Maker Interview: Pepper Raccoon

Maker Interview is a new section on where we interview a local handmade business owner. This week we interviewed the super talented Pepper from Pepper Raccoon.

1. Tell us a little bit about your business. What do you create? Where are you based?

Pepper Raccoon is my alter-ego who has existed for about a decade. I’ve just recently turned it into a brand for my shop! I sell pins, art prints, and commissioned works at the moment, but am soon to be adding patches and stickers to my selection! I lived in Wellington for a few years (so I have a bit of a base here), and then moved up to the Far North in March.


2. What inspired you to start your business?

I’ve always been really into collecting patches, pins, and other art objects. There’s so many illustrators online, and I’d been slacking on my art for a few years, so I used that as motivation to get started again!


3. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Nature, my partner’s cooking, other artists, cartoons/comics…pretty much everywhere. I spend a lot of time outside with animals and plants, and my partner is a professional chef, so I get inspiration from drawing what he’s dreaming up in the kitchen.


4. What do you enjoy about your business? What have been some of your favourite moments?

I love being based online, and being able to connect with everyone over Twitter, Tumblr, and FB. My favourite moments are always connecting with new people, and having people I’ve never met find joy in the things I create.

5. What plans do you have for your business over the next 6 months?

I’m still very new to running my own business, so it’ll likely be balanced against my freelance design job…but I’m planning on creating more pins, stickers, and patches. For October, I’ll be doing a drawing a day for Inktober, and putting that into a zine for sale at the end of the month.


6. What’s your advice for someone wanting to start their own creative business?

Just do it! As stupid and clichéd as it sounds, there’s no better time to start than now. All you need is one idea. Be kind to other artists and they’ll help you out, but also take the time to find your own manufacturers/printers/etc. Having your own supply chain means you’ll have something that’s truly your own.

7. Do you have any pets? If so, tell us about them.

Not at the moment, I rent and am very close to home ownership, when I will absolutely be adopting a dog from the SPCA the second we get settled!

8. Are you a follower of any pets/animals on social media? Which one(s) are your favourite?

I’m always a big fan of @ProBirdRights, which technically isn’t a real animal or pet, but a hilarious bird character.

9. Where can we find you online?

Peep my shop at:
For my design work:
Follow me on Twitter: sempercaps
Instagram: pepperraccoon
FB Page:


Craft Central Artisan Market


Craft Central Artisan Market is coming up on 8 October! I’ll be there with my jewellery, including lots of new pieces that I haven’t had available at markets before. It’s from 10am-4pm at Macs Function Centre on the waterfront. There will also be free workshops.

Have you seen all the new stock in the Leroy, Betty & Co etsy store? So many pretty new items!


It’s nearly October which means it’s nearly time to print the next lot of custom earrings! Get in now to make sure yours are shipped next week. Click the image below for details.


Custom earrings now available

If you’re a fan of the Leroy, Betty and Murphy earrings, guess what?  Now you can get a pair featuring YOUR pet!  Information on how to order your own pair custom pet earrings can be found in my etsy store.

As these earrings need to be run in batches, I’ll be creating them only once a month.  The first run will be next week, during the first week of June and there are a few spots still available.


I’ve booked into three markets during June and July, and have applied for 1-2 more.  More information will be available closer to the dates of the markets.

Last week, I made the tough decision to discontinue all bottle necklaces.  These have bee popular ever since the launch of my etsy store back  in May 2012.  There are still some left, and they are now on clearance prices – $10 down from $17!  All available necklaces can be found on etsy in the sale section of my store.

bottle sale

Sale Time!


It’s sale time in my etsy store!

Lots of items on sale, including some that have only been available at markets (not online) previously.  It’s only while stocks last, so once an item is gone, it won’t be available again.

Prices start at just $8, so grab yourself a bargain while you can!

1 December!

Wow, hasn’t December come around quickly this year?  I’m very much looking forward to Christmas – the tree is up, I’ve started playing carols at home and I’ve started shopping for gifts.

Below is a photo of our tree.  I call it Ridiculous Tree because it’s so tall and full of decorations – it’s so awesome that it’s ridiculous.  We’ve had it for eight Christmases now and every year we add more decorations.

Photo 28-11-15, 1 49 45 PM

Coming up for me, I will be at Craft Central next week!  I am so excited to attend this market, and I highly recommend attending.  The quality of items for sale at Craft Central is always really high and a wide variety to get your Christmas shopping done.

ROXY Postcard 2015

If you’re planning on getting some Christmas shopping done online, I’m currently offering free shipping within New Zealand!  Just enter the coupon ‘FREESHIPNZ’ at checkout and your postage will be free!

This coupon is valid on both my Felt and Etsy stores.

Photo 23-11-15, 12 51 19 PM

Christmas gift ideas for furry family members

With the Christmas season coming up, I’ve started gift shopping for my family.  When I say family, that of course includes Leroy, Betty & Murphy.

While I haven’t bought them anything yet, I’ve compiled a small list of some of my favourite gifts for pets this Christmas.

1. The Jungle Pet Bowl by Evie Kemp.

A photo posted by eviekemp (@eviekemp) on

I’m a huge fan of pretty much anything Evie Kemp creates.  She has a great eye for colour and isn’t afraid to try something new.  The Jungle ceramic pet bowl (modelled above by Pebbles) is super cute and I love the colour!

The Jungle Pet Bowl is available for $49 on Evie’s website.

2. A gift box subscription from NZ Dog Box.


A photo posted by NZ DOG BOX (@nzdogbox) on

NZ Dog Box is such a great idea.  You can subscribe to a monthly delivery, or make a one-off order for a gift box for your dog.  Each gift box contains 5-6 premium treats/toys for your dog, and if you subscribe the items in the box are different each month.  Best part is the boxes differ depending on the size of your dog.  Such a great idea – my two play with completely different toys than a much bigger dog.

