Meet the Maker: An Interview with Bear & Primrose

I am obsessed with flowers and love nothing more than having fresh flowers in my home. However the come down after they have gone over is not ideal. So you can imagine how delighted I was to find this little business that creates everlasting and super realistic flowers! I just love her work and seeing her business grow over the past few months has been amazing! I just know you will love her...

P.S: I can't believe this is our penultimate Meet the Maker Interview of 2019!

1. Tell us a little about you and your business.

Hi! My name is Kirstie Crawford and I’m the owner of Bear and Primrose, a small new business which specialises in handmade crepe paper flowers, dried flower wreaths and bouquets.  I’m 25 and live in Manchester England with my 16 month old son Rory, Springer Spaniel Copper and fiancé Anthony. I’m a bit of a flower fanatic and adore dried flowers and chippy paint!

2. What inspired your business name?

Bear and Primrose came about whilst I was on maternity leave in 2018, although only became official around April 2019 with the opening of my Etsy shop; named after my son ‘Rory Bear’ and primrose flowers.

3. How did you first discover your passion for your craft?

I’ve always crafted for friends and family, even held craft stalls over the years with little bits of my makes (lots of drawing, painting and frame making) but nothing has ever kept my attention long enough for me to open a business by myself, even when I studied art there wasn’t anything I felt massively passionate about. Then around Christmas last year I came across crepe paper flowers on a TV show and I was instantly hooked - I was actually disappointed that I hadn’t found the craft sooner! Without even thinking about selling my work I spent much of the new year and late winter nights sat cutting paper, folding it and becoming passionately in love with the craft just because I wanted to do it. My first few flowers looked like a car had ran over them but I enjoyed creating them so much I kept going, that fire in my belly had been lit. A few months later it was a family member who saw my flowers at home one day who mentioned about selling them.

4. How long has your business been running?

I bravely opened my first Etsy shop in April 2019. 

5. What inspires your creations?

Most of my creations are inspired by nature and how it changes over time, as I’m obsessed with how it grows and it’s shapes and most of my wreaths are collaged together to recreate this. I’m also passionate about everlasting flowers for weddings, having recently started working on a couple wedding bouquets, buttonholes and favours.

6. What is your proudest achievement to date?

Being paid to create flowers for the most important day of someone’s life is my proudest achievement, and each and every time I’m asked to make something you’ll find me being a loon dancing around my craft room with excitement. 

7. What is the biggest lesson you have learned?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to always take good photos, communicate straight away with your customer and admit your wrong if something isn’t right; there is no moral high ground when you’re selling small pieces of your soul to people!

8. What is your favourite make?

I’ve recently had the confidence to create wreaths that combine my love for crepe paper flowers and dried flowers. These wreaths fill my soul with fire and excite me so much, and luckily the response to them has been really well received. I’m drifting into  a style more suited to a vintage and rustic vibe with my makes, rather than the girly flower wreaths I made when I first opened. It’s exciting to see where everything is heading each day.

9. What is the best feedback you have received?

The best feedback I’ve ever received was from a lady who ordered a bouquet of crepe paper flowers for her mother who was in hospital for a long period of time. She wanted her to have flowers that could stay all the time and not have to be taken away at night, flowers that wouldn’t wilt or decay. She wanted flowers that would also give her something lovely to look at and feel happy about. That’s the beauty of crepe paper flowers - they last forever. They were so well received that I’ve had multiple orders from her friends and family since.

10. Is there anything you regret?

That’s the hardest thing as a maker I think - you’re trusting the world with pieces of you and asking ‘do you like this?’ hoping that it welcomes you with open arms. Think we’ve all had our knock backs and I’ve created some awful things (frame making again ..) but that’s the thing I regret the most.

11. What are your goals for the future?

After the Christmas period my goals for 2020 are to expand beyond Etsy, maybe create my own website and to get my work displayed in a few craft shops and cafes. My dream is for people to be sat relaxing, drinking tea and eating cake and see one of my wreaths or bouquets in the shop.

12. What is the best part of being a maker?

Making people happy with my flowers is by far the best part of being a maker, to get that buzz when my work is being displayed around the world in people’s homes. 

13. What is your least favourite job to do?

However it’s not all rainbows as a maker. I’m not going to lie but the worst part of being a maker for me is the parcel wrapping, I can’t stand it! But I do try my hardest to make my parcels feel like Christmas when people open them, drying out flowers to place inside with cute stickers and tissue paper. Let’s not even talk about stock checking either! But it’s all because I’m a perfectionist and always worry about posting parcels, whether they’ll get damaged or whether a custom order isn’t liked. But it’s all part of the process of creating for customers!

14. What advice would you give your old self?

If I could go back in time to Kirstie two or three years ago I would tell her to make what she wanted and not create things just to sell, which is also my advice for other makers.

15. What advice would you give other makers?

Make and create something that makes you happy, gives you a buzz when it’s finished and then patiently wait for it to find its new owner. Sometimes it might take a while but it will find the right home eventually. Till then just keep making. Your work should be equally all about how you feel making it as well as how much people love to buy it, that way you can be as authentic and wonderful as possible. 

To find out more about Kirstie and to see more of her beautiful work follow her here:

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