Archive: March 2015

A Look Behind the Scenes of Laura Felicity Design

Going Behind the Scenes of Laura Felicity Design.

Laura Felicity Design creates beautiful screen-printed homewares, gifts and greeting cards. We caught up with founder Laura for a sneak peek behind the scenes of Laura Felicity Design; discovering the ideas and inspiration behind this inspiring independent brand.

What inspired you to start Laura Felicity Design? When did you begin?

I’ve always loved being creative, which showed through my school years and degree course. I graduated in 2009 from the University of Hertfordshire with First Class (BA Hons) in ‘Applied Art’, a very practical degree where I was able to learn my skill in screen printing onto paper and fabric.

I especially loved my final year of the degree course and once I graduated I applied to shows and intern work for independent Designer/Makers.

I spent 9 months interning, exhibiting at selling shows, developing new designs and making products.
In April 2010 I had been trading for 6 months, and it was the decision to keep going as a business that made me set up Laura Felicity Design.

What can you tell us about your indie business? What sets you apart from your corporate contemporaries?

Laura Felicity Design is a London-based independent business specialising in luxury and design. My silk-screen printing skills and hand drawn patterns come together to create elegant handmade wallpapers and interior accessories.

All product materials are sourced within Britain and the collection is completely hand drawn, handmade and silk screen printed within the UK. Laura Felicity Design wants to bring a sense of the traditional, handcrafted, high quality era of British industry to all products.

What sets LFD apart from my corporate contemporaries is as well as the ready-to-buy products you can purchase through the online shop and independent retailers, I also provide colour matching and bespoke design services. These are for individual clients looking for an extra unique touch to their home when getting the look for their wallpaper and home accessories.

What’s your role in the business? What’s your favourite things about your job / running an indie business?

As well as the Creative Director, I’m also the designer, screen printer, admin, finance, marketing, and PR lady…the list is endless; I’m mainly a one-woman band. But it’s great (for the moment) because I am able to learn all areas of the business before I am able to hand over specific roles, growing my expertise in all aspects of my business.

One of my favourite things about my job is that everyday is different! It’s great to wake up and look at the diary to see what is planned for that specific day, and knowing it won’t be the same as yesterday. It’s very refreshing, and it certainly keeps me entertained, there is never a dull, quiet day, which is great because I can get bored very easily.

Are there other people in your business? What can you tell us about the rest of the team?

I do have external companies who do the making of my home accessories (cushions & lampshades) and lavender bags, which are independent businesses based in the UK.

They are a joy to work with and enable me to focus on the making side that I love the most; screen printing, plus I then have time to market, develop and grow the business.

Here at Piccadilly Lane, we believe that independents offer an amazing combination of unique design and high quality. Do you agree? How do you ensure this happens at Laura Felicity Design?

I am very lucky that the designs I have are triggered from inspiration around me whether it’s out walking the dogs, a little bit of packaging I have collected or trips to markets I visit. I find inspiration in the beauty and delicacy of patterns in a range of different areas, from the softness of nature to the clean lines of geometry. This inspiration follows through in my work, creating unique designs that unite patterns and layers in graceful combinations. My aim is always to design a piece that has an atmosphere of freshness and depth, inviting people into the pattern.

This also continues through with whom I work with in terms of making. I always look for the quality of the finished product to make sure the combination of unique design and high quality is achieved.

You recently started running workshops for people interested in creating their own screen-prints. What has been the reaction? Are you enjoying passing on your wisdom?

The workshops I run have been great fun, and I have had a fabulous response; to the extent they are now a regular part of my business. It’s great to explain my profession in general conversation, but to have people try what screen-printing and experience how I work is great for me. I enjoy teaching people the traditional process. It’s also brilliant for people to have an insight into the physical work involved; it’s not as easy as it looks! The workshops are evolving and I now do screen printing, lino printing and lampshade making for organised workshops, hen parties, and corporate team building.

