Jan Gilson produces handmade luxuries for little dogs. It was a pleasure for us to take an interview with Jan Gilson who shared some interesting facts of her biography. We wish you a pleasant reading of Jan Gilson success story and viewing of her lovely handmade luxuries for little dogs.
AP: Tell us some words about yourself.
JG: I am Jan, 42, and I run www.comfypets.co.uk I have been with my Partner now for 17 years, we don’t have any children but we do have 16 Chihuahuas sharing our lives. I am now a Licensed and Registered Dog Breeder of Chihuahuas in the South West of Scotland, and I also Produce Handmade Little Luxuries form Little Dogs. My dogs are my passion and my Life 24/7. We live in a beautiful farmhouse on the SW coast of Scotland, looking out over some of the most fantastic scenery.
I worked for 16 years in Local Government until I became ill in 2000, and had to be paid off permanently. I spent the next 10 years house bound, and that is when my Dogs came along one by one and started to take over my life, they gave me a reason to live and the motivation to get up in a morning. Over the past 7 years or so I turned to crafting to fill my time, and my passion for crafting in one form or another took hold. My crafting/sewing and my dogs now go hand in hand, I am slowly getting myself back on my feet, and starting to work from home, not only with the dogs, but also creating and designing Luxury products for mine and others’ Little Dogs.
AP: Your first works. What did they look like?
JG: I thought I didn’t have a creative bone in my body, then one day 7 years ago I was flicking through TV Channels, and came across a Channel called Create and Craft. I believe at that time, the Glitter Girls were demonstrating their Bookatrix Embossing Board. I thought their products were absolutely stunning, I decided to purchase a few pieces from the show, and the rest, as they say, is history. I started by making lots of greetings cards, mainly for family and friends, and the feedback was very encouraging. Over the years since I have dabbled in various Paper Crafting Techniques, Encaustic Art, Painting, Jewellery Making, Flower Making, and so on and so forth… What started as a little box of Crafting Goodies has now become 2 whole Craft Rooms.
A couple of years ago, I decided to get my old sewing machine out and make my Dogs a little pillow to sleep on. I hadn’t sewn for years, but I was so impressed with my end results, I made more and more, and now my sewing has completely taken over my craft room. The first pillow that I made, was quite wonky, to say the least, but over time I have got better and I am dedicated to making the best products to my ability. We already owned a heat press printing kit, and it suddenly occurred to me one night that I could make use of that and create my own designer, Personalized Pillow Beds and Other products, for my own Dogs initially, and then for my new pups, to give to their new owners as part of my puppy packs. This then grew into making products for other people and their own dogs. The Printed Pillows are being well received and I am getting some fabulous feedback from them, better than I could have ever imagined. I think they are quite unique, and I hope to add more products as time goes on, I have a few new ideas up my sleeves…
AP: Do you have any formal education in your sphere or were you self-taught?
JG: I don’t have any training in what I do. My Grandma taught me to sew when I was a child, on her old Black manual Singer. And that training has stood me in good stead as I remembered all the basics that she taught me. As for the Creativity, I don’t know where that has come from, as none of my family are particularly creative or have any desire to design and create. I am just thankful that I am different and can appreciate the joy of handmade and unique own designed products.
JG: I make all my products purely for Little Dogs. I guess this is my Genre? Whether it be sewing Pillow Beds, Cosy Sleepy Bags, Designing and Creating tiny little Collars, or producing my StopPees© product, they are all for Little Dogs, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese, West Highlands etc., etc., etc… All Little Dogs Love my Handmade Luxuries.
Another area that I hope to become more involved in, is helping people who have little male dogs who have a habit of marking their Territory. I have designed the StopPee©, which wraps around the dogs belly, covering his private parts, and help to prevent little accidents around the home. There are similar products already in the marketplace, but the shape of my StopPee© is slightly different, to cater for the smaller dog’s more slender body. The StopPee© is also suitable for little dogs who are ill or convalescing, or are old and infirm, and also for young adults who have not quite yet mastered the art of house training.
AP: How would you describe your works?
JG: I think my Designs are Individual and Unique, I don’t think that there is anybody else producing printed beds for little Dogs. I know there are lots of embroidered pet products, and other types of personalized products for pets, but I do believe my printed products, which can be personalised with whatever image and text you like, are unique and individual to my customer and their little Pet.
AP: What kind of equipment and techniques do you use?
JG: I like to work with Fleece mainly. It is very cosy for the pet, soft and warm and comfy. Hence my Name, ComfyPets, A Comfy Pet is a Happy Pet. I use a specialist printing ink and heat press technique to add the image and text to my fleece. It is melted into the fibres and produces a permanent image into the fibres of the fabric. This cannot be washed out, peeled, or cracked. It actually does become a part of the fabric.
AP: Would you consider yourself as an expert in this sphere?
JG: No I am not an expert, I still have a lot to learn, and even now I do not consider myself to be particularly creative in design, I just like good old fashioned values, soft, warm and cosy. I am passionate about what I do, but not an expert by any means and yes I am very motivated and enthusiastic about the future…
AP: What is your success formula?
JG: Positivity and Perseverance. You are never going to achieve what you want out of life without a lot of hard work, set backs and constructive criticism. When you start receiving positive feedback, it is highly motivating, but you should never be complacent, always look forward and move on and constantly try to better yourself and carry on learning.
AP: Is there someone who helps you in your creativity?
JG: My Partner of 17 years supports me in everything I do. We support each other. He has been my rock over the past few years, and everything I do is because of him, and for the both of us. My Dogs are also my Backbone. Without them, I may not be here today…