A Sneak Peek Behind the Scenes of Valerie Valerie.
This week’s ‘Behind the Design’ interview gives us the inside scoop on Valerie Valerie … a gorgeous card and gift company known for their intricate and pretty designs. I caught up with founder and chief designer Valerie, who gave us a unique insight into the inspiration behind her unique, stylish designs.
Tell us a little about your company.
I am a self-taught artist, illustrator and designer and I started Valerie Valerie in order to design and create products using my artwork. I sell my watercolour prints and also my own stationery and greetings cards via the website, all of which are produced in house (so all handmade in the UK).
What is your role in the business?
I am the pen, paint and passion behind Valerie Valerie and also make the tea. The best thing about my job is being able to get my imagination down on paper and then see the fruits of my labour in the form of products on the shelf.
Is there anyone else in the team? Tell us about them.
I have my trusty assistant, Margaret who is worth her weight in gold. Margaret organises the orders and production, has a razor sharp memory and because she also paints herself, her input to the creative side is invaluable.
What is a typical day like at your business?
Ironically a typical day can be totally different from one day to another. We tend to spend the first couple of days in the week getting on top of the weeks production and admin and then, as we go towards the end of the week, the days become more creative orientated, working on bringing new designs and products into being an tweaking the website.
What inspires which product lines you create?
In particular, I love designing for fabric. I like to paint with watercolour because I have to work quickly with the paint before it dries and I think I like the spontaneity of that process. I also love to take a section of a painting and manipulate it digitally to create a repeat. It’s wonderful because you never know quite what to expect and I look forward to the surprises!
Tell us about your design style.
My design style is a bit of a mixture of things really … contemporary with traditional roots. I am influenced by the intricate patterns of the East and also the delicate colours that watercolours can allow.
Are there any other card or gift designers / brands that you admire?
What is your personal favourite product in your collection?
My favourite product at the moment is the Brightly Coloured Houses print.
What are the most popular products in your current range?
My new Ready to Write stationery designs are proving to be very popular.
What new products do you have planned for the future?
More recently, I have also begun to work closely with a number of high quality makers in the UK and America who translate my designs on to bed linen, fabrics and ceramics and, as a result, I currently have a large number of products being launched this Summer … exciting stuff. So look out soon for Valerie Valerie throws, cushions, wash bags, scarves, socks and mugs.
What is it like seeing your products in shops?
It’s exciting and the first time it is a little surreal. I especially like it when I see that the retailer has made the effort to show it off. It’s great to see expert display.
Manufacturing & Production.
What can you tell us about how your products are made?
All of the greetings cards and stationery that we sell in the UK is handmade in house and therefore they carry the ‘Hand Made in the UK’.
Do your products feature any special materials?
We do make some very special embellishments for some of the cards and wedding stationery. There are our very own Hopscotch Hearts which are made totally buy hand. Because of the unique way that they are made, no two hearts can ever be the same, so every card or invitation is totally unique. That’s quite a claim to fame in this day and age.
Do you use any specialist techniques or equipment?
All we have to declare is our genius!
What would you like to do next with the business?
I am looking forward to building the Valerie Valerie brand with the help of my licensing colleagues. My forte is design and I would like to spend more time with my creative hat on, so I am currently building some very good relationships with manufacturers who know how to turn my designs in to high quality products. It’s a long process to get from drawing board to the finished product but my first samples are now beginning to appear, so can’t wait to see them on the shelves in the next few weeks and months!
Where do you dream of seeing your products next?
I would especially like to see my products in good quality retail outlets, as well as my own website of course. I especially want to see them in the more discerning independent retailers … they know a good product and also know how to display it!
Thank You Valerie!
Now you’ve read the interview check out the collection on the Valerie Valerie website.