Tell us about where it all began and what inspired you to start your business.

I started my product-based business in 2017 after coming 2nd place in a design competition for Film Africa, but I have been a graphic designer and illustrator for over 10 years. The competition piece; a black woman with an afro and sunglasses, was very well received, so I decided to put her onto greeting cards and the collection has grown from there. The original design is still featured on some of my cards, with the “Too Blessed to be Stressed” greeting card being one of my best sellers to date!

I was inspired to make this collection of items featuring portraits of black people because I wanted to address the balance of representation in the stationary and paper goods world. We rarely see black people represented and celebrated with a range of complexions and hair styles/textures, so I wanted to produce a collection that people from the African diaspora could relate to. I also have a theme of Royalty running throughout to help empower and inspire people to feel good about themselves, whatever the occasion.

leannecreative
What makes your brand unique?

My brand is unique because I design all items myself with art, creativity and expression being the main focus. I also write my own wording and poems that are featured on selected items and they are hand-finished with gems for an extra special touch. My greeting cards celebrate not only the occasion but also the people and our beauty, so I pride Leanne Creative in being a relatable and personal brand. My illustration style is also unique – poly-vector – which makes my items highly recognisable. Under the umbrella of Leanne Creative, I also work with other brands to design and produce high quality art and illustrations.

Where do you see your brand in the next few years? Any specific goals or aspirations?

My brand is unique because I design all items myself with art, creativity and expression being the main focus. In the next few years, I hope to expand my range and be recognised for the work I’ve put in so far. I was recently nominated for the National Diversity Awards 2021 under the Entrepreneur of Excellence category, so I hope to be shortlisted and even win – that would be an amazing achievement! One of my specific goals for this year is to complete my second book (the first being MY WORLD; Mackilli & Seeva’s Switcheroo – available on Amazon) and grow my readership.

I would like to visit other cities and have my designs available in more shops around the UK and beyond to help spread my message of empowerment far and wide.

As you know Popup United is all about supporting small businesses… So as a small business what advice would you give to other small business owners who are just starting out?

My brand is unique because I design all items myself with art, creativity and expression being the main focus. My advice for other small businesses would be to do that thing you said you were going to do! Procrastination can be a slippery slope, so as long as you’ve weighed up the risks, I think it’s important to try new things and put yourself out there, even if you are nervous about it. 

In January 2020, I said to myself that I wanted to boost brand awareness and do more to raise my profile in the UK. So I applied to speak about my business on BBC Radio London and I got offered a slot! I was so nervous and it was completely out of my comfort zone but I had to do it because it was part of my mission. I would have regretted it so much if I hadn’t got for it because doing that has lead to so many opportunities and I now (despite being an introvert) have a YouTube channel where I speak to camera and have done several podcasts and interviews since; my confidence has really grown! So yes, my advice would be do step out of your comfort zone and go for that things you’ve always wanted to do – you never know where it could bring you!

What is your favourite item from your business and why? 

My favourite item at the moment would be the Happy Birthday Queen (purple) greeting card featuring a black woman with a multi-coloured head dress. I love the colour purple and I wanted to create a really bright and colourful card that shows pride and strength. It is another one of my best-sellers and inside is a poem I have written to help women feel special on their big days.

What can we look forward to seeing? Do you have any new collaborations or new projects coming up?

I am constantly working on new projects and products, so please stay posted! I have recently released A5 prints featuring my artwork and I also have coasters, badges, magnets and bookmarks available as gifts to accompany the cards.

As mentioned I was also nominated for the NDAs, so I will find out it I have been shortlisted next month – fingers crossed!

What is one thing you really want the reader to know about Leanne Creative?

Leanne Creative is a personal brand. Not only do I produce products but I also work with individuals and businesses to design logos, flyers, marketing collateral and more! As an illustrator I also illustrator children’s books; I love working on books with diverse characters and fantasy story-lines!

As my brand name suggests, I love being creative so if you have a brief or need some creative input, please do get in touch with me

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