Thursday, 23 December 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I am sure by now if you are in parts of the UK that have had all the snow then you may well be very tired of looking at snow filled pictures. However, I have a few snowy snaps to share with you all of my wintery walks.

Pictured here is Holywell Orchard close to where I live. This is usually a very overgrown walk way so it was much easier to cross in the snow.

Below sits my usual stop where I catch my breath, which reads "rest but do not rust". No resting here today.

From this seat you can normally see Cam Peak, but on a day like today when the fog lingers over the hill, there is nothing more than a few fields and trees.

My dog, Shadow, loves the snow. Mostly, he likes to eat it!

From a very white Cam in Gloucestershire, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Fay's Studio over the past 12 months and I hope you enjoy all the news and updates in the year to come.

x Fay

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Slightly emptier Studio.

I quickly dashed out first thing this morning before the snow set in, to take my big boxes of greeting cards to the post office. This extra special delivery is on the way to the Paperchase warehouse ready to be distributed into their Tottenham Court Road, London and St. Mary's Gate, Manchester stores.

The cards on sale will be a selection from my Love Birds Collection and the Enchanted Collection. This is by far my largest customer to date, and I am thrilled to have finally sent the boxes out and to feel reassured that they are now out of my hands and on the way to the stores. It has been an incredibly nerve wracking time for me. I am planning to take my parents to London to have a look at the store. I think they will be overwhelmed by it all as they have no idea how big Paperchase is, especially my Dad!

I hope to take a few snaps in store too, so that I can share the momentous occasion with you all. They will be available mid-January, so if you are in store, please show your support for my products. You may even bump into me.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Fairfield High School Careers Convention. 'How To Run A Business'.

As a Prince's Trust Young Ambassador I represent the Trust at events and share my experience of running a business. Today I was a guest speaker at Fairfield High School in Bristol.

This was my first event as a Young Ambassador, so there was a bit of pressure to do the Trust proud and to represent my business too. It was a little nerve wracking to stand in front of a class of 30 15 year olds, but actually the majority seemed very interested in what I had to say and gave some good feedback to my questions throughout the lesson.

There are lots of talented pupils at Fairfield as it is a specialist visual and performing arts school, and many of the pupils I spoke to today are keen to start their own businesses when they are older. I met students who aspire to be fashion designers and computer game programmers.

Most of the pupils weren't aware of the Prince's Trust so I explained what the charity does, and who they can help. The pupils seemed interested to know that the Prince's Trust can help people into business, or into careers in music through the 'Get Into' programme. The Prince's Trust also helps people who are under achieving at school, have come out of care, who have a history of alchohol/drug abuse, who have been homeless or in trouble with the law, and those who have been unemployed for 6 months or more. There are many programmes that help children from 14 yrs to adults of 30 yrs.

Today I gave the pupils a questionnaire to get them thinking about their attitude towards money. As young people their expenditure is fairly low, and as expected their priorities at the moment include food, games and going out with friends, but it allowed them to consider putting money aside for a rainy day. When asked 'where does their money go' one pupil replied 'to the Government'. Very well said, I thought.

The pupils were great at identifying the positives and negatives of running your own business, and what attributes it takes to be a successful business person. They understood the importance of writing a business plan. I asked them to complete a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of a small business (eg a local convenience store) in comparison to a large company/chain store (supermarket chain). This they found a little more challenging, however they did grasp that large companies often move in, pushing the little shops out.

Overall, I think the pupils went away with lots to think about and I hope they gained a lot from the lesson. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be, and in fact I had a lot more planned to do with the class, but they were saved by the bell.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Giveaway winners announced.

Thank you to those who have commented on my recent blog posts. If you entered the giveaway then you are in luck as I have decided to send each one of you a prize. So, Vixen Lily, Kelly Johnson (Womble), Tatt Giff, Who Drank All The Tea, Sabah Designs, CLare_beaR, bloomers, Stellabombella, the sketchbookartist and Emele you are all winners!
All you have to do to claim your greeting card is send your full name and address to me at
Once you have received your prize it would be lovely if you could post it on your blog or mention it in some other way, even tell me who you will be sending it to this Christmas, or if you are just keeping it for yourself.

Thanks again for leaving your lovely comments and well done!
x Fay

Friday, 12 November 2010

An update on happenings.

