Monday, December 21, 2015

Getting chatty with @AlohaLolaCards #YOUInspire

So earlier this month, I attended the Bloggers Xmas party at Finch's Pub in Moorgate hosted by the lovely Soeurs De Luxe. It was a fun day making new friends, exploring different brands, gorging on chips, cupcakes and mulled cider, getting a little crazy with Christmas selfies and simply embracing my first such meet up in London.

Clockwise from L-R: With  , Lovely cupcakes from , Having fun with selfies, a gift from @migliojewellery, lovely goodie bag from , Fun Christmas messages.  

On arrival all the bloggers were given beautiful personalized keyrings from Aloha Lola Cards which had a fun caricature of each of the bloggers along with their twitter handles. Unfortunately mine wasn't made and when I expressed this to the brand they were kind enough to make a caricature for me. I love talking to the people behind the brands. I believe their personality comes through in their work, especially when you are in a creative field as this - making illustrations, caricatures etc.

That's me!!! :)

I got speaking to Claire Michelle Williams the owner of Aloha Lola Cards and she is as generous with her words as she is with her work.

What inspired you to start Aloha Lola Cards? We would love to know the story of the birth of this quirky creative illustration business.

My inspiration for Aloha Lola Cards actually arose out of a bad situation. I was very ill last year and was, for a large majority of the time, housebound. I found myself with a huge amount of time on my hands so, to preoccupy myself, I decided to start drawing again. It has always been a hobby of mine, but due down to a busy career in journalism it had been well and truly sidelined. I couldn't remember the last time I had sketched for fun. It was only when I rekindled this passion, and started drawing for other people - creating cute caricature cards for birthdays or illustrating Disney characters for party games and the like - that I realized people actually loved my work and wanted to see more of it. 

So I made the first, brave step of putting my work on Etsy. I was very dubious at first and thought people wouldn't be interested, but after a bit of promoting on Twitter I've found a fan base of wonderful people who genuinely adore my caricatures and the orders started trickling in - much to my delight! 

Meet Claire - the beauty behind the brand!

Who or what has been your biggest support, entering into this business?

My biggest support is my closest friends and family, just for their constant reassurance that my work was actually good as, in the early days, I was pretty low on confidence. In fact, two of my best friends purchased cards the minute I opened my Etsy shop. My mum has been wonderful and has helped with practical support including going on trips to the Post Office for me when I'm busy sketching. I'm really thankful to them all. Also, I would say a big support has been the gorgeous Twitter community who have not only given me brilliant feedback but have also been very active in sharing and promoting my brand - so if you're reading this thank you so much!

How difficult is it, for a creative person like you, to manage the business side of your work? Do
you handle all the order requests etc. by yourself or do you have any happy elves helping you?

I am lucky that I've had experience in running a business before. Before Aloha Lola Cards I ran a little local newspaper that was distributed in supermarkets - that definitely taught me how to be business savvy! However, I will say that there are always learning curves in any industry, no matter how experienced you are. For example things I never factored in when I first started was how much the Post Office charges for card delivery! That actually shocked me! I guess you just have to learn as you go and try and take what you can from similar businesses and how they operate!

From what we’ve seen you can draw anything under the sun and make beautiful personalized
caricatures. Customers always want something new, something creative, right? Do you feel pressured sometimes with customer requests, and how do you cope up with it?

There has been a few times I've felt a bit overwhelmed with little challenges in the illustration industry! However most of these challenges are things I've taken on myself, as I see it all as good practice. Like when I made 125 keyrings over a three day period for the Blogger Xmas event in London - my bedroom looked like a warehouse! Or when I was asked to draw a plane for Red Letter Days UK - it was out of my comfort zone and every time I tried to sketch one it looked like a whale! (And as we all know, whales look nothing like planes!) I think, like with anything, it's important to take a step back and take a breather if you feel the pressure. Know the signs when it's getting too much and grab a brew, or in my case a cat! However whenever I come up against these mini challenges I never regret a thing - because the positive feedback and love I receive off the recipients makes it all worthwhile.

Personalized cards by @AlohaLolaCards

What are the future plans for Aloha Lola Cards?

Hmmm future plans for Aloha Lola Cards... I would love to grow in popularity, to get to the stage where I can launch my own website where it reflects my whole brand - fun-loving, vibrant and cute! I look up to brands like Claireabella which had received worldwide recognition and success and think, wouldn't it be great if Aloha Lola Cards achieved the same? Dare to dream!

Dare to dream! This is the mantra we should all live by. Dream, follow your passion and make something out of it! Thank you Claire for this wonderful peek into your world and your creative brand.

Wish you and Aloha Lola Cards all the very best in your future endeavours! 
YOU truly inspire!

I know what my next order will be from Aloha Lola Cards. Few more gorgeous caricatures and cards, - searching for few pictures now, that can inspire Claire's creations.

Hope I've peeked your interest.
Go check out Aloha Lola Cards on Etsy:


  1. I love blogger meet ups and this one looks like it was really fun! What a cute caricature of you :)

    Also, new domain? Love the name :) Have you moved to self-hosted or just shifted/ masked the old one?

    1. Hey Shailaja! Yes, it was a lovely meet up, my first in London too! Met so many wonderful bloggers and brands!

      Yup, new name...just domain masking. :)

  2. Dare to dream is a very good mantra, indeed. Claire's illustrations are beautiful. Maybe one day I'll make it to a blogger met up.

    1. Claire is so talented, glad to have connected with her. Hope you get to visit a blogger meet soon, they are such fun!

  3. I love blogger meet ups!! So many beautiful friendships are formed that way!! :)
    And the illustrations are beautiful :)

    1. True Hema. And I would love to meet you someday. I know for sure we are going to click! :)

  4. Hey that seemed like a fun meet-up! What a bundle of talent Claire is! Not an easy challenge getting where she is now! Loved the cariacatures, fun and so personalized! And Aditispen is much kinder on the memory....good move gal!!

    1. Thanks Kala! Glad you like the new domain name. And do check out Claire's work on Etsy, you'll love it!

  5. This looks like such a fun meet up and that caricature is cute :) Glad you had a lovely time!

  6. somebody is rocking it! I promise to be more regular over next few weeks ***fingers crossed*********

    1. Love you darling...I know the lil one keeps you busy! No worries :)

  7. Such a fun meet up, and lovely caricature too. :)

    I had not heard about this brand, will look them up now. :)

    1. Yes, do check her out on Etsy! I'm sure you'll want to order a caricature card right away! :)

  8. Aditi I so love the new design and layout of your blog page! Congratulations and hope to read about many of your experiences, fantasies and dreams!