Journal

Mother’s Day Special – Striking a work life balance 21.03.20

As females, we are always asked how we juggle our work & home life, and it struck me recently that although Ruairi and I both work together, live together and have 2 children together, I’m sure he has not been hit with the same question. In fact, after writing this, I asked him, and his blank expression gave me the answer I expected. Not once.

As a mother of two young boys, I am all too aware of how challenging it can be to juggle things so in honour of Mother’s Day, I wanted to discuss work life balance and how to strike a healthy balance.

I have always been an organised person, and never has it been more essential, yet challenging. However hard I try to get ahead, I always feel on the back foot. Aside from that little slice of time, just after you have tidied up, got the kids to bed, finished your emails and got the snacks sorted for the next day… that little glimmer of peace and calm when you’re winning. But then, just as you’re settling into bed your phone beeps, your emails come in from overseas customers, your brain starts whizzing on overdrive about new designs and ideas, and before you know it you’re up again and being awoken to the screams of ‘Mummy I’m awakkkkkeeee’ coming from the next room. And so it begins again.

 

I sometimes wonder whether working for yourself when you technically have the freedom to say no, work around your own schedule, and being in control are a blessing or a curse. I almost always come to the decision its a blessing. Albeit, it’s challenging to juggle things when you care so much about your business but inevitably your family come first. Would it be easier if I had a 9-5 job that when I closed the door on, my mind was free to ponder over what I should cook for dinner for the boys, or what size nappies they are now in. Im not sure it would be, because I think this is just me. Whether I work for myself or someone else, I think I have always tried to go the extra mile, as I know so many of my peers do the same. Always striving for more and wanting perfection from home to business and back again. But I’m not sure it’s actually achievable.

I think we need to know when to switch off. Be proud to say no, I’m taking my lunch break today or im having a rest. Its something I have battled with my whole working life, but since having children have got much better at stopping to prioritise them. I work so much more efficiently now and know that I can no longer procrastinate about things in the same way I used to. I think as parents, and in business, Ruairi and I are very lucky that we work incredibly well as a team. We juggle things around the needs of the boys and a desire to prioritise time with them while they are small and before school comes along and they no longer want to spend time with us!

‘Work life balance’ is a funny phrase, I think when we prioritise one over the other inevitably it tips the scales and we feel the other is suffering, but I think thats just it, it will waiver from side to side within the course of days and weeks – if we have a deadline, an issue at work or a trade show abroad then work is going to take our attention away from our family for a bit. While I don’t like this, we make sure we tip the scales back the other way and get back that quality time we would have missed. When life tips us back the other way and one of them is sick, or in need of some one on one time, its top of the list and inevitably work gets put on the back burner. I guess thats just it, its not ever completely balanced day to day, but overall we strive to ensure that while we want (and need!!) to make sure we have a successful business that can sustain our family, its essential we balance that with raising our boys our way and with us. We are lucky we have family close by that help out and we often crack on with work well into the evening to catch up that time lost during the days, so other than being some what exhausted sometimes, thats how we make it work for us.

I think our generation are sometimes guilty of glorifying overworking and enjoy revelling in that exhausted drive, run on caffeine and ambition, but what stands out  to me now, and what I really respect is when someone says I’m taking some time out, I’m cherishing my family, I’m taking a back seat for a while. While I’m only really able to speak about my industry and peers, so forgive me if this is completely inaccurate of your industry or attitude, but it stands to me that while we might get a bit less actual time, we should be proud to work smarter when we have a family to juggle rather than guilt trip ourselves over that reduction in time spent in the office.

Whether you juggle your own business, or work for a company where you have had to negotiate early finishes in order to do the school run, or however you manage to juggle your work and life, I am sure of one thing. Since becoming a parent, I am much better equip to juggle and multitask and get the job done more efficiently than my former procrastinating self with far too much time to ponder over the smallest of decisions. If only I knew then how much I could actually get done in a day if I had to! Our work life balance is a constant seesaw, with all its unexpected ups and downs, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Since writing this blog post, the world has been consumed by coronavirus, so I suspect your Mother’s Day plans may have some what changed. Try to remain positive, use the digital channels available to speak to your loved ones, and cherish the time with your families where you can. Im looking forward to spending the day with my boys, we hope to head out to the forest for a walk and a picnic as the pubs off limits! Im also planning some time to design tomorrow so I can get some new Positive Vibes cards out there as soon as possible….

Stay safe everyone, Happy Mother’s day,

Katie x

 


An update on our Plastic Free Pledge 02.03.20

As we are now safely into 2020, and the dark days of January are behind us, I wanted to update you with how our pledge to be Plastic Free by 2020 was going! I am incredible proud to report we have achieved it…. Well we are 99% there!

Our biggest challenge was how to secure our greetings cards, and keep them safe and clean in store if we abandoned cellophane sleeves. We have spent a LOT of time testing various techniques, from Card Klasp Stickers to tracing paper belly bands and corn starch sleeve. While all come with their benefits they also all come with problems. We found some worked for some of our customers and for others they didn’t, depending on how they displayed their stock. We are still continuing to explore the greetings card packaging and reach the perfect solution, but for now we are settled on the corn starch sleeves. This is because it provides the best protection for the cards which we found both the stickers and belly bands could not do as well, and also became damaged themselves unless end customers are very careful, but thats a little out of our control.

