Thursday, 16 July 2015

Craft Conversations with the Pros: Dawn Bibby

Who else should start the Craft Conversations with the Pros series but someone that every paper crafter in the UK will know: Dawn Bibby!

(To read more why I started this series click here)

Craft Conversations with the Pros Dawn Bibby by Paula Pascual

Since 2007, I have been quite close to her both professionally and personally, so I have seen her in many situations that people can only guess. I consider dawn a close friend and one of the few people who actually has gone out of her way to help me.

August 2007, in her house making samples together.


Without further ado, here you have her story.

Dawn, when and how did you start in the craft industry? 
Well I guess I started as a child drawing images and making cards but I really started making and selling cards when I was about 23 (25 years ago) when I was doing craft fayres and shows. I began making cards and selling them which then led me into selling the supplies for people to sell their own. I then couldn't find all I wanted so started designing and working with companies to produce them.
It was whilst at a show a lady said she thought my demonstration was very good and had I thought of selling on TV ? She gave me a contact and QVC and well the rest is history I guess! I was the first person in the UK to take rubber stamping and paper crafting on to TV. 
And it was a battle believe me ... The buyers couldn't understand why anyone would be interested in pieces of paper and rubber stamps. And they down right refused to buy sticky dots for at least a year!!

What type of job did you have at first? Did you started as a creative straight away?
I started in this industry at 16 I guess when I went to college studying textiles and fashion. Specialising in knitwear and surface pattern design  My first proper industry related job, while I was still at college, was in a knitting and sewing machine shop - Hobkirks. I demonstrated machines and helped advise and teach customers. While working there, I designed knitwear and started to sell my designs into shops and privately 
After a while, I became disenchanted with my role and in particular the pay, so I decided to go for a higher pay working in a compact disc factory - Phillips and DuPont. I was still designing and selling and ran party plan through family and friends.
I then took 18 months out and became an au pair in Switzerland. I ended up designing for a boutiques in Zurich and doing private orders there too.
At the age of 21 I came home and set up my first proper business (with the help of my beloved mum) on the enterprise allowance scheme. I built my stock and started supplying stores and attending shows. I soon saw the potential for supplying product rather than finished items and set up a little mail order company - Topaz Crafts. Armed with finished garments and cards plus the fabric paints, glitters and stamps I toured the UK attending shows and selling. Hence my meeting the lady whom gave me the contact number for QVC.

  At a QVC craft event in London Olympia 2009  
Well my career developed more into creating TV shows and selecting product for them. Still designing but building a team of people to execute those shows, which included product selection, formatting kits, creating finished samples, planning the shows and then executing the live show on TV.
Approximately, 4 years ago I joined Create and Craft where I became more of a craft expert presenter.
  

What would you do differently? 
Take more time to live and not be as career focused. Also listen to my head more than my heart. One should always follow your gut instinct and, sometimes, I did not!

Is it hard to work full/part time in the craft industry? Can you name your major challenges you face? 
For me, working in this industry is a passion and a lifestyle choice. There are never enough hours in the day to do everything or create everything. If you are dedicated and passionate it's a wonderful industry to be in.
However I don't think we ever really get paid for the time and effort put into projects or work and to many people they cannot see value in the time spent creating. After all, it's just a card! Or just a handmade item, why should we be paid an hourly rate for a knitted jumper that took 72 hours to make? Get my drift? Or even £5 for a card that maybe took an hour and a half to make. 
But we do it with love and passion and, nowadays, more people are respecting "handmade" and thankfully valuing it more.


Your proudest moment and achievement?
I think my proudest moment was the very first time QVC ran an advert with my profile and name in it! I was so excited to be given that opportunity and rang my mum screaming down the phone  Mum was my biggest fan and without her I could not have achieved any of this.

What do you think is more important to make it in this industry: creative talent, hard work or luck?
Creative talent gives you the passion to succeed, but then you have to put the hard work behind it. If you work hard and are talented, people will notice then the luck comes to you - it's the Law of Attraction. 

What is your favourite project type (mini albums, cards, layouts, home decor...) and colour? 
My favourite projects constantly change - right now I'm loving knitting and making bracelets.
Favourite colour pink but I don't always use it in my creations. I'm quite into turquoise at the moment. 


Where you go for inspiration?
Inspiration is all around me - nature is the best! and also, fashion. The colours and trends are always to be watched as they translate into every area of our lives.

