These are exciting times for small businesses because with the advent of Instagram, many people can now control their own advertising/marketing campaigns (on an hour by hour basis if they so wish!) as well as use it as a selling platform for their fledgling lifestyle brands. One such person who is not only an inspiring new fabric and wallpaper designer but extremely adept at social media and new marketing ideas is Northumberland designer Charlotte Gaisford.
Social media savvy Northumberland designer
I have been admiring Charlotte from afar (she lives in Northumberland) and although I sadly missed meeting Charlotte at Decorex the year before last, her beautiful instagram feed and entertaining IG ‘Stories’ keeps me well informed of new designs from her wallpaper and fabric business.
(BTW: If you are a dog lover, you will be highly entertained by Charlotte’s Instagram Stories which sometimes feature her three dogs and their string of ‘sausages’ as well as her lovely Northumberland home!)
It’s incredible to think that Charlotte started her business only two and half years ago after graduating as a mature student in textiles from Newcastle College. In that time, Charlotte has designed 5 wallpaper and fabric collections including her new for 2018 Mountain Flowers collection. A big thank you to Charlotte as I am privileged to share with you a sneak peak of this new collection – another blog exclusive (boom)!
Previous to that Charlotte was a self-taught, self-employed paint effects artist until the birth of her first son. Charlotte says, “I taught paint effects and painting all over Europe and the UK and did a great deal of TV for Sky and BBC2. I often got lots of press on the houses I lived in but I was relieved when I gave it up!”
After having two sons Charlotte says, “I had no money and couldn’t even afford to buy a Christmas present for my husband so I started Crafty Computer Paper in a bedroom. To cut a long story short, the business grew rapidly and we were soon in our own purpose-built premises and had our own private Post Office with the postman and couriers picking up orders twice a day. It was a mad time but I took the business as far as I could and I didn’t want to neglect my family and leave them with nannys to look after them so I sold it in 2010.”
30 minutes from John Lewis in Newcastle
Charlotte now lives and works as she points out a handy ’30 minutes from John Lewis in Newcastle’ in a collection of converted farm buildings with her husband and two sons Harry 19 (on gap year) and Richard who is 17 (studying GCSEs). As well as producing her collections, Charlotte undertakes her own styling and photography of her designs.
Charlotte’s design inspiration comes from many different often British historical sources such as 18th Century fashion to ceramic plates and a 20th Century wallpaper she was once asked to recreate from a house on the Tyne. “I do look at colour trends but I find a great deal of it is for the fashion industry which moves very fast. The interior market is much slower and you have to think about what people are prepared to live with in their homes.” Charlotte also very much admires Vanessa Arbuthnott “because I think she is so clever with colour and design”.
Charlotte’s New Mountain Flowers collection
Here is sneak peak of Charlotte’s new collection of fabrics called Mountain Flowers, which is a collection inspired by happy times spent in a family chalet in Switzerland. The full collection is now on Charlotte’s website and here is a link to her on-line brochure.
At home with Charlotte
We all love room sets, especially ones you can walk into like the newly redesigned ‘Neighbourhood’ sets at the Wembley branch of IKEA to Holiday House, London where 25 interior designers decorated two houses in St John’s Wood for charity or the most recent pop up showroom designed by Soho Home in conjuction with Turnell & Gigon at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour in London.
Charlotte has come up with her own great marketing idea. Charlotte has decorated using her own wallpaper and fabric designs, her drawing room, hall, two spare bedrooms and bathrooms in preparation for welcoming visitors to her Northumberland home. Charlotte’s ‘open house’ will take place over two days at the end of April (27th & 28th).
You will be able to see how wallpapers and fabrics look in situ with Charlotte’s interior style of mixing colour with inherited family antiques. Charlotte’s studio will also be open and visitors will be able to order samples. There are going to be a few pop up shops selling from the family’s large open plan kitchen too. For more information regarding opening times, directions etc, keep an eye on Charlotte’s website or on her instagram feed.
These are some of Charlotte’s gorgeous samples I have edited for a private client project I am working on. In the spirit of current weather conditions and inspired by one of Charlotte’s recent Instagram posts (of two newly upholstered chairs in the Northumbrian snow) they are styled in the snow at #thewhitehouseinreading!
Thank you so much for reading. If you have enjoyed this and would like to receive email alerts for future posts, then please share with your friends and press the large blue ‘Follow’ button either at the beginning or end of a post! If you are interested in hiring a professional stylist for Instagram, commercial, editorial or home styling, then please don’t hesitate to contact me. With many thanks, Charis x