Blog Gem - Hello Sunshine

What better way to start the beginning of March and the arrival of spring than with an interview with the face behind Hello Sunshine! I can't think of anything better, so lets dive on in!
Hello there! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hello! I'm Jo, the cheesy grin and creative soul behind Hello Sunshine. Currently based in Nottingham I spend my days surrounded by sketchbooks, cups of tea, a trusty macbook and my kitties. It is in this happy place that the Sunshine is made.
After graduating from Nottingham Trent University in 2006 with a BA Hons in Decorative Arts, I spent a bit of time travelling the world before working for Boots HQ. Last year I left my job in the Christmas team at Boots to pursue Hello Sunshine full time and have been my own boss for the past 10 months! Eek!
jo want drawing

What is your creative space like? 

Back in October I recently moved to Cambridge (to live with a boy!) and am lucky enough to have the spare room in our lovely house in Fen Ditton. It's big and bright with plenty of space for me and the cats. I am slowly filling the walls with artwork from my favourite creatives and shelves with plants, books and favourite things… it's still a work in progress but it's my happy place for sure!
hello sunshine display
If you had to take only one craft tool to a desert island, what would you choose and why?

I think it would have to be my sketchbook and pencil case so I could doodle the days away… oh no wait, is that cheating because it's two things though? Maybe just a pencil and I could draw on palm tree leaves or something? Oh but how would I sharpen it without a knife… this is hard! 
How do you work and get inspired? 

Inspiration comes from a variety of sources really, including adventures to new places, animals, food and people. To be honest, I often find myself inspired by things that make me smile. Anything that I have a true love of also seems to work its way into my jewellery... like cats and cheese for example! 
When an idea for new jewellery hits me it usually ends up in one of my many notebooks that quickly fill with lists and doodles, from there I usually spend a few weeks mulling it over (to make sure I'm 100% happy with it) before I start researching and planning how to bring it to life. It's my favourite part of the process - I love designing new pieces!
hello sunshine accessories

What top tips would you give to anyone starting a blog?

I'll be the first to put my hand up and admit I don't use my blog effectively or regularly enough. I tend to do short posts as an extension from posts I pop on Instagram or Facebook which keeps the content going but I'm not sure how valuable or interesting it is to my followers. Relevant, interesting content that your followers can engage with and relate to is really important as well as great imagery and using that spell check (I'm a bugger for typos and often have to re-edit posts!)
This year I'm trying to write posts with more focused content and have started to create some mini series, i.e. 'Friday Sunshine' where I share my recent commissions and 'Sunshine Adventures' where I will be sharing holiday adventures. I really enjoy reading about other peoples experiences with their own business, holidays and day trips.
I think it's one thing to use a blog as a personal visual diary (which is great) but it's another to keep your followers engaged and bring them back to read again and again. Blogtactular is a great website and community, something I've not tapped into enough but a must to check out for anyone wanting to start a blog!
Blogtactular instagram
Credit: Blogtacular Instagram
Is there a story behind the name, Hello Sunshine?

I love the sunshine. I love the happiness and warmth it brings and having always been described as a sunny person myself, I wanted my business name to reflect this. I also really liked and use the greeting, ‘Hello Sunshine’, so it just made sense at the time and I thought, ‘why not!’ As my little brand has grown I’m so happy I listened to that little voice and my gut instinct at the time.
hello sunshine badge and flyer
Credit: Holly Booth
If you could go to a Creative Blog Award dinner with any 5 people and/or fictional characters (dead or alive), who would you choose? 

Ooh goodness, this is tough too… ok lets see…
1. Robin Hood, has to be the fox from the Disney version though!
2. Jess from New Girl. I love Zooey Deschanel and her character in New Girl.
3. Newton Faulkner, he just seems so lovely and wished me happy birthday on Twitter once!
4. Tom Hardy and his dog Woody.
5. Leona Thriftola, owner of luckydipclub, world's loveliest lady and a creative inspiration to many many people I'm sure!
hello sunshine illustration
And finally...if you had to choose one song to represent Hello Sunshine, what would it be and why?

Ooh I could pick so many but I think I'll go with 'Nice Weather for Ducks' by Lemon Jelly. Even though it's a song about rainy days it's such a happy tune and never fails to make me smile when I hear it. I think it's a good fit! ☀
tea and crumpets

Thank you so much, Jo! It's been wonderful hearing all about your creative world! I love your choice of song to represent, Hello Sunshine. It really is a lovely, cheery song!

I hope you've all enjoyed this month's Blog Gem! Don't forget you can catch up on all my Blog Gem interviews here.

Have a sunny March everyone!

All of the images and interview answers are the copyright of Jo at Hello Sunshine, unless otherwise stated. Please do not use without seeking permission first. Thank you.