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July 1, 2022 —

Meet the Maker: Afton By Palm

Bonnisa Moore creates clay made decor and minimalist-inspired prints from her Buckinghamshire studio, with a slow living, sustainable focus. We meet the maker behind Afton By Palm to hear more…
Shelley Welti - online content editor at 91 Magazine - in front of wall mural
Shelley Welti
91 Magazine online content editor,
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Hi Bonnisa, why and when did you decide to start your business?

I started my business back in 2018 with the hope of turning a hobby into a career during my time on maternity leave. I had the time to commit to getting things off the ground, honing in on my craft and still being present for my family at home.

 

91 magazine meet the maker afton by palm

 

What had you done previously?

I had worked in customer services before starting my business, so it was a big leap leaving the safety net of an office job to venture out on my own, but I’m so glad I took a chance on myself. There is still a lot of customer service involved with running a business, so I like to think that I got a head start!

 

How would you describe the brand’s ethos?

‘Crafting neutrals with the earth in mind’ is at the focus of my approach to my brand. I try to keep things as minimalistic and close to their natural state as I can, making the effort to choose sustainable choices while offering clean, contemporary lines and curves.

 

Bonnisa Moore the maker Afton by Palm inside her studio

 

2 91 magazine meet the maker afton by palm

 

You are inspired by clay, as a form of expression – why is this important to you?

I just love the feel of moulding clay in between my fingers! It’s the earthiness it brings, the freedom to create in so many ways. I’m very much an instant gratification kinda girl when it comes to crafting, so I love how I get to see my pieces taking form early on in the making process with clay.

 

Can you tell us a little about the processes used to create your work?

Sure! I usually get inspired by shapes or textures and architectural pieces I’ve seen, then find a way to incorporate it into my designs. I then freestyle a little with the clay and see where it takes me with a little trial and error. The next stage is deciding on any finishing colours or detailing, which can be tricky because there can be so many different ways to go – this is where a gentle reminder of my brand ethos helps out in finalising those kind of choices.

 

Clay minimal earrings by Afton by Palm in the maker's Buckinghamshire studio

 

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Which is your most popular product?

My most popular products is the The Chia Mixed Media Clay Tray, a small ring plate. I think buyers choose this piece because of the combination of the real chia seeds featured, while still radiating an elegant finish for home styling.

 

Hard question, do you have a favourite product?

It’s definitely hard to choose as I only sell the pieces I really love! But if I had to choose; I would go for the Arin Flecked Earrings – you can see me wearing these often! They are one of my new collection crafts and I’m a little obsessed with the colour of these, as it took a bit of time to get it just right…I love how they turned out.

 

Simple white minimalist face plate by maker Afton by Palm
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What does a typical day look like for you?

As a working mum my day usually starts with getting the kids ready for school. Getting back from the school run is when my second job begins! I make myself a fruity tea while checking my schedule for the day. From here I usually print packing slips to pack orders for the day, then the scheduling is usually worked around the best time of day for lighting conditions for product photography for example, or any special projects that I need to fit in. I will then get stuck into crafting sessions, stock inventory, emails etc. alongside responding to snack requests from my toddler! It can be hard fitting everything in within school hours, so having a schedule is a must!

 

How does your location inspire you?

I live in a quiet market town with beautiful cobbled roads, independent shops and scenic walks – it reminds me of the importance of slowing things down and looking after our surroundings. Most importantly, it’s taught me that less is more!

 

Minimalist clay bowls and earrings being created in Afton by Palm's studio

 

Minimalist neutral botanical print with handmade plate by Afton by Palm

 

How do you approach PR and marketing?

My approach to marketing mainly consists of planning what messages I want to put out in the week ahead, showcasing products and behind the scenes videos for my audience. Including personal snippets here and there is also important to me, as I think it’s the best way for customers to connect with the story behind my brand.

 

What’s been your highlight so far?

It definitely has to be the unexpected exposure my brand received in 2020 – the growth was amazing and really confirmed to me that I was doing something worthwhile. I was featured in a number of media articles and received attention from well known influencers. This undoubtedly had a major impact on the traffic increase to my web store, and I’m so pleased that many of those customers return to buy more pieces today.

 

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If you were to share any words of wisdom with readers looking to start a creative business – what would you say?

Don’t get hung up on perfection! Overthinking has cut short so many amazing ideas before they even got a chance to begin – sometimes you just have to believe in your own hype! I would also say that sometimes you have to have honest conversations with yourself about still loving what you do and be open to a change in direction. Don’t be afraid to stop making something if you no longer enjoy it.

 

QUICK-FIRE QUESTIONS

Describe your work in three words: Minimalist, neutral, feminine

What are your creating rituals? Keep a herbal tea close by for making thinking time relaxing and appreciate when things don’t go to plan – learn to love the unexpected!

Tea or coffee? Tea, of course!

Mountains or sea?  Sea. I love being by the water in true Pisces-style!

Night owl or early bird? I am an early bird in the sense that I like to wake up early, but stay in bed for a good while before getting the day started!

I wish someone had told me… That you really do have to create your own opportunities! I think that we grow up conditioned to believe that the 9-5 life is the only way to go, so I would’ve loved if someone had opened my eyes to the empowerment that comes with curating the lifestyle that you want.

See more from Bonnisa at aftonbypalm.co.uk and on Instagram @aftonbypalm

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