Posted on May 19 2021
Our second instalment of Small Business Features is here! Continuing our theme of celebrating creativity, we're having a chat with Small Business Owner, Yavannah Pelgrim.
⭐️ We love your work, but would love to know more about you. Tell us all there is to know about Yavannah Pelgrim and your business, KillVannah?
Thank you! I suppose in the grand scheme of things, I am still a bit of a rookie artist; I only started drawing four years ago. I got inspired by a group of friends who all drew their own characters and thought to myself “Hey! I want to be able to do that.”
After about a year and a half of practice I decided to buy a button machine and make my own buttons and stickers. That’s how it all started really. I set up an Etsy shop and was positively surprised that people actually seemed to like what I made. Things sort of just evolved from there. I have been a fully registered business for over a year now and have launched my own website since then. I have branched out into a lot more products and my current favourite thing to make is jewellery, specifically earrings.
I use Zap! to turn my designs into the charms I use for my jewellery and I am very happy with the quality you deliver. I also like how versatile your products are in terms of what I can make with them.
⭐️ What is a product you haven't made yet but would love to sometime in the future?
Is everything an answer? Hahaha. No but seriously, there are probably very few things I would not care to make. If we are talking about grand ambitions I would love to make ita bags one day, but the next thing I am setting my sights on are enamel pins.
They have always weirdly intimidated me, because of the way you have to prepare the files and have to invest in a mould prior to getting the pins, but I think I am finally at a point where I feel comfortable enough to work on a project like that. I would love to make a full collection to release though, so this will be a pretty time consuming project.
⭐️ What is the biggest curveball you have had to overcome since starting your business?
To be quite frank, it was the pandemic. At the beginning of 2020 I tabled for the very first time at a convention but right after, the entire world shut down. This meant I really had to adapt to the situation.
Weirdly, in hindsight, having this down time did allow me to expand my body of work and be better prepared for new conventions in the future by having a wider variety of products on offer. So it has not been all bad.
⭐️ What is your biggest motivation?
It sounds a bit cheesy, but I really want to make people happy with the things that I make. The biggest motivator for me is whenever people leave me a message or tell me that they like what I do. If I can make someone’s day a bit brighter by looking at something that I have made, that makes it worth it for me.
⭐️ What inspires your illustrations?
My inspiration comes from many different places. I have always been a fantasy and video game geek, so I definitely draw from that. Other than that I am also a huge fan of alternative subcultures and definitely feel inspired by that as well. I always say my main inspirations are fantasy, tabletop roleplaying games, video games, pop-culture, the occult and the macabre.
⭐️ What things are most important to you when running your business?
Customer service, quality and packaging. I always do my best to get back to people when they send me a message as soon as I am able to. I am also very particular about quality control. I approach this with a “If I bought this, would I be happy to receive this?” mentality.
I also try to package things in a way that it feels like receiving a little gift in the mail. I always include a personal note and a seasonal freebie sticker, just because I think it is nice!
⭐️ What is something you know now, that you wish you knew in the past?
All of the ‘invisible’ costs you do not really think about when you are just starting out.
When I set up my Etsy for the first time, I honestly did not really know what I was doing and ended up undercharging immensely, meaning I made only pennies on an order. This was very naïve on my end, I will be honest, especially if you consider I took an entrepreneurship minor in college, but oh well, nobody’s perfect!
Thankfully, at this point I have gotten a lot better at it and use an excel spreadsheet to keep track of all my costs and time investments. I would recommend to anyone starting out to really look into all the fees you end up paying for using specific services like, for example Etsy or PayPal, as they can really stack up if you are not aware of them.
⭐️ If you had one superpower what would it be?
That’s an easy one! I would love to be able to use magic. It seems so versatile and also so elegant and mysterious.
It is also very convenient in many ways; don’t want to do the dishes? Poof, and they are clean! Need to send out a rush order? Poof, now it’s right on their doorstep and so on and so on. Maybe it is a bit of an overpowered choice, but it is what I would pick and also I think it is fun, haha.
⭐️ What would you like to achieve this year?
If all goes well, I would love to do more conventions this year. I both miss the atmosphere and the face-to-face interaction with people. I also really want to kick that enamel pin project into gear and hopefully launch a kickstarter by the end of the year.
⭐️ Finally, where can we purchase your work?
You can find my work on my official website where I also offer custom commissions, and over on Etsy (links below).
I also have a Patreon with monthly sticker and print rewards, where each month you get to vote on a theme! It also has a bunch of exclusive behind-the-scenes content and early access to videos so if that seems like something you would be into click here!
Thank you so much for having me! :)
Check out KillVannahs Social Channels ⬇️