23 Sep 2017

I’ve just been checking I’ve got everything ready for my last market tomorrow. It’s strange that I don’t really need these business cards anymore and to think this is my last market. I’ve been doing them since 2009. I shudder when I think of that first year, my designs, my set up, my market stall design and how I much I forked out for a table at a market with such a low footfall. I’ve learnt a lot since then. I’ve learnt how much stock to take, to pack ahead of time, not to stress too much and be prepared without over packing!

I also learnt to pick the markets I took part in carefully and @craftyfoxmarket has always been a no-brainer. You know that Sinead and the team will always put so much effort into finding a brilliant venue, market it to bring as many customers as possible and that you will be surrounded by friendly makers. I’ve always loved taking part and been so grateful to Sinead for being so supportive over the years.

I’ve always loved and hated being at the markets in equal measure. Meeting customers face to face is such hard work. You put your products out there (which feel like extensions of yourself) for people to judge. You sometimes can’t help being affected by every person who walks past your stall totally unphased. You want to scream “do you know how much love and sweat I put into every detail here?!”. My worst market I can remember I sold just one card for £2.50. I went home and vowed never to do another - but of course I did. And I learnt over time not to be so affected. Sometimes markets aren’t all about the money you take on the day but about the people you meet - a new trade stockist, a future bespoke client both who would bring in more than one market ever could. While I could never be sure that every market was worth it, whenever I stopped doing them for phases I always saw a drop in interest and sales and so keeping them up has always been a necessary part of my business.

All in all, however, it will be one of the things I don’t miss. I’m not a natural salesperson, I’m a much better shopper! I hope to see some of you shoppers there tomorrow and to get rid of as many cards as I can!

Details for the market are here

Crafty Fox Market, Sunday 24th September 2017, 11am - 5pm

The Department Store, Squire & Partners, 248 Ferndale Road, Brixton, SW9 8FR

14 Sep 2017

Returning to work after maternity leave is always tough, especially so when you are running your own business. There’s no one to whip you into shape and give you orders but yourself. Every bit of work starts and ends with you. But if you are passionate about your business, if it feels connected to who you are and fills you with joy then you make the time. You snatch moments, you lose sleep, you make sacrifices to invest everything you can in your other “baby”. But if your business starts to feel a little alien, a little distant from who you are, then it becomes impossible.

Returning to Prickle Press has felt impossible this year. I’ve had no drive and no vision. At first I thought it was lack of sleep and being overwhelmed by the needs of two kids but even when I did have a moment I didn’t want to plan, design or print. I have changed over the last year and now this business no longer fits me. It no longer feels connected to who I am and I have lost the joy. I’ve spent a lot of time soul searching and realised I have a new vision for my future and Prickle Press isn’t part of it.

So my last market will be this Saturday (Crafty Fox Market in Peckham), I will release my last Christmas designs in October, sell my Chandler & Price press in November and close by December. Please stick around, come and visit me at Crafty Fox this weekend and let me know if you are interested in buying a giant letterpress!

I’ve had so many highlights over the last seven years including being stocked in Anthropologie and Tate Britain, printing invitations for Manolo Blahnik and Vogue and having a stand at Pulse. But what I’m the most proud of is how I built a business from scratch doing a craft I taught myself how to do. I’m going to miss being a part of this incredible creative community online and locally. I’ve met some of the most inspiring people through it and learnt so much from them, from you.

There’s so much more I want to say but for now I’ll just say a big thanks to those of you who have supported me with this decision and helped me come to a place where I feel truly excited about the future. Thank you for supporting me over the last seven years. It’s been an incredible adventure…

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20 Aug 2017

I’ve been having a big debate about how to return to work recently. I’m still not sure how I am going to do it but one thing I can’t seem to stop myself doing is designing cards. I’m just in the process of designing this year’s Christmas cards. I know, it’s warm and Christmas feels an age away but it really isn’t. Whatever happens over the next few months I know that I want to have some new Christmas designs. I LOVE Christmas. Not just for how fun all the decorations and celebrations are but also how it brings us all together. But my favourite tradition of all is the exchange of Christmas cards. I consider is such a privilege that the cards I design are used to send and connect family and friends. It’s why I enjoy being a stationery business at all, being part of people’s correspondence, sharing news and love and best wishes. Christmas cards are where I started - they were the first designs I ever did and they will likely be where I finish too.

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13 Aug 2017

I’ve been honest the last couple of posts about how hard I am finding it returning to work and keeping up with social media while I’m on mat leave (which is becoming a very extended mat leave at the moment!) But I wanted to just share one of the positives as well. While it’s hard to get back to your own business what I love is how part of my life my work is. The girls live in a house with a Victorian press in their front room, I’ve got paper, cards, paints and pens galore and I share them with the girls. My love of card designing, making and sending is now rubbing off on them. We make cards nearly every week for birthdays, thank yous or for no reason at all. While I painted the wedding invitations earlier in the year (above right), Ruth took the paints and did her own design. While Ruth paints I’ve been designing my Christmas cards, playing around with ink and lettering again. She doesn’t like it when I do the lettering, she wants me to paint abstractly with her but in all honesty she is better than I am! Her abstract colours and shapes are so breathtakingly beautiful. Kids have no fear and the paintings show that - the wiggly lines not created with purpose but because she still can’t quite hold the brush right. The colour choices happen without thought. There’s no self-consciousness here. I inspired her to start but she is actually the one inspiring me.

30 Jul 2017

We all have a love/hate relationship with social media. It’s an incredible tool to build your brand and business, engage with customers, trial out ideas and get feedback. It’s been invaluable at moments when I’ve felt lost in my studio and needed to connect, input from fellow makers or encouragement from followers. I mainly do Instagram- it’s the most fitting for a designer’s life. When I’m working it’s so easy to pick a picture of my work in progress or the press or my cards. But when I’m not it feels so unnatural. I occasionally go onto Instagram now but close it within minutes. While I might glimpse a friend and delight in seeing their updates, if they are are “real” friend then I’ve more than likely heard or seen their news directly and anything else seems to just overwhelm and intimidate me. I’m intimidated by how productive and motivated and perfect people seem, with kids or without. I’ve tried splitting my Instagram accounts so I have a personal one and a work one but found that instagramming my personal life started to get weird. How are you honest about how tough parenting is without sounding like you’re crying out for help? And when does taking pretty pictures of your life become styling of your family? How can you just be yourself? At the moment I’ve come to the conclusion you can’t and so I’ve stopped posting. Work is different. I can normally separate myself and my emotions from it. But at the moment with little work going on, how do I keep up? Do I pretend works plodding on and doing really well or be honest about struggling back to work? My experience is that no one buys from struggling businesses. No one “likes” seeing images of struggle or even failure. I’m trying to strike a balance but it doesn’t sit right. I’m trying to be myself, be honest, but I’m just not sure Instagram is a place to be honest, really honest. So for now it’s just not a place I can be. Maybe when I have more time to work I can find a way to come back and feel positive about my posts and interactions but for now I’m avoiding any place that makes me inadequate - why put myself through that?

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