Hello there! I thought this first blog post might be a great way to talk about the humble beginnings of my indie biz.
This is me, I'm Louise and i live in Ipswich with my partner and son.
I started TFJ in 2015, after i designed a greeting card for my friends engagement party. She had this beautiful event, a teaparty, with vintage tableware and beautiful floral arrangements. She asked me if I could design her a 'Thankyou' card, and I had the idea to illustrate some elements of her special day to feature on the card.
After drawing all those lovely floral elements, I started drawing some more, and i developed a small range of everyday greeting cards.
The floral range with the muted colour palette grew a little, onto textiles and other little products I could batch produce from my home studio, including pocket mirrors, pencil cases and makeup bags, and notebooks. I then branded myself - Two For Joy Illustration.
I was having so much fun developing these products! Having studied Decorative Arts at uni, I always loved getting stuck into the making.
I then started to expand the Greeting card range. Slowly I created valentines day cards, birthday cards, and before long I had over 250 designs. I had over 50 translated into Welsh. I got one card design into Paperchase in London too!
I joined my local Etsy team which was 70 miles away - and travelled to many Events selling with them, and meeting my customers in real life, which was so much fun!
I continued to hand make lots of my products from home.
In 2017 I had an idea to make a poster print hanging frame, having seen them around, but only being able to find versions with double-sided sticky tape, which would ruin any print.
I sold this product almost exclusively through my wonderful stockist, Handmade Nottingham. Rhea sold these frames for over a year before I scaled up production and offered them for sale on my Etsy store.
Demand for print hangers grew and grew - and in 2019, with a baby on the way, i decided to outsource the cutting and sanding of the print hangers. I support another small business, and my product is still completely handmade from scratch. I still process every single piece of wood, creating them into the beautiful print hangers you see here. Still to this day they are completely handmade by me, but instead of making a batch of 10, I'll create a batch of 100!
The birth of my little boy made me realign some of my brand values, and with time on my brand now a precious luxury, but lots of time to think (whilst feeding for four hours straight through the night - but we won't go there!), I decided I really wanted to push my Handmade Wooden Print Hangers, alongside redeveloping every single greeting card, creating new exciting designs, dropping weak ones, and developing a few select giftware ranges alongside the cards.
I designed a 'plants' collection in 2019, and was shortlisted for Gift of the Year 2020, which was very exciting!
I launched my brand new Greeting Cards, along with this website, in June 2020, when my son was 16 months old.
Hopefully you have enjoyed reading about the journey of my brand. A great place to see more behind the scenes development is my Instagram feed!