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An Interview with Tabitha Mary…

An Interview with Graphic Designer Tabitha Mary.

How did Tabitha Mary.co.uk start and what was your initial inspiration?

It started with the Shipping Forecast Regions print, I created it for my parents for christmas about 5 years ago! It looks quite different to the version we all know and love now. But the original got so many conversations started with people fascinated with knowing where the actual regions were that it dawned on me that I might be able to sell it as a print. So I reworked it into a more commercial version and gave it a whirl… I had my very first listing on Etsy, I couldn’t believe it when I received my first order! I can still remember exactly where I was: In the car on mini break in Yorkshire.

Original Shipping Forecast Print by Tabitha Mary

You have over 80 prints in your collection, which is your favourite? Or top 3 if you can’ pick one.

Oh tough one, probably Kilimanjaro and Annapurna as they are two prints that I created solely for myself as a memory of my travels and hiking adventures. I also love the Mount Fuji one, just because I love mountains!

What is your proudest work achievement to date?
Just being sat here, right now making a living out of my dream. I never thought I would end up running my own business and being able to survive off of it. Quitting my full time job was so scary, but looking back, the best thing I ever did!

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Stevenage, but when I was 3 just before my sister was born we moved to a tiny village called Buxted in East Sussex near Uckfield where my parents still live. I love going home to Sussex. I’ve lived all over Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire following my career as a graphic designer but no where’s quite felt like home in the way Sussex does.

Do you have a favourite thing to draw?

Definitely coastal locations.

What Radio station do you listen to?

BBC Radio 2

If you had to watch one DVD Box-Set forever more, which would you choose?

EASY! Sex and the City – it’s my guilty pleasure!

What would you choose as your favourite food?

Ok, that’s a lot harder. Can I have a savoury and sweet choice?!

Savoury: Sausages Sweet: Anything pastry (makes me sound so healthy!)

Do you have a particular style when it comes to home/interiors/décor? Can you tell us a little about this…

My husband and I love anything vintage and retro and mix that with my obsession with Orla Kiely and all things graphic makes for probably quite a 60’s vibe, but in a modern and vintage way. My favourite home colours are grey and duck egg, so that pretty much features all over the house with accents of yellow, orange and tons of graphic patterns injected in the form of blinds, cushions and bedding. I believe in having a plain base and then adding the detail with accessories.

What is the best holiday you’ve ever been on? Did it inspire any artwork?

This is really hard! I like different types of holidays and locations for all their own reasons. Summiting Kilimanjaro will always be up there as it was such a personal achievement, but Italy with Paul when he proposed and our Honeymoon in California are also pretty high on the list! I just love to explore and experience new things, so all holidays are great!

Tabitha & Paul’s Engagement
Nepal
Nepal

What is the best and worst thing about being self-employed?

Best thing: The sense of achievement and flexibility of being your own boss. Worst thing: The pressure, I set myself really high standards which means I never switch off, i’m always working and I find it really hard to let go or delegate things.

What’s your strongest memory of your childhood?

My Mum and Dad’s carpet in the house I first lived in until I was 3. I vividly remember thinking it was horrible!!! HA HA! Sorry Mum!

What’s your scariest experience?

My best friend making me do Aerial Extreme for my hen do! I used to be okay with heights, apparently as i’ve got older I no longer am! Hated every second! I remember climbing onto the platform and my bum cheeks were shaking I was so scared!! ha ha. Conveniently said best friend was pregnant so couldn’t participate!

What is your favourite piece of artwork and who is it by?

Oh it changes all the time! Currently its a set of 3 prints I recently bought from the super talented Talia Giles.

Tabitha Mary's favourite artwork
Art by Talia Giles

Describe a real-life situation that inspired your work?

Summiting Kilimanjaro lead to me creating a print that can be personalised with your name, route and summit date. It’s one of my best sellers with fellow sumitters wanting a lasting reminder of their achievement.

Kilimanjaro
The fabulous Kilimanjaro

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

Oh there’s too many! I can be a bit dizzy!

