Updated: Jan 23
This week, we're featuring Ariko Prints, a decor shop that personalises prints to suit you and your home. Check out our interview with founder Chantal about starting her own business.
How did Ariko Prints come to be? What was the inspiration behind the name? For many years now I’ve wanted to run a shop of my own. Originally, I wanted to make greeting cards, but was too scared to pursue the idea. Last year a friend of mine, who has a print and design company, came to visit and asked me about my ‘side hustle’. We discussed my ideas and she simply said, “just start”. Around a month later the UK had gone into a full lockdown and my go to vendor for prints had closed their shop; just when I was looking to purchase a print from them. My husband suggested that I could make the design myself. Between his and my friends encouragement I decided to give it a go. As for the name Ariko, not only is it a combination of both my sons names but when I googled it, I found out that it means ‘There is a God’ and for me that was confirmation. Why did you decide to design prints? I’ve always enjoyed creating designs and doing things myself. I often spent evenings in my teens scrapbooking with pictures, drawings, greeting cards and experimenting with different styles of handwriting. I was actually on maternity leave when the lockdown started, but the enforced time inside the house motivated me to really get underway with designing and allowed me time to experiment with set-ups around the house. What makes Ariko Prints different from other decor print shops? Our style, as well as being aesthetically pleasing, are spiritual, uplifting and meaningful; they are more than just decoration. We also offer the option of personalisation on nearly all of our prints as well as foiled options too.We do offer personalised gift tags and plan to offer more personalised items moving forward.
Greatest accomplishments and challenges as a business so far? My greatest accomplishments for the business would include my recent collaborations, which means you can now receive an Ariko Print as part of a gift hamper or within a subscription treat-box. If I am honest, one challenge has been pricing. It can be difficult as a start-up business to sufficiently value the time and effort you put in and reflect it in your pricing. Too often we are tempted to undercut ourselves by wanting to compete and therefore do not apply the right value to our product which is reflective of the time put into creating it. Working as an individual has also been a challenge. My previous jobs as an employee have always involved me being part of a tight-knit team and so working alone has needed significant adjustment. It can also be challenging knowing where and what to invest in, as well as keeping up with developments within the industry.
What does it mean to you to be Black owned business? Although I try not to focus too much on the fact that I am a black owned business and more so on just being a good business, being black owned is important to me as it is an example I would like to set my children; that they can work for themselves and be successful. I want to be able to inspire others within the community to follow their dreams and invest in their ideas.
How are you adapting your business to COVID-19 environment? The Pandemic has been a truly testing time for all of us, needing quite significant adjustment to our day to day lives. Although it has pushed me to focus on myself and develop this business idea, it has thrown up challenges as well. I work part time in education, and I have had to adjust to working from home with the kids as well as providing a ‘Covid-secure’ service. I have had to be mindful of the increased delivery times for postage as well as safety when handling other people’s goods. Any advice for Black creatives or entrepreneurs? Just do it. Believe in your vision and go for it. Work on finding like-minded people to support you and motivate you towards reaching your goals.