Creator Profiles: Supporting Independent Creators

Dec 22, 2020

Posted by: Emma Pocock

Fan Creators, Fandom, News

Whether you’re looking for a bedside candle to gift a loved one, a print for your friend to hang on their wall, or hand-knitted House scarves for your kids, independent creators, with their multitude of talents in crafting unique gifts, offer some of the best options when looking for gift-giving inspiration.

This piece may be a little delayed (all thanks to Covid-19), but we hope this will inspire you to shop through independent vendors in future, and if you’ve still got a few late gifts to purchase, let this be a reminder of all the wonderful creators out there for you to support, and how your support (whether that be through purchasing a print, supporting a creator on Patreon, or simply spreading the word about them online) means the world to them!

To get some insight into independent creators, we spoke to:

– Jenna (she/her), a California-based LGBTQ+ graphic designer who has been running Swish and Flick since April 2018.

Swish & Flick sells beautiful enamel pins, stickers, bookmarks, washi tape, prints & more, including a House Pride pins (this Ravenclaw one is my favourite, although I am biased), a Black Lives Matter sticker (with all profits going to Campaign Zero), and Pride / Trans Rights bolt pins (all pre-order profits for these pins went to The Trevor Project).

– Alaura (she/her) and Aubrey (she/her), the real-life sisters – a Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw duo – who have been running Muggle Born Sisters for over four years.

Muggle Born Sisters specializes in enamel pins, as well as decals, patches, keychains, bags, socks and coins. Our favourites are the Leaky Cauldron key pin, and the Leaky Cauldron shop sign pin. We’re also obsessed with these Floo tokens, and their “Common Room in a Bottle” decals!

– Jemely & Jeremy Jayme (the Jayme Twins – both she/her), who have been running Jayme Twins for a little over a year online, but for a whole five years in-person vending at conventions!

Jayme Twins create wonderful works of art, including the most incredible Celestina Warbeck poster you’ll ever see, these awesome S.P.E.W. badges, and a collection of Colin Creevey’s photographs (the Harry Potter Darkroom series), as well as photographs of Jacob Kowalski’s bakery! Also be sure to check out Black Girls Create’s Be Witchin’ shirt, designed by the Jayme Twins! You can also support them on Patreon, here.

1. Why do you think it’s important to be supporting fan creators? 

Muggle Born Sisters: I think that the range of products and styles that are available to a fandom is so much greater due to fan creators! Each maker and artist brings their own unique style to a project and their own interpretation. Most of my favorite pieces in my own collection are by independent artists and makers! The quality of the items these people create is amazing, which often isn’t the case with the licensed lines of merchandise. Plus when you buy from a small maker, you are supporting them in doing a thing that they love!

Jayme Twins:  It’s important to support fan creators to keep our nuanced and specific fan communities alive. Creators feed those specific needs in fandom communities that can’t ALL be fulfilled by official merch sometimes.

Swish & Flick: I think it’s important to support fan creators because the majority of us are artists with our own small businesses, doing what we love and trying to make a living at it. We work really hard and are so passionate about what we do. We aren’t some big corporation that doesn’t really care about what they’re making, or their customers. Generally I think that fan creators create better designs and better quality work as well, because we are fans of the content ourselves and also are involved in the whole process from start to finish. I think supporting small businesses in general is a great thing.

2.  How else can people support fan creators? (Other than buying their products, of course!)

Muggle Born Sisters: Social media is such an important thing for small businesses and fan creators. Liking and especially commenting on and sharing Instagram and Facebook posts helps them to be seen by more people. Plus, makers love love love reading nice comments! Makes us smile every single time! 

Jayme Twins:  Sharing their work and crediting them sometimes goes a longer way than just buying their products. Like, comment, follow them, and especially share and tag them! It will lead into other nerds geeking out with you and maybe even befriending the creator themselves! The more eyes get onto the creators content, the more support they get, and the more stuff they’ll keep creating…and the cycle continues.

Swish & Flick: Of course buying products is the best way to support creators, but there are lots of other ways to support us that are free! You can follow us on social media and engage with our posts. Every save, share, comment, and like means a lot to us. You can also tell your friends and family about us! If you have bought something, leaving a review is a great way to show support. If you have a blog or a social media presence, giving shout outs is a great way to show support as well. I also believe that creators should support other creators.

3. Is there something you wish more people knew about fan creators? 

Muggle Born Sisters: I sometimes wish people could see my face when I get an order or read a nice comment or email! I wish they could see how happy it makes us that people like what we create! Know that every time you shop small a maker somewhere does a little dance!

Jayme Twins:  Often times than not, we make things because we want to see them fully realized just as much as any fan. We spend hours and hours toiling over our work and every detail because we love and care that much about the fandom too! Reach out to your favorite creators and let them know that you appreciate all the time and hard work they’re contributing to your fandom.

Swish & Flick: I suppose I just wish that more people were aware of how much passion and work goes on behind the scenes. I think sometimes people forget or don’t realize that some of us with small businesses are just one person, working from home on their own, and that this is our livelihood.

Many thanks to Jenna, Alaura, Aubrey, Jemely and Jeremy for getting involved in this piece! Be sure to check them out at Swish & Flick, Muggle Born Sisters & Jayme Twins, and remember to support independent creators wherever you can!

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.