Do you have a favourite colour?

Probably duck egg, but closely followed by grey, orange and yellow.

What jobs have you done other than being a graphic designer?

Since graduating in 2007 i’ve been lucky enough to work as a graphic designer in a few jobs, designing christmas crackers, kitchenwares, licensed sunglasses, licensed stationery, packaging, cards, wrap, gift bags. The days before uni I did all the usual jobs, macdonalds, tesco, waitressed, worked in staples for a bit! Best job was waitressing at Glyndebourne Opera house during the summer breaks from uni.

Is the artistic/creative life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

Being self employed can be lonely, luckily I’m a pretty motivated person and good in my own company. But to stop myself going stir crazy I go to regiment fitness two mornings during the week, which ensures I actually talk to other human beings other than Paul (my husband!) and we always have pretty busy and social weekends either seeing family or friends or working an event.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

I get really overwhelmed when people write me lovely feedback, especially when they’re talking about a gift they’ve bought for someone else. I’m pretty shy when it comes to receiving positive feedback, it drives my husband mad!

Have you visited all of your print locations? And what research do you do for your prints?

Gosh I wish! Sadly not, in the early days I did as that’s how I chose my locations, but now so many of my prints are commissioned by a shop or customer I use photography and online interactive maps to explore the areas and get a feel for the place.

Can you describe a typical working day for you?

There is no real typical, but i’d say I start about 8.30am, I action any sales that have come in and do any admin that needs doing. I then start on whatever print is next on my ‘to do’ list. I try my hardest to break for lunch, this didn’t always used to happen, but now that I’m pregnant I make sure I take an hour time out every lunch time. The afternoon is normally designing or if a wholesale order has come in then printing and packaging that. I tend to finish work about 7pm when my husband gets home from work.

You’re currently heavily pregnant with your first child – what aspect of having children are you most excited about?

Everything! I find thinking about the fact i’m growing a little person a bit mind blowing! I just cannot wait to have a mini Paul and I and for us to have something so special between us to look after and watch grow. At the moment I’m mostly focused on the birth and I cannot wait to see Paul hold our baby for the first time, I get a bit teary just thinking about it!

Where do you envisage your business to be in 5 years time?

My main goal is to keep it growing at an achievable and realistic rate given that things are going to change as I approach motherhood. I just hope that I’m still sat here in 5 years working for myself. I feel lucky everyday that I have the opportunity to be living my dream job, but don’t take it for granted and worry all the time that it might end one day. I just have to hope and pray it doesn’t. But main goals are to continue focusing on my wholesale and licensing growth which has already grown significantly over the past year.

What hobbies do you pursue outside of your artistic work life?

I used to be a massive hiker, hiking most weekends all over the UK and taking trips abroad to partake in hiking holidays. That’s dwindled a little since settling down with Paul as our hobbies are more focused on home improvements, and very often working weekends! (sorry paul!) But I hope that country walks will be something we will enjoy once again as a family when our baby arrives!!

Is there anything else about Tabitha Mary you’d like to know? Perhaps we can do a second interview if we get enough questions…

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Exciting News! Tabitha Mary is picked as Theo Paphitis’ #SBS Winner!

On Sunday I tweeted amazing Business Tycoon Theo Paphitis about my humble business during ‘Small Business Sunday’ and to my surprise and excitement I was chosen by him as one of six weekly winners!

This means that Theo Re-tweeted my business to his 500,000+ Twitter followers!!

How blooming exciting!

I was totally unaware I’d been picked until my phone started going mad with Twitter notifications – oh gosh the excitement when I saw what had happened was unreal!

sbs tabitha mary theo paphitis
Theo Paphitis chose Tabitha Mary as his #SBS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weekly initiative, set up by Theo in 2010, now has over 1700 #SBS winners and supports small businesses in the UK.

As a result of my #SBS win yesterday I have already received an impressive boost in followers online, and so many lovely congratulations messages, it is quite overwhelming!