Firstly, thank you to those who have entered the blog giveaway. It won't be long until I announce the winners but please keep mentioning the giveaway to your followers and fans.

It seems to have come round very quickly, but on Monday I will be off to The Old Vic in Bristol with my two very important guests (that's Mum and Dad) for the Prince's Trust Celebrate Success Awards. As you may know I am one of the three finalists for the Business Enterprise Award in the south west region. I am really pleased to be one of the finalists and I'm sure it will be a fantastic day of celebrations and a few tear jerkers along the way. Even if I don't come away with an award I will still be thrilled with the outcome, because I know how difficult it is for any business to make it, so the winner will go home with thoroughly deserved recognition. There is no tougher journey than going from unemployment to running your own business, it is a strain financially and emotionally, and wouldn't have all been possible without the support I have had. That goes to my twitter followers too, because throughout it they have been a wealth of information and help and I have learnt so much from trade show exhibitors and designers alike. So thanks to everyone who has offered their advice over the past year. You know who you are!

In just two weeks time, my first ever huge delivery will be leaving the Studio and heading to the warehouse of Paperchase Ltd. This couldn't actually have come round quickly enough as it has been an incredibly exciting time and I cannot wait to see them in the London flagship store. I'll be taking a train to the big smoke, just to see it for myself and then sit back, breathe, and enjoy a cup of coffee to take it all in, upstairs in the shop.

On the trade show front next year, I am already booked to exhibit at Spring Fair International at the NEC in Birmingham and Harrogate Home & Gift. Trade shows are a crucial part of the business, a lot of exhausting work, but a great way to meet and greet new customers, release new products and make friends within the industry.

That's all the news for now, I'll keep you updated about the awards.
Please keep supporting my products and the online shop. 

x x x
Fay's Studio

Monday, 25 October 2010

Christmas Crackers Giveaway! Ho Ho Ho.

As Christmas is fast approaching I have decided to do my first blog giveaway. This year I have designed and published 8 gorgeous glistening Christmas cards for the Fay's Studio shop. These cards are all a bit of fun and I have tried to capture the tacky side of Christmas and put them into a range. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without a knitted jumper from your Granny, a cracker full of useless miniature inanimate objects, or a chiwawa dressed up as Santa would it?!

With that in mind I have 8 of these cards to give away, that's one each for 8 winners. I thought I would have more winners this time to give you all more of a chance.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning one of these little lovelies is to leave your comment here on the blog about which card you like and why, and it could very well be yours. It would also be lovely to get some more followers on my blog so please mention this giveaway to your twitter, facebook and blog buddies.

I will be announcing the winners mid November so that gives you plenty of time to post your thoughts.

Don't forget these cards are all made in the UK using only FSC certified materials and the packaging is 100% biodegradable too. So they are not only funny but also friendly, I think a little bit like the creator. I hope you love them! x Fay

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Makers And Designers Emporium.

Tucked away in the Cotswolds is the beautiful market town of Cirencester. Here lies one of my very first stockists who have sold Fay's Studio greeting cards for just over a year. It isn't often that I get to visit Cirencester and so I used the opportunity at the weekend to pop in to say hello to one of the lovely owners, Louise, who was extremely busy in the mad Saturday rush. I was really pleased to see my cards on the shelves, some of which were down to the very last one!

M.A.D.E (Makers And Designers Emporium) is full of the most wonderful British designed and made gifts by over 100 artists and makers. It is stocked full of textiles, homeware, ceramics and wood, jewellery, accessories, stationery, giftware, wall art and photography. It really is a one-stop shop for all of your gift needs and it's very difficult to leave without buying anything.

Whenever I see my cards on the shelves I am always really delighted. It reminds me of all the hard work that has gone into designing and making each one. Here on the top right is my 'Let's See The World Together' card which had nearly sold out, and my 'I'd Be Lost Without You' and ' You Are My Cup of Tea' cards on the second to last shelf also going well.

M.A.D.E is separated into three rooms. The room pictured above specialises in new baby and childrens gifts and cards. It is a wonderfully bright and colourful room full of gorgeous items for the new arrival. I also have a passion for visual merchandising in retail, so to see a collection so well put together with lots of thought and consideration for the product and the customer is great to see.

