Paul and I took a week off last week to celebrate my birthday and have a mini break up north. We were staying near Liverpool so took the opportunity to visit The Midland Hotel in Morecambe which I’d captured in a print 18 months ago.
Last year The Midland’s manager Mark spotted this print online and has been stocking it in their shop ever since. He is also now extending the range with my licensor Star Editions. I can’t wait to see the new product range.
We arrived on a VERY windy day and were instantly in awe of this grand art deco building and as you go inside it only gets better. Every inch oozes art deco, I was in heaven! Reception pointed us in the right direction to get a cup of tea and Paul insisted I mentioned I was the designer of their print. The receptionist immediately phoned Mark who zoomed down to reception to greet us. I’m so glad Paul had prompted me as Mark then gave us a wonderful tour with interesting facts of the hotel and even showed us the penthouse suite with its balcony jacuzzi and views to die for. Definitely on the to do list when the weather is a little calmer!
I’d definitely add The Midland Hotel to your bucket list.
Thankyou Mark for the wonderful tour and we hope to visit again soon.
Gosh! What a year 2015 has been! My first full year of trading as a self employed designer and it has just been incredible. Mainly thanks to all the fantastic support I’ve received from everyone I’ve met. Predominately in the Bedfordshire community, what a great place to be self employed.
I end the year pretty exhausted but exhilarated to announce that I am a finalist for the ‘Best New Business Award’ presented by Bedfordshire Business Women. The winners are announced on 21st January, I couldn’t think of a better and more exciting way to start 2016! Good luck to all the fabulous finalists.
I’m signing off now for some well deserved offline time. Orders can still be placed on my website but won’t be despatched until 4th January.
There’s so many super exciting plans for the New Year, a new website, new prints, new collaborations, wholesale licensing and a wedding! EEK!
Watch this space for all the updates as they happen!
Thank you once again for all your support and making 2015 better then I could have ever dreamt of. Have a wonderful Christmas and I’ll see you in 2016! TM x
Bedford Park Proms are back and all systems are go in organising their 20th event in the Park which will be held on 6th August 2016.
It’s going to be a night to remember with a spectacular classical concert with the London Gala Orchestra, Bedford Choral Society, Brit award winners Blake, Rebecca Newman and all finished off with a fireworks and laser finale! And guess who’s designed the flyer?! Only little old me! I was so excited when Mark & Louise approached me about doing the flyer. We’ve also created a fab print as a great keepsake of what’s set to be a night to remember.
Tickets and Prints are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased from Bedford Park Concerts an exclusive early bird rate is now on pricing Adult tickets at £24.50 which rise to £31 from 1st May, Children £5. They can also be bought in person at the Pavilion, Bedford Park.
The prints can be bought from myself here and are at a reduced price until 1st August 2016 when they’ll go up to full price. I will be at the Proms on the night selling them in person too.
Gosh, I just cannot believe that this week marks the one year anniversary of me leaving full time employment and taking my little business out into the big bad world all on my own! To mark my 1st year I’m taking a few minutes to reflect on the year gone by and my plans for the next year.
I’d been running Tabitha Mary has a hobby alongside my full time job as a Graphic Designer for 3 years. I was selling prints online and attending the odd craft market when I found time. Sales had slowly increased along the way and I was finding I was working harder and later into my evenings and weekends to keep up with demand. In the spring of 2014 I met my Fiancée Paul. We knew instantly that we’d found love (awww… cue for the sick bucket!) but more importantly he was 100% behind my business and believed in me and my product. When we met we lived on opposite sides of Hertfordshire, me in Bishops Stortford, he in Tring. If we wanted to live together, someone was going to have to move. It was the opportunity I never thought I’d get! We both agreed that it was now or never. So we jumped in, feet first! I quit my full time job designing licensed stationery and moved west into our new house in Leighton Buzzard where Tabitha Mary HQ was created in our spare bedroom.
I started my new life in the self employed world by flying to Nepal and trekking the foot hills of Annapurna – as you do! I’d already booked the trip before all these decisions were made. But what fabulous timing. It gave me the break I needed to reset, recharge and refocus my mind onto being my own boss.
On my return I got busy selling at Christmas events, designing new prints and freelanced for 2 months at the Tigerprint Studio in London. I’d never been busier!
Come the New Year and I just couldn’t quite believe that I already had months of work booked in, a mix of freelance, commissions, events and new print launches planned. Never in my wildest dreams had I thought this plan was going to work out!
And it’s continued in this way. I have been completely mesmerised, overwhelmed and humbled by the kindness of everyone I’ve met, exhibited / sold with and the opportunities that have come my way and the support shown by those who I’ve worked with. I’ve made some mistakes, but i’ve learnt from them and carried on!
My work ethic across the year has been to say yes to everything and my goodness what fun and craziness it’s lead to! From small school fairs to the conservative conference!
A rather MASSIVE thank you goes to all those in Bedford who have shown such consistent support. From the Pavilion cafe commissioning THAT print, to Creative Bedfordshire and Velocity for their small business support. And of course a huge thank you to my wonderful Fiancée who proposed in the Summer and has been my rock, business confident, advisor, sales man and right hand man all the way through. I wouldn’t be here without him.
Who’d have thought all of this would’ve stemmed from the shipping forecast print I did for my parents 4 years ago!
So… what are the plans for the next year?
Well my biggest plan is to expand my range, buy a super duper whizzy new printer and be able to offer LARGE scale printing done in house and to get myself out into the world of wholesale more. I tapped into it a bit this year, but would love to grow that side of things. And we of course cannot forget the wedding planning and becoming Mrs Paul in May!
