Guest Blog - Rebecca Rickards
Our Guest Blog this week features an artist, who is based at the seaside where she has set up her own design studio.
How could any creative person not be inspired by Cornwall?
Illustrator and designer Rebecca Rickards had a head start. Not only did her parents make a leap of faith by rescuing from the brink, their now hugely successful ceramics business there, but having read about them, I saw how she must have understood that good design, and the high quality of manufacture and finish, were just as important as Cornish provenance.
Starting off with her fun, greetings cards, Rebecca has promised a new range to be launched soon, which won’t be only her cards and I couldn’t wait to find out more.
Let’s talk to her and listen to her story.
Laura: Welcome Rebecca to Guest Blog tell us a little about yourself? We want to find out more.
Rebecca: Hello! My name is Rebecca and I'm based in Cornwall. I moved to Cornwall over a year ago just before the pandemic hit, I was working as a designer for a well-known fashion brand in London for nearly three years which I loved and made great friends. However, every day at work I just had that niggling feeling that I wanted to do more and to have creative freedom, it has always been a dream to run my own small business. I would rush home on the northern line and spend every evening sketching card ideas and started selling on Etsy as a hobby. Then Covid happened and I had more time after work, because of no commuting. The cards began to sell and sell as nobody could see each other. At the end of the last lockdown and after a period of reflection, I asked myself, "What do I really want to do in life?" I then decided designing cards and being my own boss gave me so much purpose. It wasn't work for me, it was a dream lifestyle. I left my 9 to 5 and haven't looked back.
L: Tell us about the importance of becoming an independent Graphics Designer?
R: I studied Graphic Design at Falmouth University, including an Art Foundation course. That's where my love affair with Cornwall really began! After my degree, I headed for the big smoke to find a design job which I learnt so much from and it gave me such a good foundation, but after a 3 years there, I needed creative freedom and was ready to launch my own business down in Cornwall.
L: How would you describe the style of work?
R: My style is very coastal and has a positive feel. My aim with my designs is to make people smile or to remind them of their time in Cornwall.
L: What gives you the greatest pleasure as a designer?
R: People smile when they receive their cards, nothing makes me happier! It’s amazing how a folded piece of paper can bring so much joy! It’s the most fulfilling part of the job. I get so many lovely messages on Instagram of how people don't want to send my cards, they frame them instead! Makes all the endless trips to the post office and late nights sorting envelopes completely worth it.
L: Apart from Cornwall, what or who are you influenced by?
R: My parents. Growing up with my Dad starting his own business and seeing my parents’ work ethic was truly inspiring - it's made me want to have my own business from such a young age, and has always made me want to work really hard. I know there are so many bad sides to social media, but I do find Instagram such an amazing place for the creative community. Everyday I'm so inspired by other designers & artists’ work. Because I'm working on my own it's nice to have a community online who feel like colleagues, it’s lovely!
L: Do you have a set routine? Do you design every day?
R: Yes, I work on my small business every day. I seem to have a natural routine. Social media from 8-9, packing orders 9-10:30, post office run. When I get back, I will set myself a ‘to do’ list, checking stock or designing my website. Then the last few hours of the day I like to unwind by designing! I find it so therapeutic. I do seem to work many more hours a day but it really doesn't feel like work. Sometimes when I try to switch off and watch TV my head is just jumping with ideas and I have to go back to my studio to draw it out!
L: What do you do when you're not designing?
R: If I'm not designing, you'll find me on the beach. The beauty of living in Cornwall is having beautiful beaches close by. If I'm not on the beach I'm always trying to explore new places in Cornwall. I love stumbling across tiny beaches which are completely empty! In lockdown I really got into wild swimming which I just love. It has become part of my daily routine. I also have a cocker spaniel puppy who is completely bonkers, so he always needs walking!
L: What would you say to Creatives who are thinking of going solo?
R: Absolutely do it! You won't look back. Yes there may be some hard times and it can feel like a rollercoaster but the highs are so high. It’s so rewarding and gives you so much purpose.
L: And your next project is….?
R: I've designed a whole kitchen range inspired by Cornish lobsters! It launches mid-August which I'm so excited about. It will be my first fabric range and a step up from greeting cards.
L: I am a planner and I think you are too. Do you plan out the goals you want to achieve, say over the next year, or do you take each day as it comes?
R: I'm definitely a planner! I can't really survive without written goals or a ‘to do’ list. I have one of these every day and it helps me structure my day. At the start of every month I write my monthly goals and I feel it really motivates me for that month. At the end of the month I'll see if I've achieved them. I’ll write my lessons learnt if something hasn't gone to plan. I have yearly goals too. I'm really keen to design more new products and one day to have my own shop, but that's at least 5 years down the line!
L: Thanks Rebecca, it's been lovely getting to know you and learning about your creative adventure so far. Listening to you, I don’t believe it will take you 5 years to open your own shop. I have a feeling you’ll get there quicker than you think and I hope that I’ll be invited down to Cornwall when you do open your shop?
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