From Design to Diversification: A Creative Journey with Tea Towels
In the ever-evolving world of entrepreneurship, the path to 'success' isn't a straight line but a journey of exploration and adaptation. I want to share my story of how I transitioned from a single business into three distinct directions, and how something as humble as tea towels played a pivotal role in this realisation.
Let's Start at the Very Beginning
I began my career as a product designer, spending 6 years in industry designing lamps and homeware, working with metal, wood, glass, ceramics and fabrics, working with factories in the UK, Italy, India and Asia. I delved into the world of high-street and high-end brands, working with clients and companies that were instrumental in shaping my eye for detail, my passion for design, and my appreciation of surface pattern design. Little did I know that this solid foundation would pave the way for my future entrepreneurial endeavours.
The Artistic Drip Feed
During my school years, I was fortunate to be introduced to linoprint, a creative avenue that captured my heart as a teenager. The deep-seated desire for creative expression and the therapeutic nature of music and art kept this passion going throughout my degree and saw it take central focus into my final year graphics project and the 'Made in Brunel' showcase. Later exploring my artistic vision and refining my skills as an illustrator and graphic artist, I became more and more opened up to the world of Surface Pattern Design. This transition was pivotal, igniting the entrepreneurial spark that would later give birth to my business, 'Fabia.H.Goff,' in the midst of the 2020 lockdown.
The Power of Tea Towels
As I embarked on the journey of building an online business and establishing a local presence in shops, I sought creative ways to showcase my art without imposing a significant financial burden on my customers. It was during this time that I discovered the humble tea towel as a canvas for my artistic expression. Tea towels, often overlooked as mere kitchen accessories, revealed their versatility and aesthetic appeal. They bridged the gap between the design world and the art world. Through interactions with customers at markets and online, I learned that tea towels had a multitude of uses. They could stand alone as thoughtful gifts, transform into distinctive textile art when elegantly framed, or, for those seeking a 'boho' aesthetic, serve as stylish wall art when hung in magnetic poster hangers. Furthermore, tea towels presented an eco-friendly and luxurious alternative to conventional gift wrap. It was a revelation – the true potential of these unassuming kitchen staples.
The Birth of Three Businesses
Developing a strong collection of designs, my tea towels became the cornerstone of my creative journey, as I branched into three distinct businesses:
Fabia.H.Goff - My e-commerce website selling my art, gifts and homeware. I specialise in textiles, linoprint and home decor. This website is where I can showcase my design expertise and artistic flair, creating products that are not just beautiful but also functional, bringing peoples homes into bloom.
I will be focusing my time in 2024 on the following 3 areas:
- Teatowels - town themed, fun, funky, silly and splash of floral of course!
- Linoprints - returning to my roots and printing limited editions of blocks I've already carved and new, LARGER pieces
- Textile softscapes - making larger, more complex, 3D and double sided fabric wall hangings as statement pieces for peoples homes and interiors - collaborating with interior designers, restaurants and hotels.
- Bloom & Whimsy - My own shop and open studio: Full of art, gifts and homeware, complimented by local artists and friends work, myself and my business partner Georgia have curated an environment where visitors find comfort and inspiration. Although our styles are unique and distinct, they effortlessly complement each other. Our collaborative partnership not only shares financial responsibilities but also helps us to divide our time efficiently, affording me the freedom to manage my other businesses seamlessly.
- Freelance Design Consultancy - In addition to my entrepreneurial pursuits, I'm working as a design consultancy; finding connections through networking and events throughout Kent and London. Over the years, I've had the privilege of collaborating with various clients, offering my design expertise to bring their creative visions to life. Most recently, 'Makers Cabinet', Ami of 'The Wolf & The Wild Thing' Logo rebrand and redesign and a local large project, in line to launch a new product in 2024. One of my favourite aspects of design consultancy is the diversity of projects and the opportunity to work with different clients. These projects not only maintain my creative energy but also allow me to actively contribute to the success of other businesses, providing a fulfilling and dynamic experience that complements my entrepreneurial ventures.
The Creative Journey Continues
My journey from a single business to three distinct directions has been a remarkable learning experience. It has reinforced the importance of adaptability, perseverance, and staying true to my creative vision. The three businesses complement each other, allowing me to explore different facets of my creativity; something I have been searching and looking to achieve. This being said, my consultancy work in particular will be something I turn my focus to in the New Year, perhaps working on a separated website and project outline documentation.
I'm excited about what the future holds. The creative journey continues to evolve, and I'm grateful for the support of those who have joined me on this path.
In conclusion, it's essential to embrace the unexpected turns in your entrepreneurial journey. Sometimes, the smallest, most everyday objects, like tea towels, can hold the key to unlocking new creative horizons. Don't be afraid to diversify, adapt, and let your passion guide you towards exciting and unexpected opportunities.