Take a Look Behind the Rosie and Radish
In this interview we’re chatting with Amy Clarke and Helen Turner from Rosie and Radish.
Tell us a little about yourself and your company?
Rosie and Radish is a charming children’s lifestyle brand dreamt up by Illustrator Helen Turner and Graphic Designer Amy Clarke. Helen and Amy met in 1999 whilst studying Art at Newcastle College and have been great friends ever since. They went on to study at The Nottingham Trent University and both graduated in 2003 with a degree in Graphic Design. After university Helen found her fame illustrating a number of books for Bloomsbury, Scholastic and Egmont whilst Amy worked as a graphic designer in London. In June 2013, after 10 years living at opposite ends of the country, they both found themselves back in the North East and longing for a new creative venture. After weeks of tea drinking, brainstorming and doodling, two little characters emerged from their sketchbooks and turned their lives upside down. Rosie, their pink cheeked little heroine, and her naughty pet mouse Radish have finally found their way onto a range of beautifully designed greeting cards and prints and that is only the beginning. With lots of delightful new gifts and products in the pipeline the future sure is looking Rosie!
Describe your typical working day …
When we are not doing our day jobs (Helen lectures in Illustration and Amy is a freelance graphic designer) we dedicate our time to Rosie and Radish. We meet up at least once a week to brainstorm ideas, work out costings, research potential stockists, drink hot chocolate and work out what to do next! We always leave each other with a massive ‘to do list’ and whatsapp each other throughout the week updating each other with illustrations, designs and brainwaves etc!
What is the best thing about your job?
Working together doing something we LOVE! We’ve been great friends since we first met at Art College in 2003, and this was cemented when we studied Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent University together. For years we have joked and speculated about setting up a business together with a blend of Amy’s design, branding and marketing skills and Helen’s illustrations so to finally see all of our crazy ideas becoming real life products is amazing!
Do you use any special techniques?
Good old fashioned drawing skills and Amy’s computer wizardry. Plus an extremely technical badge making machine!
What would you like to do next with the business?
We would like to focus on the greeting card section of our business over the next year and develop a few new ranges covering the adventures of Rosie and Radish, with the potential of expanding into other stationery items such as party invitations, calendars, notebooks and more paper dolls.
What tip would you give to someone starting a business?
Our motto from the start has been ‘Go big or go home’ … it’s become a bit of a mantra for us! We have been really focused and dedicated from day one and Rosie and Radish has become our little baby! One of the areas we really deliberated long and hard about has been our branding. We really wanted our products to have a narrative feel to them and I think that is very important in our sector as we want people to have affection for our characters and so want to follow their adventures!
Your Products …
What is your personal favourite product in your collection?
Amy: Without a doubt our ‘Twinkle Toes’ greeting card and print. If I was a little girl I would definitely aspire to be as cool as Twinkle Toes!
Helen: The personalised New Baby prints. What better way to introduce our cute little characters to the world.
What are the most popular products in your range?
Our best selling cards are ‘make a wish’ and ‘Thanks a bunch’
Are you working on any new products at the moment?
We have just launched our Paper dolls in time for Christmas. We are hoping to bring out different seasonal outfits over the next year.
What products do you want to introduce in the next year?
Over the next year we want to design a few new ranges of greeting cards featuring Rosie and Radish and their buddies Sam and Spud.
Your Inspiration …
What inspired you to start your business?
The light bulb moment was at a craft fair where we were both selling our products independently. It was a quiet day which gave us the opportunity to chat to other stallholders who, very usefully pointed out that we were missing a trick – Helen’s illustrations (Rosie Blue) were missing a strong lead character and branding and Amy’s cards (Radish Designs) had a strong brand but not enough illustration… Rosie and Radish was born!
What inspires your products?
Vintage children’s illustrators like Mary Blair, the strong characterisation show by Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson. Beautiful surface pattern by designers like Orla Kiely and Marimekko.
What other cards and gift designers do you admire?
What business figures/brands inspire your business?
You’ve read the interview and now it’s time to see more! Visit the Rosie and Radish website.