You currently specialise in screen-printed products? What inspires you about this area of design? Do you plan to continue in this area or do you have plans to extend your collection?

My screen print passion developed in the years during my degree. I love the effects it creates onto fabric and paper, as well as the handmade result you achieve when printing. It is a beautiful discipline, very hands on, but therapeutic and also satisfying when you see the results you imagined.

I will always have screen printing as part of my business, it’s definitely one of the USP’s for LFD. I am branching out a little with a digital print wallpaper collection, consisting of two new designs (due to be released at the end of March 2015). However there will be a new screen print home accessories range to compliment the new digital print collection.

Your products feature original screen-printed artwork. What can you tell us about the process of creating these designs?

The process to create one of my designs is fairly traditional. It starts with a trigger, this can be from something I am inspired by, or have seen, which sparks an idea. The idea is then researched, where I collate imagery through photos, Pinterest, magazines, props etc and I start to draw in my sketchbook.
All designs are hand drawn, then scanned into Photoshop and manipulated to form the right size and composition. A new design tends to start off as a wallpaper pattern, then once that has been a successful print, the design is formed to fit onto home accessories.

Once I’m happy with the design, it’s printed onto translucent film, exposed onto one of my many screens and then I can begin to print with a range of different colours I think will suit the pattern. All colours are hand mixed by myself, and I research the colours via swatches from paint cards and magazines.

Your collection shows great attention to detail and quality. What can you tell us about the craftsmanship involved?

It has taken me seven years to perfect my screen print technique, and I’m still always learning about the process. I had an excellent tutor during University who made sure you don’t do things by halves when it came to printing, and this has been tuned into my brain even to this day.

I also think with many ‘hands on disciplines’ like screen-printing the more time and training you put into it, the more you progress as a craftsman/woman. I tend to say to my classes, “screen printing is not a skill you will learn and perfect in the matter of two hours. It’s a discipline that you develop over time the more you practice”.

I’m also a perfectionist (which doesn’t always suit a screen printer). If I’m not happy with a print I will reprint to get it right ensuring the product it turns into is of the best quality. All mistakes onto wallpaper and fabric are turned into samples or small products though – nothing is wasted if I can help it!

Why should people shop with you? What makes you different?

At Laura Felicity Design I pride myself on being a British business; creating all products in-house and with skilled suppliers from around Britain. Shopping with LFD ensures you are supporting UK’s economy.

Laura Felicity Design is different. Whether you are looking for a complete interior set (wallpaper, cushions, lampshades and more) or you just want a small enhancement to your existing interior that you simply can’t find elsewhere on the High Street. You’ll be sure to find something handmade and beautiful from my product collection, or through working with my colour matching and bespoke design services.

We LOVE independents and think more people should be supporting them. Why do you think people should shop with independent businesses like yours?

I think it’s great to support and buy from independents like myself because we are supporting and helping grow our economy both locally and nationally.

Although we are more and more aware that larger companies tend to import their products to cut costs, we are still very unaware the conditions people are working in to make these products, and how much they get paid. It can’t be much when costs can be kept very cheap, especially when you consider the large companies are still making a profit!

With an independent you know this isn’t the case. We enjoy what we do, we thrive on what we produce and it’s very beneficial. You are helping individuals make a living and keep Britain’s businesses going through times when local independents and high streets are in need of huge support.

Last but not least, what’s your favourite independent business and why?

I have a few favourite independent businesses I love to follow and support. One of them is bluebellgray, who I met at Home, Trade Show in 2013.

The company is a great example of an independent British business that offers unique designs and gorgeous quality products. They are doing it right in my eyes, which I really admire because they started as a one woman band (like myself) and are now a small, (yet growing) UK business making a success of it!

See all the latest gifts and homewares from Laura Felicity Design featured in the Piccadilly Lane directory.

You can also find more indie homeware shops too!

