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!

 

 

 

It’s all kickin’ off in the citeh!

Tomorrer (8th July) is the annual Nottingham Independents Festival, and seein’ as Nottingham has more independent businesses than anywhere else outside of London, then we reckon that’s a good enough bleddeh reason to celebrate, intit, duckeh?

Scavenger-Hunt

AYUP!

Tomorrer (8th July) is the annual Nottingham Independents Festival, and seein’ as Nottingham has more independent businesses than anywhere else outside of London, then we reckon that’s a good enough bleddeh reason to celebrate, intit, duckeh? There is loads gooin on, throughout the citeh, but us Boggers want to highlight some of the things we’re involved in.

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St James’s Street, where our little shop is situated, is playin’ host to a hive of activity, and will be well worth a visit throughout the day. Work your way up the street, and visit open studios at PopPress (open until 6pm), Live illustration,window murals and locally made gifts at Handmade Nottingham (open until 8pm), Outdoor DJ sets by Plates Records, and mek sure to pop dahn ter their record store, underneath the Maltcross. Speaking of the Maltcross, they’ve got Live music and a pop-up craft beer bar (open from 11am til late) We at Dukki, not only have our Ruth, doing live illustration throughout the day, but will also be hosting a city centre treasure hunt, with bleddeh briwyunt prizes, and medals for the winning team! Come and get your question sheets from our shop, and tek yer time doing it, as the prize is for the most correctly answered questions, not the quickest time! You can keep up to date with everything that goes on on St James’s Street, by following the Facebook page for the Street, here

 

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Find Ian Jones at the Street Art Block Party, Sneinton Market 11am- 9pm

Our Ian will be at the Street art Block Party, Sneinton Market, from 11am – 9pm, holding a stall of all of his amazing artwork, and you will also find live graffiti painting, music, art and more goin’ on dahn that end of the citeh! Mek sure you check aht the Street Art exhibition at the Surface Gallery when you’re dahn there! Check out Ian’s website here

If yer not too tatered after traipsing round the tahn, then keep an ey aht for the dinosaur sculptures that are dotted around the city centre, as part of the Dinosaurs of China Exhibition at Wollaton Hall. (also well worth a visit!)

More detailed events guide for the Nottingham Indedendents Festival can be downloaded here 

That’s all for nah, folks! Get yersen inter tahn tomorrer, for a whole day of fun!

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.

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 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

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“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

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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?

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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!

Becca is now at DUKKI

Becca Thorne Illustration is now at Dukki

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Several flat head screws, some elbow grease and a dodgy spirit level later, We finally managed to adorn the wall of our DUKKI shop, with Becca’s beautiful linoprints.

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Becca has produced several framed pieces, based on curios found in the landscape from parts of the UK.

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Her work has transformed the space, and we’re loving having something different for our customers to feast their eyes on!

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Along with her framed work, there is she also has some mounted editions, and some silk screened bags. My favourite is the Chihuawizard!

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Becca will be exhibiting until the 29th March, so make sure you come and see her bright and beautiful pieces. if you would like to find out more about Becca’s background and portfolio please click on the link here.  You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Details of the full line up for the DUKKI Showcase 2015 can be found below, or by clicking on this link.

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