I am a big fan of Katie’s beautiful stationery, and have been ever since my husband gave me her cute hand printed “Squashed Tomato and Stew” birthday card a few years ago.
Her work can be found in dream stockists like Oliver Bonas, Selfridges and Anthropologie and, from the 20th of July, Harrods!
We chatted about she got started, and her amazing achievements so far.
How did Katie Leamon, the business, begin?
The brand developed out of a desire to design exactly what I wanted, a lifetime love of stationery and paper products, and wanting to work for myself.
I studied textile design at a University in Loughborough and then went on to work for a small independent fashion label. This taught me a lot about running a small business; the highs, the lows and how hard it can be to make it work. It made me want to do my own thing as I was working so hard for something that I had no ownership of.
I left to do my own thing without really knowing what that would be. After a few months back in the thick of designing and illustrating, I started to develop an identity and a feel that I then honed in on, and I built the brand off of this. I was working for about eight months before I made any stationery and cards but as soon as I did, it became so obvious this is what I should have been doing all along. Following the success of my first collection of cards at the Liberty Open Call day I had found what I loved doing and continued to build a collection of things I loved and hoped others would too.
What are you best sellers? Can you talk us through the creative process behind them?
Both our marble collection and our recent monochrome graphic collection have been selling really well.
The marble collection was all originally marbled by myself in the studio, and it was great fun rediscovering something from my childhood and being so hands on creatively. I then made some edits to the colours on the computer and formatted the designs for cards, wrap, tags, notebooks, etc.
Where do you get your inspiration from, and what do you do to keep your creative juices flowing?
I find this a difficult question as I think we are all constantly inspired without consciousness.
I find architecture and building work inspiring, especially old buildings with lots of weathered patterns.
I love the intricacy of fine bona china, and the patterns on them. I love rummaging a flea market and finding lots of vintage paraphernalia with old typography on it too.
What has been your proudest achievement so far?
I think the success of the open call day at Liberty is still one of my biggest achievements so far. It was very overwhelming and daunting but I came out with an order from them and it was the spark I needed to get the wheels in motion properly.
I think this was closely followed by the opening of our production studio. Previously we had been doing all the printing and packing wherever we found space so to have a space dedicated to it, and having my sister and mum join me to run it really drummed it home that we had grown and were a real small business now!
What advice would you give someone looking to turn their creative hobby into a business?
I would recommend researching your market before launching, know what the USP (unique selling point) is that makes you stand out from the rest, and be prepared for a lot of hard work.
There are times when you will get disheartened and it can feel very lonely running a business alone, so try and surround yourself by supportive friends and family.
Thank you Katie! Isn’t her work drool-worthy?
You can find Katie’s beautiful stationery in stockists all over the UK, including her new monochrome marbled collection exclusively in Harrods from the 20th of July. Keep up to date with her news in the following places:
Twitter – @katieleamon
Facebook – Katie Leamon Design
Blog – katieleamon.tumblr.com
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