Tabitha Mary SBS Winner
Theo himself Re-Tweeting my business! WOW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will now also be profiled on the #SBS website (www.theopaphitissbs.com) which is exclusive to all Small Business Sunday winners.

I’m over the moon and couldn’t wait to share my success with you all!

Exciting times ahead for Tabitha Mary…

TM

x

Official SBS Winner Tabitha Mary
Official #SBS Winner
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Bedfordshire Sights Map Launch at Bedford High Street Showcase Market

This weekend I took part in the Bedford High Street Showcase Market. What a fab day it was! Bustling and buzzing with a variety of local businesses.
I had a new print and new products launching at the event. I’d had all my popular Bedford prints put onto magnets and tea towels and my gosh did they go down well! I sold out of magnets and nearly all the tea towels went! I’ll definitely be getting more made for the Castle Quay Weekender and River Festival.

The newest print I was launching was my Bedfordshire Sights Map which is a bit of a new look for me and an updated version of my typography Bedfordshire County Map. But this map does come with a bit of a challenge! Can you work out the landmarks represented on the map?

  • Harrold Country Park
  • Churches
  • The small towns and villages that make up some of Bedfordshire’s most picturesque areas.
  • Hot Air Balloon rides
  • RAF Twinwood
  • Bedford Park Pavilion
  • Black Cat
  • Cardington Sheds
  • Leighton Buzzard Light Railway
  • Chalk Horse of Dunstable Downs
  • The Charles Wells Well Tower
  • Ickwell Maypole
  • Swiss Gardens
  • Tea Shops
  • Moot Hall
  • Stevington Windmill
  • Wrest Park
  • Willington Dovecote
  • Jordan’s Mill
  • Shuttleworth Collection
  • Forest Centre
  • Dunstable Downs
  • Woburn Abbey
  • Woburn Safari Park
  • Whipsnade Zoo
  • Luton Airport
  • Bedford Suspension Bridge
  • Moggerhanger

Some of the icons on the map relate to maybe multiple attractions, but I do hope I’ve captured the diversity of this great county.

I’ll be back in Bedford on 18th-19th July at the Castle Quay Weekender with more magnets and tea towels in stock and I’m aiming to have another new print ready for then too! Watch this space! TM x

 

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“Thank you” from Mr & Mrs Cross #PTCrossWedding

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Mr Cross and I would like to say a huge thank you for all your kind messages we received for our wedding on 14th May.
We had the most amazing day, we are both still a little overwhelmed by the whole thing! All the hard work definitely paid off! We enjoyed a few days in Jersey to recuperate and now look forward to starting our new chapter as Mr & Mrs Cross.

With me being a designer and Paul’s passion for all things vintage and retro the styling of our wedding was really important to us to create a day that reflected our personalities and passions.
We were married in St Bartholomew’s Church, Wigginton where Paul’s family are from. 6 generations of his family have been married here and we just had to carry on such a wonderful tradition! The Church is gorgeous, small, intimate and when lit with candle light, enchanting. In the grounds of the church the wonderful Elsie’s Ices provided Ice creams to reflect our Italian engagement, they went down VERY well!

What did we wear? The Groom wore a Ted Baker suite, Ted Baker Retro Phone Cufflinks (he collects old phones!) Clarks Shoes and a tie bought online. I wore a Kenneth Winston Gown #1584 bought from Ann’s BridalRachel Simpson Ivory Mimosa Heels and Chez Bec Earrings. The Bridesmaids wore Jenny Packham embellished dresses.

We’d hired Hastoe Village Hall for our reception venue. Far from your standard village hall is Hastoe! Recently restored with original features, it created the perfect blank canvas for us to go wild! We had stunning Festoon lights installed and my incredible Husband collected vintage Soda Syphons, turned them into lamps which we sat on tree slices surrounded by old bottles. The fairy lights twinkling in all the glass was just magical. Petals Flower Shop in Berkhamsted finished off our dream setting with gorgeous flowers that fitted in perfectly with our colour scheme of blush pink, duck egg and coral. We had an amazing cake table where friends and family brought scrummy cakes with the centre piece being provided by EmmaBelle.
In the run up to the wedding we’d asked people to help us collect pennies from pre 1991. Everyone thought we were mad! But everything soon made sense when we revealed our vintage one armed bandit machine and home made fun fair for guests to play on. All brilliantly brought together in a 4x6m gazebo from The Tent Company.

