Hand Over Your Fairy Cake’s Sally McAdam on her impressive pin collection and quirky jewellery designs
From bold feminist statement patches to cute and nerdy enamel pins, Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes creates fun and feisty accessories to satisfy your inner geek.
Working from her flat in Glasgow, Sally McAdam juggles running her handmade business with working full time as a doctor – proving you can have your cake and eat it! We caught up with Sally over a cuppa to find out why enamel pins are bang on trend right now, what inspires her makes and her top tips for standing out from the crowd…
Hi Sally, how did Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes begin?
It all started about 10 years ago I was making beaded jewellery but getting frustrated because I couldn’t make the designs I wanted to. I moved on to laser cut acrylic designs, which quickly became more adventurous – testing acrylic to its limits! I wanted to find other products to compliment my range and decided to design some enamel pin badges as I felt the blocks of colour and clear lines would be a good fit and give customers the opportunity to buy smaller, more affordable pieces. They’ve been a massive hit and I now sell more pin badges than anything else in my shop! I’ve also branched out into designing patches, tote bags, snapback caps, notebooks, stickers and even washi tape.
What does your average working day look like?
As well as running HOYFC I have a full time job working as a doctor in a hospital. This means I don’t really have an average working day as I work a lot of weekends and night shifts, so I have to I work hard to manage my time. I work a lot in the evenings and I usually go to the post office once a week looking like Santa with a giant bag of mail.
What’s the first thing you ever made?
The first proper art I made was in high school when I did a project on Nightmares. I made a hideous screaming clown sculpture from clay. When I took it home to show my mum she screamed at it, tried to hit it with an umbrella and said I wasn’t allowed to keep it in the house. Since then I’ve concentrated more on cute, colourful art!
Why are pins and badges so popular at the moment?
I think it’s because they’re a small and affordable way of expressing yourself. They’re easy to collect as they don’t take up much space and you can always find at least one or two that you love – or in my case about 150!
Who are your favourite pin makers right now?
I’m in love with Big Bud Press‘ new retro style pin collection and the awesome bomber jackets they’ve introduced recently. I really like super cute pins and shops like Studio Vcky, Nutmeg & Arlo and Sparkle Collective have small but exceptionally cute pin collections.
What inspires you?
Funny things my friends and family say, stories in the news, films and TV shows I’ve enjoyed. Sometimes I just wake up with an idea in my head, which I then furiously Google to check no one else has had that idea first!
Name three things you can’t live without?
Tea – I’ve always got a cup if I’m in my studio. Life would be very sad without my roller skates, I love skating around outside, at the roller disco and playing roller derby with Glasgow Roller Derby. I love my cats Harry and Chi too. They aren’t allowed in my studio as they’d get cat hair over everything, but I go out for cat cuddles whenever I can.
What’s been your biggest craft fail?
I regularly glue myself to my tea mug, stick jewellery pieces together the wrong way round, use the incorrect findings and order the wrong parts. I think my biggest fail was making 10 commissioned necklaces for a customer in completely the wrong colour despite clarifying with her first what colour she wanted!
What are your best tips for standing out at markets?
Look interested in your customers and engage them in conversation. Don’t harass them if they don’t want to chat, but there’s nothing worse than sitting staring at your phone. I usually bring along some sweets to hand out because everyone loves free sweets!
What are your top tips for running a craft business?
- Organise your time! If you have loads of other things to do (like your ‘proper’ job in my case) it’s important to have a prioritised to do list. I’ve got one on my laptop that synchs with my phone so that I can tick things off wherever I am.
- Do your tax return as early as possible, or even better, get an accountant to do it. Boring, but essential.
- Have fun! Never stop creating. This is the most important one as it’s why you started your business in the first place.