Making use of every space and utilising each product to make a display, I was thrilled to see my 'Congratulations' greeting card tucked in beside some gorgeous pamper gift boxes for a new Mum.

And here it is again on the card display on the right hand side of the second shelf. This section is a lovely mix of pinks, whites and blues all tied in with new baby clothes and gifts. M.A.D.E make use of every bit of space they have and it is done with real expertise and flair!

Up on the wall behind the paper octopus sits my 'Wonderful Daughter' greeting card (centre of top shelf). This selection is for the slightly older child, and my design fits in perfectly here.

Finally, just between room 1 and 2 is a wall of gorgeous gift wrap, ribbon and more greeting cards. Here you will spot my 'You Are The Cherry on my Bakewell' greeting card, looking lovely amongst all the other patterns. I also have my 'Twit Twoo' and 'You Make Me Dizzy' cards in the shop, but as they were just by the till and it was an incredibly busy day I didn't get the chance to take a photo. But why not visit yourself just to see how wonderful M.A.D.E is. I will be sending in my Christmas stock very soon, and if I have the opportunity to visit nearer Christmas I will take some more photos then. I hope you enjoyed a look around one of my stockists, I will try to do this more often.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The role of a Young Ambassador.

In May 2009 I went through the Prince's Trust Business Enterprise programme to help me get into self-employment with my dream of becoming a greeting card publisher. From Monday to Wednesday this week I have been away in Saxmundham, Suffolk on an induction, following an invite to take on a role as Young Ambassador for the charity. Myself and twenty others from the South West and South East regions joined together at the lovely surroundings at Leiston Abbey to take part in the training to become a spokesperson for the Prince's Trust. Each individual had been helped by the charity on some level whether this was getting into an apprenticeship, work experience or help with a business idea and we had all been asked to take part in this residential to learn more about the role of becoming a Young Ambassador.

Not usually one to enjoy team building exercises I found myself having a great time with every aspect of the course. I was also surprised to find myself amongst a group of really inspiring young people who were really friendly and together there was a real sense of fun and achievement. It was also a very humbling experience to see that so many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds had turned their lives around with help from the Trust. There were many a heated debate about the levels of unemployment and lack of help for young people, and the stories of each Young Ambassador were not only heart breaking but heart warming too.

Each Ambassador left the induction at a 'passing out parade' where we each received a t-shirt, pin badge and a set of business cards to hand out at events. My role as a Young Ambassador takes place over the next year where I will be asked to attend a variety of events, meetings, conferences, judging panels, etc using my experience to tell supporters of the Trust how I have been helped to achieve success after a spell of unemployment.

I already have my first event invite, which is to talk to a group of teenagers at a high school in Bristol about my experience of self-employment. I will have to do a presentation about the pitfalls of working for myself and running a business, and conduct a group discussion with the young entrepreneurs. I hope to be able to use my experience to offer advice and guidance to other young people, by talking through my journey of where I was and where I am now. I will be helped to do this by a day of public speaking training, learning some really important techniques when talking to large groups of people. There are lots of opportunites available as a Young Ambassador and I am sure the next year will add many experiences to my CV. I will post about the events each time they take place. It is a fantastic opportunity to travel, meet lots of people and develop my skills as a public speaker. It should be easy to talk about my business and experience as I know it well, but sharing this with a room of 500 people may be slightly nerve wracking. I'll keep you updated on the events!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Christmas Is Coming.

Whether we like it or not, Christmas does have a habit of coming around quickly, and this means no rest for us greeting card designers. I am currently in the midst of designing new cards for Christmas 2011 to add to my festive collection. 

You may have already seen my 8 card range that has just become available to buy from the shop. Also, it's not too late if you are a retailer to add to your Christmas stock.

When I design I try to look for things to illustrate that are a little unusual. For example, the design above shows all the wires of the fairy lights that we usually try to hide on the tree, but they make a lovely swirly background on this card, and as the designs are all printed onto a gorgeous glistening board, the cards really do shine in the light. 

So if you are buying a card for someone who appreciates things that are a little bit different to the norm, then this range is ideal. All cards are matched with a pearlescent envelope and are left blank inside for your own message.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

If I Wore a Badge.

