Posted on

A little update…Top Drawer SS17 & hobnobbing with celebs!

Hi Guys,

I’ve been super busy and haven’t managed a blog update for a while – so I thought it was high time I filled you in on what’s been happening here at TM HQ…

Last week I headed to Olympia in London to return to Top Drawer for their SS17 trade show.

 

 

 

 

Top Drawer – Adventures in Design for Creative Retailers 

It was a brilliant few days – it was so nice to chat to loads of potential and current trade clients, as well as tons of other fabulously creative retailers. Anyone who has ever been to Top Drawer before will know that it can be a bit of a whirlwind experience, absolutely exhausting (especially when you’re a preggo like me!) but totally worth it!

I was blessed with lots of orders, commissions and bespoke commissions – which means you’ll be seeing 25 new prints between now and baby Cross’ arrival in May – no rest for this pregnant lady!

Excitingly, this season’s Top Drawer turned out to be a star studded one too – with the lovely Rick Stein visiting my stand and admiring my brand new Padstow print. It was really brilliant to chat to him, as I have admired his cookery programmes and restaurants for many years…coincidentally I had posted a personalised Padstow print to him just the day before Top Drawer, and he was chuffed to learn one would be winging its way to his flagship restaurant The Seafood Restaurant within a few days.

Padstow, Cornwall

As well as Mr Stein I also had a visit from Anthea Turner who showed lots of interest in my work and very kindly said “These are really beautiful, well done!”…I may have blushed just a little bit…and had a little pregnancy-related hormonal cry on the way home!

So folks, I’ll be giving the autumn/winter Top Drawer a miss in September as I’ll be knee deep in nappies, bottles and baby grows, but I’ll be back at Top Drawer in January 2018, so I hope to see you there!

In the meantime, make sure you sign up to my mailing list so that you don’t miss my updates, and give me a follow on my social media platforms too!

Tabitha x

@tabithamaryuk on Twitter

Tabitha Mary on Facebook

@tabithamaryuk on Instagram

Tabitha Mary on Pinterest

Posted on

Launching my #SummerSale & expanding my ranges…

Launching TODAY…
FOR ONE WEEK ONLY!!
20% Off EVERYTHING on my website when you use the code HAPPYDAYS16 at the checkout

Now that’s what I call a #SummerSale 🙂
(code expires 7th July)

Summer-Sale
Tabitha Mary Summer Sale

It’s been a manic few weeks here at TM HQ…

I’ve been super-busy with events and sales – from the Castle Quay Weekender, to the Bedford High Street Showcase: it’s been awesome to get out and about locally, interacting with customers and seeing their responses to my new prints, magnets and tea towels.

There’s such a great community vibe at events in Bedford, these two events in particular were filled with many great designers and a hugely supportive public who help to keep small (but mighty!) independent businesses like myself afloat. #lovebedford

High street showcase Bedford tabitha mary
Tabitha Mary at The High Street Showcase, Bedford

New prints on the horizon…
I’ve started lots of research into popular UK landmarks, tourist spots, architecture, holiday destinations, castles, historical houses, Points of Interest and natural beauty – my ambition is to expand my print collection to ensure I’m utilising the most popular locations for my customers. Watch this space for works in progress, and also please do send me any ideas you might have…I’ll be running polls over on my Twitter page as well as asking opinions across my other social platforms.

The hope is to have hugely expanded my range in time for Christmas and the Top Drawer event, where I’ll be in the “spotted” section! So, do be sure to check back for all your Christmas shopping needs… 🙂

Get your thinking caps on lovely people – I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas…!

Tabitha Mary Poll on Twitter
Keep an eye out for polls like this one on my Twitter feed…

NOTH Make, Do & Meet…

As a seller for Not On The High Street – I was recently invited down to London (to an awesome venue called The Brewrey) for NOTHS’ annual Make, Do & Meet event – where I got to meet lots of fellow creatives (who also sell at NOTHS), catch up with the gorgeous Beds/Bucks/Herts sellers group, as well as be truly inspired to make my little corner of Not On The High Street as brilliant as possible. It was such a fun day…

NOTH Make, Do & Meet event 2016
Fun times at the NOTH Make, Do & Meet event

NOTHS 2

New look on my website…

My time at the NOTH Make, Do & Meet day really inspired me to give the photography on my website a proper overhaul – it was long overdue, and although hard work (I worked some 12 hour days!) I’m so chuffed with the finished result, and love the fresh, modern vibes my product photos now have.

Head over to my website to see them all, but for now here’s a little peek…

Tabitha Mary new product photos
A little selection of some of the new product photography on my website…

Wedding season is upon us…

With the wedding season now in full swing, don’t forget my bespoke wedding commission service, which is available in two styles (see The Chantry and St Bartholomew’s, Wigginton prints below).

