>> Can you tell us about your studio space? Our studio is a really lovely space where all the creativity happens! We have a work space where we sit day to day and then also an informal meeting area for when clients visit to look through our portfolio and to discuss ideas. We have tried to surround ourselves with objects and visuals that inspire us. We have put up long lines of shelves that run across one wall where we display all our cards and products which really helps us when we are adding to our collection as it gives you a really clear vision of what works and what doesn't. We also try to keep organised and so have a bookcase area for all our brown paper files and also have a nice big blackboard for our job list that we update week by week.
>> Have you always been creatively driven? We both have a background in Graphic Design and come from quite a creative family as we are also first cousins as well as business partners! Card making was always a shared hobby as children and then as got older and moved in together we both have different jobs but created our first handmade range in our spare time which we took to local shops and then slowly but surely we became busy enough to turn our dreams into reality!
>> What inspires you, where do you go for ideas? We take inspiration from so many different things and living in London is a great help as there is so much to do and see!
Shop windows are always great to get ideas from , especially in the West End as its where all the flagship store are. Prada on Bond Street is amazing as are all the beautiful old-fashioned confectionary shops and chocolatiers with their tasteful packaging and attention to detail. Fortnum & Mason and Liberty are also always filled with lovely things to look at and leave you wanting to go back to the studio and design a new range! Blogs are another great source of inspiration as they are always changing and become online libraries filled with visual imagery. Pinterest has become a new favourite as well. We do also favour magazines as they are so much more tactile and in the studio we hold onto favourite issues of certain titles so we can always refer back to something great we've seen, maybe a lovely piece of typography or a beautiful colour palette from a fashion spread. Selfridges also have a fantastic magazine department where you can normally find us on the weekend!
>> Graphic Design - Here Design
>> Magazines - Rubbish
>> What is a typical work day for you? The lovely thing about Brown Paper is that each day is different. We stick to regular office hours but one day might involve packaging up orders to send off and the next might be talking through wedding invitations with a client. Every week will include a few visits to the post office which has become invaluable to our business! We also have a few work trips now and again and recently visited the National Stationery show in New York for the first time which was absolutely amazing and left us with so many ideas and contacts. Our stationery seems to be doing really well in America as there is such a demand for paper goods there and so it was a great opportunity to meet some of our stockists and put faces to names as so much of what we do is quite personal and so we love the chance to talk to people and hear their feedback.
>> How do you approach each brief / project? Each project is so different and so we like to take a fresh approach every time. Mood boards are often our starting point after collecting enough information from our client to work with, as really it's a collaboration with us trying to creatively communicate their ideas. We like to start with an initial meeting in the studio, never forgetting tea and biscuits! We run through colour charts and previous work in our portfolio and people very often bring with designs they have torn out from magazines or swatches of materials they like, so it's a very hands on process. In terms of tools and materials, naturally brown paper plays a very important part as its a continuous thread in nearly everything we do, particularly our packaging as we take great care in ensuring each parcel is as exciting as what's inside. Our work is a combination of handmade and out-sourecd printing so we often hand finish things in the studio to give it the Brown Paper touch. We have created a craft area filled with a lovely assortment of arty bits and pieces, everything from twine and ribbon to stamps, paper cutters and patterned Japanese masking tapes.
>> What projects are you working on at the moment? At the moment we have just launched our first notebook range which has been really exciting and something we've worked on for the last few months. There is a range of six lovely colours, three neutrals and three brights all with a gold foil finish and plain paper inside. We are also working on a variety of invitations, from wedding suites to charity breakfast invitations as well as working towards our first trade show exhibition in September, where we will have a stand at Top Drawer at Earls Court.
>> What has been the most interesting or exciting project you've worked on? Working on my wedding was a really lovely experience as I knew exactly what I wanted to do and it was everything from the save the dates right up to the wedding favours which were personalised sets of stationery fir each guest that doubled up as place cards.
>> In terms of your work what couldn't you live without? That question definitely has an easy answer....Brown Paper!
>> What do you want to do in the future? We want to continue to work on building our brand so that there is an aesthetic that one can instantly associate with Brown Paper. We also want to introduce a wide range of products and would love to bring out a baby range of stationery and gifts as well as developing our stationery range.
>> Where are you happiest? In our studio!... We really love what we do and hope we can continue to excite and make people happy with our stationery.