Coral Atkinson of Velveteen Babies on how Instagram has helped her business
How long have you been running Velveteen Babies and why did you start it?
I began Velveteen Babies after the birth of my second child, Barney. That was back in early 2014 and I’d noticed a definite gap in the UK market for children’s design-led décor.
Back then it was really hard to find anything that suited a contemporary home, and I felt strongly that I didn’t want to compromise my home style just because we were suddenly thrust into parenthood. I wanted to create artisan-quality décor that had a sense of fun and whimsy, but appealed to both children and their parents.
You have a finely-tuned eye for kids design. What changes have you seen in the industry?
The industry has become completely saturated over the past two years with seemingly hundreds of kids design shops opening and many bigger brands now starting to take note from the small independents.
There’s a growing emphasis on artisanal and “slow” creation with a focus on workmanship and quality which I think is wonderful.
How instrumental has Instagram been to your business?
Instagram in 2014 was the perfect springboard for creating a thriving, small business. It allowed me to reach a whole world of style-conscious, interior-loving parents and forged bonds, friendships and a special relationship with my customers that no other platform could have matched.
I live up in Yorkshire but it doesn’t make a difference – I can interact with the whole world, which is the benefit of operating online. It’s such a creative space and I’m constantly thinking of where I can take things next and what the future holds.
How do you deal with Instagram “pressure” – on your personal account and your business one?
I believe in ebb and flow – some weeks I feel like I’m firing on all cylinders, have a good few shots on my iPhone that I’m excited about posting and all is well. Some weeks I want to leave my phone in a drawer and forget about online presence and the inevitable pressure and “comparisonitis” it makes me feel. I like to view Instagram as a “highlights” reel and try not to take it all too seriously. For me, it’s the prettier parts of everyday life life and I try to convey a personal, down-to-earth, honest approach in the captions.
It’s very easy to get swept into the “scroll hole”, so I’ve learned to put my phone away through my day and just love it for what it is.
My home and children are dressed in everything I’ve found on Instagram and I’ve made strong friendships on there, so it still remains a big presence in my life and means companionship when I’m working, as self-employed life and motherhood can be rather lonely at times.