With regards to outer packaging, we have replaced our cardboard tubes that carried our gift wrap as they had plastic caps on the ends. They are now packed in a recycled cardboard self sealing oblong tube which is also much sturdier and compact for the post. Win Win! We now also use paper belly bands to brand & package our notebooks & notecards rather than cellos or plastic front boxes, and to be honest they are much nicer for it, I wish we had made the change years ago! Furthermore, our outer packaging is all recycled and our paper and marketing material is all printed on FSC certified papers and are all 100% recyclable.

2019 also saw the launch of our first 100% recycled collection, with cards and envelopes made from reclaimed coffee cups otherwise destined for landfill. We have expanded this collection to our Christmas 2020 range, which are all made from the same reclaimed stock. This will be our first 100% recycled Christmas collection and we will be doing all we can to promote and encourage a Green Christmas later this year.

This year, as we celebrate our 10th year in business we have been reflecting on previous designs and are set to release some sample sale mystery packages online in a bid to use up sample stock, discontinued lines and archived items rather than waste them. There are some really exciting bundles to get your hands on and will be priced at £15 with an actual retail value of £60!

So, when I said we were 99.9999% there, there is the issue of the glue on some of our stickers. While the stickers are still recyclable and made from paper, the glue has some plastic content. We are in the process of trying to replace this, but as yet we have not found a supplier in the industry that has managed to crack the problem completely. We also still use a small amount of biodegradable bubble wrap – only when absolutely necessary – its made from recycled plastic and is 100% biodegradable.

Did I mention all our inks are also vegetable based and the items are all made in England so our carbon footprint, although not perfect, is plodding in the right direction and the single use plastics are OUT. We will continue to do our bit and educate ourselves on how we can do better and encourage you to do the same. There are so many sustainable options out there now, there really is no excuse for not going greener.

Katie x

 


Celebrating 10 years of luxury cards & stationery 12.02.20

Believe it or not, March 2020 marks our 10 year anniversary…10 years since I followed my dream, stepped back from the rat race and took a chance on myself. I remember when I started I felt like a fraud, serious imposter syndrome, and I distinctly remember thinking I would have ‘made it’ if I was still in business in 10 years…I can safely say 10 years on, I still feel like I’m making it up as I go along at times! Its been a rollercoaster… one at times i’ve wanted to jump off while at others, screaming to go faster.

In celebration, this year will be launching exclusive ranges, looking back at our archive collections and spending 2020 celebrating just how far we have come over the past decade. I wanted to start with a bit of reflection, some of you are probably familiar with our story, but if not, here’s how it all began…

In Jan 2010, having worked in fair trade fashion for 2 years I became dissatisfied with the lack of creativity, fed up with commuting and I longed to work on my own projects. Following an impulsive decision and a whirl wind few weeks I found myself self employed and working from my brother’s studio while temping in the city to make ends meet. By late September, and a string of freelance commissions I decided to turn some of my illustrations and graphics into rubber stamps and began hand printing them onto beautiful cards & paper. It was an incredibly organic start, driven from a instinct to create and a love of stationery rather than a planed out business venture. My debut collection was born and my first stockist was a beautiful wine & flower shop on Bermondsey Street that my brother’s friend owned, it has sadly since closed – not as a result of selling my cards I hasten to add.

In terms of ‘Big Breaks’ I got mine in the form of a Liberty Open Call day in early 2011 – If you didn’t see the TV series – it was a chance for 1000 people, first come first served, to come and present their designs or ideas to a panel of buyers and if they liked you, you were in! So I set off at 4.30am, eager not to miss my chance or be too far down the list, and yet I was still 4th in line, and had to wait 4 hours until the doors even opened! Plenty of time to practice my pitch and calm my nerves. After a gruelling few minutes of quick fire questions and snap decisions, the buyers liked my cards and, just like that, the course of my business’ future had officially began. I still remember in every detail calling my mum from the coffee shop on the corner outside and telling her they wanted to see me again for a buying meeting the next week. History was made and I was over the moon.

With a spring in step, and a bit of confidence that I might be onto something with my hand printed cards, I went on to exhibit within the Launchpad section of Pulse – a trade show for home & lifestyle brands. It was there that I picked up another few iconic highstreet names including Selfridges & Paperchase. Over the next few months I continued to print cards, map out new ideas and meet the demands of my few but high profile stockists. It was a mad time, I was working 15 hours days, temping two days a week then going back to print and pack orders, build a website, compile some sort of a plan for how to make this budding business into a fully fledged business.

I remember getting my first payment in from Liberty and Paperchase, seeing it in print on my bank statement was a little surreal. I used that money to reinvest into a collection of notebooks, it was a very modest, slow, organic growth, due to limited funds and being a one woman business, but slowly I grew the collections.

