I have loved Polly and her little (well actually pretty large) online shop over at @pollyvdsz for about 3 years now. She motivates me to always push myself and you can do anything when you put your mind to it, I started following @pollyvdsz when she was doing her A levels and since then she has had a gap year and moved to university all whilst managing her shop. Her Instagram is also gorgeous so I was so happy when she wanted to feature on this series!
As always for the interview, my text will be in bold and Polly’s text will be in a regular font.
Why did you start your shop and @pollyvdsz originally? Was it all planned out or a spontaneous decision one day?
I wouldn’t say it was a spontaneous decision or completely planned, at first… I’d been toying with the idea for a few weeks and finally dared myself into giving it a shot! Back in the day I would post lots of daily doodles/A level graphics work and the positive feedback really spurred me on to pursue design. Once my first few phone cases sold I excitedly threw myself into it and just learned on the job!
What has been the most surreal moment of your career so far?
It’s got to be seeing people walking about in real life with my products, that could never get old! Customer photos are one thing but when you catch a glimpse of your tote bag down the street, run a little bit closer to make sure and then back the opposite direction because you’re awkward as hell, you’ve had your surreal experience.
Hahah nooo I hate this question – I don’t even know! I’m going to say either my Everyday Tote because it kicked off the “This bag contains…” collection which is so much fun to design, or the loopy loop phone case because it’s so clean and bold and I always go back to it.
Aw that’s so lovely, I hope it’s going well? I absolutely LOVED my time at college, and studied Biology, Psychology, English Language (for AS) and Graphics. I also did an EPQ exploring how to market an online shop, heh. It was the first two years I’d ever been completely in control of my education and I didn’t take that for granted. I don’t know about you, but school was a really bad time for me and having to force myself to study for subjects I had no interest in was just painful. So I really appreciated my A levels and wanted to learn everything I could. I think that’s the mindset that kicked off my business, throw yourself into what you’re passionate about, when you find it.
I’m so inspired by how you managed both your education and @pollyvdsz! How do you manage your time effectively, do you have any top tips?
You know how hard you have to work at A levels, and looking back I can’t believe I managed it all, but the truth is you will be able to find the motivation if you’re truly passionate about the business and it makes you happy to do (like your blog!). My shop was my jobby, I did it for fun, it doubled up as downtime and then the admin was just another thing to keep ontop of, like homework, and as a bonus it made me better at Graphics. But when it came down to it, A levels always took priority, because I only had those 2 years on them, and all the time in the world afterwards for the jobby.
To be brutally honest (to myself) I don’t think I picked the right university. I was under a lot of pressure, applying to UCAS on my own after dropping out of my foundation course to have a gap year and focus on the shop. I found it really difficult to research the best course for me, as all the league tables cater to academic courses. I just didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t reach out to enough people for help. I ended up deciding that all the courses sounded the same anyway (lol) and travelled to lots of open days to get a feel of the universities, accommodation and their cities. I was INCREDIBLY scared of moving to uni, so feeling comfortable was a top priority. I ended up choosing Leeds Arts University (LAU) because the tutors were so welcoming, the city is incredible and I had a friend up here to help me with my shop in first year.
Moving away actually went quite well, I think that I was personally quite ready to leave, after the gap year etc. Think of how exciting it’s going to be to establish a new life for yourself, the new room, new friends (and emotional reunions with home friends, every time) and new foods you’ll try as you learn how to shop and cook for yourself. You will get homesick, but facetime is a godsend and you can always hop on the train home if you need to.
What has been your happiest day of 2017? I ask everyone this question as I’m nosey!
Ooooh… I wish I could give you a day where something specific and miraculous happened, but I think it might have been a few weeks ago with my boyfriend, Jack. For some reason we’ve been having a kind of second honeymoon phase where we’re just really happy all the time. A couple of times we’ve just spent the day relaxing, coffee shop hopping and chess playing (yes, chess, ahah) and it’s those kind of days where I feel truly content with how life is going.
As a talk about beauty on my blog we will end on a beauty related question, what is your holy grail makeup product? I love your yellow eyeshadow!
OH I LOVE THE YELLOW EYESHADOW. NYX, Butterscotch, FYI. So, again, I cannot and will not choose favourites. So many things deserve all of the love. I have a Mac blush that I’ve worn every day for about 3 years called Warm Soul – once Jack even exclaimed “oh, that makes your face look really happy” which was adorable. Secondly, a Mac eyeshadow called Cork. It’s the PERFECT crease and under eye shade as I only suit warm tones. Then benefit brow-zings is the only thing I’ve ever used on my eyebrows and I truly wouldn’t know what to do without it. We made it through the slug stage together and everything.
So there’s the interview! Thank you so much to Polly from @pollyvdsz for featuring. I urge you to check out her shop if you would like pretty graphic design phone cases, MacBook skins and so much more, you won’t be disappointed!
Check Polly out here