EDB designer Alan Sawyers talks about his new ecommerce project and turning leisure into business.
People have been turning personal interests into businesses for a long time. It’s nothing new. But for East Durham Business’s resident magazine designer, it’s becoming a bit of a habit.
Alan and editor Leanne Fawcett have worked together for the best part of a decade, and both are no stranger to turning their hands to new projects if it involves doing things they enjoy.
In the past ten years, Alan has taken his passion for the region and turned it into an online gift business, North East Gifts. He’s turned a mug printing hobby into Muggins.biz – a venture that serves small businesses and local artists. And more recently he co-launched MyMerch Studio – an on-demand t-shirt and merchandise company aimed at UK based YouTube and Tiktok stars.
His latest venture, Halloweenmas, comes from a lifelong love of a certain time of year.
Alan said: “I loved Halloween as a kid, and still do, but it’s only one night, and it always makes buying decorations seem like a bit of a waste. A couple of years ago I came across some Halloween based tree ornaments, which I immediately wanted and bought about a dozen of them. I bought a small black desktop tree to hang them on and decided to leave it up after Halloween and transition it into a Christmas tree.”
Alan found a link between the two traditional holidays that lead to a brainwave that would turn the last three months of the year into one long celebration of Halloween and Christmas. We don’t really have them in the UK, but in Europe there are so many folk-tales of the darker side of Christmas – Krampus, Belsnickel, Frau Perchta – which all have some great imagery associated with them.
“I started to refer to my Halloween-cum-Christmas tree as a Halloweenmas tree – and the concept was born.”
Alan enlisted the help of Newcastle based artist and model maker Chris Stewart and applied for part-funding from RTC North.
“I’ve designed ten tree ornaments, which Chris is creating, and we’ve finished six of them so far. Chris has done such an amazing job bringing my vision to life in a way I could never have done.”