There’s plans set for me to talk to college students about being a self employed designer and to hold a Q&A evening with Creative Bedfordshire to talk all things small business. Set to be a fun evening where you can pick my brains on what i’ve learnt and where hopefully I can pick yours too! As i’m ALWAYS learning!
Not to mention the HUMONGOUS list of prints I want to do!
It’s set to be busy!
Hope you all follow me along for the ride.
Thank you for all your support. To celebrate there’s 20% off everything online until Sunday when you use code IAMONE
In October 2014 I went to Nepal taking in the sites of Kathmandu, Patan, Bhuktapur, The Annapurna Massif and Chitwan National Park.
I begun the trip exploring Patan and Bhuktapur. Ancient areas of Nepal where the most traditional buildings, values and ways of life can be found. I was mesmerised by this beautiful country from the second I got there. The people are enchanting and friendly and the architecture is just absolutely stunning.
I couldn’t believe it when exploring the jungle of alleys in-between the houses in Patan (truth be known, I was very lost and getting a little bit worried I wouldn’t find my way out!) I stumbled across a printers, screen printing the most wonderful papers. I just couldn’t believe my luck, how this lost print designer found a fellow printer in Nepal! Just one of those memorable moments.
Other than exploring the major towns of Nepal my trip really evolved around the 4 day trek into the Annapurna foot hills, staying at the basic and wonderfully traditional tea houses along the route. From the moment our Gadventures group walked into the park the views were spectacular but the further we went in they just kept getting better! The route was undulating and at times really tough going; compared to my Kilimanjaro trek it was a walk in the park! But I hadn’t gone for a physical challenge but to simply explore.
The morning views had been fantastic throughout the trek, but on our final morning of the trek we woke up to the most spectacular view:
What a way to end our time in the mountains! The trip didn’t end there though as we set off for Chitwan National Park for a short safari tour.
I could write forever on my time in Nepal, the smells, sounds, views, culture, just everything about it is enchanting. My trip also signified a massive change in my life, it saw me quitting my full-time job as a Graphic Designer and stepping into the unknown world of self employment with my business ‘Tabitha Mary.’ A horrifically scary decision and step to make, but one I will never regret. I’ve had just the most fantastic year being self-employed and felt it was finally time to capture the place that focused my mind onto my new and exciting challenge ahead. The people I met there and sites I saw will never know how much they touched my life. I hope everyday that they are safe and well after the horrific natural disaster that struck in April 2015. The print captures that stunning view we woke up to on our last morning in the Annapurna National Park.
If you have trekked in Nepal then like my Kilimanjaro print I can personalise this print for you, just drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
I was recently contacted by a customer who was enquiring about a print enlargement. Unfortunately I couldn’t fulfil his request, but what caught him about the print was the kite in the sky. His family had recently been through some awfully tragic circumstances and his granddaughter loved kites and wanted to have a new print to offer some future hope to her and the family.
Their home town of Eastbourne is also where I studied Art Foundation and local to where I grew up in East Sussex. I so badly wanted to provide this family with a print they’d love, I set about designing an Eastbourne print, with a kite, just for them. I couldn’t help but feel that this gesture was rather insignificant in the grand scheme of their pain; but I just felt like I wanted to do something to help them.
Their reaction has truly humbled me and it is a lovely reminder of the power a kind gesture can have on a stranger. I think we should all help a stranger more often.
In May my boyfriend (Paul) and I went to Barmouth in Wales for our anniversary. We had a wonderful all be it rather windy time! Whilst there we stumbled across Pieces for Places. Being a moth to anything homeware or designer esk I fluttered in quickly racking up a long ‘to buy’ list from all their beautiful products.
I get really nervous approaching shop owners about wholesale or commissions but Paul gave me a reassuring nudge in the direction of Fred and I was greeted with a big friendly smile which put me right at ease!
After a lovely chat and look though my work Fred (1 brother of this 2 brother enterprise) seemed really keen but his brother Jack was the one I had to convince, so I left with Jack’s contact details and crossed my fingers!
After a few emails back and forth to my delight Jack ordered an exclusive print of Barmouth:
I set to work and captured the lovely view across the estuary incorporating the train bridge and quay. Jack was thrilled with it and promptly placed his stock order.
Are you a shop owner in a rather picturesque location and fancy a print for your shop? exclusive or non exclusive! There’s a whole load of options… drop me an email email@example.com to find out more.
We started off having a delicious breakfast at the Pavilion and checking up on the exhibition and restocking. Then headed down to the Kiosk to set up the stall for the afternoon.
What a buzzing fab atmosphere! The kite festival looked great, there were boat races going on and the kiosk was 3 years old!
Yet again I was totally overwhelmed with the amount of people who had come down just to say hi and buy a print. Sold out of my Embankment print (don’t worry! I’ve printed more!) and there’s only 2 left of the limited edition version!
The wind was a bit challenging! but everything survived unmarked! (just about!)
Thankyou to everyone who popped down, said hello, enjoyed the cake and fizz, tweeted and bought a print.
Bedford – you rule!
P.S. Look out for me on the front of the Clanger next month!
The power of social media never fails to amaze me! But yesterday the most astonishing thing happened.
I received an email from Katie who wanted me to do a print of the Suspension Bridge down on the Embankment in Bedford. She couldn’t afford to commission me, but was determined she wanted this print! So she went on Facebook and advertised the idea… After an astonishing response she came back to me with a list longer than my arm of people who also wanted to purchase this print and so I agreed to do the print for free.
As the demand was so high I got to it right away and today have barely stopped to breath! But the print is done! I’m super pleased with it and feels it sits alongside my Bedford Pavilion print perfectly.
I’ll pop up to the Pavilion tomorrow to display it there along with the rest of my exhibition, which is still up for 5 more weeks.