City Buzz: Nicola’s two businesses inspired by family

Nicola Holmshaw with her products.
Nicola Holmshaw with her products.
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They say if you love what you do then you will never work a day in your life, and that is true for Nicola Holmshaw, who runs two online stores.

Drawing unicorns and selling vintage china do not appear to have much in common, but they are both things that Nicola loves to do - and so the ambitious entrepreneur set up two businesses to offer customers both of those things.

Decorative saucers made by Nicola Holmshaw.

Decorative saucers made by Nicola Holmshaw.

One of the businesses, Pixie Drew, sees Nicola explore her creative side and draw original illustrations and designs that are supplied on cards, vintage plates, badges and coffee mugs.

The other, Vera’s Vintage Treasures, sees Nicola explore her childhood memories which led her to selling vintage china.

She said: “Both businesses can be very seasonal, so running two businesses was a way of evening out the peaks and troughs of sales.

“My husband works for himself and he encouraged me to do the same. Searching for pieces of vintage china is great fun and we often do it together.

“I was looking for a vintage tea set about six years ago to go in our newly purchased and restored vintage caravan, which we called Vera. Vintage China was really popular at the time and each time I saw something pretty I bought it. I ended up with so much that I decided to sell some of it.”

“Drawing was a hobby and is really relaxing for me. I tend to do all my designs at night, so in a way it doesn’t really feel like work.

“I have always loved drawing and from a very early age I drew on anything I could get my hands on even the walls.”

Talented Nicola has been drawing her card designs for at least ten years - and she finds that inspiration from lots of places at any time.

She said:“Sometimes an idea pops in my head and I have to draw the design to match. This can be in the middle of the night and I can’t sleep until I’ve done it.

“I love a good pun and get my inspiration from life, family and friends. I am trying to lose weight at the moment so a lot of my designs are about biscuits as I am missing them. I like to make people smile or laugh.”

Nicola also took inspiration from her family to help her with her vintage business.

She said: “I had always loved going to my Nannan’s and playing tea parties with her vintage china, so I called the business after her, Vera was her middle name.

“I love to imagine the people who have owned and loved each piece of history.”

In the future, Nicola hopes to increase her online sales for both businesses. The cards and the china have already been shipped worldwide, proving everyone loves a bit of Sheffield charm and history.