Tell us a little about yourself, where you are from and your journey so far:
I am half Dutch, half Irish and have lived in Holland most of my life. In 2015 I decided to stay in Ireland permanently. I studied Fashion Design in college and always aspired to start my own label. However, when the time came I wanted to create something that lasted for longer than a fashion season. I always loved interiors and Delfts blue tiles and patterns always inspired me. I had a notebook full of collages in college and worked with the ceramics department at NCAD to transfer my illustrations onto tiles. Soon after, I started creating wall art from tiles and haven’t looked back since! Every design features playful details, in which traditional Dutch Delft Blue patterns contrast with modern elements using a combination of digital illustration and collage.
I create all my illustrations in my studio in Ireland and hand-finish each piece as well.
Creativity & business don’t always go hand in hand. As an artist does the latter come naturally to you?
I have always been fascinated with building brands and have a background in PR and Marketing. Thanks to this, that side of my business comes quite natural to me. For other sides of my business, like the day-to-day running of it, I have learnt to ask questions and learn from other makers and designers. There is a truly amazing community of people out there who want to see others succeed and we all help each other where we can.
How do you envisage your work being used in people’s homes?
I am very proud to have achieved a quality where the tiles can not only work as wall art but also for tiled spaces in businesses, kitchens and bathrooms. I will be focusing on developing this side of my business for 2018
What is the best piece of advice in life & business that you have been given?
Slow and steady is the way to go! There is no quick way to build a brand identity and every day brings a new challenge. I feel like I am learning every day but I am so excited to see where this journey will take me. You just never know what or who is around the corner. The most important thing is not to give up. When I have a bad day I am lucky enough to have a close group of friends and family who remind me of this.
What has been your biggest achievement or celebratory moment to date?
Getting into the tradeshow Showcase thanks to the support of the DCCoI Future Makers Awards. They have been so kind to me and gaining their support is what gave me the confidence to go out there on my own.
What is the first ‘app’ you open in the morning?
Instagram. I love following illustrators such as Lauren Hom.
Your biggest inspiration?
Joy from Oh Joy! is an absolute powerhouse of a woman and I have nothing but respect for her. Everything from her attitude to design to her positivity is what I aspire for my brand to grow in to. She has a level of commerciality without losing her creative identity.
Being an artist, what would you say has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
As this is the first time I have started a business, I have come across many little hiccups in the day-to-day running of it. It’s the little things you wouldn’t normally think about such as the logistics and staying on top of all the admin work!
What advice would you have for other creative woman thinking about starting their own business?
Firstly make sure you are happy with your business idea and roll with it! I took a small starting capital from my savings and have grown from there. I have also learnt to ask questions- it’s okay not to know everything from the start!
You can find out more about Alanna and her work here.
You might also like: How To Create The Perfect Gallery Wall.