Posted by Charlotte 15:16 30/03/15
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Here Are The Best Indie Shops Recommended by The Avant-Card Company

The Avant-Card Company Founder Lewis Tydeman Shares his Favourite Indie Shops.

Lewis Tydeman is a freelance illustrator, all round creative and owner of The Avant-Card Company. After ten years of success in packaging design and interior design, Lewis returned to his real love of illustration; launching The Avant-Card Company in July 2013.

Specialising in contemporary greeting cards and paper goods, this independent, family-run business is going from strength to strength. Their cards can be found in a growing number of shops across the UK, including numerous National Trust shops. Along with his trusty team Lewis plans to keep creating amazing cards and expanding to illustrated gifts.  An ambition we here at Piccadilly Lane HQ cannot wait to see happen!

In the meantime, we asked Lewis to share his favourite independent shops and websites. With a keen eye for great design and appreciation for vintage style we know he’ll have some amazing indie finds. Over to Lewis …

Wigwam, West Dulwich, London.

We love this independent, small, family-run shop selling gifts, toys and cards for babies and small children. The shop has a classic old school feel to it, the owner sells products from small British companies making it a bit more special. When paying a visit to the shop the owner couldn’t be more helpful especially when you’re looking for something particular and if the shop doesn’t have quite what you need the owner will be happy to source it for you. The owner is also very enthusiastic about the local community and business; so much so that she initiated a street market fair, which is proving successful.

Hus and Hem.

If you’re a lover of all things Scandinavian like us, then you will love Hus and Hem. This online shop has one of the largest selection of products from Sweden, Finland and Denmark including home decorations, fabrics and stationery. The owners of Hus and Hem make regularly visits to these countries to source new things so the site always has something different on offer to tempt you.

Whippet, Balham, London.

This is truly the most gorgeous shop found in South West London. Selling a carefully selected range of contemporary and innovative stock including a great selection of cards and wrap. The retailer also has a passion for mid-century modern and retro. You’ll find contemporary items from the likes of Repeat Repeat and Isak sitting comfortably alongside vintage Bitossi, West German ceramics and retro Murano glass. This gives the shop a fresh unique look and feel that is rarely found. And you won’t find a friendlier and welcoming owner who makes the shopping experience all the more enjoyable.

Mrs Robinson, Dulwich, London.

Mrs Robinson is a very coo,l independent gifts and home interiors store found on a popular street in Dulwich. They sell a mix of vintage, modern and reproduction furniture and accessories.  They also have a range of kitchen accessories, garden furniture, lighting clothing and a huge selection of kitsch products and gifts for every occasion. Gifts are displayed alongside ornaments across the range of tables and dressers that are also for sale. They keep an eye out for local talents and emerging community artists whom they support, as noticed in their selection of greeting cards and art.

The Kid Who.

We love this online children’s lifestyle and gift store; winners of Best Independent Lifestyle Boutique in 2014. Based in Brighton this family run business looks to Europe for their eclectic stock. Boasting some of the best contemporary brands and artists today. Their unusual and interesting products make it easy to find the ideal gift for the modern kid. Much of their selection is influenced by Scandinavia but they also endeavour to find brands that you won’t have found elsewhere online. One to keep in your browser favourites.

Wrap, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire.

One of the loveliest dedicated greeting cards and wrap shops we’ve come across. This independent, family business offers a great range of blank cards with strong emphasis on contemporary design or classical images making their stock rather unique. You will certainly find a card you have never seen before as the owner sources his cards and wrap from independents rather than just agents or publishers. The shop also offers a small selection of gifts, either produced locally or from some well known brands. The shop is located in the picturesque market town of Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire so well worth a visit.

Quaint and Belle, Peckham, London.

