Don’t believe the Instahype

Any small business owner will tell you, that social media and Instagram especially, play a huge role in advertising their business. For some businesses, like mine, Instagram is all-consuming. My day has become measured out by whether something is Instagram worthy. Whether it be my first cup of coffee in the morning, the new product I’ve released, or even the ‘work threads’ I’m wearing. To be honest, I hate it. But it has become a necessary evil, to show the world the inner (and outer) workings of DUKKI.

Trying to keep our brand personal, and appealing to the masses is exhausting. Most of the time, I’m sure you boggers* aren’t even interested. I try to keep what I post as close to the reality of how our business runs, but Instagram is great for allowing you to hide the messy reality of what is actually happening day-to-day.

Instagram is also a thief of time, and a means of prying into the daily life of other small businesses. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading about what other people are up to, and filling my head with inspiration, but it doesn’t half make you feel completely ill-equipped to compete. Being a creative professional plate spinner, it also makes me want to do ALL the things. Which eventually sends me to breaking point.  When I look at other people’s Instagram feeds, I can’t help thinking “what am I going wrong? How can they have such a perfect work life balance? Will I ever be able to achieve that?”

Of course, they’re probably all thinking exactly the same thing as me, which is partly why Instagram is such a powerful visual aid. It taps into the anxious part of our brain, and fuels the fire to post more and more. It’s a self-perpetuating torrent of colour and influence, and it’s totally addictive.

This morning, I’m sat at my laptop, at the patio door to our house, attempting to work in the sun, whilst Ian mows the lawn. I posted this picture to Instagram:

“Cup of coffeh and a sausage cob, then I’m going to smash the duck out of Monday”

What this photo doesn’t show you, is the mountain of crap on the rest of  the table, the fact that it’s already midday, and I’ve not achieved anything yet, or the fact that I can’t smash the ‘Duck’ out of Monday, because I’m so far behind on everything, that I feel like my head is going to burst.

I’ve been wanting to write this Blog for about three months, but I have never found the time to be able to prioritise it. I’m supposed to write one a month, (a silly goal that I’ve set myself) but then that’s yet another platform, by which to portion another piece of my life out, and there isn’t enough of me to go round.

Running a small business is hard, exhausting, rewarding, pleasurable, and time-consuming in equal measure, and sometimes, I really do wonder if it’s all worth the bother.

Not my real desk.

One thing is for sure, without social media, our presence as a business would be far less than it is now. People must read what I post about, because they come into our shop, and tell me they’ve seen stuff on Instagram. I just think I need to get the balance right, and stop obsessing about what others are posting about. It’s time to stop fixating on what I could be doing, and start finishing what I’m already doing!

Ta, for all your continued support, both on here, and bloody Instagram.

Heidi, Designer & Owner of Dukki Ltd, 18 St. James’s Street, Nottingham

*Bogger is an affectionate term for anything or anyone from Nottingham.

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DUKKI SHOWCASE 2015 – Introducing Dominic Murray, Illustrator

Living in Sherwood, paired with a long time love of the legend of Robin Hood, seemed like an obvious opportunity to do something unique and local.”

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It’s that time of year when the kids go back to school, and retailers see fit to start advertising Christmas, so we thought we’d introduce our latest Guest Artist and Illustrator, Dominic Murray. (Because he has some perfect Christmas gift items for any discerning Nottingham bogger!)

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We are very excited to feature his Sherwood Forest themed illustrations, and when we asked Dominic what made him embark on this series of illustrations, he told us:

“I’ve always had a love of art and have drawn for as long as I can remember. Since having children I’ve started to draw things that I think they would like which led to participating in Sherwood Art week in 2013, and everything escalated from there. Living in Sherwood, paired with a long time love of the legend of Robin Hood, seemed like an obvious opportunity to do something unique and local.”

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His default style is inspired by a childhood love of Tintin and Asterix, and is created through traditional methods: lots of initial pencil sketches, finally deciding what he should ink, and then finishing by painting on water colours. Recently he has taken his first steps into the realms of digital art, but he says we’ll have to see how far into the matrix he descends.

Dominic’s Exhibition will be on until 30th September 2015
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Dominic can be contacted via: Email: sinistersnowmen@gmail.com

 Or you can follow him on Twitter: sinistersnowmen & Tumblr: dominicmurray

Thank duck its Friday! I need your Help

In a word where we fight for freedom of speech, has it now become inappropriate to use the word duck?

Ay up fellow Dukkies. I need your help. 

I had just opened the shop this morning, and was putting the kettle on for the first cuppa of the day, when a woman entered the shop. I said my usual hello as I always do to new customers, and carried on setting up the shop.

I thought she was just avin a ‘goz’ at what I was selling, so I left her to it. but clearly, she had another agenda. She came up to the counter and asked me who did all the artwork. I went into my usual spiel, that we’re an independent gift shop, and that I produce all the local dialect stuff and my partner Ian paints all the Local Landmarks.

Then she said “so why this?” and pointed to this frame

          5x7-black-for-ducks-sake

“this isn’t Nottingham” she said (she was right) “why are you encouraging swear words in your shop? Everything else is great in the shop, but this ruins it” She went on.

I tried to explain that it was a play on words, and that I had created them because we are called DUKKI, and it was supposed to be funny. But she didn’t see the funny side to it.

For those of you that don’t know, I sell a whole range of products replacing the F word for the word duck

 WTD

I thanked her for her feedback, and told her she was the first person to have ever complained about these designs. After she’d left, I felt quite upset. I wanted to say “duck you!” But then I stopped and thought about it. Had I just become so desensitised to hearing swear words, that it didn’t offend me anymore?

There are so many things which do offend me in society. Hearing mum’s shouting and swearing at their kids whilst they run riot outside the shop, caring nothing for the people around them having to hear it. Surely that is worse than a picture which uses a word that happens to sound like a swear word?

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We have sold a lot of these pieces, and because they are not strictly Nottingham themed, they appeal to people from all over the country. In fact most of these designs sell on-line, to people outside of Nottingham. They form part of our bread and butter income. Yet, the last thing I want to do is offend anyone. It wasn’t until this lady came in this morning, that I’d ever given it a second thought about it being offensive.

I have always been brought up without swearing, it was totally frowned upon in my upbringing, yet even my mum can see the funny side to these images.

Which begs the question: Should we remove these products? What about ‘Mardy Bum’ and ‘Daft little Bogger’? Are these offensive too?

little bogger

In a word where we fight for freedom of speech, has it now become inappropriate to use the word duck?

We sell a lot with ‘Ay up me Duck!’ on, but here the word ‘Duck’ hasn’t been used as a substitute for swearing.

Does anyone actually give a duck?

 Please feel free to share this post, as I’d love to know your thoughts.

TA-RA for now, Duck!