I don't often wear accessories, only on special occasions or when I am feeling a bit under-adorned. I find it all a bit fiddley and most days I can hardly find time to do anything other than come up with new doodles. You will often hear me mutter to myself if an idea comes to mind and then I quickly scamper about for a scrap of paper before the idea has gone. Beside my computer is a little bundle of notes with a big felting needle sticking through. Ideas all waiting to be turned into greeting cards. However, if I did find the time to add a little something, it would have to be a badge by Lazy Oaf.

Lazy Oaf, an East London based creative label, founded by Gemma Shiel in 2001, is a prime example of a great little business growing from a market stall to 150 stockists worldwide. In 2004 Lazy Oaf opened its first bricks and mortar store in Soho which holds their staple graphic tee's, greeting cards, jewellery and posters.

So, if I did have a badge, it would have to declare that I love drawing, and what could be better than a pencil with a smiley face?

Friday, 17 September 2010

Top Drawer Autumn 2010

Top Drawer has now come to a close and I can happily say that we had a really good show (Mum and I). The funny thing about trade shows is one moment you are rushed off your feet with enquiries and the next the footfall drops which is your opportunity to quickly sneak off for a spot of lunch.

We arrived on Saturday 11th to set up the stand. Already the larger companies were well on their way setting up their displays and they looked great. It is a daunting task when faced with a blank 5 metre wall and it took just over four hours to get everything ready (which is actually nothing compared to others).

This is how I mock up my idea at home. It takes over my bedroom for weeks whilst I make decisions and hand illustrate designs onto the paper.

Seperating each range properly this time made the display much clearer to the visitors who were then able to make decisions about the stock they would like. I thought that I would get into a real flap with my first order but actually I remained calm and was very pleased.

Bit by bit the stand came together and it was apparent that the collection has grown quite a bit since PG Live.

Other exhibitors are always there to lend a hand if you need it. We borrowed this little step ladder as although I am tall I could not quite reach the top.

Sunday brought lots of enquiries and distribution of my catalogue. The response was really positive and there were lots of enthusiastic buyers who were very complimentary about my designs. It is always great to get feedback at the shows, as this often leads to new ideas of where to take my next ranges. I also met my very first sales agent from Chester who had driven all the way down to London that morning to meet me and his other clients. As a greeting card publisher it is so important to have sales agents and I have been on the look out for a few months. However, my new agent had actually found me through the Top Drawer website and was really keen to carry my ranges so he got in touch before the show.

Monday was a great day as I had my first sales. It is a wonderful feeling to bring out an order form as it completes the overall experience of the show. It is great for a total stranger to love the product and want to order right away. You may think that orders take place throughout the whole day but this is simply not the case, at least when you are new anyway. Everyone's experiences of the show differ hugely. Location plays an important role and can affect your footfall and sales, it really is imperative to have a good position where the footfall is constant. I really believe that if a 'buzz' surrounds your stand, other buyers will be instantly attracted.

Here is Mum on our first evening in London. We were staying in a studio (very appropriate) with a kitchenette which is ideal for me. As a Coeliac it is sometimes a real pain to find food in restaurants so this option was marvellous. X-Factor and roast chicken dinner! You couldn't ask for more when you are completely shattered from travelling and setting up all in one day.

My brand new range, 'The Enchanted Collection' has 10 brand new designs coming soon to the website. These went down really well with the buyers and actually stopped people in their tracks which was a great response for a brand new collection.

'Handbags and Gladrags' was very popular with the independent shops which cater for female shoppers. I am so pleased that these did well as well as the 'Love Birds' collection which had a wonderful response including some squeals of delight and laughter. I was so pleased to receive a warm response to these cards as they really show my humourous style. My greeting cards seem to make people stop and look and then they cause a second wave of amusement.

I also had the opportunity to meet the key buyer I have talked about a lot lately, which was fantastic. My legs did go to jelly. It was like meeting the Queen or Elvis but even better than that!

So here is the completed Fay's Studio stand (E150a)! I think you'll agree that it is looking a lot fuller than the previous show as I am really getting into designing new ranges.

Here is a detail of my stand where I stated my Product GB and Eco-Trail status at the show. I met buyers from eco-shops keen to know more about the materials used and other buyers were impressed by the quality of the products.