Over the years we had a few collections that really made our mark on the industry, our original hand printed cards certainly still define our range. They are individually hand stamped on a table top adana letterpress now but for the first few years of business I hand printed them all using individual rubber stamps. Our technique now uses the same principle of keeping every print and every card unique but eliminates the repetitive strain injury I caused myself back in the early days! One memory I look back on so fondly was when we got our first order from Waterstones bookstore in 2012. We had just brought our first press and I roped in my sister, mum and aunt to help print and pack it all. I think it was actually only about 2000 cards, which we now produce in a few hours, but as it was all very new I had no idea. We got a production line going across my parents kitchen table and cheerfully printed and packed and distributed the order. It was a milestone in our production methods as it took so much less time with the help of the new press and I also realised how much easier it was with the help of others.

My mum started to help me out more and more, and my sister took on some packing work while on maternity leave, before long they became invaluable and I didn’t want to do it without them. With relatively regular orders coming in from Paperchase, Liberty and Selfridges, I quit my temp job and gave my mum and sister some more regular work. It was another milestone in the business history and one that I have never looked back on.

Fast forward 8 years and my sister now runs our whole production studio, she is absolutely integral to the running of the business and my mum is equally amazing but juggles helping us at work with looking after her grandkids. People often ask me what its like working so closely with family, and while its not without its challenges, my overall feeling is one of incredible fortune. The trust and commitment is unrivalled and its also a lot of fun, albeit it can be pretty unprofessional environment most of the time! New, non family, team members have to slip into the flow of familial jokes which has led us to have a very close team over the years that I consider family despite not all being related!

Adding to this, in early 2015 my partner Ruairi joined me as a business partner and continues to run the ‘business & sales’ side of things. It has changed the business structure for the better and given me more time to concentrate on design. From a personal perspective it’s been an incredible move – we get to spend everyday together and we make a very good team as he thinks in a different way to me and we challenge each other and therefore leads to exciting ideas and opportunities we might have otherwise not thought of. We now have a young family and the benefits of running your own business together become ever more worthwhile.

2015 also saw the introduction of our stationery subscription service; POST. I wanted to introduce a service that, at the time, was not available in the UK. It was common place in the US and I knew we could create something really well curated and considered. POST continues to run, and every month we deliver boxes all over the world. I enjoy developing the box and coming up with a theme that inspires and excites the recipient.

As I look back at our signature style and designs over the years there are a few main themes that I have nurtured. Typography, tangible craftsmanship and a organic pattern.

My original collection of cards was all typographical – a combination of hand illustrated and graphic design. Its something that as a greetings card designer is integral to design in order to indicate your message, but I like to explore how you make typography more pleasing to the eye. Size, font and styling all combine to create a huge collection of typographical designs over time and its something that will forever feature heavily in our portfolio.

Tangible craftsmanship is what has driven me as a designer over the years; I strive to make people want to touch our products and appreciate all the little hand finished details that go into their production – from the delicate die cut edges of our cards, and gold foil detail on the envelopes to the textured finish on the stock of the cards and notebooks, nothing is overlooked in the design process.

Our introduction of pattern and pastels was a considered move to introduce some subtle colour to our otherwise monochromatic range. Although over the years I was concerned we always fell back to the same soft pinks and greys whenever we did a ‘colourful’ range, I now appreciate that this is just our signature palette, that people recognise from the brand. You only have to take one look at my home or wardrobe to know how much I love a pastel and neutral palette, with hints of black& gold. The patterns I have created over the years have always been soft and in line with this palette, from organic takes on architecture in our monochrome pattern range, or our iconic Marble Collection, and even our most recent collage collection – everything has a soft, organic quality to its form.

As our business grew, I could no longer share a studio with my brother but luckily the woman next door was moving out so I didn’t go far…I had the first studio of my own in 2013. It was in a place called Make Space Studios in Waterloo, I spent the first 5 years of business there, working next door to my brother as well as having my sister and mum working with me but from home, in Essex. It was in 2015 that my parents and I invested in building a studio in the garden of my family home to house the growing production in Essex (I want to add at this point that I don’t underestimate how much my family has helped make my dream a reality.) It was an incredible milestone for the company and we held a little opening night in late 2015. Between Make Space, where I made some of my closest friends (and where I met Ruairi) and our new production studio business steadily grew and life was good. In 2016 and the news I was expecting, we decided to move our London studio to Bow in east London to be closer to our Essex studio and limit our commuting.

With the arrival of Baloo in May 2017, I had to some how take a back seat from what I had been living and breathing for 7 years. It was a tough shift in gear but it taught me a lot about myself and my business. I handed over roles I never thought I would, all be it temporarily but it was still unnerving. I’ve had to learn that at times other people knew more about the business from day to day perspective than me, but I had a more important role at home. Luckily as any new parent can verify it puts things into perspective and all the small things I used to sweat over seemed to be less significant and I learnt to be so much more productive and decisive, the days of procrastination were over.

2017 also saw the development of our Debut leather range, entitled HiDE, it was a project I had been lovingly moulding over the course of my pregnancy and it was amazing seeing it come to fruition and be so well received. It wasn’t without a lot of ups and downs and it was a long time in the making but eventually we launched it in early 2018.

