Today I bring you the first post in a new personal photo project series entitled ‘Create & Inspire’.I have been planning this project for quite some time. Each photo series/post will be focused on a creative entrepreneur that has inspired me. I find it so inspiring that there are so many creative individuals doing their own thing and killing it at their profession. I have come to meet some many incredibly inspiring people through work so this project is my way of reaching out to some of the individuals who inspired me. I am following my dream and they are following theirs, so why shouldn’t you? Accompanied with each post in this series will also be an interview with the entrepreneur so you can get to know them a little better too. I would really love to hear your feedback on this project as it’s been a long time coming.
Kicking us off with an almighty bang is the wonderful Lizzie the founder of Smug, a creative fuelled lifestyle and design led shop in the heart of Angel, Islington along with an online shop. Lizzie is someone who I have admired for years, but we only finally got to meet earlier this year at Smug’s 8th Birthday party. We instantly hit it off and I knew there was no one else that could kick off this project but Lizzie.
What was your dream job when you were a kid?
When I was little I wanted to have my own shop, complete with a shop dog. My cousin Kate wanted to grow up to be an man driving a tractor. My plans have been realised (except for the dog – I have a cat at home caked Mabel) Kate is a teacher and has no plans to become a man or to learn to drive a tractor as far as I know. It’s hard to know when you’re little how your life will really pan out. I’m pleased I worked out so early on what I thought would work for me. And it does. I love being a creative entrepreneur and being my own boss.
When did you decide to run your own business?
Straight out of uni I wanted to run my own business. I wanted to build something of my own that I could share with others. Somewhere curated but welcoming, where people would want to stay for a while. I wanted to establish my own ‘look’ and work with new designers on collaborations that would become SMUG exclusives. It’s so wonderful that all of that has happened and that now I’m designing my own work and selling that through SMUG too.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?
Hmmm… Hard to choose one thing. I’m so used to being my own boss now that I think I’d find it really difficult to be ‘managed’. I like that the buck stops with me and that when it comes down to it, it’s my neck/name on the line. I’ve loved building something from scratch that simply started as an idea or feeling and is now an established bricks and mortar shop with an online presence and following with lovely regulars and even the weekend edition of CAFE SMUG. I love my team, who all have so much to give and make SMUG what it is 8 years in. I love it all really. Even the hard bits.
What do you wish you could tell your former self when your business was starting out?
It would have been nice to know that we’d be where we are now back in the beginning. But really I think I already knew that all I could do was work hard, prioritise the things that mattered most to me, trust my gut and believe in myself – without taking it too seriously! It’s all you can do I think.
What was your first business highlight where you felt proud of what you’d achieved?
Getting into the FT Cult Shop and also Frankie magazine’s Spaces book were both big highlights early on. I felt really lucky and was very proud to get that kind of recognition so early on in the life of SMUG.
Who inspires you creatively?
Oh so many people, Ray and Charles Eames, the Days, Ashley Goldberg. I think newer kids on the block like Anna Mac and Laura Gee are great too. I see so much great design, illustration, typography, architecture etc etc that I feel inspired every day.
What inspired you to start Islington Design District?
The Shoreditch Design Triangle inspired me. The team at SCP encouraged me to set up a district for Islington and I’m so pleased I did. It’s been wonderful bringing together designers and design stores in Islington, all for a common purpose – to celebrate great design. And I think it’s been good for SMUG too, helping to solidify our presence in the design world.
Designing your own range must be really fun, what inspires you for new ideas and ranges?
As I mentioned above, so much inspires me. I’m always looking, all of the time and noticing colour, space, alignment, repeats, natural patterns, patterns in architecture etc etc. It all goes into my head and sits there for when I have time to work in my studio on new designs.
What’s on the horizon for you and Smug?
My podcast ‘How to Curate Your Life – Work Life Balance for the Creative Entrepreneur’ launched this week. I’m still interviewing guests and editing shows so that’s very much still on the go and taking up lots of my time and energy. I’m loving it and have some amazing guests on the way. Have a listen and subscribe if you fancy it! I’m also launching lots of new Lizzie for SMUG products for Christmas 2017 which is very exciting! Watch this space.
Thank you so so much Lizzie for taking part in the first ‘Create & Inspire’ feature. You can download Lizzie’s new and amazing podcast ‘How to Curate Your Life – Work Life Balance for the Creative Entrepreneur’ on iTunes linked here. I’ll also link SMUG’s website, and socials below.
Follow Lizzie & Smug at the below
SMUG 13 Camden Passage, London N1 8EA