnant belly and body casting’. Rock the Bump works with mums-to-be to create a bespoke, artistic, keepsake of their pregnancy.

When did you start your small business and why?
I found out about belly casting when I was pregnant with my second baby in 2013. I wasn't aware of anyone offering pregnant belly casting locally so got all the kit together so hubby and I could create one ourselves. As is often the case with DIY casting kits we just never got around to doing the casting before baby arrived. A year later I started to explore the idea of creating belly casts for other expectant mums and Rock the Bump was born!

Is your business a full time, part time or spare time operation?
As a work at home with two under 5s (and number 3 on the way!) every day is different as I juggle to fit in my "bump work" (as my two little ones call it!) alongside everything else. Weekends are when I get the most time to focus on Rock the Bump, often seeing clients for casting sessions on Saturdays and spending time in the studio on Sundays getting messy - strengthening and smoothing casts, painting, finishing and preparing casts ready for clients to hang/display in their homes.

What was your most memorable keepsake made?
Last year I had the pleasure of casting Rebecca’s pregnant belly with her husband’s and 4-year-old son’s hands cradling her beautiful bump. This was really special as Rebecca’s husband works abroad so was only home for a very short time to see the birth of his baby and we were lucky to be able to create the cast just in time! I relish the opportunity to work with women and their partners to create custom design, artistic pregnant belly casts that are personal to them, often incorporating artwork that evokes memories not just of their pregnancy but of the life and love they shared before the arrival of their precious newborn baby.

What is your most affordable item?
Prices start from as little as £35 for a basic belly only cast. Customers can then opt for plain, classic, deluxe or custom options to include strengthening of the cast with high grade casting plaster, smoothing and painting/artwork and varnishing. Price is very much dependent on individual requirements based on time and materials involved.

What short term goals do you have your your business?
My focus at the moment is improving my Social Media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, interacting more with my followers, starting a blog and increasing the visibility of my posts to help spread the word and reach more customers.

What is your long term goal for your business?
So far, I've had the pleasure of casting beautiful baby bumps from Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch to Salisbury, Basingstoke, and Wiltshire with bookings already confirmed for April for two lovely mums-to-be from Surrey and London! Ultimately I would like to see the Rock the Bump brand grow and become the go-to pregnant belly casting studio for all expectant mums.

And now for some fun questions...

City or Countryside? Bit of both. I grew up in the countryside but love Bournemouth as it offers the best of both worlds.

Custard or Cream? Custard.

Cats or Dogs? Both.

Tea or Coffee? Black coffee all the way - needs must…

Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Facebook – I still struggle to keep it brief on Twitter and Instagram but am getting there…slowly!

Reading a book or watching a film? Neither – I used to love both but have the attention span of a gnat since having children, plus there’s never any time!

Obsessively Tidy or Organised Chaos? Organised chaos…

If you want to see more from Zoe, visit the website or Facebook Page

Friday, 12 February 2016

Packaging your Keepsakes

Hello! It's time for a new blog post, I'm sorry I missed last week but I had so much to do before a long weekend away at the seaside that I didn't get chance. Anyway, I'm back now and have been having a think about packaging. I know a lot of artist's and crafter's struggle with making their products look pretty, especially without spending too much money but in my opinion the packaging makes the whole purchasing of handmade keepsakes an experience. 

Let's start with the basics, I recommend getting a big sheet of paper and a pen and drawing up a brainstorm with your notes to refer back to:


Have a think for a moment about your keepsake business. Is your brand conveying luxury? Is it heavily influenced by environmental issues? Your packaging should reflect your ethos as it is the first thing people see when they receive your product and first impressions matter! Consider the cost implications of 'luxury' packaging and remember that 'eco' packaging might not always be the cheaper option either.


Do your products vary widely in size and construction? If so, you might have to source a range of packaging solutions and this could be tricky. It is much simpler if all your products are similar in size. If you sell something small such as jewellery you will have a wide range of packaging options but if you need to present larger or awkwardly shaped items then this is where it becomes an issue.


Is the product you sell delicate or breakable? Does it need reinforced packaging? Will it be going in the post and potentially be knocked around/stood on/thrown over fences (oops!)? Sometimes you may need to compromise on the beauty of the packaging if it is to withstand transportation but try not to let it worry you as your customer's will prefer their order to arrive in one piece. Delicate products may include fine jewellery, glass items but also fabric items that may snag or catch.


Finally, your brand plays a vital role in deciding your packaging. It's not just about picking a colour box or whacking a logo sticker on the parcel, you have to think carefully. If you already have a clearly defined brand then that is great, however if you don't you will most likely end up frittering money buying 'this and that' as you are undecided on the look you want to achieve. As I mentioned in a previous blog post; branding is about more than just a logo.

So now you have your sections written out clearly you will be able to see the kind of items you need to hunt down. It will involve lots of trawling the internet, craft catalogues and maybe phoning up companies for the best prices but I promise it will be worth it in the long run. Here are some possible suggestions for things to look out for:


These can be very versatile as you can have stickers stickers of your logo, fancy labels for your customer's addresses or your return address or maybe even Thank You stickers. You might even find you can print them yourself on your home printer although it is worth checking prices as it is possibly cheaper to buy in bulk from a professional printing company, they may also be able to offer different types of sticker including removable, transparent, metallic or glossy that suit your brand better.

Stickers for Tiny Treasures keepsakes


Stamps work in a very similar way to stickers in that you can use them for so many items. A handstamped tag looks handmade and rustic and may very well suit your brand but if you require a large amount of information it might be better to go down the printed route at least for some of it. If you use the correct ink you can even stamp directly onto products such as wooden plaques or care labels on fabric. It works out very cost effective as stamps can last many years.

Stamps for Wirelife - Art by Cerysanne


Swing tags can get expensive if you need only small quantities, the price often comes down when buying in bulk. They look very professional though and are especially good if you have a complex logo or need to include a large amount of text information with your item. Don't forget the string/twine or ribbon you may need to tie on the tags. This final touch can really bring a look together.


Your product may only require being wrapped in tissue or it might need a more substantial box. Either way you need to think about the material used. Tissue paper is great as it comes in a wide variety of colours and you can even get patterns but it can tear and crinkle easily, you may also need to ensure it is acid free as you don't want it to cause damage to your products. Dark coloured tissue can also bleed colour onto fabrics if it gets damp. Boxes vary greatly in price and quality, if you decide to go with boxes, it is worth investing in the best quality you can afford. As you item is a keepsake, the customer may choose to store it safely in the original box at certain times. A nice touch is having your logo professionally printed onto boxes but this can be a costly set up. A sticker/ stamp or swing tag might be a better alternative.


Finally, one of the most important aspects of packaging is including your business card. A good quality professional looking card is more likely to be kept and passed on. You might even wish to include a flyer or loyalty card if you think your customer may want to come back. A handwritten note on branded paper is a nice touch but try not to go too overboard!

I hope you have enjoyed our little rundown of important packaging suggestions and it has helped you to focus. Remember you are always welcome to send us your photos or questions regarding your packaging and we may include you in a future blog post.


Clarise Crafts - for custom stamps and branding
Unwrap Colour - for twine, tags, ribbon & washi
Awesome Merchandise - for branded goods