We danced the night away to my Cousin’s band who made our first dance, Andy Williams’ ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’ super special.

Cat Lane captured our special day, so far we’ve received just 5 sneaky previews, but I’m already blown away and dying to see the whole wedding album! They were absolutely fantastic on the day. I can not recommend them highly enough.

Here’s a few photos that hopefully gives a reflection of our amazing day. There’s more over on instagram #PTCrossWedding

Wedding newsletter-01

TM x

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In your shoes Notonthehighstreet.com visit & 10th Birthday

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Today I had a visit from Subomi, from the financial team at , as part of the company’s Partnership Days. In Your Shoes gives notonthehighstreet staff a chance to meet the sellers they work with, and spend the day getting a sense of the daily running of their creative businesses.
Not only was this exciting enough, but it also happened to be NOTH’s 10th Birthday, so it was even more special to be celebrating with a member of the team.
As a partner I received the best birthday pack ever! Hats, bake your own cake, sparkly resin ’10’, candles, popper, notebook and a card! What a treat!
Subomi was great and we spent time talking about my business, both asking questions and talking about my future plans before photographing some new prints ‘Powered by Steam’ & ‘Westgate, Winchester‘ to launch on the site.
He also helped me shoot some ‘behind the scenes’ images and a cool video of me packing up an order. It’s things like this I find very difficult when I’m here on my own!

Needless to say Subomi and I decorated the cake and wished NOTH a very happy birthday in style!

Thank you for your company today Subomi, it’s been great! #NOTHS10 #INYOURSHOES TM x

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A magnificent, active and jam packed Hen do!

April fools day… what a day to start your hen do! I knew absolutely NOTHING about what we were doing or where we were going! Quite unsettling for a control freak!

Friday afternoon I was picked up by Hannah Hen who drove us to our home for the weekend. She was frustratingly good at not answering my questions as to where we were going! But as we drove into Limes Farm in Farthinghoe, I was so confused! Were we staying in cottages? on a farm? as the drive went through the farm the Love 2 Yurt signs appeared and I couldn’t believe it! We were glamping! something I’d ALWAYS wanted to do!

The Love 2 Yurt site is idyllic. Rolling landscape views and the amenities and yurts are fabulous. We stayed in the Bramble yurt best suited for large groups as we had our own allocated kitchen and toilet/shower and even a log burning hut, perfect for our cheese and wine filled friday night! My sister had come up with a fun game; all the hens bought a bottle of wine with the label covered. We had to taste the wine and answer a bunch of questions on what flavours we could taste, the vintage, label design and all sorts!

Saturday I was very very confused! We left our Yurt and started driving back towards my home! I was racking my brains as to what was near me, what could we be doing?! I was in active gear so I had some clues. As we approached Milton Keynes I realised we were headed for Willen Lake! This didn’t really help me though, because even though it’s on my doorstep I’ve never visited it and had no idea what was there! As we approached I sensed the fear rising in my sister and I soon guessed we were doing Aerial Extreme! We did GoApe a few years ago for my friends birthday and found that hard enough! I’m not great with heights! and this looked ALOT harder! But, 5 of us kitted up and set about conquering our fears…

My gosh it was hard! Physically and mentally! and this comes from the Hen that does Regiment Fitness 2-3 times a week! I’m no weakling! The course comprises of 2 levels; one lower, one higher. I am unashamed to say I found the lower course hard enough, I was shaking with fear, my sister went down about a quarter in, and I don’t blame her! I was proud she gave it a go. A fear of heights isn’t something you can switch off. At the end of the lower level, I was ready to go down. My arms were pumped with adrenaline and burning, but the other 3 were willing to give the top level a go, so I joined them. We actually moved quite quickly around the higher level. The faster you go the better! There’s less time to think about your fears, but I was struggling with the adrenaline seizing my arms and hands, I was loosing control of my grip.

