A schoolgirl from Brough has turned entrepreneur by producing hand-drawn designs on a variety of goods — including a range called A hug in a mug from Lois in lockdown.
Since the summer, 10-year-old Lois Atkinson has been sketching designs which are being printed on things such as mugs, flasks and keyrings.
With the help of mum Laura in marketing the goods, Lois Atkinson Designs is now working in conjunction with a number of local businesses and has had orders from as far away as Surrey.
Lois is a Year 6 pupil at Brough Primary School and lives near the village at Augill Lodge with her parents Steven and Laura, who run Atkinson Earth Moving Contracts Limited. She has three brothers — 13-year-old Joseph, Harry, aged six, and 12-week-old Alfred.
Laura said: “It all started with a cow image she did on her iPad on our way back from Mainsgill.
“We said how wonderful it was and thought it would be nice to have it printed on different items.”
Family friend Sandy Lancaster, who runs Stitched Up in Eden at Kirkby Stephen, agreed to print the image on some mugs and keyrings and now works alongside Lois to produce goods as the orders come in.
A Facebook page has been set up and the business has got off to a flying start.
“From the initial design, Lois was quite quickly working on a spaniel image.
She has a love of animals and so they all tend to be on that theme,” said Laura. “She then decided to do a series of images for mugs and included the strawberry cow, the spaniel, a ‘blueberry ewe’ and ‘pineapple piglets.”
She has gone on to produce an afternoon tea cat and was commissioned from a customer in Surrey to design a new puppy.
Turning her attentions to Christmas, Lois has produced a festive range of designs, which include images named piglet’s puddings, Rudolph Robin, turkey and cranberry sandwiches and a three-bird roast.
The festive series has been printed on Christmas cards and mugs.
Lois has developed this idea further to create A hug in a mug from Lois in lockdown and has forged links with local businesses, including Blue Swallows Guest House, Penrith, which is producing Scottish tablet confectionery to go in the mugs, as well as a sachet of hot chocolate from Kendal company Penningtons Tea and Coffee, which can be packaged into any of the mug designs.
Laura added: “I’m doing a lot of the marketing for her but she is doing all the designs. It’s just a weekend thing at the minute and she is enjoying doing it.
“It’s a pocket money business at this stage. She is doing very well and has managed to buy a nice duvet set she wanted and a new drawing app for her iPad.
“We are very proud of her and we have noticed how this has helped to build her confidence. It is developing social skills within Lois, giving her a good idea of the cost of things and helping her develop initial accounting skills.”
Lois’s money-making project has even inspired her younger brother Harry, who has been allowed to buy stock to create Christmas decorations and Christmas “gonks”.
Lois’ products are available through Lois Atkinson Designs Facebook page or at Stitched Up in Eden.