From the name of this shop you get an idea of what’s on offer behind its doors. Quaint, curious gifts and beautiful homeware; including a contemporary and extensive range of independent locally sourced and known brand greeting cards. This shop has a vibrant presence from where it is situated on the corner of Bellenden Road. This continues inside with the great choice of small gifts, home decorations, flowers and plants found in its garden. The shop also boasts specialist items for its locals or those who have a love for SE London. Its owner is from a fashion illustration background and this can be seen in her colourful and eclectic mix.

& now it’s time to check out the brand behind this great list. Take a look at the latest stylish greeting cards from The Avant-Card Company.

You can also find more indie card shops like The Avant-Card Company right here in the Piccadilly Lane directory.

Posted by Charlotte 11:37 27/03/15
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Quick & Easy Ways to Celebrate Easter in Style

Add a Little Fun to Easter with Caroline Gardner Goodies.

Are you looking for some cards and gifts to brighten your Easter holidays?

Following Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, Easter is the first spring holiday that the whole family can enjoy together. Combining bank holidays, school holidays and a greater chance of sunshine, it’s the perfect holiday to celebrate with some fun and fabulous Easter treats.

But where do you find amazing card and gifts that will add a little style to this spring holiday?

For us here at Piccadilly Lane HQ there’s no better place to turn than the fab Caroline Gardner. For Easter 2015, the team at this industry-leading independent have created a wonderful selection of stylish designs.

Let’s take a look at what’s on offer …

easter 2015 pick - hen and chick easter card caroline gardner

 

The ‘Hen and Chick’ Easter card is a cool, stylish way to wish your favourite friends and family a ‘Happy Easter’. Priced £2.50 this card is a great choice for hens and chicks of any age.

easter 2015 - say so i'm no quitter easter card caroline gardner

While the “I Would Give Up Chocolate” greeting card is the perfect pick for chocolate fans. £2.50.

easter card pack caroline gardner

Ideal for little Easter revellers is this super cute ‘Easter Egg Hunt’ card pack. At £4.95 for a pack of 10 notecards, it’s a great way to invite friends and family to your Easter events or thank them for a delicious Easter Egg gift.

easter 2015 - egg hunt gift bag caroline gardner

No Easter celebration would be complete without an Egg Hunt and this gift bag is the perfect way to round up some chocolate delights. At £2.95 it’s also a handy way to deliver Easter Eggs to the special people in your life.

say so egg cups caroline gardner

Our last pick is the ideal way to add a little style to your Easter breakfast. Treat yourself to some bright design and cool typography with these ‘Say So’ Egg cups. £12.00 for a set of two cups presented in a co-ordinated ‘How Do You Like Your Eggs’ gift box.

To find out more about any of these delightful designs please visit the Caroline Gardner showcase right here in the Piccadilly Lane directory.

Posted by Charlotte 13:16 26/03/15
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A Look Behind the Scenes of Bee & Tea’s Botanical Homewares

An ‘Inspiring Indies’ Interview with Bee & Tea Designer of Beautiful Botanical Homewares.

Bee & Tea create stunning botanical homewares. Their collection of art, ceramics, tote bags and tea towels make unique, beautiful gifts. A great way to bring the colours of nature into every home. To find out more about how they create their brilliant botanical-inspired homewares we interviewed company Founder and Bee & Tea’s Chief Artist Bridget Chetwynd.

What inspired you to start Bee & Tea?

My sister and business partner Tash the “Tea” in Bee & Tea suggested we start a homeware business to bring my botanical watercolours into more homes. We started in 2010.

What can you tell us about your Botanical Homewares business?

The designs all stem from my original watercolour paintings from life and I have the designs handmade in the UK to high quality standards by small English manufacturers. So the designs are aesthetic, bold and original.

What’s your role in the business? What’s your favourite things about your job & running an indie business?

My role in the business covers every aspect from painting and designing, overseeing the prototypes, running the website, marketing etc. My favourite part of my job is the creative process and being able to bring the aesthetic designs into production just the way I visualise them without compromise.

Are there other people in your business? What can you tell us about the rest of the team?

