Meet the Maker: Stylist That’s So Gemma
We caught up with trendy crafter Gemma Gear, from That’s So Gemma, a creative freelancer with a passion for all things crafty. She loves vintage thrift shops, peanut butter anything, collecting mini succulent plants, and using any excuse to buy more stationery. Find out more about her and her crafting obsession!
Blog – http://thatssogemma.com/
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Meet the Maker: That’s So Gemma
Describe your crafting style
I genuinely wish I knew my crafting style, but I don’t. I love setting myself a challenge, seeing DIY projects pop up on my Pinterest feed and just giving it a go. Most of the time I’ll be sitting at my desk and I’ll brainstorm new ideas, then spend the afternoon getting lost in the land of craft with copious amounts of coffee. My favourite crafts would definitely involve paint (any excuse to make some mess), but I also very much enjoy anything involving textiles because those pretty floral fabrics get me every time. Paper crafts, sewing, decoupage, model making, pottery, painting, macrame, and up-cycling old thrift shop treasures… the list really could go on. I guess i’m still searching for my own little niche…
How did you get in to crafting?
I was brought up in a very creative family; endless craft sessions with my mum and knitting/crochet lessons with my Grandma. My mum and I would sit of an evening making handmade candles, cards and decorations to give to people at Christmas in a hamper. I also remember (back when I was a tiddly little thing) spending hours and hours making sculptures out of Fimo and constanstly loosing those fiddly little plastic Hama Beads back when they were the craze. I can honestly say that I have never been anything of an academic but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being creative and making something out of nothing, and I’ve clearly been that way inclined for my whole life. So, I guess that’s how I got in to crafting…
What was the first thing you made?
This is a bit embarrassing, but I guess I have the excuse that I was just five years old. I remember sitting at my desk at my Grandparents house spending hours making a pretend steering wheel from scraps of cardboard and empty toilet rolls. Then I made pretend pedals, a pretend speedometer and a pretend car key. When my mum picked me up, I attached it all to the passengers dashboard and literally drove us home. Oh boy, I was one cool kid.
Give us a tour of your workspace
I have recently written a blog post taking a tour around my craft room. Please don’t be misled into thinking that it always looks so squeaky clean and tidy because really, it doesn’t. I’m currently sitting in my room typing up these answers and there’s a lot of clutter and mess around me… but nevertheless please check out how pretty my room can look when I give it some TLC because I am actually pretty proud of my lovely room! You can take the tour here.
Are there any projects you’re particularly proud of?
When I worked at Zara Home as a Visual Merchandiser there was a ‘staff kitchen makeover’ contest throughout all the Zara Home stores in the UK. Within minutes of the email being sent to all stores my manager burst into the kitchen whilst I was on my lunch break to tell me the news. I was caught mid-mouthful of sandwich and alarmed at how excited he was to tell me that I was obviously the only one capable of taking on the project. We were allowed to do whatever we wanted to transform our staff kitchen area which was actually a pretty awesome incentive, kudos to Inditex! One month later, tons of empty paint tins and a very achey arm, the kitchen was complete. You can find the full post and video transformation on my blog here. We won the competition, and got a Nespresso coffee machine and water filter machine as a reward… proud moment indeed!
How did you get in to styling?
I have my blog to thank for this one. Homestyle Magazine got in touch with me in January 2016 after seeing a post I wrote for the Laura Ashley blog, asking me if I wanted to be in my very own feature. Of course I was very excited but also pretty terrified to think that someone would come to my flat to observe and take photos. After sending a few emails back and forth, we arranged a photoshoot date. I booked two days off work beforehand to de-clutter, tidy and clean my entire flat and also make sure my bedroom was in tip-top condition visually for the shoot. On the day of the shoot, the lovely photographer worked with me to create the images and we got on so well that she asked if I ever had any freelance time to join her as a stylist. That’s when it clicked in my little brain that being an interior stylist was actually a thing. By then I had worked as a visual merchandiser in home interior stores for four years, so I already had the experience of working within interiors. So, I sent numerous emails, made new contacts and networked until my heart was content. I joined as an assisting stylist on a few more photoshoots before deciding to sack the boss and go freelance as an interior stylist and visual merchandiser. It was terrifying but also very thrilling.