4 obstacles from the end there was a horizontal climbing wall which was a significant length. We’d done a smaller wall on the lower level and I knew it was tough. I started out, shaking, tired and scared! Trying not to look down at the sheer drop beneath me. About 3 quarters across the wall my arms just went, I couldn’t feel my hands and I did have a slight panic. Hannah Hen was near by and tried to calm me down, take a deep breath and carry on. But as I tried to compose myself my arms just went, I lost all sensation and my grip and fell off the wall. My goodness what a horrible feeling! You don’t fall far because of your safety cord! But still! That feeling of exhaustion and falling and the frustration of failure was awful! I was kicking myself. A member of staff quickly came to my rescue, hoisted me back onto the platform where I sat and took a few deep breaths! Whilst all this was going on, another hen was being taken off the course having had enough. It’s not for the faint hearted!

So out of the 5 of us that went up, only 2 completed the full thing. I did still get a certificate though and my new surname to be came in quite handy as they wrote ‘Tabitha Almost Cross(ed)’ double whammy meaning!

After some lunch we did kayaking in the afternoon which was much more in my comfort area! It was a lot of fun playing tag, ball games and I even had to stand up in my kayak and sing I’m a little teapot!!!

Saturday night, we all dressed up, the Hens had organised Mr & Mrs which was brilliant and so funny! and we went out for dinner and cocktails where our best ‘Mrs Cross’ impressions were captured! I feel the jokes are going to follow me around forever…!

Sunday morning, all feeling a bit sore, bruised and battered from the high ropes we set out on a 5 mile hike followed by a pub lunch at The Fox. The girls presented me with an amazing collage of Paul and I; our faces are made from tiny photos of us! Which has been beautifully framed by the Uckfield Framing Company. What an amazing hen do gift and they even made a personalised Orla Kiely Hen do card!!! LOVE IT!

What a brilliant and wonderful weekend! I feel very lucky and blessed to have such amazing hens and a huge thank you has to go to my wonderful Matron of Honour who was in charge of the whole weekend.

The level of detail was just phenomenal! They know me so well! Even the little hen do bags Sarah had put together full of sweets, glow sticks and drink had blush pink and duck egg handles! our wedding colours!

I thanked all the hens with a little wedding-designed card and Sarah received a personalised necklace from Epanoui

The countdown to the big day really does begin now… ! 1 month and 10 days to go! I just can’t wait! TM x

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Brand new prints launched….

Gosh it’s been a very busy couple of weeks! The Country Living Show is now over and what a fantastic experience it was! I met some really lovely stall holders including Lucky Lobster Art and Kate Moby. The show was jam packed with lovely jewellery, clothing, art and of course food! NOM! I didn’t get much time to shop but I did manage a quick wander around during a quiet 5 minutes.

At the show I launched 4 BRAND NEW prints! Which are now available online. The Flying Scotsman is a hot topic at the moment and I just couldn’t resist capturing it in a print. I’m super pleased with the result and so it seemed where the customers of the Country Living show as it was one of my best sellers.

My second best seller was my NEW ‘Let’s go to the Seaside’ print which is a new edition to my typography range. So many people loving this print for their bathrooms or beach huts.

You may remember the London prints I added to this collection not that long ago, they were also super popular.

I’ve always been inspired by the propaganda posters from both the World Wars but i’ve not yet done a print that really reflects this inspiration. Well, now I have! ‘Carry a message.’ I really enjoyed doing this print, its a little different to my usual work and I love it! I hope you do to!

Last, but not least I have done a special limited edition of my forever popular Shipping Forecast Regions print. Only 10 exist and they’re all numbered a signed.

Shipping Forecast A3 poster for sale by me

A huge thank you to everyone that visited me at the Country Living show and a big HELLO to all the lovely new owners of #mytabithamary prints and followers.

There’s even more new stuff coming shortly… stay tuned… TM x