DUKKI 3 YEARS ON.

So much has happened in the last three years, but winning the competition gave us hope, because for the first time since I was made redundant (in the march of 2014) someone actually saw the potential in our business model, and deciding to become self employed, instead of working for a soulless corporation didn’t seem like such a big mistake after all.

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Heidi – Head Bogger

A very personal account.

Ayup, yer boggers. It’s three years to the day, since we won the Inspiring Retail competition, that spring-boarded our little online home-run business, to a thriving destination shop in the centre of Nottingham. When Ian and I applied for the  competition just a month before, we never thought we’d eventually end up winning it.

So much has happened in the last three years, but winning the competition gave us hope, because for the first time since I was made redundant (in the march of 2014) someone actually saw the potential in our business model, and deciding to become self employed, instead of working for a soulless corporation didn’t seem like such a big mistake after all.

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Just after winning the Inspiring

I’m not going to say it was easy. When I was made redundant in 2014, I was probably at my lowest point emotionally. I had given everything to my previously job, lost relationship after relationship,  and felt terrifically undervalued as a human being by the end of it. I also thought that I didn’t have the skills I needed to find another job, so becoming self employed seemed like the only lifeline. Surviving on Beans on toast, and the odd graphic design job here and there, I really thought “This is it. who’s going to employ me now?” I felt like I’d sold my soul for 4 years, and gained nothing from it.

I referred myself for a series of cognitive behavioural therapy, which is probably the best decision I have ever made, as it allowed me to see things differently, and discuss my problems with someone unbiased. It was certainly the turning point, and I would recommend it to anyone. There is a huge stigma attached to mental health issues, and I, myself have been guilty in the past of thinking people should just “gerroverit”, but it only takes one significant life event to make things not OK. and things were definitely NOT OK.

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Little Audrey

A week after we met, I went to pick up a kitten I’d bought, (because I’d resigned me-sen to a lifetime of spinsterhood, surrounded by cats.) Now, we’re a little family unit, and she’s as much a daddy’s girl as anything! She’s a bleddeh tinker!

I’ve always been a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kind of girl, and spontaneity doesn’t phase me, whereas Ian is a lot more level headed, and I think that’s why we work so well together. When we won the shop in Broadmarsh, I knew it would work, and I was excited about living each day as it comes. Don’t get me wrong, you need a good business plan in place, if you’re to succeed, but not going through with the shop, after being given such an opportunity, was not an option. I knew we had to make it work, and it nearly killed us!

DUkki Broadmarsh opening.
Look how empty our shop looked when we first opened!

We opened 1st December 2014, 3 weeks after winning the competition. Luckily I had suppliers in place from my previous job, and, as it happens, all those skills I’d learned manufacturing personalised gifts, transferred very well to this job, which is why we manufacture 80% of the products we sell on site now.

Two good years in the Broadmarsh centre, allowed us to open our current shop in St. James’s Street. A lovely quirky little shop, just next door to the Malt cross, and Handmade Nottingham – another wonderful example of an independent gift shop. We love being on St. James’s Street, along with several other independent businesses. It suits our brand, and has upper floors which we use for studio space and manufacturing.

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Our beautiful shop on St James’s Street.

We never know what each day will bring, but we have built such a wonderful following on social media, and even have our own ‘Bogger Talk’ group on Facebook, dedicated to speaking proper Notts! I only wish I could clone myself, so that I could achieve all the ideas that are floating around in my head! Any small business owner will tell you, that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Right now, whilst I’m typing this, I’m acutely aware of the fact that Ian is running around like a blue arsed fly, collecting stock together for a market we’re doing on Sunday!There is always something I want to do, and never enough time to do it, which is why this monthly blog, has become a quarterly rant, and my mailing list members are lucky if they receive an email twice a year!

Any-road, I love running Dukki, and chatting with you Boggers on Facebook (please like our page!) and we hope to be able to continue it, for as long as the economic climate allows us to! If you find yourself in Market square, just nip up St. James’s Street and see us. We’ll always welcome you, and the ‘kekkle is allus on!’

If you’ve got this far, then well done! I’ve rambled on forever, so I’d better go and get all the other jobs done that I’ve neglected.

Ta-ra, me duck!

Our upcoming events: Barton’s PLC ‘Not the Camden Market’ Sunday 5th and 19th November, Chilwell High Rd.

25th-26th November – Rufford Abbey Winter Market.