I also had enquiries from florists, gift shops, clothes shops, boutiques, fine art publishers, overeseas distributors, online shops, bookshops, independents and highstreet chain stores etc.

The next few weeks and months are going to be extremely busy for the business. I am always careful not to take on too much at one time as it is true that businesses can crumble under pressure, but I have a lot of support around me offering help should I need it. I am already considering Spring Fair at the NEC in Birmingham as my next show which takes place February 6th-10th 2011. This will be a key Christmas buying time as many companies plan well in advance, much like the fashion industry. I have lots of new Christmas designs to bring out alongside those already available on the website. You can never have too much choice at Christmas so I have lots of ideas to put onto paper.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Just keep chasing paper.

If you are a follower of my tweets you will have seen me lately expressing my joy about a recent order placed by Paperchase. I thought I would tell you how it got to that stage and how I could have missed the opportunity without pushing myself.

Every year the greeting card industry holds awards to celebrate the best card ranges, gift wrap, calendars, licensed products, honourary achievements, and promising designers. In July I was very busy as it wasn't too long after my first trade show, so I was following up contacts and I really didn't think I would find the time to enter any awards. However, I really pushed myself to enter a couple of my ranges to the awards and who should be on the judging panel at these awards, but the head buyer and assistant buyer of Paperchase!

It wasn't too long before I was opening an email, which I thought was just a joke from a very unkind friend just winding me up, asking for my catalogue. After rubbing my eyes thoroughly several times and a few pinches I put together my samples and literally ran to the post office. The following news was very very exciting and in the past few weeks I have been preparing my very first order for this awesome company.

I still can't quite believe that at the start of next year a selection of my greeting cards will be sitting on the shelves of the two Paperchase flagship stores, Tottenham Court Road, London and St. Mary's Gate, Manchester.
Their website is having an exciting relaunch next week, here is the link if you would like to take a look.

It just goes to show that luck really does come when preparation meets opportunity.
I will probably take a trip to London/Manchester myself just to believe it has really happened.

Product GB and the Eco-Trail

As you may know, I do everything I can to make my greeting cards out of FSC certified board and paper and all packaging is 100% biodegradable. I wouldn't want to create products that harm the environment and that's why I have sourced these materials in the knowledge that although I am now part of a paper filled industry, I am not doing any damage by ensuring I use responsibly sourced materials and using only UK based printers and packaging companies. That said, Fay's Studio has been accepted onto the Product GB and Eco-Trail at Top Drawer and I was delighted to have my 'You Are My Cup of Tea' greeting card featured in The Essential Guide to Top Drawer.

I was really pleased to be selected out of many the many designers exhibiting at the show and I hope this helps to further demonstrate my work ethic.

'You Are My Cup of Tea' is in the bottom right hand corner of the guide below.

'You Are My Cup of Tea' - Product Code: FS12
Available at

'A Prince-ly Celebration'.

This month I had a small feature in the Progressive Greetings Worldwide Magazine. I wrote to the editor to tell them of The Prince's Trust Business Enterprise Award I have been shortlisted for and they were more than happy to feature it in the magazine. It is always nice to have something written about my achievements as it is further reward for the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of running a business and it also draws more attention to the Trust which they so deserve. It is just as rewarding for them when businesses they support are achieving what they sought out to do.

My new Christmas range is shown in the accompanying photograph which I hope will go down a snow storm at Top Drawer in just a few days time. They will be available on my website almost as soon as I arrive home from Top Drawer, as it surprising how quickly Christmas comes round especially if you have family and friends abroad that you need to send to.

I already have orders coming in for my Christmas range which is really great! I am always really happy to see my cards being enjoyed by the sender and receiver. It would be great to have a place where a receiver could post a photo of themselves with their Fay's Studio card, and to see how far they reach. Perhaps I could set up this function on my twitter account, it would be quite fun!

If you have bought or received a Fay's Studio card, maybe you could start the trend by sending a photo of yourself and card and a little about the special occasion and your location to me at Then I will feature you here or twitter.

A break from the norm.

I just have a little time to share with you the break I took with my boyfriend a few weeks ago in Mevagissey, Cornwall. When we took our first holiday together I discovered a lovely little place, very unspoilt, called Polperro. It rained for most of the week, however it just added to the fun of dashing between showers into the local restaurants and shops. On this break, from what has been an incredibly busy time for the business, again I wanted to find somewhere to go that was equally as unique that we would remember for many years. I used google earth to zoom in on the streets so I felt like I already knew the place before we arrived. 