I can also personalise my St Bartholomew’s, Wigginton church print with names, dates and wedding colour schemes for other couples tying the knot in this beautiful church.

wedding commission by Tabitha Mary
Style 1 – The Chantry
St Bartholomew's Church, Wigginton
Style 2 for wedding commissions

And finally… 

My next event is the Bedford River Festival on the 16th-17th July…do pop down to this fun riverside extravaganza and check out my prints, magnets and tea towels…I look forward to seeing you all there!

Bye for now & happy shopping in the summer sale, enjoy lovely people!
TM x

Posted on

The Midland Hotel, Morecambe

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!

IMG_3877 IMG_3946 IMG_3949 IMG_3945 IMG_3944 IMG_3941 IMG_3950

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d definitely add The Midland Hotel to your bucket list.

Thankyou Mark for the wonderful tour and we hope to visit again soon.

TM x

Posted on

Tips & Advice on ‘Connecting with your audience’ with Creative Bedfordshire

When Sandra Dartnell first approached me about speaking at last nights Creative Bedfordshire networking event a fear of dread filled my stomach. The last time I spoke to an audience was for my dissertation at university, I remember stumbling over my words and my face and neck slowly growing redder and redder until my course mates thought I might pass out! It was not a good experience!

However, a decade on and last night I overcame my fear of public speaking and do you know what? It wasn’t that bad!

Sandra asked myself and Claire from the PlatePeople to speak about our experiences of ‘connecting with your audience.’ My perspective from being a sole trader for 1+ years and Claire’s from only 3 months in.

It was really great to get the opportunity to talk about my life running my own business and it really hit home just how busy i’ve been and how much i’ve learnt about myself and business in the last year.

Some of the top tips that were given by myself and claire:

  • Listen to your audience, if they ask you for a product or design; do it! Be as flexible and engaging as possible.
  • Be transparent. To be self employed is something to be proud of. Shout about it! Don’t try and hide behind the pretence of being bigger than you are. People like to support small businesses so it often goes in your favour – small but mighty!
  • Social Media is a mind field of variations and can be really time consuming. Pick a few channels you are comfortable with and do those well. Better to do a couple well then to do all of them half heartedly.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask – that old saying “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” is SO true.
  • My business plan has always been “Say YES” In the past year i’ve not turned down a single opportunity, you never know where something might lead you. Even if at first it scares you or doesn’t seem to be your thing – give it a go! If its wrong, you don’t have to do it again. But you tried.
  • Be smart on connecting your social media – for example on Etsy you can now update your store and link customer photos to your actual products and then share on twitter for people to directly link back to your shop! GENIUS! (I stole this tip from Claire!)
  • Network and make the most of all the fantastic organisations around Bedfordshire: Bedfordshire Business Women, Creative Beds, BCA, Velocity, Wenta… etc etc etc
  • No your facts. Approaching year 2 i’ve had to face reality and hire an accountant. You need to know where you stand to know what you’re doing is working.

Any questions do ask. Lots of people asked me about packaging last night! Why struggle when I’ve tried and tested every possible way and courier, so save time and ask!

TM x

Posted on

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

xmas newsletter 2-01.jpgGosh! 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

Posted on

Bedford Park Proms

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.

Bedford Proms Flyer-01

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.

Bedford Park Proms copy

Follow Bedford Park Proms on Facebook Twitter or Instagram

We hope to see you there! 🙂 TM x

Posted on

Happy Birthday to me!

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

TM x

Posted on

Mount Vesuvius, Naples, An Italian Wedding Commission

At last weekends Handcrafted in Bedfordshire Market I met a lovely lady who asked me to design a print of Naples for her husband for their 15th Wedding Anniversary this weekend.

I of course jumped on the chance to create such a lovely gift for her to give him, how romantic! After a couple of sketched ideas we decided upon a fictional scene incorporating the gorgeous cliffs that Sorrento is so well known for with the iconic silhouette of Mount Vesuvius in the background.

Naples Main copy

I’m so pleased with this print and hope her husband loves it!

Happy Anniversary you two love birds!

My Fact of the day: Did you know that Mount Vesuvius is regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes today due to the 3 million people living in its shadow and the fact its last eruption was in the last 100 years! SCARY!

TM xx

Posted on

Annapurna, Nepal: A magnificent trip

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.

IMG_8829 DSCF3425 DSCF3440

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.

DSCF3359

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:IMG_9353IMG_9377

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.

Nepal copyNepal Crop copy

If you have trekked in Nepal then like my Kilimanjaro print I can personalise this print for you, just drop me an email tabitha@tabithamary.co.uk to find out more.

TM x

Posted on

Eastbourne Promenade, an emotional gesture

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.

Eastbourne copy

Posted on

Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway Park Commission

I was recently commissioned by Bedford Borough Council to produce a print advertising their plans for a Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway Park.

The Brief was to capture a canal within our lovely countryside with people enjoying being outdoors doing a variety of activities:

Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway Park copy Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway Park Crop copy

I believe the council will be using it is as advertisement and may also be producing it for retail. It will  be available on my website in A3 and A4 formats from 10th August.

TM x