Which brands styling do you love? Who would you love to work with?
I am a HUGE sucker for Christmas so I always ogle over festive window displays. I went to the John Lewis Christmas press show earlier this year and it was literally like walking in to Santa’s little grotto – we were lavished with Christmas sparkle and the scent of cinnamon. They were serving mulled wine but I had to remind myself at the time that it was only July, outside it was actually a really hot summers day.
I have always had a thing for Harrods though. Since starting as a VM I have always pondered on what it would be like to help create the Harrods Christmas windows displays. Can you imagine? Even just to put one single bauble on a tree…
Have you got any favourite places you like to go to for props?
I am very lucky to live in Brighton (well, six miles away…). Brighton is full of bric-a-brac, knick knack, titt for tatt shops and I LOVE it. I’m quite often spending my Saturdays getting lost in the back street markets hunting for props and nifty thrifty’s. I also love Homesense, Tiger Stores and Berts.
What project are you most proud of?
In case you haven’t already guessed, I rather like getting down with the dirty, making a mess, and being hands-on. On a recent shoot for Goodhomes magazine, I painted a wall mural for one of the bedroom shots behind a dressing table. When it came out in the magazine I was pretty chuffed to see it in print with the caption ‘How to create a mural’.
What are your top trend tips for 2017?
Geometric prints, contrasting colours, tons of houseplants and tapestry tiles. Be bold!
How did you get in to blogging and what are your favourite things to write about?
I’m not going to lie, I was pretty naive venturing in to the world of blog. When I began That’s So Gemma in February 2015 I was literally just using my little online space as a way to share my creative ventures and document things I had made in hopes to inspire others, not that I thought for one second that many people were actually reading it. Little did I know how much my humble blog would change my world and open so many new doors for me. It’s crazy to think how much I have progressed in the last 20 months, and even now I’m still learning new things on a daily basis about the blogosphere.
I write about a lot of things but mainly I write about things that lighten up my life. I write about crafty antics and DIY’s. I write about my styling journey, photoshoots and features. I write about me.
When I’m happy, I write. When I’m feeling a bit lost, I write. When I have exciting news, I write. When I want to make others laugh, I write.
I write on crumpled up receipts which get lost in the bottom of my bag. I write ideas on beer mats in pubs and tea stained napkins in cafe’s. I write to-do lists in pretty notebooks with a pretty pen. I write dreams and goals and clip them on a clipboard. And I write on my blog, my little blog.
What advice would you give to people looking to start their own blog?
Take everything at your own pace. Don’t set yourself ridiculous goals just to fail, but set yourself achievable goals to succeed. Be you. Don’t let all of those amazing other blogs that have inspired you make you think that you can’t one day be that good, the reality is that they have probably been blogging for 7 odd years and blogs take time. Be motivated. Be dedicated because believe me, you need to be. Don’t let blogging life overtake your social life, as hard as it may be. Blog because you want to not because you feel like you have to. Don’t be disheartened if your stats are low – in fact, don’t even look at your stats! Blog to make you happy, blog to make others happy and most of all, ENJOY IT, because blogging is amazing.
What’s next for That’s so Gemma?
I wish I knew but I don’t. In fact, I don’t wish to know because I quite like not knowing. I love this community that I have been welcomed in to so kindly and I love that every day and every week is different to the next. I love seeing That’s So Gemma expand and grow but I also like holding on to the amateur blogger inside me that started all of this. I’m currently on a new adventure, a new chapter in my life and I really don’t know what’s around the corner – and I’m ok with that. I’m meeting some of the most inspiring people, working in beautiful location homes and making the most of the perks of freelance to invest more of my time in to my blog… so we shall see!