Mevagissey, allbeit very small, has many great little gift shops, lots of independents that thrive on the popularity of the town. It was heaving with people when we arrived, the narrow streets nearly impassable in a car, but the harbour town was simply beautiful. I really warmed to this booming working harbour, and we enjoyed the catches of the day at the harbourside fish restaurant which was very quirky. I have never eaten so many mussels and also fudge of many flavour from the centre of town. Our stay was properly Cornish, as on the news the next evening we heard about a record breaking Cornish pasty being made over in Fowey. It weighed a tonne and was 1.4m wide.

On our final day we visited my favourite Cornish town, Fowey. This is another thriving place made even busier during our visit because of the regatta taking place that weekend. A heavy sea mist had set in over night and so many of the bright colours you associate with all the boats, life jackets and buoys was dampened, but this did not take away from the lovely time we had. We found another restaurant serving mussels so I had a bowlful and sat back and people watched until it was souvenir shopping time. I went away with a gorgeous china cup, hand painted in egg shell blue with seagulls and the name of the town. An ideal keepsake. We then had a five hour journey back home due to the holiday traffic and a caravan with a burst tyre causing tail backs. It should have only taken a few hours, but still, it made the holiday last longer!


I am wondering if we might take our next British holiday in Rye, I have already been round on street maps and it looks lovely, especially the sandy beach!

But I am always torn when it comes to deciding, as my heart belongs in Kernow, like this little fellow.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Product Great Britain!

My greetings cards have been certified as a Great British product and will be featured on the GB Product trail at Top Drawer Autumn (September 12-14th) Olympia, London.
My products were approved for the GB product trail by independent adjudicator David Nicholls, Design Editor from The Telegraph Magazine.

'Top Drawer once again demonstrates its support for the ever-popular Product GB trail - an initiative which champions the national economy and locally-made products. With the effects of the downturn still prevalent in some areas of trade in the UK, buying British ensures our local economy is given the best possible chance to flourish'.

'Product GB gives exhibitors a chance to showcase their products that are made using materials sourced from the UK, and are designed and produced locally.
Visitors to the show who follow the Product GB trail will offset carbon emissions incurred from goods transportation from overseas. Support for this initiative also encourages fair-trade practices, as the Product GB sticker denotes a traceable source of manufacture'.

'Demonstrate your support for the national economy and buy British at Top Drawer this September. Keep an eye out for the Product GB logo as you make your way around the show'.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Putting my glad rags on.

Whilst away in Cornwall for a few days, having a break from the day to day routine, I received a call from The Prince's Trust to say that I have been selected as one of three finalists out of the 30 entered for The Business Enterprise Award. This means that in November I will be attending the Celebrate Success evening where the winners are announced. It's all very exciting, especially as it will be an opportunity to put my glad rags on, which as a greeting card designer is a very rare occurrence.

I have also been asked if I would like to become a Young Ambassador for The Prince's Trust which of course I accepted. It will give me the opportunity to talk to other people going through the same experience and I hope to be able to offer some guidance about starting up in business. I do talk about The Prince's Trust when I can especially if I see that others are in need of business support. I will also receive more training for public speaking which has never been my forte. It will help enormously when I have to talk to large groups at conferences and meetings. I will keep you posted about my induction which takes place at the end of September!

Sunday, 1 August 2010


It has all been a little hush hush, but a few weeks ago I was told that 'Fay's Studio' is being nominated for The Prince's Trust Business Enterprise Award. I was speechless and really pleased to have been chosen for this award category.
'Celebrate Success is The Prince’s Trust recognition awards, celebrating young people who have changed their lives and those who have played a part in supporting the work of The Trust.
A series of awards recognise young people’s success in the areas of education, skills development, employment, enterprise and community.'
Just to be nominated for an award is reward enough for recognising how much life has changed for me over the past year. I started out with the idea of turning my talent into a career but The Prince's Trust gave me the business knowledge and confidence to get started up as a small greeting card publisher. I look back to this time last year, and realise that I couldn't have got to where I am today without their support and the expertise of my business mentor. 
Visit The Prince's Trust website to find out more about the charity and how they help to change the lives of so many people.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