As we have grown over the years, peaking as a team of 14 in 2016/2017 we have learnt a lot about what we need and want from a business. Following some business mentoring throughout 2017-2018 we have since whittled it down to a sweeter spot that works better for us while we have a young family. There is now 8 of us and we juggle all the roles between our family run team.

In the autumn of 2019 we embarked upon our first proper retail space by taking on a Pop up store on Elizabeth Street in Belgravia, London. It was a dream come true, something I have wanted to do since I started and I loved making the space our own. We also launched our first ceramic collection in collaboration with Emma Alington which was and exciting development for the brand and having the Pop up retail space made it possible.

The Pop Up model is something we are looking to experiment with in terms of location, size and product over the next few years with a view to one day having a studio-shop where people can see us printing the cards, shop the full collection and provide workshops for our fans. Alongside this, we have new product launches planned including some retrospective collections looking back over our best sellers from the past 10 years.

At the end of 2019, we had another little boy, Woody, so as we enter our 10th year of business I am working from home a lot more again and juggling a young family with the running the business. It undoubtedly comes with multiple challenges but with our stellar team and Ruairi and I both committed to developing and nurturing the brand (whilst ensuring a healthy work life balance!!) we enter a new phase for the business that we are incredibly excited about.

Here’s to the next 10 years.


3 Alternative Ideas for Valentine’s Day 28.01.20

I’m only just getting over Christmas and we’re now dashing towards Valentine’s Day at the speed of light, almost like it happens on an annual basis.

Having been very busy for the past 6 months with the arrival of Woody and our seasonal pop-up shop, there hasn’t been a chance to think about Valentine’s Day but I’ve been browsing late at night for some unusual, alternative ideas for the 14th February and wanted to share a few of my favourites.

Even if this is a first date, or a chance to go out with your partner, these three ideas are all perfect to lift your spirits and have a great evening out. Don’t forget to pick up one of our Valentine’s Cards for extra brownie points.

1. Midnight Apothecary at Brunel Museum

Campfire Cocktails in the City! Voted one of London’s best pop-up cocktail bars since 2012 and featured in Vogue, World’s Best Bars, the Independent on Sunday, Red, Elle and Time Out.

For the colder months, the cocktail bar travels underground… serving seasonal delights from Brunel’s Grade II-listed Victorian tunnel shaft! Accompanied by candlelight and phenomenal live entertainment, they have everything you need to keep your cockles warm and your spirits high this winter. Delicious, locally-sourced food is on sale from their friends at the Piccalilli Caff. Like the cocktail menu, their offerings change regularly based on the seasons. As if that’s not enough, they will also be selling the enormously popular Deluxe Hot Rum Toddies, and toasting marshmallows around the fire.

Once per month, usually 14th of each month
From 6-10pm
From £12 to £40 per person

Book your ticket

2. Dennis Severs House

Its creator was Dennis Severs, an artist who used his visitors’ imaginations as his canvas and who lived in the house in much the same way as its original occupants might have done in the early 18th Century. This he did for his own personal enjoyment as well as for the harvest of an atmosphere, which he then employed to provide the visitor with an extraordinary experience. To enter its door is to pass through a frame into a painting, one with a time and life of its own.

The game is that you interrupt a family of Huguenot silk weavers named Jervis who, though they can still sometimes be heard, seem always to be just out of sight. As you journey off into a silent search through the ten rooms, each lit by fire and candlelight, you receive a number of stimulations to your senses.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
From 5-9pm
£15 per person
A typical visit lasts around 45 minutes and includes a short introduction.

Book your ticket

3. East London Liquor Company

Looking to enjoy a gin tasting in London? Want to learn how whisky, gin and vodka are made on a distillery tour? If you’re looking for a gin tour, whisky tasting or to learn how rum is produced, the East London Liquor Company have an experience for you.

The first gin, vodka and whisky distillery in east London in over 100 years, East London Liquor Company produces and imports a range of quality spirits. Spearheading the boom in handcrafted spirits from the heart of the capital’s old distilling quarter, the East London Liquor Company produces distinctly-flavoured, own-brand gins, distilled in beautiful copper stills in a converted glue factory in Bow Wharf. Led by founder Alex Wolpert, the focus is on traditional British recipes with quintessential English flavours, using 100 per cent British wheat for the production of small batch gin and vodka.

Wednesday to Sunday
Various times
From £15 to £45 per person
Tours last between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours

Book your ticket


Katie Leamon Radio: Autumn Vol. VIII 25.10.19


Katie Leamon Radio: Autumn Vol. VII 11.10.19

Our latest playlist from the Katie Leamon Radio. Autumn Vol. VII eases us into this part of the year with easy lyrics and some amazing instrumentals.

