This week, designer and author of Pallet Style Nikkita Palmer tells us how she’s managing to stay creative during a crisis and how to make the most out of the newfound free time in our hands.
How important is it to stay creative and inspired during lockdown?
For many I have spoken to via our social media channels, creativity has been a huge help during these challenging times. As we are constantly submerged in the media and its updates, this newfound way of living has been scary at times with a huge amount of ups and downs on a daily basis. Creativity, whether it is in the form of paper and glue, wood and nails, pottery or gardening can help with both physical and mental wellbeing which is extremely important in such uncertain times. Creating an escape from the everyday and being immersed in a project allows you to slow down – something we are far from used to in our busy, non-stop lives. From a small business perspective, it was really important for me to switch off in order to be inspired and continue creatively and while I am not ignoring what is happening around us, I think it has taught many how important it is to stop and re-evaluate.
It has been somewhat refreshing to see people staying at home and doing their own DIY and creative crafts as well as shopping more locally and supporting the small businesses around them. I am not sure what this situation will bring for our future but what I hope is that it will change the way we spend our time and what we deem to be important in the everyday, that as a population we take the time to slow down a little and invest time in ourselves and those closest to us, not just for our own physical and mental wellbeing but also for our planet and the natural environment.
Are you currently finding it harder or easier to get stuck into projects and come up with new ideas?
Surprisingly, this situation has almost been refreshing for us as a business, it has given us time to work on things we’ve wanted to introduce for a while, but not had the time and it has made us prioritise those services in order to continue to trade during the pandemic. We have still had trickles of bespoke furniture enquiries as many people stay at home and focus on home decor and we have extended our online services. We have had time to update the website, adding new collections to the ‘ready to buy’ furniture range and we have started a YouTube channel and blog! Alongside this we have also launched our DIY kits which have been hugely popular via our online platforms.
Our DIY kits were an idea that came to life in light of the current situation, with our physical workshops on hold and taking inspiration from our book Pallet Style, we have put together packs of cut pallet boards and the basic project materials for others to create their own reclaimed homewares from the comfort of their homes! The response to these has been fantastic and something we will continue to include in our collections as we move out of lockdown. For us, it has been amazing how a situation can push you to diversify and grow in ways you wouldn’t have considered previously. With our hire range on hold and the abundance of meetings I usually get bogged down with, this time has created space for us to re-evaluate and be more creative with aspects of the business.
What project from your book do you recommend that can be made during bank-holiday weekend?
Well of course, all of them! Our book has a great selection of projects for all abilities and levels from beginners to more experienced. The reclaimed serving tray project from Pallet Style has been very popular with our DIY kits and it is a great project for anyone to do in a day. This project doesn’t involve a huge amount of pallet boards and is simple in terms of techniques, tools and materials. It is great for those wanting a relaxing, yet creative weekend without the need to take apart an abundance of pallets, which can be very hard work! If you’re looking for more of a challenge to spread out over the bank holiday, go for the reclaimed cart and then why not wheel it into the garden and use it for a BBQ spread!
Where do you source your pallets from and where would you recommend readers to look for them?
We source the majority of our pallets from industrial sites but we do sometimes need to search around. Some businesses are happy to give them away, others want to charge or reuse them. Industrial sites are particularly good if you need bigger quantities or longer pallets for larger projects. For smaller projects, check your local Facebook selling pages and online forums like freecycle as they are often listed here for free. Be sure to always ask permission before taking pallets.
Who has inspired you during lockdown?
We are very lucky to have a lot of positive people around us who have completely taken this in their stride and used the time creatively. Our friends Carrie and Jason have created up-cycled greenhouses, chicken pens, outdoor seating areas and planters at their houseboat which has been fantastic to see come together, they regularly take inspiration from our book which is great! It has been encouraging to see so many people getting into DIY via social media, ordering our DIY kits and our book and challenging themselves! We’ve also been loving Stacey Solomon’s Instagram story updates of her upcycling creations at home!
As always, we continue to be inspired by the creative and small business community around us, it has been truly inspiring to see so many people pick themselves up and diversify their businesses to continue to trade during such uncertain times.