I have to admit it took me a while to get used to designing on A3 format having never made a catalogue before any larger than A4. I am really thrilled with the results. As I am exhibiting at Top Drawer in September and there is a lean towards the Christmas buying market I wanted my catalogue to celebrate my first Christmas card collection. I have been really excited by designing a Christmas range and I am proud that it is looking really different to the more traditional Christmas card ranges. I still love working with my figurative style and adding a bit of fun to my cards. I found it really easy to come up with the Christmas range as ideas seemed to just pop into my head. The front of the catalogue is based on the idea of the lovely Christmas stamps that appear on our post during the festive period. I have used one of my designs and turned it into a stamp! I thought the party hat in the design was a little like the Queen's crown on a traditional stamp and I used the font of Fay's Studio to create the final look of a stamp. I am also really glad that the Christmas range is printed onto a sparkly board and wrapped with pearlescent envelopes. They have that extra something that we all look for during the festive season. Anyway, enough about Christmas, although I am sure some of you may still have Christmas songs on your Ipods from last year?

I have already been posting out my catalogues to customers present and prospective, I really hope that it shows how far I come in the past 12 months from making everything at home to employing professional printers to make it for me. It's great to finally have a catalogue that has my personality and all the information needed for customers. It's all about making life a little easier for myself and Fay's Studio stockists. 
I hope you like the look of the catalogue.
Keep your eye out for the Christmas range soon coming to the Fay's Studio shop.


I have been meaning to add photograpghs of my greeting cards to my website since the new products arrived the other week. First of all I have had to wait for a decent amount of light to make the products stand out, but failing that Photoshop does help to bring out the colour.

Here are my new greeting cards! I am really pleased with the outcome having adjusted to the new biodegradable bags. When packing up my stock the bags felt strange at first compared to polythene, they seem to grip together when I stack them into piles, so at least I don't spend as much time now chasing my cards around the studio.

What do you think of the new cards? Do you prefer the idea that they are all FSC accredited and biodegradable and have you started thinking about your buying habits with paper products?

The 'Handbags and Gladrags' range.

The 'Love Birds' range.

Friday, 16 July 2010

The Website Re-launch.

Since Progressive Greetings Live, things have been non stop for Fay's Studio. I made the decision when I first started out in business to be as environmentally friendly as possible and I only use materials that are FSC accredited and I also now have some great 100% biodegradable cornstarch bags to wrap the cards in. I have always felt that it is my responsibility as an illustrator and designer to be thoughtful when it comes to developing my ideas and to recognise the impact it can have on others. 

12 months ago when I first started out on this venture, supported by The Prince's Trust, I walked the streets of Bristol and Bath with my trolley full of cards in tow. I trekked miles upon miles of pathways trying my luck with new stockists. I admit that at first the prospect of meeting retailers was incredibly nerve wracking, but it lead to some great business relationships with local customers. Other than that I have used the bus or the train to travel to meet my stockists and clients, so I like to think this keeps my emissions low.

As my products have developed and the ranges have extended I needed to spend time recently giving my website a total makeover. The whole look and feel of the Fay's Studio brand is brighter, more contemporary and fresher than before and I wanted the website to reflect this. The products have moved forward since sourcing special boards, envelopes and bespoke bags, and I think the price of my cards reflects the great quality and the fact that you can purchase something lovely that I have taken days to create.

I hope you like my new website and find the perfect card for your friends and relatives, or just for yourself.

Your feedback is always greatly appreciated. 

'Knickerbocker Glory' from the Graphic range.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

From The Wilde

Today I am delighted to have one of my paintings (Branches) featured at from which I now sell my paintings and cards. 'From The Wilde' is owned by Helen Wilde a lovely lady with a wealth of experience in art publishing. She has been working extremely hard to launch the gallery to make it look as wonderful as it does.

The gallery showcases the work of some really exciting comtemporary British artists, designer makers and illustrators. Each artist is in some way inspired by the sea or the countryside and the products are really wonderful. There is a great selection of Textiles & Homewares, Ceramics, Jewellery, Fashion, Paintings, Prints, Stationery and Greeting Cards.

