Stib Meets...Amy Nolan
We’re excited this week to meet artist, optimist and military wife, Amy Nolan of Ginger Rainbow
Amy designs and sells happy colouring-in merchandise to help families stay connected. Amy talks to us about her insatiable thirst for the world as a child which is evidenced by her multiple passions including sumo wrestling and perfume making; the importance of a decent pillowcase; being a freestyler; and how we should learn to be better at celebrating ourselves!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Loads of things - a ballerina, a lawyer, an actress, a painter, a chef, a journalist, a writer. I had mini fads about different things as well, sumo wrestling which I would watch on Channel 4 with my dad, all things Russian, making perfume out of rose petals, and ants. You name it! So many things. I guess you could say I was "multi-passionate" or maybe just into lots and lots of different things and interested in the world. Throughout it all though I have always drawn and made stuff, whether that be making dresses for my Sindy dolls from material offcuts, painting with my mum on wallpaper lining paper or writing short stories about whatever took my imagination that particular week.
What advice would you give yourself as a child?
As a child I was carefree and happy but as a teenager, ugh, pretty grumpy. All those hormones and listening to REM probably didn't help. I think my advice would be better directed to the teenage me really. It would probably be more along the lines of don't worry about trying to fit in, don't worry about what people think of you, don't stress that you don't have a five year career plan at 18, don't bother with boys until you're at least 30, embrace your inner geek.
What was your 'big idea' which inspired you to set up your business?
My husband was away on a deployment overseas with the RAF and asked me to send him a "decent" pillowcase - regulation bedding is not so comfy and as you can imagine, just something nice to lay your face on feels like a huge luxury in that environment. Some months later a customer contacted me and asked for a colouring-in gift she could send out to her husband who was away as their youngest had started colouring-in and she thought it would be a cute way to show her husband what their little one had started doing whilst he was away. The two experiences hit me and I came up with the idea of a colouring-in pillowcase that could also serve as a cute picture and place to write messages or jokes etc from the family at home. The beauty being it would serve as a nice activity for the child to do at home and help them feel involved with making something special for their mum or dad who was away. It was easy to fix the colour-in and then made for a super lightweight gift to send out in a parcel. The parent away from home could use and wash it as normal the other end, whilst enjoying something sweet from home but not having to clutter up their living space - which is often pretty limited. I started doing them by hand and then got them screen printed to gauge interest and then went from there. I now sell them direct to organisations who want creative resources to support their communities as well as online to anyone who would like one!
What do you say to yourself when you need a confidence boost?
Basically Google any quote from Mae West my favourite being: "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it". Also just looking at day one and the journey so far. I can be impatient and nothing moves quickly enough for me, so sometimes I have to remind myself of the achievements I have made so far, more than I already thought possible. So yes, look at what you've achieved already, from an idea in your brain into a real thing!!!! That’s amazing and we need to get better at celebrating ourselves.
What's your favourite Stib word and why?
FREESTYLER!!!!!! It reminds me that at heart I am a freestyler and that being bothered about how other people think of you is generally a waste of energy. Though this seems a lot easier to do since I've hit 40. It reminds me to be brave and take a few chances and not get too hung up on what I think I "could do better".
Check out the Ginger Rainbow range including their colouring-in pillowcase and and new colouring-in poem book at www.gingerrainbow.co.uk or follow the brand on: