Rachael Sligo, Founder of Little Flowers by Sligo

Watercolour art prints and greetings cards for special occasions and family celebrations 

As a child, I had two hobbies: drawing and bossing my two younger sisters about in our pretend ‘classroom’! Art was the one subject throughout school that I really loved, but I also knew I wanted to be a teacher. Combining my two passions, I studied for a Teaching & Art degree. From university, I went straight to work in a primary school – and I’ve never left!

When I was on maternity leave with my second daughter, my mum bought me a sketchbook. She thought it would be relaxing for me to doodle through late-night feeds. I couldn’t imagine having the time, but sure enough, I found myself with a bottle in one hand and a pencil in the other. It was an alternative to the busyness of everything else.

Cute animals were always my go-to doodle. I’m not a pet person but, as a child, my favourite books were classics like ‘The Animals of Farthing Wood’. I loved seeing the characters brought to life!

In time, I began to wonder… Could I have a bash at selling my pictures? I set up an Etsy shop as an experiment. Whenever I finished a drawing for family or friends, I took a photo and stuck it on there.

As commissions came in from strangers, I decided to push myself to learn how to use Instagram and Facebook to build up a business.

These days, I teach four days a week. On my day off, I manage my Etsy shop and private commissions, as well as working evenings and weekends. Most recently, that includes illustrating a children’s book for a lady I met whilst networking!

Last year, I decided I wanted to offer free workshops for local children to come along with their parents to explore their creativity and feel good about themselves in a calm, mindful environment.

With the support of NatWest, I launched a crowdfunding campaign just before Christmas and raised £2,000 which will finance 12 free creative workshops for families this year. The Kickstarter generated enough interest that I can also run 12 paid-for workshops for adults, which will continue to fund the free ones beyond 2020.

Life is going to be pretty busy!

Little Flowers by Sligo