Just my sister Tash who helps with sourcing high quality manufacturers, organising production and helping with strategic decisions as to where to approach, where to sell etc.

Here at Piccadilly Lane, we believe that independents offer an amazing combination of unique design and high quality. Do you agree? How do you ensure this happens at Bee & Tea?

I do agree, I design all the products so know they are original based on my watercolour paintings and designs. High quality is achieved through thorough checking and quality control. The beauty of a small business is you can check the quality of your goods before despatch. Source high quality British manufacturers and not sell the products until you have checked them and are 100% happy with the quality. For me this means the goods need to be fit for purpose and practical, so tea towels and laundry bags must be machine washable, mugs able to go in the dishwasher etc.

You recently moved to a new studio. What can you tell us about your new space?

I am really thrilled with my purpose built studio extension in Dalston, I have been able to design a studio with two south facing large sash windows and a 1 metre square roof light so I get fantastic soft constant north light to illuminate the flowers or what ever objects I am painting. I have a simple butler sink on a wooden frame to rinse out brushes, my drawing board, desk and easel and wooden floorboards – easy to clean if they get splattered with paint. It is also better to have my Apple Mac computer and wifi in my studio space so I can answer emails or modify my designs n Photoshop all from the same place.

Are you enjoying having a different creative space for Bee & Tea’s Headquarters?

I am loving my new space, particularly because of the quality of light to paint from, but having been at Craft Central for nearly three years it was a great stepping stone to working out what I needed in a studio space and Bee & Tea creative HQ.

You currently specialise in homeware gifts. What inspires you about this area of design? Do you plan to continue in this area or do you have plans to extend your collection?

The starting focal point for all my designs are my paintings, these inspire the homeware gifts, which Bee & Tea have created. I do plan to continue and venture into, pillowcases, duvet covers, curtains and fabric design. I also have a plan to design floral fabric for women’s shirts to go with the silver Bee & Tea necklace and cufflinks I have designed.

Ultimately I would like to open a wonderful tea shop selling Bee & Tea homeware where customers could stop, replenish and recharge while shopping and the Charity Tea in aid of the Refugee Women’s Association I hold each year is a part of this plan.

Your Botanical Homewares feature incredibly intricate artwork. What can you tell us about the process of creating these designs?

I love detail, and observing the quality of light and how it transforms colour through transparent petals and leaves. Painting in natural daylight from life I try to produce pure representations of what I see and experience as the aesthetic simple beauty of flowers inspires me. I want to communicate this to others through my designs. I came up with the checked borders round the homeware from an antique cup and saucer I saw daily when working as a design assistant for Peter and Pat Rice, (Mathew Rice’s parents, married to Emma Bridgewater). The bumblebees and teapots worked into the checked borders represent me (Bee – Bridget) and my sister Natasha (Tash) Tea. Perhaps having trained in theatre design and made scale models 1:25 I have a love of intricate pattern & detail often demonstrated in antiques and want to reinvent this in a modern classic way.

Your collection shows great attention to detail and quality. What can you tell us about the craftsmanship involved?

The painting from life takes concentration and focus as well as patience, I then use the craftsmanship of skilled British manufacturers such as a family firm of three brothers in Stoke on Trent to translate the designs onto the fine bone mugs using traditional screen-printing processes. The homeware textiles are traditionally hand screen-printed in Lincolnshire using sustainable inks.

Why should people shop with you? What makes you different?

People should shop with Bee & Tea as they will receive a personal service, free gift wrapping if requested and receive high quality, great taste, aesthetically pleasing, long lasting, practical gifts that will enhance the home. What makes Bee & Tea stand out is the original colourful lively chic detailed designs

We LOVE independents and think more people should be supporting them. Why do you think people should shop with independent businesses like yours?

At a time where modern life is dominated by the same chain stores throughout the world and the high street I think people appreciate independent businesses with something more one off, personal and identifiably unique, they can buy a more personal gift for others or keep it themselves!

