How furry friends can inspire a successful brand
This week, we welcome the wonderful Paula Weaver from Little Bun Designs. We never realised the beautiful significance behind her business name. Her story is so very inspiring and her fabric covered notebooks and diaries are such a popular feature on Notebook Love. Read on for some business inspiration and meet her band of furry assistants...
Who are the significant people(/animals) who make up Little Bun Designs UK?
Little Bun Designs is very much a one woman show. From designing and creating, to accounting, packing, stock control, social media and web design - it’s all me :) Other significant helpers are the Little Bun pets - Pippin the ginger tom is chief postal box inspector. His sister Pickles is gift wrap coordinator (aka a nightmare) and the gerbil sisters Merry and Winter are involved in the recycling and destruction of excess cardboard packaging.
Where did the idea for Little Bun Designs UK come from?
Pet Notebook / A6 Fabric Covered Notebook
Little Bun Designs was born out of necessity - as a lifelong sufferer of ocd and anxiety, which makes employment stressful and complicated and with no other means of gaining an income, I was forced to rely on my inner creativity to make my living. The growth of my business has been very much organic - going from a hobby to a successful business with astonishing ease - I’m very lucky!
Where did the name of your company come from?
My business is named after my beloved bunny Suki. He masqueraded as a girl for 6 months hence the name (big clue - if your girl bunny likes to ‘hug’ your arm - it’s not a girl...). He was with me through some incredibly tough times with my mental health and was unwaveringly loving and loyal - bunnies are amazing creatures and will bond powerfully with people. The shock of his sudden death in 2013 sent my ocd into a downwards spiral and at a truly low point in my life I joined a Facebook support group for fellow ocd sufferers and met a lifelong best friend, who was actually the one to set up my Instagram account, my Etsy shop and to design the bunny on my logo - all in memory of my beloved Little Bun.
What sort of products do you make and sell?
I’m a multipotentialite crafter and therefore have many aspects to my business. I have a deep love of paper, of fabric and of hand embroidery and love to combine all of these skills together in my notebooks, bookmarks and handmade cards. I also love to work with felt to design and create home decor and sewing accessories.
What is your HQ like?
Little Bun headquarters is a vastly sprawling metropolis.... My fabrics and felts are all stored at home, where all the notebook covering and hand sewing is also done. All my paper craft & raw materials are stored in my workshop (in a beautiful historical Berisfords mill, built in the 1850s) where card making, notebook making and cutting the stationery blanks occurs. All areas are well known for being ‘creatively messy’ :) - I can literally work anywhere I can fit an A4 board.
What is your most popular product and why do you think that is?
My best seller is definitely my fabric bookmarks. There’s a whole community of book lovers out there who like to match their bookmark to their current read!
Each of my bookmarks is individually hand cut and crafted using waste mount board and the small pieces of fabric left over from my notebook making - so not only are they unique and sturdy, they are sustainable and eco friendly too.
Where do you find your fabrics?
Growing up in the Cheshire countryside, my designs all encompass animals and nature and the same theme is continued with my fabrics - most are from British designers, who fit with the quirky Little Bun brand, but I’ll shop far and wide for the perfect fabric and I can’t resist scenic designs.
What is your own favourite Little Bun Designs UK product/design and why?
My own personal favourite design? Probably the ones which are entirely handcrafted from scratch and my own imagination - I’m very proud of my felt flamingo decoration, tortoise pincushion and needle case design.
A hotly debated topic: ruled, square, dotted or plain pages?
Personally I love an illustrated notebook - or ones with coloured lines, coloured page edges, shaped pages - anything just that little bit different!
What's so special about notebooks, in your opinion?
Ahh stationery! That’s easy - there’s nothing more exciting than a new notebook! A brand new literal blank page - endless possibilities and a fresh start. Journaling is also an incredibly important and therapeutic exercise - it can help with many things from overcoming grief to attaining life goals.
What's the best customer feedback you've received?
Ah so many to choose from - I have the most amazing customers! Lots of people choose my photo albums to remember loved ones who have passed on - those messages of thanks are always very special to me as something as simple as a photo album can really light up their life again. Lots of customers thank me for ‘sharing my craft’ - which I find such a lovely sentiment and I’m also very focused on customer service, so those reviews are very dear to me too.