I found Maddy’s Etsy shop, Little Ragdoll Cat, from a Google alert I had set up for “Ragdoll Cat” – went to check out her store and thought it was really cute. So I reached out to Maddy to see if she would be game for an interview about her stuff. Lucky for us, she was game.
Thanks, Maddy, for the interview and for sharing your work with us.
I am a British illustrator, born in London, but currently living across the other end of the United Kingdom in Glasgow. I attended my first year of art college at Leeds College of Art, before moving the sunny city of Dundee (‘Fun’dee or ‘Scum’dee, depending on your opinion of the place) to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Illustration. I graduated in the summer of 2014, moved to Glasgow and got a Ragdoll cat called Moomin with my boyfriend- we named him after the Moomin Troll series by Tove Jansson, as it’s my goal to eventually get into picture book illustration, and I have always loved her work.
Etsy Shop: LittleRagdollCat
I got my first cats when I was about three years old; my mum and I begged my father to let us have a cat, and we ended up getting two! A friend of my mother’s cat had just had kittens, she was only six months old so I guess you could liken it to a teenage pregnancy. She got neutered after that first litter, but it just goes to show, you should fix your pets as soon as possible! Although I was only three at the time, I can vaguely remember these little balls of black and white frizz, one of whom would later come to be my feline companion for a total of fifteen years.
Please describe your creative process.
I start out by sketching my ideas out into my sketchbook, and then develop them into finished designs from there. I create designs from everything around me, making patterns is useful as they can potentially be printed onto different products and fabrics- it’s pretty limitless if you think about it.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
I can’t really remember. I think that Etsy has always been something that I’ve heard talked about, but it wasn’t until I was finishing art college that I decided to give it a go. I also sell my designs at trade/ craft fairs, and in some shops around the United Kingdom.
Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
There are a couple of shops around Glasgow, and the British Golf Museum in St. Andrews also stocks my greetings cards and post cards. One day I want to open my own little gift shop called ‘The Little Ragdoll Cat’ (like my Etsy page) where I sell mine, and a couple of other people’s goods, and my designs.
Have you been successful at selling your products on Etsy? Have you always been successful, or did you end up getting a lot more traffic after being featured on a specific blog?
Truth be told, it’s been a little slow, but it picked up a bit after Christmas. I took part in Etsy Made Local in December, and I think that a few people found me again after that.
Sometimes when I’m working on a stall, a customer will ask if I have a certain kind of greetings card. I can’t fulfill every request I get, but sometimes I will start sketching, and I have developed a couple of requests into actual greeting cards- one such example is my Grizzly Beathday card.
Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
Yes. My whole SHOP is called ‘The Little Ragdoll Cat’, although apart from a few prints and pieces of original artwork, I haven’t got that much ragdoll themed in my shop right now. I am, however, designing a ragdoll fabric print, and am considering making some ragdoll themed circle skirts with the cotton- this might be a Kickstarter project that I later develop.
Are you a one wo/man show?
Essentially, yes. Although I am forever being nagged by my ragdoll cat.
Do you have a blog?
Yes. My official blog is: http://www.maddyscribblesstuff.blogspot.co.uk
My website is: http://www.mumbleebee.co.uk
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MaddyBurrowsIllustration/
And finally, Twitter: @soupypeas
Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
Yes, I do pet portraits. Due to the amount of time and money it takes to produce custom orders (they take many many hours), returns are not an option, as, for obvious reasons a custom pet portrait cannot be resold. However, I constantly provide updates for people on the creative process that goes into their picture, so they can see it at multiple stages of development. Before ordering custom work from artists you should always look at their portfolio to see if they produce work that you enjoy, otherwise you are doing a disservice to both yourself and the person that you are commissioning. With non-custom items, if the item falls short of your expectations, Paypal has a 14 day return policy- although I’d hope that I’d photographed and described everything well enough that this wouldn’t be the case. If there are any queries that people have, I don’t like to brag, but I’m usually pretty quick to respond!
Can you share a story with us behind any of your products that you especially enjoyed working on? Maybe because of the story behind the kitty?
Often times I doodle when I’m bored (they do say that boredom fuels creativity), a few designs I’ve come up with when I’ve been at craft fairs that aren’t very busy. Instead of nodding off, I document my daydreams, so that I might come back to them at a later date. The design for this cat purse, for example, came to me during one slow, Sunday afternoon at the end of January when I had a stall at a fair called Granny Would Be Proud on Glasgow’s West End. I was sketching cats, and I was remembering an anime/manga that I had watched/ read as a teenager called ‘Fruits Basket’ where the main character feels sad that the cat was excluded from the Chinese Zodiac. So I made zodiac inspired cat sketches and photoshopped them into a print when I got home that night.