If you aren't too familiar with my work, you will discover that I also paint on a large scale. I love to paint seascapes and trees as you will see from the gallery. There is so much detail to be explored in nature and with my background in art and textile design I combine both painting and hand stitching to capture a scene. My work has been compared to Gustav Klimt which is a huge compliment as he has always been an influence in my work. I also have a penchant for Japanese prints and Emaki Scrolls which shows in my ink drawings.

With a wonderful array of products I am sure 'From The Wilde' will be a popular choice for many people sourcing beautiful, contemporary and one-off pieces.
My painting 'Emaki' is also featured at in a great review of 'From The Wilde' and interview with Helen. Take a look here

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Looking for agents.

Each of my designs starts out as a line drawing in black ink. I have used fine Edding pens for at least ten years as they give me the best results.

I always used to be heavily criticised for using biro to draw but I really enjoy working with any black ink and knowing that I am under pressure to not make mistakes.

Many of my designs work well in black in white and sometimes I am a little reluctant to add colour. Yet in order to stand out on the crowded shelves in a competitive industry, I think it is wise to add a bit of colour or at least a little sparkle.

Here are some of my hand illustrations, showing how I work. Each drawing can take up to a day to complete because of the detail that goes into it, and then adding colour on the computer by hand can take another two or three days.

It is hard work to come up with a whole range working at this rate and it often leaves me with little time to do other things like selling.

I first started out finding new stockists by hiking around large cities like Bath and Bristol by foot with just my little trolley in tow. It was a great way to meet retailers and represent my business (and to lose weight) however it would be lovely to be able to concentrate on designing, because that is what I do after all.

I am currently looking for a team of sales agents as this would really help me to produce many more designs, develop new products and of course reach out to retailers far far away.

If you have any contacts with agents in the greetings industry and would be happy to help me it would be great to hear from you!

I like to draw...a lot!

Sometimes I just doodle for the fun of it. I always have new ideas for card designs, most of which get printed, but some I decide to keep and develop at a later date. I have to ask myself if the design is commercial, will it work as a greeting card. It doesn't hurt to be a bit ruthless with your own work at times. That is not to say that they won't appear as prints in the future because I always try to create work that can be framed and appreciated as art, especially as some of my designs are a bit unusual.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Developing the business.

Since exhibiting at Progressive Greetings Live in May a lot has been happening at Fay's Studio. Firstly I have been very busy working on a freelance illustration project with a great lifestyle photographer, more of which you will find out about soon. I have also been developing my greeting cards in order to move forward with the business. 

PG Live gave me the opportunity to meet a new paper and board supplier and a different printing company that will be able to offer me better service for what is a small home based business. It is the type of support I need as a small publisher and it is a very exciting time for the product. I cannot wait to see them on the shop shelves, all shiny and new. 

Firstly the print quality has improved, I am still having my designs printed digitally but there is a noticable difference, to me anyway. A few weeks ago I was like a child in a sweet shop when a rep from a paper company came to visit me and brought with her lots of samples for me to look through. The choice of board was endless and I was glad to have expert guidance for my new products. I have chosen some wonderful finishes for my greeting cards, some matt, some silkweave embossed and the Christmas range is going to sparkle and shine!

To the left: Miniature samples that arrived last week.

I have also had the enjoyable task of selecting different envelopes to match my cards, so I now have a wonderful choice of colours, pearlescents and embossed white envelopes. Nobody buys a card for the envelope it is paired with, but it really makes a difference in framing the card on the shelf and I think adds an extra little bit of luxury to the product. I have also been working on the layout of the back of the card making it easy for customers to read about the product and the materials used to make it.

I am continuing to source FSC accredited papers and boards, envelopes included, but I have also most importantly moved on from cellophane bags and all greeting cards will now be wrapped in 100% biodegradable cornstarch bags, meaning that the products are even more environmentally friendly. I am proud to develop products using only British suppliers. That's good news for everyone!

I should have the new products packed and ready for my lovely stockists and waiting customers in the next few weeks, in the meantime I won't be taking much of a breather but working on new designs I have in mind and sorting out the admin I have waiting for me. I am also planning my next trade show appearance, so keep an eye out for the announcement!

Don't worry if you find my Folksy shop 'Funny Side Up' closed in the next few weeks as I will updating it with new products very soon.