A Look Behind the Scenes of Nella.
For this week’s ‘Behind the Design’ interview we caught up with Belinda Reynell from Nella. An industry-favourite for their bright, eye-catching designs, Belinda shared the inspiration behind her designs and how the business works day-to-day.
Tell us a little about your company.
Nella Cards is run by Belinda and James Reynell. I am the Design Director and do all the designing. Before Nella we both lived in Walthamstow, London. James worked as a buyer for House of Fraser and I worked in Saffron Walden as a Design Manager for Nigel Quiney cards. After having our first baby Eden we decided to move the the country and start up a Greeting Card company. So we started Nella in 2001. Quite a long time ago now. Our little baby Eden is now 14!
What is your role in the business?
My role in the business is to do all the designing or occasionally commission designs. Also I do some marketing and administration. I love designing cards and wrapping paper. The best thing about my job is that I can spend all day doing what I love.
Is there anyone else in the team? Tell us about them.
James does all the essential stuff of running a business – print buying, processing orders, liaising with customers, marketing (including trade shows), admin and stock control.
What is a typical day like at your business?
A typical day. Take a Monday. We drop the kids off at school and bus and come into our office based in Tiverton. Normally first thing on a Monday we go out for a coffee meeting and discuss what we need to do in the week. Depending on the time of year I might be busily designing new ranges or wrap or adding to existing successful ranges. I’ll normally do a bit of social networking and might do a bit of admin on Monday which might include liaising with agents or following up contacts we might have got at a trade show. Our office is lovely and light and is in the centre of Tiverton which is handy for coffee and the post office! There are a few other little businesses here all very different – a cake business, an estate agent and a coffee camper van being a few of them.
What inspires which product lines you create?
All manner of things inspire new product lines. First I try and think of what has done well for us previously. I do a few trips out to the shops but try not to look at other cards but general fashion themes and trends. I used to look at lot at magazines for inspiration but now I’m getting more obsessed with pinterest and find this gives loads of ideas!
I do a lot of kids cards and in all my designs colour is crucial. My latest range Little Critters we even used a neon ink to make the cards really bright. Nella cards are always very bright, colourful and eye-catching. I also love pattern and particularly like designing wrapping paper and hope to grow this part of the business.
Tell us about your design style.
I always work in a similar way. I normally start drawing in a sketchbook, then scan drawings into the computer and either work on them in photoshop or illustrator adding pattern, colour and texture. I think subconsciously children’s books influence my kids cards. I read a lot of books to my daughter Martha and have always loved them. My grown up cards are influenced a lot by fabric and wallpaper designs.
Are there any other card or gift designers you admire?
The brand I really love is Mibo and I think they are based in Brighton. Lots of great characters in bright colours.
What is your personal favourite product in your collection?
My favourite product in the range is our Little Critters kids cards range.
What are the most popular products in your current range?
Our Laissez Lucie Faire is a very popular range created by a lovely French fashion company of the same name. The very best selling card is this mad one!
Also our Little Monster die cut cards have been very popular for a couple of years.
What new products do you have planned for the future?
I really want to increase our wrapping paper offer so I’m working on this at the moment. The wraps we have done recently have been kids wraps so now i’m working on some more grown up styles. Here are a couple of design ideas.
What is it like seeing your products in shops?
I absolutely love seeing our products in the shop and often photograph them. It’s really exciting and makes you feel like it’s all worthwhile.
I’m afraid I can’t remember the first time I saw our designs in a shop – far too long ago!
Manufacturing and Production.
What can you tell us about how your products are made?
All our products are printed in the UK and packed and finished in Kent. We always try and use a board that really brings out the best colour in each design. The board we use at the moment is called Old Mill Stucco as it produces beautiful colours. We have had a few disasters in the past where the colours have not been what we expected. It’s a real sinking feeling. If the colours are not right, it can ruin a product. We always use recycled board for our wrapping paper and all our cards are FSC approved.
What would you like to do next with the business?
We have a plan to really expand and develop the wrapping paper side of the business introducing a lot more designs, gift tags and possibly wrapping accessories.
Thank you Belinda!
& now it’s time to see the collection. Visit the Nella website now.