We feel it our duty to bring in 2012 with a seller that embraces fun, quirkiness and a sense of humour – things we think the year ahead should embody! Pengies are adorable Arctic Fimo-creatures, each with their own personality (be it gangster, chav, ballerina or any other product of your imagination!). Cardiff-based creator Caitlin tells us all about the inspiration behind them, and how she juggles her business alongside her degree.
Tell us about yourself in one sentence.
I’m a 21 year old Undergraduate Psychology Student at Cardiff University, currently on Placement at a Mental Health Hospital while continuing to build my business – Pengies.
When did you start your business?
What inspired you to start selling your products?
My mother used Fimo to make jewellery so I was surrounded by it. My sister used to make little models and has gone on to be a Freelance Graphic Designer, with a Freelance Photographer partner. When I was younger I was engulfed in Creativity and Business and it led from there. And I like penguins
Tell us an interesting fact about you or your business.
I made my first Pengie when I was 10 years old. It was made up of four different colours, that didn’t match, and I sold it at a Small Craft Fair for 50p.
Without giving away too much, what are the tricks of your trade?
I use Fimo Soft as it’s more malleable than Fimo Original – but I still like it to be even softer so I put it by a radiator to make it super soft. I use razor blades with plasters on the outer edge to avoid cutting myself but to make sure I have the sharpest tool to cut with. I use cocktail sticks and hair grips to do the tiniest little details on Pengies. And a microwave oven
What is your proudest achievement to date?
Providing Wedding Toppers for a fairytale cake.
What is your bestselling product?
All Customised Pengies – people like personalised gifts so I’ve had a range of suggestions e.g. RAF Pengie, Pengie with guitar/violin/oboe, Chav Pengie etc.
Are there any other craft/creative businesses you think deserve a mention?
My mother http://www.vicki-cockcroft-jewellery.co.uk/ – Vicki Cockcroft creates Jewellery from Fimo. She is a huge influence in my life and supports Pengies fully. She is based in Mid-Wales (near Oswestry) but visits Cardiff regularly.
Who is your biggest influence in business?
Probably my mother, sister and her boyfriend – all own their own businesses or work freelance in creative professions. It inspires me to continue the way I’m going.
Can you recommend us an inspirational read?
http://enterprisecardiff.net/2011/09/summertime-with-pengies/ – there are many fresh businesses on Student Enterprise website for Cardiff University – many are recent graduates.
What’s your advice for those looking to start their own creative business?
Be prepared to be baffled by figures, cashflow and finances. It is daunting financially as you don’t necessarily have a regular income, but you have to be motivated and passionate in order to continue to achieve your goal. Have love for what you do.