Visit their website for more information on their boxes.

3. Some biscuits from Droolies

Droolies Biscuits are a perfect treat for dogs.  They are made with natural, free range, fair trade ingredients, so you can be sure there aren’t any of the nasty additives found in some store bought food.  Also, 50 cents from each bag purchased is donated to charity.

Buy Droolies Biscuits from their website.

4.  Leanlix  

A photo posted by Puss and Pooch (@pusspooch) on

Leanlix is a great idea.  It’s a healthy way to reward your dog without feeding them too many calories.  Each Leanlix contains enough for more than 5000 licks so it’s definitely value for money!

Buy Leanlix from Puss & Pooch.

5.  A denim vest from Pet Haus

A photo posted by PetHaus (@hellopethaus) on

Pet Haus is easily one of my favourite pet apparel brands.  Leroy would look so good in one of their denim vests!

Visit Pet Haus’ website.

Do you buy Christmas gifts for your furry family members?


Hi everyone

Sorry for the lack of posts on the blog over the last few months!  I’ve started a new job at work, and with Leroy, Betty & Co. I’ve been focusing on making jewellery for my favourite time of year – Christmas!

I’ve added lots of new stock to my etsy and felt stores, including the earrings below.  Not only is there a lot of new stock but you will also find in the stores some of the most popular items from Cats & Whiskers jewellery – including the bottle necklaces!

My first market of the Christmas season coming up this week!  I will be at the Knack Craft Market on Friday the 13th and Saturday the 14th of November.  This market is at Berhampore School and is always one of my favourites – lots of great stalls.  Get all of your Christmas shopping done in one place!


Free gift wrapping is now available if you order online.  Just add a note to your order requesting that your items are wrapped.  This offer ends 24 December.

Do you like Leroy, Betty & Co. on Facebook?  It’s the most up to date place to find out what’ going on, plus there will be some giveaways coming up.


Last chance to get Cats & Whiskers jewellery!

  Hi everyone!
I know it appears that I’ve been very quiet with the handmade side of LB&C, but there are things happening! More details to come on that, but for now, I will be removing all remaining Cats & Whiskers jewellery from my etsy store at the end of this week. This means you only have a few more days to buy these items, which are only $5 each. 

Get in while you can, because once they’re gone, they won’t be available at this price again, it at all!

Visit the sale section of my store today. 


Yaky Charms

I recently won a competition through Puss and Pooch for Leroy & Betty to taste test a new treat being released in NZ soon called Yaky Charms.

Photo 5-07-15 3 09 29 pm

Yaky Charms are like a popcorn for dogs.  They have just four ingredients and you cook them in the microwave.  This YouTube video has some more helpful information.

I love the originality of these treats, in particular the packaging.  They come individually packaged and you pop the bag into the microwave, just like real popcorn.

The instructions are a little bit vague – it says to cook them for at least one minute but up to three minutes, and to listen for the popping of the treats to stop.  I couldn’t really hear the treats popping so I let the treats cook for just over a minute.  About that time, instead of popping, I heard a crackle.  I looked in the microwave and the bag was ON FIRE!  I quickly stopped the microwave and threw the whole bag into some water.

I was determined to try again, and to get it right.  Second shot I let them cook in the microwave for around 50 seconds.  This time I did hear a faint popping, and stopped the microwave once the popping lessened.

I poured the treats into a bowl.  It was strange, only about half of the treats had popped, yet the bag was slightly burned again.  Possibly I was doing something wrong, but I’m not sure what.  However, enough had popped for Leroy and Betty to try some.

Photo 5-07-15 3 16 20 pm (1)


I gave Leroy and Betty a couple each to try and they loved them!  Betty scoffed them quickly, and Leroy (who only has half the amount of teeth that he should have) managed to eat some slower but still easily.

Photo 5-07-15 3 17 14 pmPhoto 5-07-15 3 16 56 pm (1)


I left the leftovers in a bowl on the kitchen bench, then found Murphy with his head in the bowl!  They have some dairy in them, and Murphy loves anything dairy related.

Photo 5-07-15 3 21 41 pm

Yaky Charms seem to be a healthy, light treat for dogs, and, with some practice, easy to prepare.  Leroy and Betty loved the taste, and the fact that Leroy found them easy to eat was a big bonus for me.

These will be available in NZ from August.

Pet Photos with Tara

I have managed to meet some wonderful, talented people through Twitter.  One of the people I’ve been lucky enough to get to know is Tara Sutherland.  Tara is a very skilled photographer and specialises in pet photography.

As Tara isn’t based in Wellington, I’ve had to admire her photos from afar, mostly on her Facebook page and her Instagram account.  She has an amazing skill at capturing a pet’s personality in the photo, and managing to make the photos look natural and not posed at all.

Late last year, Tara was in Wellington for a weekend.  We booked in for a photo session for Leroy and Betty with her at Evans Bay.  Leroy and Betty were pretty shy of Tara at first (as they are with most people they haven’t met before), but she knows exactly how to work with the animals to help them come out of their shells and feel comfortable, so pretty soon they were settled enough for some great photos.

I was so happy with the photos that I actually cried when I saw the first one!  They are gorgeous photos and capture both Betty and Leroy’s personalities perfectly.  Tara’s love for animals shines in her skill working with the animals and in the photos taken.


Tara is back in Wellington at the end of April, and is available for photo sessions. If you’ve ever thought about having professional photos taken of your fur babies, I highly recommend booking a session.

Wgtn_Charlie-1000x813You can see more of Tara’s amazing work on her website and Facebook page.