Happy Friday, enjoy! X


Evening Standard Magazine’s Elizabeth Street Social

Join us for the Evening Standard’s Magazine Social on Elizabeth Street on the 17th October from 5 – 9pm. London’s prettiest neighbourhood, Elizabeth Street, will host a shopping evening in partnership with ES Magazine. Visit a pop-up bar for pampering with nails by London Grace, hair by Issy’s and SMUK on make-up. The pop-up will also host panel discussions on the biggest Fall trends in food and beauty. On the evening Elizabeth Street’s beautiful brands will be hosting in-store activity and some exclusive offers. And of course, you can stop by the Katie Leamon Pop Up shop for a complimentary drink. We will also be offering free personalised notebooks for purchases on our HiDE Organisers & HiDE Pouch. As well as, five free Katie Leamon pencils with purchases of our HiDE pencil cases & pouches.

Here are some of the other exclusive Elizabeth Street offers on the night:

The Athenian: enjoy 10% discount for the evening.

Beulah: 10% discount on the AW19 collection.

Hawico Scotland: 10% discount on the AW19 collection; colour-selection service, with bubbles and nibbles.

Jo Loves: win a Jo Loves Shot Candle Experience.

Joanna Wood: free gift when spending over £50 and enjoy a glass of prosecco on the night.

ME+EM: enjoy a glass of Champagne as you shop

NRBY: 10% discount, plus the chance to win a £250 voucher

Stivaleria Cavallin: 20% discount, prosecco as you shop and a talk to discover ‘the art of shoe making’.

Summerill & Bishop: 10% discount on selected lines throughout the day.

We very much look forward to seeing you on the night and sharing the delights of what the Evening Standard Magazine Social has to offer.


POP UP SHOP 21.08.19

We wanted to update you with the finer details of our upcoming Pop Up Shop to avoid any disappointment! We open officially on September 7th September at 10am! We will be hosting workshops every other tuesday from late september and will have them up on the site to buy soon as well as being available to buy in store!

The full details are as follows:

Address: 73 Elizabeth Street, Belgravia, London, SW1W 9PJ (few doors down from the iconic Peggy Porschen’s bakery!)

Opening Times: 10-6pm Monday – Saturday // Sundays 11-5pm – {Please note our sunday trading is a little uncertain at the moment as we are not sure how busy it will be but we aim to be open during these hours.}

 

Keep a lookout on our instagram for daily updates! @katieleamon


Katie Leamon Radio: Summer Vol. VI 08.08.19

Tune into our latest playlist showcasing some of our favourite tracks from New York Artist’s. We head over to the Big Apple this weekend for the NY NOW gift fair! If you’re visiting we are in booth 7521, if not, enjoy a slice of the city with our NY summer playlist.


Katie Leamon X Emma Alington 06.08.19

Introducing the Katie Leamon X Emma Alington Collaboration. As you may have spotted we have recently been working with the super talented Emma Alington to create our debut collection of ceramic homewares.

We first met Emma nearly a year ago at London’s Design Junction where we both bonded over monochrome patterns, delicate gold details and quality materials…. it was clear from the outset our brands were aligned. Emma’s brand centres on beautiful hand crafted ceramic products for the home & table. She begins work at the potters wheel or by slip casting, lovingly moulding her shapes and bringing them to life.

Its been a joy to work alongside Emma to select the right pieces for the collection as well as moulding our patters around some of her best selling styles and combining our aesthetics to create a beautiful collection we cannot wait to share with you.

The Katie Leamon X Emma Alington collection will officially launch online and in our pop up shop in September but here is a sneak preview from the range.


SUMMER VOL.V: KATIE LEAMON RADIO 26.07.19

We hope you enjoy this summery playlist!

 

Image, Mak & Ruby


24 Hours in Bristol 25.07.19

Following the Mollie Makes awards I extended my trip to give myself 24 hours to explore Bristol and boy what a city! Here is a round up of how I spent 24 hours in Bristol and what I would recommend you get on your list next time you’re in town…

Cargo, Wapping Wharf: Its a new concept area on Bristols harbour-side full of converted shipping containers. There are independent shops and eateries galore, in fact there is too much choice if anything! I dined at Woky Ko and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Delicious bao buns and noodles, friendly service, lovely harbour-side views.

Vintage Shops: If you read our guide to Amsterdam and Lisbon then you’ll know I love a vintage shop! If there is a flea market or second hand shop to find, ill find it, and luckily Bristol has a wealth of them! I could spend all day rummaging through all the incredible finds if I had the chance. I treated myself and Ruairi to a couple of bits from Sobey’s and highly recommend a visit!

Clifton; Suspension Bridge & Village: The bridge is probably a staple part of a trip to Bristol whether you drive or walk over it…. Although up some pretty unforgiving hills from the harbour, when you get to the top the view is all worthwhile and it feels like you could be anywhere. Clifton Village itself is a great spot for a coffee and a browse. I stopped for brunch in Rosemario’s and people watched as Clifton came to life with dog walkers, commuters and school runs.

No trip to Bristol could be complete for a stationery addict without a visit to Papersmith’s. Im sure those of you reading this need no introduction but in case you do, they are full of an eclectic mix of stationery finds from across the world and Clifton Village was their first store, so its well worth a visit.