What is next for you?
What is next for me on this incredible journey ? Well now that would be telling.... I'm currently on a well earned break and busy designing and creating and will soon be setting up a Facebook page selling some of my handmade creations. 
But I will be back working in the industry from September! so you must keep your eye on my official Facebook page and Twitter.

EDITED: On the 28th of August, Dawn Bibby announced that she is to be one of the presenters at the new The Craft Channel,  saying:
I am very excited to be working with people who are not just brilliant and talented people, but some of them are also very old and dear friends.

And finally, Do you remember when we first met? Any good/bad impressions?
When we first met Paula - I think it was in Amsterdam on a craft event. I thought you were lovely , a little bit flustered but so full of fun and love for crafting. We soon became good friends and you shared your love of exquisite dark chocolate - introducing me to Hotel Chocolat!
May 2007, in one of the QVC prep rooms


Paula's version:
I met Dawn in Amsterdam at a trade event. I remember clearly how nice she was with me and anyone else who speak to her. Soon after that she asked me to do some work for her and from then onwards we became close friends.
I feel that Dawn is one of those few people who actually listens to what you say even if you do not think she does. It is a rare quality!
You can read and hear a lot of things about Dawn Bibby. Not everything you read out there is true.

You can Find Dawn online here:


15 comments:

Paula Whittaker said...

An interesting first 'Craft Conversation' piece - shall look forward to reading more in the near future.

Linda Simpson said...

Very interesting read, it was through watching Dawn that I got the crafting bug, not only paper crafting but knitting and crocheting too.
Hugs Linda

Anne Mills said...

Very interesting -I meet Dawn at a Excel show and a QVC one
in Westminster along time ago.

elemad said...

Enjoyed that, very interesting. Can't wait to find out what Dawn'll be doing in September

AliWade said...

A great interview. Really interesting to read about how Dawn got into the industry. Ali x

Manda Lusmore said...

Been a fan and admirer of Dawn since she first started on QVC! If it hadn't been for Dawn, my friend Julie and I would never have started cardmaking! We both knit and crochet and still make cards but agree that nobody likes paying for handmade items although you try and explain they are individual pieces!!

Can't wait till September to see the next episode !

Shirley Stubbs said...

Love this piece, Dawn was my inspiration to start crafting. To read her journey along the crafting road is so interesting. I am looking forward to the next stage , she has been missed can't wait x.

lisbee said...

Really hope The Craft Channel (starting in Sept) and Dawn's next step are connected. With Anthony and Julian involved it would a natural progression?!?

Wheely Bad said...

Hi Paula

First time I have visited your blog- because I saw the name Dawn Bibby! She's the reason I got into papercrafts! Have bookmarked your blog and shall visit again.

Tracey Mcintyre said...

I remember doing a class mini albums with you at dawns shop i love these albums

Janette Hinchliffe said...

I hope Dawn will release her designs as card making kits again x

Chris Curry said...

I have enjoyed getting to know Dawn and Paula and watching their progress over the years. Many people don't realize that if Dawn had not persisted with QVC to show paper crafting then the industry would not be where it is today. My addiction came from first watching her and I am sure many others could say the same. Dawn is craft obsessed, kind, hard working, very knowledgeable and always willing to teach you as well as learning herself. I am looking forward to September with great anticipation. Hopefully you will be part of it too Paula as you are wonderful and creative as well as being kind and generous with your time and talent. I still remember crafting in Portugal with great fondness. Thank you. Xx

Glass Daisy said...

I first saw Dawn at one of the Knit and Stitch craft events at Sandown more years ago than I care to remember. I have watched her grow and develop as a crafter, tv presenter and can't wait for the next chapter! x

Jane Elizabeth Gill said...

Great conversation piece Paula. I wonder if Dawn remembers me when I did a demonstration ages ago at Topaz crafts with Woodware products?

Jo Summers said...

Thank you Dawn Bibby, for all you have done for this Industry, also Paula amazing ladies. I was told many years ago, that i wasn't very good at Art. It made me feel that i could never be artistic, and i often wondered what i was good at. Watching QVC, i got hooked on watching Dawn, and as my parcel came so did my confidence. People now say in talented and blessed. Amazing to think how far I've come, now running my own business and feeling that both of you are a blessing to me. Thank you both xxx xxx one day i hope to meet you both, so i can thank you personally xxx

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