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Interview with Willow Beau Design

 by hayley on 05 Sep 2017 |
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Interview with Willow Beau Design

We love watching our customers grow their businesses and hear how it all started, Today, we’re chatting to Cathy from Willow Beau Design all about her business.  
Thank you Cathy for agreeing to an interview with us. Firstly, can you tell us how did Willow Beau start?
Totally by accident...! After graduating from a Musical Theatre degree, I quickly realised it wasn't for me, or perhaps more honestly, I wasn't for it. I've always been an avid doodler and with a lot more time on my hands, doodling became sketching, which led onto painting and then modern calligraphy. After a typography course at UAL, wonderful sessions with Lauren at Oh Wonder Calligraphy and a lot of YouTube videos, I was making my own art, and it was really exciting. 
Getting from hobby to business was a strange one really but social media was a huge help. My first commissions came from friends and family, people I knew from Facebook, friends of friends... but as I posted photos of my work on Instagram, I started to get other commissions trickling in, this time from people I didn't know. It's really just a chain; the more requests I got, the more art I created, the more I Instagrammed, the more the work kept coming in! I noticed quite quickly that I no longer had a hobby, I had a job! 
You offer wonderful products with your own ornate handwriting, have you always been interested in modern calligraphy?
I have always had very neat handwriting. I wouldn't say that as I child, I knew I liked calligraphy, but there was definitely always a pride in making my words neat, uniform and beautiful to read. So yes, there has always been a love of handwriting. 
Picking up my first dip pen last year was quite an experience. I think in my head I assumed that because I had nice handwriting, calligraphy would be a breeze... I was wrong!
However, I think concentrating so much on slowly building letter forms with a my nib was so challenging, it actually made me look at letters a lot differently. Your focus sort of shifts from what the words say to their shape, flow and how they can be manipulated. They then start to become illustrations in their own right. When I started to notice that, I think that's when I went from loving handwriting to loving calligraphy. 

Calligraphy and hand lettering have become very popular in the last couple of years, do you think this popularity will continue?
I would definitely say so. I have lots of friends who teach - Lauren from Oh Wonder Calligraphy who I mentioned earlier constantly has classes packed full of people who want to learn the art of calligraphy, and I don't see the demand changing anytime soon. 
I think people want to see more personality and craft in what they're buying into. Like holding a handmade piece of pottery; you can see it's been lovingly crafted. That's what also gives the piece it's charm and makes it special. I would say the same applies to calligraphy. 
Willow Beau uses our lovely snap shut boxes with your own foil printed logo, how important is packaging to your products?
I think when buying items that are so personal to you, packaging is very important.
I chose the rose gold and grey colour scheme as it best complemented my brand colours. I think packaging is such a great way to show your customers a little more about your brand and create more of a story with the delivery of their products.
In my line of work and in the wedding industry as a whole, attention to detail really stands out. I love the idea of my clients unwrapping their orders and being excited from the very second they see the box.

What are your hopes for Willow Beau for the future?
Willow Beau is still a baby in the world of business and so I still have plenty left on my tick list. One big one is my website, which I'm designing myself and is very close to being finished - keep your eyes peeled!! 
I just want to keep doing what I'm doing. I've really fallen in love with it and I feel extremely lucky to call it my job. I'm so grateful to all of my clients, the community of bad ass stationers which I have become a part of, my friends, family and boyfriend, Jack for supporting me. I look forward to creating more and more work for my wonderfully stylish clients and hope I can continue to do so for years to come. 
Thank you Cathy for taking the time to chat to us at Tiny Box! For info on Willow Beau Designs, visit www.etsy.com/uk/shop/WillowBeauDesignCo

If there is anything else you would like to see on our blog, please contact me on hayley@tinyboxcompany.com


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