 

Street Art: Bristol is Banksy’s home town. Meander the streets and you will undoubtedly stumble past original Banksy’s on your travels. Its an inspiring city full of street artists with an appreciative audience. There is a wealth of inspiring things to look out for including this one which I loved!

 

Finally, Bristol’s Independent retailers; Bristol is the queen of the independent shops, with too few to mention, so head up to Gloucester road in the north of the city centre for the longest run of independents in Europe! There are also a great selection south of the harbour on North Street. Opposite sides of the city but worth the hilly climb!

Katie x


Mollie Makes Handmade Awards 2019

A few weeks ago I was honoured to be a judge at the Mollie Makes Handmade Awards in Bristol. It was an incredible experience to be part of and I was lucky enough to meet some really exciting new brands as well as some lovely fellow judgers.

Huge congratulations goes out to The Completist; winners of the Small Business Award. They were incredibly considered and thought out and have huge potential to be a globally renowned brand.

The Established business went to Elspeth Jackson of Ragged Life. Her enthusiasm and success making rugs from rags was the perfect example of someone turning their passion into their business and showing that our lost crafts are making a huge comeback.

The Hand Made Champion award went to Diana Bardega of Mamahood, they support and champion independent businesses run by mothers, giving them a community of support and a outlet for their work. Its more than just a business, its a collection of inspiring women with a strong voice. 

The Best Illustrator Award was picked up by Liz Harry – her flair, unique style and strong brand identity bagged her the prize, and is certain to be another brand to keep your eyes peeled for.

Finally there was the Best Workshop Award, in association with West Elm: Francesca Klutz at The London Loom picked up the award…. Her therapeutic, inspiring workshops bring a community of crafters from all ages and abilities together in a vibrant and energetic environment and support the community while they are at it! Hats off to that!

 

Sadly not everyone could win, however I have to mention two of my favourites that didn’t pick up a prize.  They were in tough categories and sadly there can only be one winner, but had we been able to crown more people, I know mine would have gone to Emma West Illustration and Hannah Whitham’s; You are Small. Emma’s dedication to the narrative, care and passion was so apparent and so beautiful to see. When her first book is published be sure to pick a copy up….. from children’s stories to educational leaflets, the innocence and detail of her illustrations is beautiful.

Finally, Hannah’s You are Small brand echo’s a similar story to that of my own… producing hand made things from the kitchen table and trying to meander your way into the business world with it all. They made hand dyed children’s socks, tights and clothes and are simply stunning. I would have worn them all myself! Her attention to detail and knowledge of colour palettes was inspiring and I hope to see them in more shops soon!

Katie x 


SAMPLE SALE 22.07.19

As we prepare to move into our Pop Up shop it means we have to sadly leave our Tottenham home. Therefore, we have decided to host a flash sample sale for the week of 22nd -25th July 2019. You can expect to find some old, some new and some ‘nearly got there’ pieces from over the years. 

Please join us to find a bargain. We have notebooks, HiDE leather, greetings cards, notepads, pencils. And for those who want to be extra prepared….lots of Christmas goodies too. As well as lots more!

The sample sale will be based at our London Studio. Starting Monday 22nd July until Thursday 24th July from 10am – 5pm. With a late opening on Wednesday, 10am – 8pm.

Please use the map below for directions to our studio – look forward to meeting you here.

 

If you have any requests or would like to know more about the sample sale, please don’t hesitate to call us on 07957 006 360 or email ruairi@katieleamon.com. 


Summer Vol.IV: Katie Leamon Radio 12.07.19

Enjoy some of our laid back summer favourites this weekend with the latest from Katie Leamon Radio! 


5 Must See Exhibitions in London this Weekend 04.07.19

London in the sunshine is a hard thing to beat, and with the wealth of creative exhibitions on at the moment, the capital has never looked better. Here is a few of our favourites that we recommend heading to this weekend..

First up is FOOD; Bigger than the plate – another great exhibition by the V&A. The exhibition explores current experiments at every stage of the food process, calling into question sustainability, politics and pleasures related to the food industry. It’s a great favourite for all the family.

Click here to book your tickets!

 

Another favourite of ours is the powerful Cindy Sherman exhibition currently showing at The National Portrait Gallery. As keen photographers and Cindy enthusiasts it was a must see for us and we cant recommend it enough. Her work continues to grab our attention and her sense of disguise and intrigue are ever present in this retrospective.

You can get your hands on some tickets here!

 

Finally, one of my favourite places to visit in London… The Science Museum. An institution for the curious mind of both children and adults alike. They have just launched their Top Secret Exhibition; It explores over a century’s worth of communications intelligence including the story of the famous Bletchley Park team that cracked the Enigma code in 1941.

The exhibition is free (woohoo!) but you have to book your slot here.

The Science Museum is also celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing with an immersive festival for all the family. Another reason to get yourselves over there this weekend. You can get more information on the Summer of Space Festival here.


Summer Playlist Vol.III | Katie Leamon Radio 28.06.19

Summer is finally here! Grab a drink, get outside, turn the music up and get the festival feeling with this weeks playlist. 

