Behind the Brand – Pigments by Liv Unveiled

Founder of Pigments by Liv | Olivia Howlett

Hey, thank you for taking the time to check out my website! My name is Liv, I am 23 years old and as you may have guessed the founder of Pigments by Liv.

I love hockey, wherever I go, the clubhouse always feels like home. My other pleasure is reading, my idea of heaven is a good book and a beach or perhaps a cup of tea. However, reading has left me with an unquenchable desire to travel the world.

Anyways, enough about me. Let me tell you about the catalyst of events that led me to create Pigments by Liv, just one year after graduating from University.

Founding Pigments by Liv

An Interest in Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship has always fascinated me; I would like to say it runs in my veins as both my parents run their own respective businesses. When I was at Primary School my cousin and I would sell woolen bracelets on the playground for 20p each. Every time we would visit them in the Lake District, we turned her room into a factory that looked like an intricate spider’s web.

The allure of entrepreneurship has continued to pull me, I believe it is because it fosters a similar environment to that of sport. During an internship at a rapidly expanding aviation company, I was lucky enough to discover such an environment. From then on, I supported start-ups wherever I could, from massive Fintech unicorns like Monzo to the smallest businesses on Etsy.

Skip ahead a couple of years, I had graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in marketing and landed a job at a Digital Agency. Believing I was venturing down the right path, I felt surprisingly restless and frustrated during my time there. Only when working on a start-up client account did I feel a similar buzz to what I felt previously during my internship.

Graduation, July 2019

A Series of Unfortunate Events

In the Spring of 2020, like many other graduates, my career was cut short by the disruption of a pandemic that would rock the world, COVID-19. Sadly, I was made redundant, my travel plans shattered, and found myself pent up at my parents’ house. For awhile I was completely lost and suffocating from a growing pressure to find a new income.

In my spare time, I had begun to teach myself to code to improve my employability, although I was prepared to accept any job in such bleak circumstances. Then I heard about a flurry of people turning their hobbies into businesses, in addition to a huge uplift in eCommerce.

At the same time, my Nana sadly passed-away after catching the deadly virus. For the funeral, my Mum asked me to paint some daffodils for her, her favourite flowers. “I’ve always said you could sell these”, she said when I gave her the completed painting.

Daffodil watercolour for Nana | Pigments by Liv

The Original Daffodil Print

Painted for my Nana xx

April, 2020 

The birth of Pigments by Liv

The combination of all these events made me ask the question, why not? Personally, I needed a project. Moreover, I had the creative talent, an abundance of time, and had always wanted to try building a website. Regardless, I would learn lots by undertaking the project.

Many YouTube videos later, here we are. I have developed a fully functioning website and brand! If I am completely honest, I am very proud of myself and really enjoyed the whole process. Now, I am looking forward to doing a lot of website tinkering in the future now that I know that coding CSS is not as scary as I first thought.

How did I learn to paint?

The originality of Pigments by Liv comes from the prints themselves, every single one of these paintings and sketches was and will be done by me. I, therefore, feel the need to share how my relationship with art has evolved over the years.

Ever since I can remember I have been drawing. When I was a child, one of my best presents was a Super Graph, I would trace the animals in my encyclopedia for hours on end. As a teenager, I saved enough pocket money to buy a Graphics Tablet and delved into the world of digital art. Consequently, this was where I became familiar with Photoshop.

At school, Art was without a doubt my favourite subject, however demanding it was. I carried it all the way to A-Level, where I focused on painting portraits with oils and, despite the exhaustion earned the only A* in my class.

A-Level Art Portrait | Pigments by Liv

A-Level Art Final Submission Pieces, March – May 2015

A-Level Art Final Piece | Pigments by Liv

I think the intensity of A-Level art caused me to lose touch with my passion. At university, it took me until the second year to pick up a paintbrush again as I was searching for stress-relief from the end-of-semester exams. Since then, art has become a refuge for me, an escape where I can once again get lost in a world of colour.

Inspired by Nature

I love animals, I think nature is just so beautiful and really motivates me to go grab a pencil and just sketch. This is why I have made it the focus of Pigments by Liv. Without a doubt, I am a cat person, without a doubt. The family’s pet cats have brought me so much joy. I think it is so special to be chosen by a cat, so do not be surprised when a cat print is released eventually!

I know it is not entirely relevant, but the #AdoptDontShop movement is something that is close to my heart. With so many cats in need of a forever home, I have vowed to always adopt cats and not kittens. Izzy, my first cat, was a rescue cat, and late last year we adopted Jynx from Colchester Cat Rescue. She is almost two years old and is absolutely bonkers, but I wouldn’t change her for the world!

Jynx adopted rescue tabby cat | Pigments by Liv
Izzy adopted rescue Tortishell cat | Pigments by Liv

Above: Jynx

Below & Right: Izzy

Tortishell cat watercolour Izzy | Pigments by Liv

Giving back

I intend for nature to inspire all the prints available to buy on Pigments by Liv, but I also want my brand to give back. A year ago, my boyfriend and I made a conscious effort to reduce our carbon footprint after watching Our Planet. Our Planet is a documentary on Netflix, narrated by the God who is David Attenborough, showing the truly devastating impact we are having on our environment. If you haven’t yet, please give it a watch.

I have seen quite a few brands donate a proportion of their profits towards a wildlife charity, and I want to investigate this for the future Pigments by Liv. For now, all manufacturing is ethical. I also hope the brand can provide some sort of education and raise awareness of the natural world.

So, there you have it, a bit about me, the brand, the art, and what inspired it. Hopefully, I can inspire other artists to do the same because talent is best shared

‘Til next time!

Liv

xxx

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