The Midland Hotel, Morecambe

Paul and I took a week off last week to celebrate my birthday and have a mini break up north. We were staying near Liverpool so took the opportunity to visit The Midland Hotel in Morecambe which I’d captured in a print 18 months ago.

Last year The Midland’s manager Mark spotted this print online and has been stocking it in their shop ever since. He is also now extending the range with my licensor Star Editions. I can’t wait to see the new product range.

We arrived on a VERY windy day and were instantly in awe of this grand art deco building and as you go inside it only gets better. Every inch oozes art deco, I was in heaven! Reception pointed us in the right direction to get a cup of tea and Paul insisted I mentioned I was the designer of their print. The receptionist immediately phoned Mark who zoomed down to reception to greet us. I’m so glad Paul had prompted me as Mark then gave us a wonderful tour with interesting facts of the hotel and even showed us the penthouse suite with its balcony jacuzzi and views to die for. Definitely on the to do list when the weather is a little calmer!

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I’d definitely add The Midland Hotel to your bucket list.

Thankyou Mark for the wonderful tour and we hope to visit again soon.

TM x

Tips & Advice on ‘Connecting with your audience’ with Creative Bedfordshire

When Sandra Dartnell first approached me about speaking at last nights Creative Bedfordshire networking event a fear of dread filled my stomach. The last time I spoke to an audience was for my dissertation at university, I remember stumbling over my words and my face and neck slowly growing redder and redder until my course mates thought I might pass out! It was not a good experience!

However, a decade on and last night I overcame my fear of public speaking and do you know what? It wasn’t that bad!

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Sandra asked myself and Claire from the PlatePeople to speak about our experiences of ‘connecting with your audience.’ My perspective from being a sole trader for 1+ years and Claire’s from only 3 months in.

It was really great to get the opportunity to talk about my life running my own business and it really hit home just how busy i’ve been and how much i’ve learnt about myself and business in the last year.

Some of the top tips that were given by myself and claire:

  • Listen to your audience, if they ask you for a product or design; do it! Be as flexible and engaging as possible.
  • Be transparent. To be self employed is something to be proud of. Shout about it! Don’t try and hide behind the pretence of being bigger than you are. People like to support small businesses so it often goes in your favour – small but mighty!
  • Social Media is a mind field of variations and can be really time consuming. Pick a few channels you are comfortable with and do those well. Better to do a couple well then to do all of them half heartedly.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask – that old saying “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” is SO true.
  • My business plan has always been “Say YES” In the past year i’ve not turned down a single opportunity, you never know where something might lead you. Even if at first it scares you or doesn’t seem to be your thing – give it a go! If its wrong, you don’t have to do it again. But you tried.
  • Be smart on connecting your social media – for example on Etsy you can now update your store and link customer photos to your actual products and then share on twitter for people to directly link back to your shop! GENIUS! (I stole this tip from Claire!)
  • Network and make the most of all the fantastic organisations around Bedfordshire: Bedfordshire Business Women, Creative Beds, BCA, Velocity, Wenta… etc etc etc
  • No your facts. Approaching year 2 i’ve had to face reality and hire an accountant. You need to know where you stand to know what you’re doing is working.

Any questions do ask. Lots of people asked me about packaging last night! Why struggle when I’ve tried and tested every possible way and courier, so save time and ask!

TM x

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

xmas newsletter 2-01.jpgGosh! What a year 2015 has been! My first full year of trading as a self employed designer and it has just been incredible. Mainly thanks to all the fantastic support I’ve received from everyone I’ve met. Predominately in the Bedfordshire community, what a great place to be self employed.

I end the year pretty exhausted but exhilarated to announce that I am a finalist for the ‘Best New Business Award’ presented by Bedfordshire Business Women. The winners are announced on 21st January, I couldn’t think of a better and more exciting way to start 2016! Good luck to all the fabulous finalists.

I’m signing off now for some well deserved offline time. Orders can still be placed on my website but won’t be despatched until 4th January.

There’s so many super exciting plans for the New Year, a new website, new prints, new collaborations, wholesale licensing and a wedding! EEK!

Watch this space for all the updates as they happen!

Thank you once again for all your support and making 2015 better then I could have ever dreamt of. Have a wonderful Christmas and I’ll see you in 2016! TM x

Bedford Park Proms

Bedford Park Proms are back and all systems are go in organising their 20th event in the Park which will be held on 6th August 2016.

It’s going to be a night to remember with a spectacular classical concert with the London Gala Orchestra, Bedford Choral Society, Brit award winners Blake, Rebecca Newman and all finished off with a fireworks and laser finale!

And guess who’s designed the flyer?! Only little old me! I was so excited when Mark & Louise approached me about doing the flyer. We’ve also created a fab print as a great keepsake of what’s set to be a night to remember.