Last but not least, what’s your favourite independent business and why?

My favourite independent business is Esmie elegant stationery made in England, I have their desk diary, and notebooks of varying sizes and love their elegant paper designs with gold leaf – they give me tremendous pleasure.

Discover more reasons to love indie business Bee & Tea.

& You can see more homeware shops like Bee & Tea right here on Piccadilly Lane.

Posted by Charlotte 10:48 23/03/15
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The Best Indie Shops Recommended by CardNest

CardNest’s David Robinson Shares His Favourite Indie Shops & Websites.

CardNest is a new website offering a unique and exciting way to stay on top of all sorts of occasions. Each month the CardNest team send their members a pack of three greetings cards. Their unique collection of cards are designed exclusively for CardNest by independent artists and illustrators from all over the world. Subscribers receive a lovely mix of birthday, thank you cards, congratulations and all-purpose cards fit for a wide variety of special occasions or a great way to say ‘hello’ in the post.

With entrepreneurial vision and a keen eye for great design we asked CardNest’s Co-Founder and Creative Director David Robinson to share his favourite independent shops and websites.

Cotswold Trading, Broadway, Worcestershire, UK.

The small village of Broadway, Worcestershire, in the heart of the Cotswolds is a quintessential destination in itself, even before exploring the independent shops that line its high street. Nestled in the centre is Cotswold Trading, a gift and housewares shop. Before entering, you’re greeted by its traditional Cotswold stone exterior. Inside, the walls are dressed with beautiful and original accessories, such as the quirky range of Italian Miho Unexpected wall mounted deer and horse heads. They come flat packed, but they’re easy and a lot of fun to put together. Within a relatively small space, it manages to maintain a perfectly defined ‘department store’ status. Shop beauty, kitchen accessories, books and luxury mens accessories.

Bristol Guild, Park Street, Bristol, UK.

It’s not just the original and unique products on offer at Bristol Guild that excites us. Celebrating its centenary in 2008, the Bristol Guild of Applied Art was originally founded by local craftsman, who believed that ‘individual, hand-crafted goods were the only way of preserving good taste, good design and quality manufacture’. Over the years it has drastically expanded, taking on adjacent properties, making Bristol Guild a local Aladdin’s Cave, boasting china and kitchen wares, a children’s department, home accessories and furniture as well as a large food store (perfect for homemade hampers!) and accompanying cafe on the terrace.

Howkapow.

This colourful online shop opened in 2010 by husband and wife Cat and Rog How. They stock innovative, fun and interesting products, working with their pick of independent designers and illustrators. From home and kitchenware, ceramics, lamps and lights to prints and posters, you’ll be sure to find the perfect and unique gift. Our favourites include the Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar Gift Set, this lambswool throw and this Telectric Clock.

Your Street Gift Cards – Bristol, UK.

The ultimate in giving a gift of independent shopping. Bristol, fondly known as the capital of the South West in England, is proud of its independent shopping culture, having introduced its own local currency, the ‘Bristol Pound’ that can only be spent within the city. YourStreet Gift Cards launched in 2013, teaming up with hundreds of independent retailers, offering a gift card that can only be redeemed at these local boutiques and eateries. Boosting the local economy and increasing footfall on our high streets, purchasers and end users get the added benefit of a fuzzy feeling as well as shopping for unique and independent products.

Bailey’s Home and Garden – Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, UK.

From the moment you pull up to Bailey’s large converted barn buildings sitting on the border between England and Wales you know you’re in for a treat. It’s filled with an eclectic range of beautifully simplistic homeware. If you’re searching for something truly unique then this place is hard to beat.

& don’t forget to check out the fabulous CardNest website to get a look at this month’s card selection.

You can also find more indie card shops like CardNest right here in the Piccadilly Lane directory

Posted by Charlotte 12:32 20/03/15
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