Behind the Design of The Skinny Card Company.
In today’s ‘Behind the Design’ interview we’re chatting with Sarah Boddy from The Skinny Card Company.
Sarah gives us a unique insight into her card & gift business, which unites cute & quirky elements of the animal world with cards, gift wrap and homewares.
So without further ado, let’s hear from Sarah.
Tell us a little about your company.
We create beautiful greetings cards, wrapping paper and high-quality homewares (including recycled glass coasters and heat mats, 100% cotton tea towels and aprons, durable stoneware and fine bone china jugs and mugs, etc.), featuring images taken from my detailed watercolour illustrations of chickens, garden birds, bees, hares and other animals.
We have two main collections; Fowl & Wacky and Fur and Feather.
Fowl & Wacky is, as you might guess from its name, really fun and quite mad! Gaggles of dancing chickens, zany hens and funny ducks appear on cards, mugs, tea towels, etc. alongside witty slogans, making great gifts for any chicken fan with a great sense of humour!
Fur & Feather features six main characters; Ollie Owl, Goosey Goosey, Hadley Hare, Hugo Hare, Robin and Pheasant. Intricate watercolour illustrations of these creatures appear across our card and homeware range, and are the perfect way to bring rural charm into your house.
I trained as a knitwear designer and enjoyed an international career in fashion after graduating from university. I moved to Leicestershire when I married, and after the birth of our first daughter in 1994, I set up The Skinny Card Company, which over the years has slowly evolved. Licensing the Camilla and Rose collection to Peartree Heybridge, and with my own children starting to fly the nest, I now have more time to get the creative juices flowing!
What is your role in the business?
I’m the owner and designer. I feel so lucky to be able to combine my love for drawing with working from home around family commitments.
Is there anyone else in the team? Tell us about them.
We’re a small team of three, who muck in with everything from packing to getting products online, plus two dogs, Digby and Bilbo, my faithful companions and business partners.
A Day at The Skinny Card Company
What is a typical day like at your business?
There really is no such thing! The first job of the day is carefully wrapping and packing orders off all around the world. Business tends to take place in the morning – quick catch up meetings, planning, uploading products, keeping in touch with customers – leaving the afternoons free for drawing and designing. Of course, feeding the chickens and walking the dogs is an important part, too!
What makes your workplace special?
It’s a colourful yet peaceful space, full of natural light and with great views over open countryside. We’re kept company by an ever increasing menagerie of animals including dogs, guinea fowl, ducks and chickens.
What inspires which product lines you create?
We’re based in a pretty Leicestershire village, surrounded by fields, trees and hedgerows – home to the wonderful creatures who appear on our products. Our characters are all based on the real birds and animals who live in, or visit, my garden.
Tell us about your design style.
Our style has been described as charming, informal and quirky. We take inspiration from the animals who share our life and the countryside around us.
Are there any other card or gift designers / brands that you admire?
The Skinny Card Company Products.
What is your personal favourite product in your collection?
It’s a tough call! Charlie Chimp, our newest design, is my overall favourite. Otherwise it’s between Robin and Ollie Owl. Everyone loves a Robin – they are so cheery on dull winter days, but Ollie Owl with his enchanting eyes is probably my overall favourite. He started off as one of our least popular designs, but as owls have grown in popularity, I am delighted to see that our customers love him as much as I do.
What are the most popular products in your current range?
Our bumble bee wrapping paper is hugely popular – it’s so cheerful and summery – and our fine china Here Come the Girls Mug, featuring a flock of feisty dancing chickens.
What new products do you have planned for the future?
The Coaster Card is an original concept that we have just launched – a card and a gift all wrapped up together! It’s perfect for those occasions when a card isn’t quite enough.
What is it like seeing your products in shops?
Very exciting, still can’t believe it!
Manufacturing & Production.
What can you tell us about how your products are made?
We print cards here in our studio and we only use UK factories to manufacture our other products. We believe it’s important that the people who make them are working in a safe environment.
Do your products feature any special materials?
We only use recycled paper, cardboard and glass.
Do you use any specialist techniques or equipment?
Watercolour, paintbrush, pencil and ink. And then photoshop to finalise the images.
What would you like to do next with the business?
We plan on expanding our range of products, particularly textiles, with oven gloves coming very soon!
Where do you dream of seeing your products next?
We love seeing our products in independent stores as well as on our website.
Thank you Sarah!
Now you’ve read the interview, please check out The Skinny Card Company website.