Barton’s PLC ‘Not the Camden Market’ Sunday 3rd and 17th December, Chilwell High Rd.

Late night shopping ’til 8pm every Wednesday in December. We will also be open on a Monday throughout December annorl!

 

 

 

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.

A Brief History of Dukki

AY UP, yo boggers!

You might alreadeh follow us on Facebook, twitter or Instagram, and know a bit abaht us boggers, or you might ‘av just chanced upon our blog on your travels through tinterweb. Warrever the circumstances, we thought we’d introduce ussens, and tell you all abaht how Dukki wuz formed. (No, we ‘aven’t spelled the words wrong, it’s colloquial writing. If yer don’t like it, yowl soon geroverit, me duck!)

The history of Dukki, is also kind of a love story!

Way back in 2014, I was made redundant, from a job that I’d slogged at for 4 years, with little recognition. you know the type, you put everything into it, thinking that you’ll make something of yourself from it one day, but that day never arrives…

Shurrup---mousematAfter 100s of job applications, and the realisation that I didn’t like ‘working for the man’ I decided to set up my own business. It was later that month, that I went on a blind date with a slightly quirky, bald man, and on a very sunny afternoon in #Beeston in the beer garden at The Crown, we discussed art, illustration, Nottingham and everything in between…. We discovered that we were both artists, and talked about how he could sell some of his work on my website, and we got on so well. In the July, we hosted our first stall with the @bibfmarket at the vintage warehouse, which was a quiet event, but we had such good feedback, that we pursued more. With no money for a car, we would load stock into suitcases and wheel it to events, like @bartonsplc monthly craft markets, and the @craftinthecityevents.

In December 2014, we won the Inspiring retail awards, and had 3 weeks to open our shop! It was a whirlwind from start to finish, but the rest is history. This photo was taken on the first day, right before we opened. 


We had hardly any stock, and hadn’t got a clue what would happen. We now get to live and work together every day, and we’re so proud of how things have gone. All we want to do is celebrate Nottingham, and the beautiful things it has to offer, and we’re so glad that you all want to support us whilst we do it. Getting to work with a slightly quirky bald man, isn’t half bad either 🙂

Introducing Katie Abey Design

Introducing Katie Abey Design.
This year has been a whirlwind here at DUKKI. But we’re very pleased to announce that our DUKKI SHOWCASE 2015 is ending with a big rainbow coloured bang, probably containing jelly beans, or unicorn droppings if that’s what you like to call them….

This year has been a whirlwind here at DUKKI. But we’re very pleased to announce that our DUKKI SHOWCASE 2015 is ending with a big rainbow coloured bang, probably containing jelly beans, or unicorn droppings if that’s what you like to call them……ahem.

We introduce Katie Abey to our shop, although she needs very little introduction, because she is already a well known bogger on the Nottingham Illustration scene.

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A big load of Katie’s goodies, currently on display in our shop, Broadmarsh Centre, Nottingham.

Katie lives and works in a crazy little house in Derbyshire, with her fiancé, Jeff, and their cat, Frank. She works from home and has her work area carefully positioned next to the kitchen (and therefore the fridge and the kettle!)

She is inspired by anything weird and wonderful and aims to create colourful and happy illustrations by combining humour and puns with a touch of attitude and sweetness. Her aim is to create statements that are relate-able and will make people smile.

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It certainly did!

Every single day starts with with a fun illustration to get the cogs whirring. She enjoys drawing her illustrations using pencil and fine-liners and then adding colours and textures digitally.

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Her work has appeared in all sorts of places, from the walls inside Spanky Van Dyke’s, the hoarding for the redevelopment campaign in Sneinton Market, and even a range of Stationary for WH Smiths! (oo-er!)

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Cotton tote bags on sale in our shop.

When she’s not drawing she enjoys music, reading, going on adventures and frequently changing her hair colour to match its surroundings!

You can follow Katie on Facebook here and twitter here, and, of course, pop in and see what she has for sale in DUKKI!

DUKKI Showcase – Introducing Becca Thorne: Illustration

The majority of Becca’s illustration work is linocut, burnished with a teaspoon and printed with water-based inks…

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It’s time for us to introduce our next exhibitor in the DUKKI Showcase 2015!

