Each week we bring you a short interview with our featured seller, this week is Nicola from Drifting DownTime.
Business name: Drifting DownTime
Makers name: Nicola Furbisher
Describe your style in no more than 3 words. Natural, freestyle, windswept (!)
What do you sell in Fabrication? Treasures from the seashore crafted into unique gifts for a loved one or the home. Each Drifting DownTime piece is unique and made with love.
How long have you had your own business and what made you start it? Finding things, knowing we’ll never know the full story. I guess it’s the mystery and unknowable backstory that draws me time and time again to the pieces of wood, china, glass, odds and ends to be found on the tideline. If they could talk, what could they tell us? From where have they travelled and how long did it take for them to end up here? I’m often asked where the DownTime project began. And in truth, while it’s the journalist in me that loves a good mystery, I think, in the main, it’s because of a boy called Thomas, my little star, who spent his final days with me watching the seas and marching the windswept dunes of Northumberland, and who now flies with the birds at Flamborough Head. To know more about me and my boy – and about life after he left. You’ll find our story – and perhaps a little indication of why I do what I do – here: http://nicola-furbisher.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/day-between-days.html
What is your workshop / studio like? My workshop is half of bedroom three. The other half is meant to be office space; however, the driftwood is encroaching . I have baskets of different types of driftwood; jars and vases of sea glass and sea pottery; a basket of fishing net and rope found while beachcombing and then boxes of paint, pebbles brushes, glues, varnishes etc etc. It’s amazing that I know where everything is. It is very organised chaos.
What are your beverage and snack of choice when working? Tea. Always tea – and never enough of it. When tea turns to gin I know it’s time to quietly close the door.
What do you find the biggest challenge of running a micro-business? The importance of being ‘present’ and ‘visible’ so people can see your products is huge. And therefore, I think it’s good to have a variety of social media platforms; e.g. @DriftDownTime on Twitter, Drifting DownTime by Nicola Furbisher on Facebook and @Drifting_Downtime on Instagram. It takes time to create appropriate images, tell their stories and find the right tags and hashtags. Then there are the online selling platforms such as Etsy which take more time to curate. In essence, the time it takes to promote, market and sell, impacts hugely on the ‘making’ time which can be a downside. But the joy is in the making, AND in the sending of the pieces on their way to new homes, so investing time in reaching customers is worthwhile – and very rewarding.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell a younger you? Be. Just be. And seek help and support when you need it. Oh, and breathe – those deep breaths that go all the way down to your diaphragm. And stop worrying!
What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out? Do what you do for the right reasons. Ignore the ‘woulds’, ‘musts’ and ‘oughts’ of others and consider what will bring you joy. And believe in your own ability and talent and creativity. Take advice but above all listen to the voice inside. You will find your passion.
Why did you join Fabrication, and how long ago? Truthfully? I was living in a tiny flat, I couldn’t stop making, and thought, I need to get rid of some of this stuff, so I can make more! I was passing the shop, carried on walking, took a deep breath, turned around, went in and there was Dawn. I was amazed and humbled that she thought my pieces were appropriate for such a fabulous shop. It’s been the real springboard for my business and I couldn’t be more grateful.
If you could buy any 3 things from the shop, what would they be? Only 3!?? Ok, a gorgeous wooden wall panel by Gavin Edwards; A spoon/fish mobile by Mary Mitchell and a piece of wall called ‘spring frost’ art by Louisa Kemp.