 


Katie Leamon Pop-Up Shop, Elizabeth Street

We are incredibly excited to announce that we are going to have our very own little pop up shop opening in September (Exact date TBC). We will be take up residence in a beautiful little spot in south west London, a few doors down from the iconic Peggy Porschen Bakery on retail’s royalty; Elizabeth Street and a stones throw away from the honey pot that is Eccleston Yard. 

It’s been a dream come true to be able to pour my heart into building a little stationery haven home to our lovely little paper goods. My imagination is having to be reigned inline with our budget when planning; I’m tempted to serve penny sweets and champagne to every customer!! We will however, be hosting a variety of workshops including our popular hand printing and Christmas card workshops as well as hosting sales evenings for our lovely stockists. 

We will bring more info as the plans unravel but be sure to make some time to pop in and say hello! We will be there until Christmas at least (all being well) so plenty of time to stock up for the festive season!! (Sorry to mention Christmas when we finally have summer in our hands!)

 


Playlist: Summer Vol.II 07.06.19

To celebrate our new product launches we’ve put together playlist of some of our favourite new music!


Recycled Coffee Cups: From Cup to Card

Did you know we use 4,861 disposable paper cups a minute in the UK? That’s 7 million a day, or just over 2.5 billion a year. Ever wondered how all these Coffee Cups are recycled?

Little things can make a big difference. That’s why we decided to do something a little bit different with our new cards.

Recycling Coffee Cups – The Process

We source our paper from G.F Smith and they work in partnership with James Cropper paper makers. Coffee Cups are sent to CupCycling™. Here paper fibres are rescued and the remaining plastic is recycled. The paper fibres are then placed into the papermaking process, pulp is also used to ensure paper quality. The pulp is sourced from managed forests meaning Extract paper is FSC certified and for every tree felled, 3 are planted. This is then made into beautifully crafted paper.

Finally, our designs are then printed onto the Extract paper using recyclable foil and turned into beautiful greeting cards that are 100% recyclable & plastic free.

Shop the full collection here

If you’d like to know more about extract paper please visit extractpapers.co.uk and cupcycling.co.uk


Playlist: Summer Vol.I 31.05.19

Summer is finally here! Get the festival feeling with this weeks playlist.


Travel Guide: Scotland 17.05.19

We are still settling back into the studio after spending the last two weeks road tripping through Scotland. Here are just some of the many amazing things we found along the way!

First tip, hire a campervan! We were lucky enough to borrow my parents but there are campervan hire spots dotted across Scotland and the Islands which, if like us you are coming up from London, might save some journey time if you jump on a flight to Glasgow and pick up a camper there. Its also the only way to explore all the little nooks the islands have to offer and means you have everything you need with you along the way. Top tip…. stock up before heading off the mainland, we were surprised at just how remote everything was, especially if you are travelling with kids!

Although you might be desperate to hit the coast I would make time to pop into Glasgow city centre… making sure you pay a visit to The Gallery of Modern Art. Its a beautiful art gallery, full of really interesting and interactive pieces, and great for kids too. A friend took us to Paesano Pizza for lunch and it lived up to all the hype. It was such incredible pizza, super friendly service and great coffee!

We then headed north west to Fort William, sadly Baloo is a bit small (and heavy) for us to take on Ben Nevis – but if you get the chance the views are incredible. If like us, you cant or dont want to do the climb take the Gondola up the mountain range where you can find a lovely restaurant and some more modest walking paths across the range.

From Fort William, we travelled up to the Isle of Skye. We stayed at Glenbrittle Campsite on the south west of the island. Its a remote little spot, between the beach and the mountains, completely off the grid with a cute little cafe serving award winning coffee and snacks.

The Fairy Pools are just up the road from the campsite, it was busiest spot we visited, but still much quieter than most tourist spots! Its well worth the hike even with a big toddler on your back! The walk takes you to crystal clear waterfalls and pools running through the mountains. Lots of myths and stories linked to fairies in area although sadly we didnt see any on our visit! Both the campsite and the Fairy pools are on the Dunvegan estate, and just down the road is Dunvegan Castle. Another lovely spot filled with legends and myths and well worth a visit while you’re there.

We then jumped on the ferry across to the Isle of Harris, in the Outer Hebrides. We had been recommended the unmissable Luskentyre Beach – once again it lived up to the hype… It was absolutely stunning,  white sands and turquoise seas even on a grey day. It was completely deserted which added to the feeling that you had found a real gem. The west coast actually continues much the same way for a good few miles, so I recommend jumping in the campervan and exploring further down the coastal road.

The isle of Harris also offers a bit of a rare find… the Harris Gin Distillery; unlike most of its Scottish neighbours that focus on the Scott’s main tipple, Whisky. Its a very cool distillery with beautifully branded product and a a cute cafe that wouldn’t be out of place in East London.
After a few days exploring the Islands in our little campervan with little more than running water and heat I was completely settled into our simple life, battling the elements and finding extra appreciation in all the incredible views along the way. The driving through landscapes that  are without doubt some of the most breath taking I have seen and in itself a huge part of the trip, not to be rushed.
We followed Martin Dorey’s ‘Slow Road’ back to Oban on the Mainland and around the coast back to Loch Lomond where we first began. One of the highlights along the way was Inveraray Castle. A beautiful green Walt Disney style castle in the most beautiful grounds and (if its to your tasting) the world famous Loch Fyne Oysters straight from their source.
Along the way we experienced uncountable moments spent in the most pinch-me idyllic spots that I urge you to experience yourself.

