Sally Hunter, author and illustrator of the popular Humphrey’s Corner books shares some insights into how the books started and her inspiration.
What was the biggest challenge in the beginning?
The early days were very difficult, I was a single parent, with two children and a new baby and struggling with a mountain of debt and very little money. However, my situation gave me the incentive I needed to create Humphrey and the perseverance to keep making the journeys back and forth to publishers. After a lot of late nights and hard work, my first range of greeting cards was successfully launched at the NEC Spring Fair, greeting card and gift exhibition. One of the people interested in Humphrey’s Corner was a man who owned several greeting card shops. He took some of the samples back home to show his wife, who happened to be the Head of Children’s Books at Penguin Publishers. I explained I had already written and illustrated a book, which arrived on her desk the next day… I am pleased to say they loved it and it went pretty much straight off to print!
Have you ever struggled for inspiration?
I based the three main characters, featured in Humphrey’s Corner, on my own children when they were much younger and they have continued to be a huge inspiration. Lottie, Humphrey’s big sister was based on my daughter Georgie, when she was 5, headstrong and bossy but also sweet, affectionate and my beautiful blue eyed, blonde curly-headed little girl. Humphrey is based on Ralph at 3, he was extra loving, soft tempered and gentle. Very Humphrey like! He got more rebellious through the years but I had a good 6 years of bliss first! He is now a young budding fashion designer with bright green hair. Baby Jack is based on my youngest son Kim, who was just the loveliest, happiest, smiling and funny little one year old ever.
What have you learnt about yourself since you became self-employed?
Apart from Saturday jobs when I was at school, I have never been anything but self employed, so a difficult question to answer, I have always been determined and I believe being self employed, although not an ideal situation for many does make you develop your resourcefulness and tenacity and leaves little room for anything but a positive attitude.
What has been the best thing about being your own boss?
There are so many advantages and I feel very privileged in being my own boss, there are very few day where I don’t enjoy my work immensely and unlike so many people, who are unhappy with their place of work, I look forward to Monday mornings, rather than dreading another week and willing Friday to hurry up.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone with a ‘dream’ an aspiring ‘mumpreneur’ what would it be?
Don’t give up, but be realistic, when you have a good idea or concept it can be difficult to be constructive and commercial, so do your market research and don’t limit it to friends and family.
For more information about Sally and the whole range of Humphrey’s Corner merchandise please visit www.humphreys-corner.com