Welcome, welcome to Sophie from Ink & Bear! I met Sophie at Blogtacular, a creative blogging event, a couple of years ago and we bonded over our shared name! Since then we’ve run into each other at fairs and events in and around Leeds and of course stalked each other on Instagram. So grab a cuppa and get to know Sophie and what she’s up to…
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Sophie and I’m a screen printer from Leeds. I’m from Hull originally and moved over to Leeds to go to University nearly 16 years ago and I have never looked back! I love living in Leeds and love seeing the city grow from year to year in terms of creative things going on, new food and drink places and new independent businesses popping up!
I design and print screen prints inspired by nature, travelling and the sky at night. I’ve always printed on paper but recently I have started to print on fabric too (which I love!). I’m a big fan of screen printing at Leeds Print Workshop and used to always use their facilities to get my screens ready for screen printing at home. I screen print in my spare bedroom and love the freedom this gives me to try out new things.
When the pandemic hit I knew that I had to change tact as I didn’t want to go without! Learning to expose at home has meant I have been able to develop my skills – but it also means I make a lot more mistakes! Normally I’d sell these misprints at fairs, but with no fairs it got me thinking about other ways I could sell these (as I was really keen to not just throw them away). This brings us on to Super Seconds Saturday!
Tell us about Super Seconds Saturday?
Super Seconds Saturday is an online event on Saturday 27th February that offers people an opportunity to buy discounted goods from 250 independent makers.
A lot of indie makers have seconds/misprints/end of line stock that just didn’t go quite right (or is from a few years back!) – and normally a lot of these are sold off at fairs at bargain prices but with few (or no!) fairs due to Coronavirus it means that these bargains aren’t on offer! It’s a unique opportunity for buyers to grab an absolute steal from 250 makers – a lot of makers are perfectionists so the ‘faults’ are barely noticeable.
The event launches at 10am on Saturday 27th February and my top tip to buyers would be to get ready for the 10am rush. Last time a lot of makers sold out within an hour!
You can find out about all 250 makers involved by heading to the makers catalogue at www.supersecondssaturday.co.uk.
How did you come up with the idea?
I came up with the idea in early September last year as I had a lot of prints that I wasn’t 100% happy with (the odd ink splodge here and there and misaligned layers!). I also launched new pre-order t-shirts in the summer and I printed a lot of sample t-shirts in lots of different colours – when I decided to whittle down my range to three colours I was left with a lot of samples! Armed with all this seconds/sample stock I reached out to fellow independent businesses in the Indie Roller community and found that others were in the same position too.
I launched the event at the start of September thinking that I’d perhaps get 10 makers involved, and by the end of September I had over 230 businesses taking part! There was a great buzz around the event and I really enjoyed running it so I decided to run it again in February this year – my hope is that I can run it twice a year from now on.
What’s the biggest thing you learned from running Super Seconds Saturday the first time around?
I learnt that it’s important to have one central hub when you have so many people involved! Last time I anticipated that there would be about 10 of us involved so when it turned into 230 people I was so happy, but also reflected afterwards that there needs to be one central place for people to visit, rather than just using the #supersecondssaturday hashtag.
This year I’ve created a central hub website with all the makers in one catalogue – I’m really hoping this will help buyers to get prepared and find the best bargains from amazing independent businesses from 10am on 27th February.
How important is the creative community to you?
The creative community around me online and in real life is incredibly important to me. Without it I wouldn’t have set up Ink & Bear and I definitely wouldn’t have set up Super Seconds Saturday! The event is built on an incredible bunch of creative people and I wouldn’t be able to do it without them. The Indie Roller community, run by Leona, is a great source of inspiration and support and I’d recommend to any creative businesses to get involved.
If you could give creatives one piece of advice, what would it be?
Just go for it! Sometimes setting up your own creative business can feel really daunting, but building a creative community around you (either online or in real life!) can make a huge difference to your confidence.
I spent years telling myself I didn’t have the time to set up a business and there never seemed to be a ‘right time’ so I just started small and ran Ink & Bear alongside my full time job for the first couple of years. After I’d built it up a bit I took the leap to go down to 4 days a week in my full time job and now I’m hoping to turn it into my full time career! Small steps can make a HUGE difference and getting started is the best thing you can do.
How can we help the awesome work you do to continue?
If you like the sound of Super Seconds Saturday it would be a great help if you could share it with people who you think would love it too! I share a lot of information about it on my instagram (www.instagram.com/inkandbear) and on the website (www.supersecondssaturday.co.uk). You can also see all of the wonderful makers involved by following the hashtag #supersecondssaturday on Instagram.