Playlist: Spring Vol. V – Picnic 16.05.19

Hooray for May! Listen to our picnic playlist whilst enjoying the warmer weather and the longer days in the great outdoors. Pic @noemiferst


Playlist: Spring Vol. IV – World Stationery Day 01.05.19

Celebrate World Stationery Day with our paper-themed playlist!


Playlist: Spring Vol.III – Easter Weekend 18.04.19

We’ve whisked a few songs together to help you have an eggcellent Easter weekend! 


Meet Our Stockists: Wild About Flowers

More than just a flower shop, Wild About Flowers has been trading on Keynsham High Street for 19 years and offers a unique shopping experience. Stocking a selection gifts, interiors, greeting cards and chocolate, sourced from local designers and of course an amazing display of fresh flowers, sourced daily and hand-selected from the best suppliers in the South West.

We met with Rosa to discuss the stores history, flowers, cards and more!

Q. Tell us about why you opened the store?

Wild About Flowers was born in the year 2000 when a trio of qualified florists left their professional careers and ventured out to establish a distinctively different floristry business on Keynsham High Street in Bristol. Within a year the shop was being ran solo by Angela who had always dreamt of being a florist after attending a flower class with her Nan when she was 7. Her Mum had always grown flowers in the garden, and her Grandad was a veg grower, so there was always a love and appreciation for nature and flowers. She left a career in banking to pursue her a heartfelt lifelong ambition, and the retail florist was a golden opportunity.

Q. Is there a story behind your stores name? 

Angela had a group task at college to name a shop and illustrate how it would be run, at the time I really liked it, but I never thought that one day it would come to be in existence. Having now been in business for almost 20 years, the name very much represents what we are. We are wild about all things floral and our business run throughs our heart and soul.

Q. What has been the best moment in your stores life so far?

After 17 years of renting our small but cute high street shop, in 2017 we opened our new and much larger premises in a Grade II listed Georgian town House. There were many people who helped us with the renovations and it was a special moment to have our family and friends together at our open evening. An overwhelming moment was the day our name was hand painted on the building, completed with our purple Georgian front door and knocker. It was a day where you could see a dream becoming a reality and the realisation of all the hard work it took to get to that moment.

Q. What is one item you can’t live without?

We couldn’t possibly run our business without our iPhones and we relish the opportunities it offers our brand. There’s often a lot of negativity around phones and social media, but we like to always see the positive and the endless creativity it offers. We love how Instagram allows us to connect and collaborate with other creative businesses, whilst engaging with our lovely customers; not to mention the myriad of inspiration we’ll find on our feed.

Q. Where did you first hear about Katie Leamon?

We first came across Katie Leamon at Top Drawer trade show about 5 years ago. Her designs were so refreshing with a complimenting colour palette; the marble prints were a particular favourite of ours. At the time we were still in our small shop, so we had little room to stock products, but we always liked to visit to get inspiration. Now we are in our expanded new home, we are so proud to stock a range of distinct brands that we love.

Q. What is your favourite Katie Leamon Product? 

The luxurious navy and copper crackers caught our eye and we loved having these to sell. More than just a flower shop, we like to offer a unique shopping experience to our customers. These were the perfect addition for the festive period to bring a touch of opulence in-store.

Q. What would be your top tip for someone visiting Bristol/Keynsham?

Never stop exploring! It’s a city with so much to offer and always has something going on. There are so many amazing independent businesses in Bristol and we love the community


Playlist: Spring Vol.II – April Showers 05.04.19

Tracks to make sure you have a great weekend, whatever the weather!

Pic. @chantillysongs


Playlist: Spring Vol.I 21.03.19

Press play and start your weekend with a spring in your step.

pic. @ariellevey


Write_On Campaign 20.03.19

How many letters will you write during National Letter Writing month? We first discovered the Write_On campaign back in 2016 through one of our favourite US brands – Egg Press. Katie took part in the challenge that year and wrote 30 letters throughout April (one per day).

Since then our company has grown, we’ve moved studios (twice) and Katie & Ruairi have welcomed Baloo into the world. As such, we haven’t been in a position to take part but this year we can’t wait to get involved once more. As a brand we have always been advocates of written correspondence and constantly push to keep the art of letter writing alive. At a time of such digital convenience, this campaign speaks true to us and is a catalyst to inspire the writer in all of us.

Keep up to date with Katie’s letter writing journey for the #Write_On challenge via our Instagram and other social platforms. If you would also like to take part head over to www.writeoncampaign.com for more info.


Playlist: 2019 Vol. V – International Women’s Day 09.03.19

Empowering songs from our favourite female artists, musicians and singers!


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