The Side Hustle: Plant Prints for Peace

Today we're joined by mum and primary school teacher, Kaylene Alder, who runs her Plant Prints for Peace business on the side. After feeling the world was a little gloomy, Kaylene decided to inject some positivity into it with her artwork, with 10% of her profits going to Peace Direct.

8th November 2017
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What’s your day job?

I’m lucky to have a pretty creative day job — I teach art in a primary school in Hackney — teaching the little ones all about the wonders of arty mess. It’s challenging but rewarding and they are inspiring little creatures. I’m often surprised and impressed with the direction they take ideas.

What’s your side hustle?

My side hustle is threefold: I work as a freelance illustrator, I create and sell screen prints and linocuts, and I teach workshops in drawing, linocut and more.

How and why did you start Plant Prints for Peace?

I’ve been selling screen prints of my work for quite a few years, but when my daughter, Nora, was born, I felt I needed a change of direction. The world was feeling kind of gloomy outside of my little bubble and I wanted to put out some positivity and include those ideas in a new collection. I’ve always enjoyed drawing plants (partly because the drawn ones are impossible to kill!), and I happened across the charity Peace Direct while I was brainstorming the collection. I contacted them and said I would like to support them with 10% of my sales and they were game. I liked the idea of plants healing and spreading green goodness in a visual and practical way. So Plant Prints for Peace was born!

What was the biggest operational challenge in starting your side hustle?

Screen printing takes a lot of time and, as a new, working parent, that is not something I have in abundance. Luckily, I have a supportive partner and a brilliant screen printing studio (Sonsoles in Peckham), so I usually manage to fit in a couple of sessions a month. Now that I’ve built a fair collection of screen prints, I’ve also begun creating some work in linocut, which I can do entirely from my home studio. Essentially, I sleep a lot less than I would like, but the trade off is time to do what I love.

Plant Prints for Peace at print studio

What’s the biggest problem you encounter when managing money for your business?

I am not brilliant at budgeting at all. I’ve been working hard to improve this in the past year — costing prints and trying to be more systematic about how and when I produce new work. Sometimes though, I have an idea for something and I just have to make it and hope others will like it too, so I can recoup costs!

What and who inspires your work?

I’m inspired by so many things, it’s hard to narrow it down. Plants (obviously!) and the incredible work of the people at Peace Direct are certainly top of the list. And many, many artists. I adore David Hockney and the way he continues to reinvent his art. I saw the Basquiat exhibition today, and now love him even more than I did before — I am super inspired by the energy in his work. Grayson Perry, Phyllida Barlow, Barbara Hepworth, Agnes Martin, Paula Rego; this list could be really long.

How do you switch off when you’re not working or side hustling?

I find it tricky to fully switch off — relaxing is not my forte — but spending time with my husband and daughter exploring London’s many parks is a wonderful distraction from work. I also love going to exhibitions and having long, lazy dinners with friends.  

Where’s your favourite place in the world and why?

I’ve only been once, but I love, love, love, Berlin. We went when I was pregnant the first time (number two is on the way!) and had the most amazing time. It felt like a city that knows its history and embraces its present. Art everywhere, good coffee too. I can’t wait to go back.

Name three things you love!

  • I have to say plants, don’t I?!
  • All kinds of dumplings.
  • Car boot sales are a (not so) guilty pleasure.

Thanks Kaylene!

We love Kaylene’s plant prints. If you do too, why not check out more of her work, or visit Plant Prints for Peace’s Instagram and Etsy.

We’re launching business accounts for sole traders and small businesses like this one from early next year. If your business fits the bill, register your interest.

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