This week we are shouting about Ink Flo Store. We just can’t get enough of their quirky prints, all of which capture the beautifully intricate drawings of artist Steve Bailey. We love how refreshingly original they are. Luckily for us – and you – they’re very reasonably priced in his Etsy shop, aaaand he’s offering all Homebirds readers 15% off any print. Read on to find out what motivates and inspires family man Steve and to see a collection of his most popular artwork.
So Steve, as you know we’re big fans of your work. What motivated you to start your own business?
I have always enjoyed drawing. I studied Design and Graphical illustration at college, but I opted to pursue my other passion for sport for my career. I continued to illustrate, more as a means of relaxing, and after a series of prompts from family and friends, decided to take the plunge and see if there was any interest selling my prints. I am pleased to say there was! I started selling the prints in January 2017. One year on I am really happy with the progress we have made.
What inspired the name of your business?
My eldest daughter (4) is my biggest fan, so it only seemed right to name my print shop after her- Ink ‘Flo’ Store. Trouble is, I may have to include my youngest Iris in there at some point soon!
Who’s in the team and who does what?
I do all of the illustrations but my wife, Sarah, is a great help sorting out the finer details of the website and the market stalls. Although a teacher now, she used to be a visual merchandiser, so she has a great eye for detail.
What’s your business philosophy and why?
I take great pleasure in people simply taking an interest in my work. I will always remember the feeling when someone first bought a print…I felt so proud! I often think about how many houses my art must be hanging in now. I’m not here to make a massive profit, I simply enjoy drawing and if other people like it too then great. I am, perhaps, a bit too laid back! People often ask for meanings behind the prints, but it is just a case of where my mind takes me or a coming together of different ideas.
Where do you sell your products and why?
Although I sell online through Etsy or via e-mail, the majority of my sales come from my market stalls. I am a regular attendee at the Northern Quarter Makers markets in Manchester, and regularly run a stall at a friends Peddler night market in Sheffield; it’s an amazing event offering live music, good food and creative market stalls. I love the atmosphere there and enjoy chatting to the public. You get a much clearer picture of how people respond to your work.
Why should our readers visit your page and buy your products?
I hope people will visit the page out of curiosity and be drawn (no pun intended) to some of my ideas. I visit lots of different pages myself through Instagram as a source of inspiration- perhaps I can do the same for others. If that leads to a sale then even better.
Who inspires you? other business professionals or people in your life
Many of my friends are creative people and always have their finger on the pulse, coming up with new ideas, so I guess in some way I am inspired by them. I am quite a motivated person myself anyhow, always looking for the next venture. Sarah continues to tell me to live for the moment more- It is not uncommon for me to be on a holiday, planning my next holiday, but there is nothing wrong with ambition hey?
What is your best selling product and why?
To be honest it changes every week and depends on the customers I am selling to. The prints with a splash of colour have always been popular, but it is amazing how many people have little quirks. I recall an elderly lady being obsessed with bears, so she bought a child’s print simply because it had a bear on it. Good for her!
What’s your favourite design?
I have many of my pieces displayed in the house, but for me, my favourite has to be the typewriter. I can’t really put my finger on why, I am just really taken by it.
My other choice would be the cuts of meat illustrations. Friends often say these three pieces sum me up!
What advice would you give someone who is looking to set up their own small business?
Take the risk and learn by your mistakes. I have changed a number of things since I started, from the paper I use, the printers and to an extent the style, as you get a feel for what works best. I have been fortunate in that I have built the shop up slowly as more of a hobby rather than having to rely on it.
What’s coming next for InkFloStore?
I am currently working on more prints and am continually thinking of new ideas (it’s just getting the time to draw!). The next venture however, is a children’s book. As a father of two girls, I often read bedtime stories, some of which you think really capture the imagination of your kids, whereas others make you think ‘I’m sure I could do better that’. Time to put my money where my mouth is then! Sarah is currently writing a series of short stories based on my Zoo Heroes characters and I will do the illustrations. Who knows from there…we have considered t shirt design and prints on baby clothes so watch this space.
Who’s your idol?
This is a difficult question- I don’t really have idols as such, and definitely not celebrity idols. Is that weird!?! I do admire creative people and those who travel to seek out new adventures. I’d love to see more places myself; the bucket list is filling up rather than emptying!
What excites you?
Adventure! I’m not one for sitting still. Anything from mountain biking, kayaking, snowboarding…..you can’t beat some wild camping either! As a family we love to travel a lot. Last year we visited Copenhagen, then in summer drove through Germany, Austria and down into Tyrol. This year we are looking at the Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway. So many places to see!!!
You can follow Steve on Instagram @inkflostore and buy his prints at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/InkFloStore. Use code HOMEBIRDS to take advantage of our exclusive 15% off deal.
If you have any special requests, such as selecting a certain print in a different size than those advertised, you can send an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.