Bedford Proms Flyer-01

Tickets and Prints are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased from Bedford Park Concerts an exclusive early bird rate is now on pricing Adult tickets at £24.50 which rise to £31 from 1st May, Children £5. They can also be bought in person at the Pavilion, Bedford Park.

The prints can be bought from myself here and are at a reduced price until 1st August 2016 when they’ll go up to full price. I will be at the Proms on the night selling them in person too.

Bedford Park Proms copy

Follow Bedford Park Proms on Facebook Twitter or Instagram

We hope to see you there! 🙂 TM x

Happy Birthday to me!

Gosh, I just cannot believe that this week marks the one year anniversary of me leaving full time employment and taking my little business out into the big bad world all on my own! To mark my 1st year I’m taking a few minutes to reflect on the year gone by and my plans for the next year.

I’d been running Tabitha Mary has a hobby alongside my full time job as a Graphic Designer for 3 years. I was selling prints online and attending the odd craft market when I found time. Sales had slowly increased along the way and I was finding I was working harder and later into my evenings and weekends to keep up with demand. In the spring of 2014 I met my Fiancée Paul. We knew instantly that we’d found love (awww… cue for the sick bucket!) but more importantly he was 100% behind my business and believed in me and my product. When we met we lived on opposite sides of Hertfordshire, me in Bishops Stortford, he in Tring. If we wanted to live together, someone was going to have to move. It was the opportunity I never thought I’d get! We both agreed that it was now or never. So we jumped in, feet first! I quit my full time job designing licensed stationery and moved west into our new house in Leighton Buzzard where Tabitha Mary HQ was created in our spare bedroom.

I started my new life in the self employed world by flying to Nepal and trekking the foot hills of Annapurna – as you do! I’d already booked the trip before all these decisions were made. But what fabulous timing. It gave me the break I needed to reset, recharge and refocus my mind onto being my own boss.

On my return I got busy selling at Christmas events, designing new prints and freelanced for 2 months at the Tigerprint Studio in London. I’d never been busier!

Come the New Year and I just couldn’t quite believe that I already had months of work booked in, a mix of freelance, commissions, events and new print launches planned. Never in my wildest dreams had I thought this plan was going to work out!

And it’s continued in this way. I have been completely mesmerised, overwhelmed and humbled by the kindness of everyone I’ve met, exhibited / sold with and the opportunities that have come my way and the support shown by those who I’ve worked with. I’ve made some mistakes, but i’ve learnt from them and carried on!

My work ethic across the year has been to say yes to everything and my goodness what fun and craziness it’s lead to! From small school fairs to the conservative conference!

A rather MASSIVE thank you goes to all those in Bedford who have shown such consistent support. From the Pavilion cafe commissioning THAT print, to Creative Bedfordshire and Velocity for their small business support. And of course a huge thank you to my wonderful Fiancée who proposed in the Summer and has been my rock, business confident, advisor, sales man and right hand man all the way through. I wouldn’t be here without him.

Who’d have thought all of this would’ve stemmed from the shipping forecast print I did for my parents 4 years ago!

So… what are the plans for the next year?

Well my biggest plan is to expand my range, buy a super duper whizzy new printer and be able to offer LARGE scale printing done in house and to get myself out into the world of wholesale more. I tapped into it a bit this year, but would love to grow that side of things. And we of course cannot forget the wedding planning and becoming Mrs Paul in May!

There’s plans set for me to talk to college students about being a self employed designer and to hold a Q&A evening with Creative Bedfordshire to talk all things small business. Set to be a fun evening where you can pick my brains on what i’ve learnt and where hopefully I can pick yours too! As i’m ALWAYS learning!

Not to mention the HUMONGOUS list of prints I want to do!

It’s set to be busy!

Hope you all follow me along for the ride.

Thank you for all your support. To celebrate there’s 20% off everything online until Sunday when you use code IAMONE

TM x

Mount Vesuvius, Naples, An Italian Wedding Commission

At last weekends Handcrafted in Bedfordshire Market I met a lovely lady who asked me to design a print of Naples for her husband for their 15th Wedding Anniversary this weekend.

I of course jumped on the chance to create such a lovely gift for her to give him, how romantic! After a couple of sketched ideas we decided upon a fictional scene incorporating the gorgeous cliffs that Sorrento is so well known for with the iconic silhouette of Mount Vesuvius in the background.

Naples Main copy

I’m so pleased with this print and hope her husband loves it!

Happy Anniversary you two love birds!

My Fact of the day: Did you know that Mount Vesuvius is regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes today due to the 3 million people living in its shadow and the fact its last eruption was in the last 100 years! SCARY!

TM xx