Our ‘In the Shop Window’ interviews are a little peek at the lives of the people behind some of Shop Scotland’s brilliant member businesses. A look behind the scenes at the loves and loathes of being the boss, see where inspiration and ideas get their roots and read the backstories of some of our most imaginative and creative small businesses. Delighted this time to be learning more about the wonderful world of Dee Leslie of The Butterfly & Toadstool in Newton Stewart. The Butterfly & Toadstool, Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.
The Butterfly & Toadstool, Newton Stewart
My Business: Handmade botanical jewellery and accessories for the eco conscious fashionista.
Starting Out: I started my business in 2012 when I decided to take my designing and love of crafts to the next level. I have always loved creating and after gaining orders from family and friends, I thought I should maybe take my skills a little more seriously. You see I’m actually a Biologist. I studied Animal Biology and Conservation at University and graduated with a BSc (Hons) in 2009. After travelling and working in this field for a few years I decided it really wasn’t for me, so I created The Butterfly and Toadstool.
Where I’m based: Newton Stewart.
Business Name: My business name links directly to my biology background. I absolutely love butterflies and I’m fascinated with fungi, but Toadstool had a better ‘ring’ to it”
Previous Jobs: My previous jobs include lots of retail, but I was lucky enough to work in conservation, working with endangered species, after I completed my degree.
My “typical” working day: A “typical” working day for me is never the same! It ranges from designing and making, to photography, packaging, social media, emails and admin. I like to mix it up so I never do too much of the same thing in a day (especially paperwork).
Self employment highs: I absolutely love being creative with no time frames. If I feel ideas bubbling or I’m really enjoying a design, then I can keep working on it for as long as I want.
Self employment lows: Working from home can be quite lonely at times. I try to keep in touch and meet up with other creatives from my area. It also helps to get feedback from other people as you can get tired of your own views!
Who helped me: I’ve been so lucky with the people I’ve met at certain times of my life. My family has always been super supportive, but the person who really inspired me to follow my dreams was Carolyn from KnittyKittyBangBang. She was right there at the very beginning (when I lived in Aberdeen), and still supports me from afar now. She’s not only an amazing creative and business woman, but also a great friend.
Inspiration: Nature and the natural world is my biggest source of inspiration. I find even just getting out for a walk in the woods can get ideas flowing.
Find Me: I sell through my Etsy Shop, at craft markets and through a selection of lovely Scottish stockists; Crafty Wee Birdie Gift Shop, Geek Bothy, Belles & Bairns, Curly Tale Books, Kirroughtree Visitor Centre and The Arty Bit.
Business Achievements: Actually doing my dream job!
Popular products: My most popular products have got to be my real Scottish heather terrarium necklaces.
Must have crafty tool: My flower press, pliers and my sewing machine.
With Hindsight: If I was just starting out now and could give myself one piece of advice it would be “Just go for it!”
Plan B jobwise: I’ve never even thought about my business not working out. I’m a great believer in positive thinking!
Favourite Destination in Scotland: Any one of the many beautiful forests we have
Best thing about Scotland: The wildlife
Favourite TV Show: The Big Bang Theory
Favourite Film: The Jungle Book
Favourite Book: The Moomins – any one of them
Do you believe in Nessie? Absolutely!
Favourite Holiday Destination: – Lavender Farm in Healesville, Victoria, Australia