Becca is an illustrator and printmaker based in Beeston, where she works at home in her spare room studio creating hand printed pieces in linocut, silkscreen and wood engraving. Originally from the Forest of Dean, she studied BA and MA Illustration at Falmouth College of Arts on the south Cornwall coast, graduating in 2004/05 respectively.

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 The majority of Becca’s illustration work is linocut, burnished with a teaspoon and printed with water-based inks, which dry faster than traditional oil-based mediums, allowing for longer to be spent on designing and cutting and less on waiting for inks to dry. Some more colourful illustrations, which require several printed layers, might be pieced together digitally for speed and accuracy, but she still uses more traditional and unpredictable techniques when the situation allows.

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Becca’s style lends itself well to historical illustration and, as such, she is often requested to create period-specific imagery for clients such as BBC History Magazine and The Folio Society.

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A love of nature inspires much of her personal work, especially the beautiful and wild areas she’s lived and travelled, from British beaches to New Zealand mountains, and this continues to inform and inspire her practice, as does the work of printmakers such as Sybil Andrews, Lill Tschudi, Cyril Edward Power and Medieval woodcutters and illuminators.

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 Becca’s been illustrating professionally since 2008, working for a wide variety of clients including National Trust Books, Sight & Sound Magazine, HarperCollins, The Earth Island Journal, Compassionate Dorset, YSC, GQ Magazine, Anchor Canada and Rugby Borough Council to name but a few. She also tutors part-time on the Graphic Design with Illustration degree course at DeMontfort University.

Becca will be exhibiting her latest collection of prints, from 15-29 March.

You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @BeThorney and on  Facebook at Becca Thorne: Illustration

DUKKI Showcase – Introducing Ian Jones Art and Illustration

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We thought it fitting to kickstart the ‘Dukki Showcase’ with our very own resident Artist Ian Jones.

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Whilst Ian has created artwork based on the local landmarks of Nottingham for us at DUKKI, he has primarily created a large portfolio of Street Art, some of which he will be exhibiting at DUKKI this month.

Ian Jones is an Artist and Illustrator, born and raised in Chilwell, Nottingham. He has been a professional illustrator for the last 7 years and studied Graphic Design at the Lace Market School of Art and Design.

His work is a blend of traditional and digital techniques resulting in richly layered textural images.

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The images that he produces bridge the gap between abstract and figurative painting, creating a landscape that simultaneously reflects reality and fantasy.raven

Ian’s main Artistic influences are Mythology, Shamanism, Graffiti and Tribal Art, which is clearly reflected in the colour palette that he uses.

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When he isn’t helping to run Dukki in the Broadmarsh, Ian is always busy creating new pieces of artwork and posting them on Twitter and Instagram, under the handle @nonsenseprophet. 10394032_10152350151608543_2507715205960836743_n equilibrium

His work has been displayed in galleries across the midlands, and a large proportion of his Nottingham Landmarks can be found already in DUKKI in the Broadmarsh.

Ian is an avid believer that there is something very pure about creating work digitally. He says “you are in effect painting with light, with electricity, manipulating and sculpting that which isn’t truly tangible.”

You can find Ian’s facebook page here, and follow him for the latest updates of his work.

Ian’s exhibition will start on Sunday 15th February and run until the end of the month.

A full list of the exhibitors taking part in the showcase, can be found here.

Next month we will be introducing Becca Thorne Illustration

Slippers, Cocoa and Kittens at DUKKI HQ

As I sit here at Dukki HQ, with socks, slippers and a kitten to keep me warm, Something tells me it must be Autumn. I don’t know if it’s just because the clocks have gone back, but there is the definite urge to stay in bed a bit later, and have the cocoa on standby! But there is no time for that malarkey! We’ve got work to do.

We currently have our fingers in several pies. I have been working on an exciting pitch, soon to be announced (top secret at the moment!) and I have been designing some christening invite templates to put on my website.

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Our resident artist Ian Jones has been putting the finishing touches to his ‘Local landmarks and Legends’ series, and has now finished ‘The Olde Trip’,

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‘Shane Meadows’

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and he is still working away at the leaves of ‘The Major Oak’ (He keeps having to stop because it makes his hands hurt, drawing all those leaves!) We hope to bring you more news from DUKKI HQ over the next few days, as things get potentially even more exciting for us! Watch this space, me Duck!

 

Try to pop down and see Dukki Merchandise, as they host a stall at this months ‘Not the Camden Market’ at the old Barton’s Bus station, Chilwell. More in formation can be found here.